Microsoft’s Patent power-grab

So, Microsoft spent over a billion dollars to out-bid Google on a bunch of patents from AOL. But WHY? AOL isn’t exactly a major player in the game anymore and the bulk of their patents haven’t been put into practical use for years.

Many in the industry are assuming that Microsoft did it out of their usual trying-to-beat-Google-to-the-punch philosophy, but it turns out that Microsoft (finally) had an ulterior motive (especially since Google never officially announced an interest in the patents).

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Can Microsoft’s SkyDrive compete with iCloud?

There are many competitors to Apple’s iCloud – Amazon’s Cloud Drive, Box.net, DropBox, Microsoft’s SkyDrive and SugarSync.

Microsoft’s SkyDrive has unique advantage to grow more in the coming days. It can make great strides if it can offer a perfect platform that offer user friendly features plus skin that make the usage of SkyDrive not only compatible among Microsoft’s own products but also across various Operating Systems. iCloud is popular on Apple devices, SkyDrive is popular on Microsoft based products.

It is common that Apple tries to incorporate more friendly features for iOS based users just as Microsoft incorporates more friendly features for Windows users. Compatibility among Operating Systems and across products will create win-win situation for any Cloud based service provider in the market. Strong affinity to one segment of products and rigidity to move across other applications will be detrimental to the growth in the long run.

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Google, Apple & Microsoft agree on Universal Privacy Policy for Smartphone Apps

Apparently the U.S. Government hasn’t heard that privacy is dead.

Instead the California’s attorney general held a gathering of the world’s major smartphone companies: Apple, Google, HP, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Research in Motion, to decide on the future of smartphone-driven internet privacy. The goal for the attorney general was to cajole the leading smartphone manufacturers into reaching a universal agreement on privacy protection for the app-using mobile public.

This new universal agreement would force all app developers to conspicuously post their privacy policies to their downloading public, including details on what personal information they retrieve from their users and exactly how they will use it.

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Steve Ballmer’s “Re-imagining Microsoft” giving Microsoft a long-overdue Makeover

Has hell indeed frozen-over? Quite possibly because Microsoft is giving itself a serious overhaul — get this — in response to market forces.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently announced that the Windows overhaul going on is mere foreshadowing of big changes to come from Microsoft as the companies aims to optimize all their software for new hardware form factors and cloud computing.

The large-scale makeover for Microsoft is beginning with their new Windows 8 user face, a drastic break from the traditional Windows theme and from the previous version, Windows 7. For windows 8 Microsoft will be going with the Metro UI interface currently found on Windows Phone instead of the Aero interface from Windows 7. This new change in the interface is Microsoft bending to market forces of tablets and phone hardware form figures, a significant change to the large-screened home PCs of yore. “If Windows 8 is Windows re-imagined, we’re also in the process, and Windows 8 is an important step of that, of remaining Microsoft,” Ballmer proclaimed in a keynote address at the BUILD developer conference.

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Jobs to Gates, Royce and McNealy: A Historical Look at if Apple Will Survive

Steve Jobs has left Apple. I have expected to see stock prices crumble, Apple Geniuses to go rogue and iPhones to fall out of the sky; but despite the near-panic of nearly every Internet news station — its really not that big a deal, we will be fine (unless you own large amounts of Apple stock, in which case it is time to panic).

If history has taught us anything, and it hasn’t, its that changes in leadership are rarely as dramatic as we fear — just look at Obama.

Looking at this issue historically may give the issue more perspective, as many large tech innovators have changed leadership in the past: Microsoft with Bill Gates, Intel and Robert Noyce, Sun and Scott McNealy.

Bill Gates

Microsoft and Billy Gates

The best historical comparison we can use for enigmatic Steve Jobs, is enigmatic Bill Gates. In terms of company size, they are both high-value firms with Apple’s current valuation at $349 billion and when Billy left Steve Balmer in charge of Microsoft it was valued at $600 billion. Microsoft is currently valued at just $201 billion. And I think Gate’s valuation dropped the same amount (after he gave a huge chunk of his fortune to the Gates Foundation).

The succession of Jobs is similar to the story of Gates, as he will stay on the board of directors, however; it is unlikely that Jobs will hold Tim Cook’s hand for a decade like Gates did for Balmer.

Perhaps we do have reason to worry with the massive devaluation of the other high-profile regime change. Or perhaps this will simply be Microsoft’s year to bounce back and reclaim its throne as Supreme-Ruler-of-the-Tech-Monpoly.

On a personal note maybe we will see the creation of the Jobs Foundation — providing starving children everywhere with iPads.

Robert Noyce

Intel and Robbie Noyce

Unlike Microsoft, Intel’s tale of change is more positive. When Robert Noyce passed the reigns to engineering-superstar Gordon Moore, the company’s 43-year success story continued. When Moore gave way to cut-throat businessman Andy Grove, they thrived. The succession to Craig Barratt and Paul Otellini only continued the strong leadership patterns. Intel also has a long-standing tradition of moving their CEOs to board leader positions so perhaps Apple’s story will mimic Intel’s.

Take into consideration of course that none of them were the strong face-of-the-company or sexy-poster-child and cancer-survivor like Steve. Nonetheless Intel did fine. It is currently valued at $115 billion.

Scott McNealy

Sun and Scott McNealy

Spoiler: this one is worse than the Microsoft example. In 2006 Scott McNealy gave up his 22-year carer steering Sun Microsystems to success when he passed the helm to Jonathan Schwartz. Schwartz then ran the ship aground. Schwartz never had much of a chance with his two years of executive management experience, despite his decade-long commitment to the company. Schwartz lasted only three years as leader before the financial crisis of 2008 dry-docked the ship forever, and they were taken over by Oracle.

Think for Yourself

Despite the rampant rumors about the future of Apple, think for yourself. Who knows whether Apple will go the route of Intel, Sun or Microsoft — but does it really matter (other than for large-scale Apple stockholders)?

But — just in case you are a true Mac-head — stock up on your Apple gear now.

(Image Credit: Wikipedia, All Things Digital)

Top 5 Cloud Blackout Blunders

A Cumulonimbus Cloud

The big fluffy white hard-drives in the sky are said to be the future of software-but are they as sometimes as unpredictable as naughty-little-brother-like cumulonimbus clouds? The heavenly body of cloud computing has flexed its muscles prematurely as there have been a long string of major outages:

Blackout Blunder Number 1: Google’s Gmail Gaffe

Google let Gmail fail… for a time. In fact some 150,000 Gmail users logged in to their precious account only to see a blank slate. Considering Gmail is one of the cloud’s great attempts to throttle Microsoft’s stranglehold on Exchange-based enterprise email services, this was a big hit to the cloud. Thankfully Google was able to revert beyond its failed multi-layered backup strategy and reach back to archaic backup tapes-yup tapes.

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IPv6 – What the Heck?

First came IPv4 — an interesting story in itself given that the original protocol for the internet was named TCP, and entered into its third version before IP came about — giving birth to Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4).

IPv5 was quickly eclipsed by the speed of technological advancements and now we have IPv6 — well almost. IPv6 is still chugging along, desperately trying to get noticed like an annoying middle child.

IPv6 however will quickly become a reality as we exhaust the few remaining IPv4 addresses from the finite batch of 3.4 million addresses that were available through version 4’s protocol. IPv6 comparatively will give us 340 undecillion addresses, or 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses — to be precise.

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Web Browser Battle Royale turns Dirty

The all-out web browser brawl has competitors throwing dirty punches in a below-the-belt free-for-all fight for market share.

As Microsoft IE’s web browser market share slips to an all time low, the gloves have come off as Microsoft begins to exploit the bugs in their competition. At just 54.3% of market share IE has been steadily declining for years, but Microsoft is recognizing a rare opportunity to outwit their competition, despite their inferior technology. Microsoft executive Ari Bixhorn has begun to address high-level enterprise-grade customers like IBM, trying to lure them away from IE competition. Bixhorn has been poking a stick into IE’s competition by trumping the level of support offered by the likes of Mozilla’s Firefox, and pointing out the continued critical-rated security bugs in Google’s Chrome browser.

John Walicki, IBM CIO has openly chastised Mozilla’s refusal to support Firefox version 4 once they move to version 5, a move that Walicki considers akin to a “kick in the stomach”. This sentiment is being felt by many administrator professionals in the IT industry who expect continual multi-version support.

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Microsoft Continues with Office 365 June Release Despite Beta Problems

Despite on-going issues in beta, Office 365 will still be released this month says Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

According to Neovise analyst and 20-year veteran software engineer for HP Paul Burns, “I’m a big fan of Office 365. I think it’s going to do well… But if they are moving out of beta at the end of June, then yes, I’m surprised.”

After beta-testing Office 365 Burns strongly noted that Office 365 isn’t ready for release due to common complaints like the cloud-based software’s lack of contact importing. Burns’ pointed out additional problems, including non-delivery of email, a status dashboard that lacks information, bounced-back emails, a lack of notifications when sending errors occur and issues with format when importing Word docs to Office Web Apps. This last issue is an especially hot button for Microsoft seeing as they openly criticized Google Docs, Office 365’s main competitor for having the same formatting issues.

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Microsoft & Nokia give birth to ‘Mango’

It is always advantageous for the all concerned populace, when two champions with different related fields join hands to work constructively. This has been proved with two giants Microsoft and Nokia. They have joined hands to create new and sensational Nokia Windows Phone 7 and the release is just around the corner.

Microsoft planned to include hundreds of additional features with their new Nokia Windows Phone 7, which has been nick-named as Mango Phone. The name makes it easier for the buyers and marketers to memorize a short and attractive name.

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