If you’re a tech geek like me you undoubtedly follow Google – and you also probably know all the transformers by heart. By using Transformers as an allegory we can put Google’s transformation into context.
Google has been acquiring companies, technology and people — aggressively, and now they are joining them all together to build a super-powered Microsoft fighting machine. And they now have Microsoft’s Decepticons in their sights. In fact if you look at Google’s product line, you begin to see that Google is purposefully encroaching into Microsoft territory -gearing up for the battle Royale of the decade.
Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion. To put this in perspective, this is 5x what Google paid for YouTube. Many industry analysts believe that Microsoft overpaid for the VoIP giant, especially since Skype was sold in 2009 for just $2.75 billion. Given the huge jump in price there was likely an unannounced bidding war.
With Microsoft overpaying for a company that does not rake in huge revenues, the question is, what are they going to do with it?
With any small or large businesses; winning and losing are part of the game. It is really hard to find one company that either steadily grows or steadily decays in growth; there always will be bit of ups and downs on the path. But we are not either worried or talking about all those companies out there, but Microsoft. Why? Because it is one of the biggies that influences our day to day lives and also is an important part of our business and personal lives.
Microsoft had recently released many products of which some of them got great applaud from the crowd, but some others didn’t make it. You know, it is with all business, when you launch a product not everyone likes it. And not every product you launch goes viral and talked by people.
According to Gartner‘s new released data – One of the toughest challenges that Microsoft windows has to face is, the new growing market for Mac OSX and Linux OS. Statistically, the revenues from global operating systems was estimated to be $30.4 billion in 2010 out of which Microsoft asserts their first position with a 78.6 percent market share.
While the tremendous increase in the growth of Linux and Macs in the server and client operating system segments was worthy of note, the rate of growth of the Apple’s platform Mac OS increased at the rate of 15.8% while that of Microsoft’s Windows grew by only 9.2% as reported by Gartner.
During their Microsoft’s MIX ’11 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced their upcoming release of Mango, the new Windows Phone OS. Mango is expected this fall. Mango will be Microsoft’s offering to finally compete with the more robust operating systems currently dominating the market — finally bringing features already popular in the market like multitasking.
It is going to be a busy week for all the IT professionals since Microsoft is going to deliver a record patch that addresses 64 security vulnerabilities. There will be patches for bugs in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, GDI+ and .NET framework. In this update, the most frequently used office applications like Excel (2003-2010) and Powerpoint (2002-2010) will also be affected. There will be 17 bulletins, of which more than half, that is nine, are critical. The critical bulletins will affect all Windows systems including Server 2008 and Windows 7 and hence Microsoft urges system administrators to plan for a deployment.
Pete Voss, a senior response communication manager at Microsoft says that according to the assessment of Microsoft, the vulnerability could theoretically allow remote code execution. However, he adds that such an event is extremely unlikely and no evidence of attacks have been recorded so far. Apart from the 9 critical bulletins out of 17, the other 8 bulletins are marked to be important. Among those rated as important is a fix for the MHTML script injection vulnerability in Windows. The security bulletins will be released by Microsoft at about 1 pm EDT on 12th April.
If Microsoft is the evil empire, then their Office Suite is their “Death Star” — a product of epic proportions. 500 million users just about qualifies the suite as epic. And just like the Death Star it has a huge vulnerability and can be taken down in a swift and calculator attack.
The newest patch from Microsoft appears to b a Mac vs. PC commercial in the making. Don’t be surprised if the next mocking ad from Mac addresses the 900 million people affected by Microsoft’s most recent security patch. The name of the release, Patch “Tuesday” which sounds more like an Irish celebration than a critical software patch, but then again maybe Microsoft was trying to lighten the mood.
The new patch release deals with 22 issues — 6 of them deemed critical (the higher security issue ranking Microsoft has). Another 9 were ranked as ‘Important’ (details).
Continuing from where I left off in my previous article, Tech World’s Top 10 Mistakes – Series I, let us now look at the remaining half of the technology world’s top ten blunders – counting down from number 5 to number 1:
5. IBM PS/2 a little too late
IBM was indeed very late to put to action its pro-active idea of counter-attacking its competitors. IBM’s break-through concept of bringing a computer to every office desk in the world worked very well until competitors like Compaq and others began to hit back during the era of the 3rd generation of the PC market. What the competitors did was they started to fabricate a PC clone of IBM and started to eat away IBM’s PC sales whose prices were, as per business consumers, pretty high and hence they did not mind buying working PCs without the IBM logo on them.
In order to get back into the PC marker groove, IBM gave birth to a new idea and named it PS/2 which was supposedly ‘a completely new PC with a closed micro channel architecture that would force the cloners to start again from scratch’. This could have been fantastic, considering competition would suffer till the time they found a new way to hit back. But the worst part of the entire scenario was that even consumers would have to start from the scratch in terms of getting compatible with the new system. IBM thought that they had enough influence that can pull this idea off. But they were wrong. Another basic mistake that IBM made was the non-realization of the fact that the time for earning more margins on hardware products was long gone and now software is where the real money lies.
4. Iridium hiccup
This should probably be considered as a brilliant technological breakthrough backed by stupid execution tactics. The idea of never having to experience spotty mobile phone coverage and dropped calls surely would be much appreciated and loved by consumers. However, this seems as a dream yet to come true for users, for the team that launched the Iridium satellite went through nightmares to come up with its execution. A mobile network which would cover the entire globe was launched in the year 1998 and nine months post that they had to file for bankruptcy. To achieve the set ambition, they had to actually launch 77 orbital satellites on which the Iridium satellite would rely on. Launching one satellite itself costs loads, so multiplying the loads of cost into 77 would result as quite a large expense. Hence, the bankruptcy. The mission is now seen as a specialist service for remote applications like that of Ocean Vessels and rescue operations.
3. Itanium case
A simple case which focused on engineering optimism and lacked business sense. Intel’s huge investment during early 2000 went into fabricating Intel’s first 64-bit chip. Similar to what IBM did with its PS/2, Intel did with Itanium. Intel did not realize the essence of backing their hardware product with the requisite software application which would enable better deployment and usability of its 64-bit code. This is exactly what competitor AMD did – Operton chip; a chip that combined 32 and 64-bit operations and beat Intel in understanding the exact business trend at that time. Technological business firms are always paralysed by the inability to distinguish between “can we do this?” and “should we do this?”
2. Sony’s ‘deadly’ battery
Now this one is quite different from the already mentioned blunders which either caused user dissatisfaction or created financial losses. Sony apparently developed a battery during 2006/07 which was so deadly that it could have killed users. These battery-packs were made for computer makers like Dell, Apple and Acer and were of lithium-ion make. Once if the computers of laptops were slammed hard on the floor, the battery cells would heat up to the level of creating a small time blast due to a violent combustion. The computers made up of these batteries were recalled and re-fabricated with to ensure there were no dangerous elements in the systems.
1. Intel Pentium Zero processor
One of the most premium inventions that ever took place in the computer hardware-world is Intel’s Pentium processor. But there was a huge blunder that Intel committed and that was a technological flaw supported very well by pathetic engineering and PR planning. During 1994 Intel was doing very well with its Pentium processor earning very good accolades with its astonishing 66MHz clock speeds. But one mathematics professor’s problem with the processor turned out to be disastrous for Intel. He’d installed a few Pentiums in a system being used to enumerate prime numbers, but had been getting very dodgy results back ever since. Intel already knew what the problem was, but chose not to rectify it reasoning that the problem wasn’t an issue unless you were really performing high level mathematical functions. The issue was with the chip’s floating point unit and they presumed they would sort the entire predicament out later. But it was too late too ugly for them.
So there you go, the list of the top ten most obtuse technological blunders made by some of the most renowned technology players in the world.
There can never exist an industry in this world that can survive from making mistakes. And an industry that needs to be very meticulous in fabricating every product, service or solution can also not escape the ugly part of making blunders – I am talking quite obviously of the technology industry. There can be errors made by any and every person in this planet and technologists also cannot get away with a clean chit. Take the beginning of this very financial year for example; there was the counterfeiting of the Apple prototype iPhone. Also, reported during the same month was the blunder made by McCafe. Though it is a cliche statement it is worth mentioning here that ‘to err is human’ but should we be kind enough so as to ‘forgive the blunderers and be divine’.