Ballmer is all ready for the fight on the numerous fronts Microsoft has. Im sure he'll do just fine. Please though before he goes on stage again, do you think someone could lend him some anti-perspirant?

Im quite sure there are Microsoft advocates waiting in the ether to pounce on a title such as “year of the Linux desktop”, you can see them yourself in action on any forum/newsgroup/irc channel where its dared to suggest that someone is looking elsewhere for a solution to their IT needs.   In many cases the comments will seek to cheapen the view of the person looking at alternatives, in many cases they will try to imply incorrect assumptions and in some cases they will be simply vulgar or insulting.

Lets look at the rather poor start to the year some have had and a growing trend of “alternative thinking” that whilst may not have Windows market share disappearing overnight, show something quite encouraging to freedom of choice in the IT world.

We’ve seen how diversity has been beneficial in the browser world and now we see Firefox, Safari, Chrome/Chromium et al battling each other whilst Internet Explorer continues to have negative press written about it.  This is just one example.

A poor start for Microsoft?

Theres been some rather poor press reported by some and I whilst the some reports written about at the time, I have the luxury of being able to look back at them now the dust is settled (a little).

We will start off with the IE exploit that was widely reported by many outlets coming into the new year.  Microsoft though in true fashion had this to say:

Customers should also upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 8, which provides improved security and privacy protections, as well as sign up for Microsoft Update and enable the Automatic Update functionality. This will enable automatic installation of all applicable updates this month and help to make customer systems more secure.

and in the midst of all the bad press still trying to convince you that upgrading their software is what you want to be doing (instead of looking elsewhere).  You have to admire the fact that Microsoft never give up and we only have to cast our minds back to last year and remember instead of the proverbial carrot on stick being your security, then it was offering to feed the hungry for every download.

France & Germany are reported to have other ideas, whilst Netapps is reporting a decline in IE usage, France & Germany are reported to be issuing their own warnings about IE and it doesn’t make good reading for Microsoft.  The BBC said:

France has echoed calls by the German government for web users to find an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) to protect security.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8465038.stm

Moving on to Tivo now and our friendly Microsoft is wielding its patent power again, filing a suit against them stating an infringement of (in a nutshell) video delivery and purchasing patents.

Zune the trusty old Microsoft iPod challenger? Failed again (according to reports) of doing anything other than pushing more iPod touches.  Which are reported in the Apple section.

So whats Microsoft touting this year? Natal, thats what.  Before you ask, its not some pregnancy testing kit for use with the Xbox 360 and we covered this “tech” in more detail here. Family planning aside, proof maybe that Microsoft has finally realised that the WII and its original gaming are actually rather popular?

Of course all the other colourful Microsoft characters will be out in force this year, we can look forward to more “great” news from Microsoft about Bing, of course everyone will be raving about the Zune, your Xbox 360 will be cheered as its wheeled into the maternity suite with Natal.  The Microsoft PR machine, you’ve got to love it.  Lets not forget about the Windows advocates…. Linux is still only at 1% you know!😉

So what good news is coming out of Redmond?😉 Well, er…. Bill Gates has a Twitter account (and he’s not afraid to use it) you can read such rivetting posts as:

“Hello World.” Hard at work on my foundation letter – publishing on 1/25.

and I don’t know about anyone else but I’m glued to my seat with excitement for more tweets by him!😉 .  You can see this comment (and others) at his Twitter account here.

Great news for Sony?

Sony has made some announcements in January regarding sales of its console.  The PS3 has shifted around 3.8 million units and is closing the gap on the head start that Microsoft had with the 360.  Should Sony be pleased?  I should think so, the figure in my view will set to increase as more people are getting interested in Blu-ray and want to “kill two birds with one stone” and get a games console too in one package.

You can read more about that here.

Apple to report profits and non-MS mobiles boom?

It is reported that the itouch was among the must have items this past Xmas and also mobiles with an OS other than a Microsoft one are reported to be booming.  It is reported that Droid app downloads increased to 93% on Xmas day over previous fridays in the month.  Of course Apple downloads are reported to have beaten them all, so is it another reason to celebrate?  You can read more on this here.

Apple are also reported to be expecting good profits when their figures are released shortly, with the business journal saying:

…earnings to be $2.06 per share for the quarter, up from $1.78 per share in 2008, driven by strong growth in iPhone and Mac computer sales. Revenue is expected to jump 18 percent to $12.05 billion.

You can read more on that report here.

Conclusions

A comment said by myself many times last year was that Microsoft is fighting a war on too many fronts and not only failing to conquer those but at the same time loosing its grip on its traditional products which are being challenged by alternatives. Alternatives that have been quietly improving their products while Microsoft tries to take on the planet.  We see this with IE.  We see the moving away from Windows (whatever figure you want to put on it) and other traditional MS products.

So 2010 will be the year of the alternative?  I think its now the mainstream user is realizing that which so many people have already found out, it doesn’t need to be Microsoft.  It matters not if you are an Apple user, Linux, BSD or anything else, a more diverse IT world will be better for the end-user as everyone ups their game to compete for your custom/usage.

I wonder though if Microsoft will, instead of challenging with great software, dig into its patent portfolio and challenge with that instead.  Its often thought by many that the Microsoft ethos of “do it our way or not at all” is one of the dangers that Microsoft poses to alternatives, be it Linux, be it in the form Mono or anything else.  Remember the mentality we are dealing with here:

And of course we Bing we Bing we Bing we Bing Bing Bing all the time, at least in my world

and thats reportedly from the CEO Steve Ballmer.  You can read that article here.

What will 2010 hold?  I can’t wait to find out!

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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