I find myself writing this article playing catchup.  Thanks to my ever problematic ISP finally giving up the ghost and going down completely for the majority of the last week, I now have the task of getting up to speed with whats been going on.  Incase you have forgotten I do not work in the area of IT, so when the net goes down at home, there’s very little justification for me being able to keep up.

So now, as I have been released back into the world-wide web I can’t help but notice a few Microsoft related articles which deserve some Openbytes attention.

The title of this article is probably the best place to start and we return to the issue of the browser ballot screen.  A totally pointless angle in my view for the EU to tackle Microsoft on, had it been me, I would have considered OEM a far more important topic to look at more closely.  Whats done is done though and its Microsoft’s job to provide the ballot screen to give users “choice” of browser within the Windows OS.

“You’ve got to pick a pocket or two”? – Oliver the musical

So with their instructions in hand Microsoft goes off to create its ballot screen with a little Java script (and the lick and a promise) that we all expect/love from Microsoft….and thats the end of the story? well no.  Any normal person would think that Microsoft would turn to its “experts” it’s coders, its technicians and produce a simple product that would do the job that had been agreed in relation to the anti-trust case.  Any normal person would be wrong, this is Microsoft afterall.

So what has Microsoft done this time? Are we in for a repeat of the Plurk incident? Well nearly, you see Microsoft is alleged to have been lifting code again.  This time though at least the lifting of code wasn’t alleged unauthorised or unlawful.

Here for Openbytes readers is an exclusive, hidden camera footage from a Microsoft coders briefing being held at Redmond.

and with that in mind, lets look at the results of the latest copy and paste allegation of Microsoft.

Its being reported that a flaw found in some freely available (and useable) Java code is EXACTLY the same as the flaw in Microsoft’s browser ballot screen code.  A coincidence? Who knows? but after the plurk incident one has to wonder.  As the following source says, theres nothing wrong in using code from a JavaScript library (if thats what Microsoft did) but ZDnet does say:

…it is a problem when you lift code that promises you a wheel, but you end up with a square wheel rather than the more traditional round one.

and goes on to note:

Code libraries are, by and large, untrusted sources. Even the hint that someone at Microsoft unleashed untrusted, untested, and flawed code on millions of computer users is both reckless and frightening.

You can read that entire article here.

I wonder how much code Microsoft has lifted from other sources, does Microsoft have a clue what the code is doing and more importantly how will this affect the end user in the future.  Don’t forget, youre paying for this stuff.

The dog and bone (with dog being the operative word)

For those who are not from the UK, “dog and bone” is cockney rhyming slang for phone and its that subject which we are looking at next.  It is being reported that all is not well in the land of Windows Mobile.

I often tremble at the thought of my own experiences at the hands of an MDA mail a few years ago, which not only was I silly enough to buy, but I got two of them at the same time (one for me and the wife).  The MDA mail with Windows Mobile had a very unique feature, a crash which was frequent and unpredictable which would require the battery taken out to switch it off.  This was the only phone I’ve ever had where the battery cover actually wore out from repeated removing….oh happy days.

I refuse to believe that my experiences were unique (and colleagues with experience of Win Mob have said the same thing) so maybe that is why, with the taste of Windows Mobile still fresh in many peoples mouths, ComScore is reporting that Windows Mobile dropped 4% in its figures from 19.7 in October 2009 to 15.7 in January 2010.

Is Windows Mobile a dog? only you can decide, but if it is I’d suggest its a three-legged one at best.

Of course Microsoft won’t give up easily and Microsoft Watch suggested:

Since people seem to be obviously shying away from Windows Mobile 6.5 (which rumors suggest will eventually be rebranded…..

Which is something I think we can say Microsoft is good at (re-branding).  Look at Bing (a heap or pile) for an example of re-branding or how about Vista and Windows 7, now the dust has settled do you find that much difference between Vista and 7? Certainly from the users I have spoken with, life is NOT a bed of roses with Windows 7.

You can read the article on Windows Mobile decline at Microsoft Watch.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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