Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’


Several Days Ahead Of The Big Name Blogs

Friday, May 28th, 2010

So engadget says today that the new appleTV is going to be based on the iPhone OS:

The new ATV will do away with its current OS X-lite variation as a operating system, and will instead adopt the iPhone OS for the underlying experience. There’s no word at this point on whether apps and the App Store will be coming along for the ride, but it makes sense given the shared platform. Of course, scaling iPhone apps to that 52-inch plasma in your living room isn’t exactly a no-brainer. Perhaps not surprisingly, Apple won’t deliver the ATV news at the upcoming WWDC — that event will be focused on the capabilities of the new iPhone — but development on the product is most definitely full steam ahead.

They also mention that the device will only have a power in and a video out port, that it will put out a full 1080p and it will be priced at a $99. This doesn’t sound at all quite right. I have trouble imagining that any device meant to stream video at full 1080p wouldn’t come equipped with a gigabit Ethernet port. And while $99 strikes me as a low target price, it’s doubtful that apple has already established a price for a product that does not yet exist.

Furthermore it seems to me that the existence of an appleTV based on the iPhone OS is the best explanation as to why iPad apps are referred to as “HD”. My guess is that the resolution of the iPad is enough to display an app on an HD television screen. Moreover, if it weren’t then it would almost be required that apple announce the device in advance so that developers can get started working on apps for it. The only reason not to announce it early is that apps already work on it. Which I suspect they do.

More curious to me is the absence of a video-in port. This tells me that the device is not meant to act as a pvr. Could it be that they plan on selling streaming television provided directly from cable networks and other producers? Remember, Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder in Disney which owns ABC, who made an iPad app that basically throws all of the network’s content online Hulu style. In fact, only Comcast owned NBC seems to be resisting the move at this point. I think this device may be designed from the outset to make both broadcast and cable tv obsolete in one fell swoop, all the while facilitating the purchase of more content from the iTunes store and enabling the streaming of iTunes content from your PC. If that’s the case then it’s a bold move, and one that makes Google TV look like Child’s play.

I just wonder if Apple isn’t opening too many fronts against too many competitors at this point. Let’s just list briefly who apple will be competing against if the appleTV is delivered as described:

  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Adobe
  • Nintendo
  • Sony
  • Comcast
  • RIM
  • Nokia
  • Motorola
  • HP

Am I missing anybody?

Finally I wrote this entire blog entry on my iPad using the web interface of WordPress. Not ideal, but it worked. I’d rather have had a dedicated WP application, but I really can’t stand the stretched iPhone versions of apps. I should hope that an iPad specific blogging tool is developed relatively soon, and if it already exists, plea keg me know what it is.

UPDATE: just discovered the WordPress app for iPad. Must have just been released because I looked for this a few days ago. Anyhow, looks decent so far. I’ll Include a review when I write a thorough review of my iPad, which I’ll do in late June after my vacation.


5 Years Ahead Of The Big Name Pundits

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Rob Sama, in a blog post that originated in a letter to Bob Cringely, back in July 2005:

Apple is clearly coming out with their own office suite. But the question is why? I had originally made nothing of this, thinking that it was just a gap in their product lineup that they were looking to fill, that they couldn’t afford to be reliant on MS for an office suite as they had been in the past. Now I think that they may be doing two things: enlarging the halo and kicking the box.[…]

As I mentioned at the start, MS gets 1/2 of their bottom line from Office. Microsoft has been harvesting profits from a product that they basically have 100% of the market for, and which has been around long enough that it should be something of a commodity. And MS has been way too reliant on this source of income for far too long, with nothing new to replace it. I can almost imagine a guy standing on a rickety old box, reaching for a jar on a shelf, only to have someone walk by and kick the box. That’s what Apple needs to do. If they came out with a version of iWork for Windows (Ok, that’s a sentence, so maybe they’d call it something else), at a low price point of say $99, they may not take the market, but they would force the price of office suites down. That’s kicking the box, destroying the 1/2 of MS’s bottom line, and opening the way for other companies, the MacTel alliance included, to better compete.

Point being, Apple is trying to destroy Microsoft’s ability to charge what they do for MS Office. Doing this grinds down Microsoft’s cash reserves and will eventually turn them into roadkill.

Now here‘s Bob Cringely today:

What Bill Gates didn’t count on when he declared Jobs a loser back in 1998, was the Californian’s tenacity. It took 12 years to do it, but Apple is well positioned now to take Microsoft’s crown.

I mean it. Look at the downward price erosion of Microsoft Office caused by a combination of Open Office and iWork, which is down to $30 on the iPad.

How long will it be until Apple is giving iWork away to sell hardware — an option Microsoft doesn’t have? Not long. By then a bit more of Redmond’s goose will have been cooked.

Digital market leadership is now Apple’s — not Microsoft’s — to lose.

I’m 5 years ahead of the big name pundits. Don’t you forget it.


Quick Tech Thoughts

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

It seems to me that in the future, every computing company needs to have a search engine (with maps), a desktop operating system (with office capabilities), and a mobile device, all of which work seamlessly together, but are operable with other company’s offerings should one choose to do that.

Currently, Google has a phone and a search engine, and is dipping its toe into the OS market. It offers online office applications currently, which will be integrated into their upcoming Chrome OS.

Apple has an OS with an office suite (iWork) and a phone, and is rumored to be developing a search engine. They bought a Google maps competitor, which will likely be integrated.

Microsoft has a mobile phone OS that is crappy, and is rumored to be working on their own phone. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them buying RIM or Palm to get the phone in their lineup. Microsoft has a search engine, Bing, which works pretty well, and appears to be the only viable competitor to Google at the current time. And obviously, Microsoft has an OS and office suite.

Until Microsoft and Apple are able to build/buy their mobile phone and search engine respectively, I expect to see them allying against Google for the time being (next 6-18 months). Once they launch their respective phone and search engine, expect a quick but amicable divorce.

Question(s): Where does console gaming and media distribution fit into all of this? Companies like Netflix and Amazon compete with iTunes and the XBox store for movie rentals and the like. And Google is rumored to be offering movies for rent over Youtube soon as well. Is this another component that needs to be offered by a modern computing company? Apple has the AppleTV device, which sucks, and the Mac Mini, which is awesome but not easily connected to a television. Will that change? Does Google need to make a device for the TV? Does that device need to play games? Is Nintendo a takeover target for this reason? I’ve long thought that Apple and Nintendo would make a good fit together. And where do the Playstation and Roku and Boxee Box fit into all of this?

Just looking for ideas here guys.


Windows Starter

Monday, April 20th, 2009

So apparently to price Windows 7 effectively in the netbook market, Microsoft has decided to offer a crippled version called “Starter” [emphasis mine]:

Brad Brooks, corporate vice president for Windows product marketing at Microsoft, said it created Starter so it can offer Windows 7 on even the least expensive netbooks. Even with its limits, Mr. Brooks said Starter is an easier and more reliable operating system than Windows XP.

“When you see Starter on netbooks, there are a lot of impressions that it is limited,” said Mr. Brooks. “It’s a pretty robust operating system for customers at the price points we’re giving it to them.”

Customers who aren’t satisfied will have the option to pay an additional fee to upgrade to a higher-end version of the software, a process that will involve unlocking advanced Windows 7 features that are already stored on their PCs. Pricing for Starter, or for the upgrade, isn’t yet known.

So let’s get this straight: the branding and product specs behind Starter both point to a product that is “limited”, but we should be thankful to the Solons in the Seattle software temple for “giving” us that much at the price point they plan on offering. Honestly, these guys have no idea how to market when they don’t have an effective or engineered monopoly going for them.

Read more here (WSJ subscription required, I think).


$400 Million To Limbaugh

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Drudge is reporting that Limbaugh has just signed a $400 million contract with Clear Channel and Premiere Radio to be on the air through 2016. Two points immediately come to mind.

First off, I don’t think that this deal is as big as Howard Stern’s turned out to be at Sirius. I could be wrong, but he’s made a similar amount of money in 5 years, not eight. Though part of that is locked up in Sirius stock, whose fortunes are hanging on a decision from the FCC.

Secondly, this is a desperation move on the part of Clear Channel. Commercial radio is dying, and only a handful of stars can pull in the listeners. Limbaugh jumped the shark already this election season, and his message, which was very resonant in the 1980’s, doesn’t carry the same resonance in a world where what were once called conservatives are split up and bickering in a post-Bush era. The best analogy I can draw is Microsoft buying Yahoo, or maybe even IBM buying Lotus.


Disrespecting Your Customers

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Everyone on the planet has already referenced this MS sales video. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Most everyone who has commented on it has either made some snarky remark, or made fun of corporate booster videos generally.

But what strikes me about this is the extent to which Microsoft disrespects its customers. If this video is to be believed, the typical corporate buyer is a stereotypical caricature of the fat businessman in a suit, easily angered and kinda dumb. The problem is, not everyone out there has Steve Ballmer for a boss. In fact, most of us don’t. And if you are the boss, the guy who makes that buying decision, is that how you want to see yourself portrayed? I’m serious…

So yesterday at lunch, a friend was showing me his implementation of SUSE Linux on his HP laptop. It was truly slick, and fast as hell. I’d really like to try one out. But one detail he pointed out to me really struck me. The HP laptop he had had this neat kind of volume control. It was a touchpad slider kind of mechanism; slide your finder to the left to turn the volume down, to the right to turn it up. My friend told me that when he had XP on it, it never worked properly. When he installed SUSE, it recognized the gizmo and now it works perfectly, as intended.

If my friend were the tech guy in my company and I were the boss, that demonstration alone would have made my decision for me. Videos of Bruce Springsteen imitators singing about how SP1 will finally convince the fat dumb suit that it’s ok to use Vista now actually push me in the same direction.

Nice work.


Microsoft Fined $1.35 Billion

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

So the EU has fined Microsoft $1.35 billion for…

The commission said the company charged ‘unreasonable prices’ for access to interface documentation for work group servers prior to Oct 22 last year.

You know, I’m no fan of Microsoft, it’s products or its tactics, but this seriously wreaks of economic nationalism to me. I think the US needs to do something to tell the EU to back off. I’m not looking for a trade war exactly, but we can’t just let the EU loot American companies unabated.

Read more here.