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Nokia’s IPcom patent problem

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If it wasn’t bad enough that Nokia backed the three legged horse in the smartphone race (Windows Phone 7), its now got another problem on its hands.

It is reported by the Wall Street Journal that a court has ruled Nokia is infringing a patent belonging to IPCom:

The ruling means IPCom could seek an injunction to force Nokia to halt sales of its third-generation mobile phones in Germany unless Nokia pays a license fee for the patent.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Can things get any worse?

Elop’s “burning platform” seems to still be burning…. How long before it burns out?

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes

Nearly half a billion $ lost online – Microsoft’s continuing tale of woe

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Throwing money down the drain - no, we are not talking about consumers who took a leap of faith on an MS project like the Kin, we are talking about Microsoft and its online woes!

Despite what Microsoft advocates may claim about Windows 7 sales or office sales (lets face it there’s no bragging about WP7) they can’t seem to talk up  their online efforts.

It is reported over at Business Insider that this quarter Microsoft lost $476 million on line, with the only light seeming to be they are throwing away less money now than before.  Maybe its a testament to what Microsoft is, in that it can suffer a loss like this without obvious issue and maybe suggests Microsoft will be getting out its patent portfolio very soon to top up its coffers.

With the news that Microsoft is also seeing a decline in 360 sales with an excuse that people are holding back for the 720 it would seem that there will be many a sweaty shirt day for Steve Ballmer in 2012 – he’s going to have to dance like he’s never danced before to get Microsoft going in a product sense.

And take a look at the comments for Windows 8, are you seeing anticipation or excitement? – I’m not, Microsoft are still rumbling at people to “upgrade” XP.

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes

UK Government going ahead with Open Source

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Intellect 2012 Open source and open standards are the direction for UK government IT, the civil servant leading the government’s technology change agenda has said.

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/10/open_source_government/

Has the penny finally dropped for government that Open Source is viable and the future for UK government IT?

More often than not, the UK governments grasp on technology/software is rather vague to say the least.   We need look no further than BBClick to see the level in which these people comprehend (I’ve always thought the ignorance of Click mirrored the government perfectly – trying to be trendy, missing out the obvious whilst pandering to the monopolist)

It comes then as a pleasant surprise that in recent times Government latched onto words such as “open source” and now we see news of how its to manifest itself within the spending plans of those who handle our taxes.

Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said:

Opensource software is not three guys in a shed anymore. There are a lot of misconceptions about open source but open source is the future model for delivering IT.

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/10/open_source_government/

To which I would add that those “misconceptions” are still on the lips of many Microsoft MVP’s and advocates, most notably on forums and maybe the best example of these “misconceptions” given form are in comp.os.linux.advocacy (link leads to Google Groups if you have no Usenet access) where you have had Microsoft advocates posting for years that open source (and obviously Linux) are things for the hobbyist, created in the basements of unshaven single men – Doubt that? Get yourself over to the news groups and see Linux advocates get attacked personally by those who have spent more than 10 years posting vulgarity in a newsgroup about Linux and open source advocacy.

I would actually go further than Mr Maxwell and state these “misconceptions” are generally not misconceptions at all, they are downright lies by people who have much to lose if their customer base discovers the benefits of Open Source and withdraws their money from the traditional cash cows that they have made a living off for years.

That’s where the future is moving. It’s moving to  a new model of service and delivery, it’s big data and big data is going to be open source. We are going to spend a lot of time looking into that. If we move to being one common government we need open source…

Encouraging news for the end-user/consumer.  Not so for those still trying to sell proprietary which already clearly has a FOSS alternative.  I strongly suggest you read the entire linked article to find out exactly what form open source is to be taking.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/10/open_source_government/

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

Justice for the consumer who didn’t want Microsoft – An EU precedent?

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Readers to OpenBytes may remember that a couple of years ago, I like many people bought a PC of my choice only to have Windows pre-installed.  It was unwanted, it was uneeded and presumably this forced inclusion, added to the claimed “sales figures” of Windows.  I enquired about a refund and after a little to and fro, found it was possible albeit a rather convoluted and maybe intentionaly weary return process where my machine could be striped of Windows and a recompense given.

An encouraging story from the pages of TechWorld which details a user with far more tenacity than me states:

A French laptop buyer has won a refund from Lenovo after a four-year legal battle over the cost of a Windows license he didn’t want. The judgment could open the way for PC buyers elsewhere in Europe to obtain refunds for bundled software they don’t want..

Source: Techworld

I imagine after much manovering and squirming the news that the laptop buyer has finally achieved justice will come as a refreshing conclusion in a world where consumers shouldn’t be forced into paying for items they don’t want:

After reconsidering the case, on Jan. 9, Judge Jean-Marie Dubouloz ordered Lenovo to pay Petrus legal costs of €1,000 (around US$1,300), damages of €800 and to refund the cost of the Windows license. Petrus had estimated the cost of the software at €404.81, but the court found that excessive, given that he had paid €597 for the PC and software together. Observing that “it is commonly accepted that the price of a piece of software represents 10 percent to 25 percent of the price of a computer,” the court ordered Lenovo to reimburse Petrus €120 for the software…

Source: Techworld

So maybe the old saying “the customer is always right” holds wieght with Judge Dublouloz.

A good link to bookmark would be the global campaign group “No More Racketware” which can be found at http://no.more.racketware.info/index and they have numerous projects aimed at people who want to become involved in ensuring that the future of computer is not one which software is forced onto users.

Thats good news for the consumer and in my opinion not so good on companies like Microsoft who have for so long ruled the computing world with software crammed onto a harddisk with no thought for what the end-user wants or needs.

I suppose Microsoft can always resort to plan B though – “If you can’t make the products people want to buy, skim a little off the top of those that do” (in respect of its patent aggression)

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

 

Microsoft, MC Hammer and mobiles – its old news and new news!

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I want no connection drawn between the legend that is MC Hammer and the “company” that is Microsoft, there’s old news and surprising news to be had in the world of tech today!

First up  – MC Hammer, the singer who was so popular during my “youth” has made a rather unexpected comeback, not in the guise of a revival tour, not a new album but as a search engine.  You heard it right, MC Hammer is to launch his own search engine in probably a piece of tech news that nobody could ever have predicted.  https://joindiaspora.com/posts/666718

It is reported that Microsoft’s rather unpopular Windows Phone 7 costs more to make than the iPhone 4s, disproving the theory that “You get what you pay for”.  It’s no secret that Microsoft is allegedly making more money from Android “licenses” than it is from WP7 and it doesn’t seem like Mango has stirred any excitement – the one “fruit” product in the Tech world that’s truly gone rotten?

Ballmer has attempted to cheapen Android in the last few days:

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said today that “You don’t have to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone, but you do to use an Android phone”. He also stated that he just can’t get excited about an Android phone. Ouch.

http://gregstechblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/steve-ballmer-has-audacity-to-insult.html

But then again, this is Ballmer and remember what he had to say about the iPhone:

There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.

http://www.electronista.com/articles/07/04/30/ballmer.on.iphone/#ixzz1bhAPOe8J

When Ballmer finally gets the boot from Microsoft, I think its safe to say he won’t be turning up as a fortune-teller at your local fairground.

In related news though Microsoft has been up to its old tricks, this time with a company from China called Compal:

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Compal, one of the leaders in the original design manufacturing, or ODM, industry,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft, said in a statement.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-20124374-75/microsoft-signs-compal-to-android-chrome-licensing-deal/

I bet Microsoft are pleased, yet again making money off others successes.

Tim (Goblin)

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

VB coming to WP7 – “Users, users, users” What WP7 really needs?

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WP7, the phone which we have covered many times on the TechBytes audiocast, is in the news again.  There are reports that VB will soon be available for developers for WP7.  Great news?  Well if you read Microsoft-Watch and their quotes from Microsoft, then yes, all would sound well:

Microsoft is allowing third-party developers to create Windows Phone 7 apps using Visual Basic, a capability which could draw more apps to the platform.

also quoted from their article:

This release doubles the developer audience for Windows Phone, by enabling Visual Basic developers to create applications for Windows Phone

Source: Microsoft-Watch

Without making the obvious dig/joke that if Microsoft doubled its developer audience it would have 4 people I’ll resist that urge.

It seems that Microsoft is going to great lengths to try and drag some of those “developers, developers, developers” onto its WP7 device and its even providing you VB code samples to help you on your way. Happy times are here again?

Well no. What I think Microsoft is missing here are users.  Considering developing for WP7?  Who exactly will use your product?  It’s very nice (for some) to be able to use VB to develop apps I’m sure, but rather pointless if you can’t get a user base for your software.  Consider the recent news that Android outsells WP7 15-1 and as a developer tell me which platform is the more desirable?

Microsoft still remains tight-lipped about its sales for the WP7, but then we saw that before didn’t we? with the Kin disaster.

Brandon Watson of Microsoft is reported to have said:

We have to show developers that they can build applications, that they can make money. So we’re really focused on the quality of the applications

And how are you going to do that if people are not buying in the first place?  15-1?  I wonder if Brandon has considered that?  Of course developers can build applications, it’s the question of who exactly is going to use them that is more pressing.  But just like everything was great in the world of Kin until the bitter end, I think we can expect Microsoft to put on the same brave face with WP7.

Microsoft-Watch ends on:

With so much data outstanding about Windows Phone 7’s marketplace health–there’s still no word on how many devices have sold, and developers like Yu are apparently having issues with their demographic reporting–I’m betting any number of third-party developers are biting their nails, waiting to see whether their leap of faith pays off.

To which I would respond, there is no wait.  For me I’ve predicted the failure already. I can’t see the WP7 grasping the market as in my experience of the phone buyer, there is very little interest and probably even less trust in it.  – Disagree? I’d love to hear your view.

The words “borrowed time” spring to mind in respect of Microsoft’s WP7 and apparently judgement day will be Feb 2011.

Ballmer, when you come into work in Feb, don’t take off your coat, you may not need to.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Microsoft – A modern day tale of (November) woe? What MS says != reality?

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Today I thought that I would present a list of articles/links which hardly put Microsoft in the same light as its PR agents and boosters would want you to know.  On TechBytes Audiocast we have  often mentioned that what Microsoft advocates say != reality.  To reinforce that point, let’s have a look at some of the Microsoft news which has been generated:

Live Messenger has worms

The Inquirer reports on Microsoft’s actions to try to stem the spread of a worm which is contracted through Live Messenger. It says:

SOFTWARE MANGLER Microsoft has shut down links to some websites in the 2009 builds of Windows Live Messenger.

According to the Vole’s blog, disabling the feature was designed to prevent the spread of a malicious worm.

Source: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1897876/microsoft-disables-live-messenger-links

But this is hardly something new for a user of Windows software is it?

Windows Phone 7 – Failing in the USA already?  Ballmer get your coat!

Reading the comments of Microsoft advocates and partners, one could be forgiven for thinking the Windows Phone 7 is a raging success.  Just as we were told with Kin, WP7 is great.  Others however have a different point of view.  This article is again from the Register where they say:

Despite the huge amount of promotional activity and media seeding, Microsoft only shifted 40,000 handsets in the first day of sales in the US, according to unnamed sources supplying unverified data……There’s also talk of operator-owned shops not bigging up the handsets enough, and there’s probably some truth in that……

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/11/windows_phone_7/

Has Microsoft’s Windows had its day?

The Guardian asks if Windows is still relevant which probably is the question many Linux users asked a long time ago.  Whilst its nice to see the Guardian “catching up” with modern thinking of some, it really doesn’t answer the question properly in my view and really is just another post to show that whatever PR Microsoft are selling, people are not buying:

And James Gardner, the chief technology officer at the Department for Work and Pensions, recently mused that his department’s upcoming upgrade from 2001’s Windows XP to 2009’s Windows 7 will probably be “the last version of Windows anyone ever widely deploys”, because interaction is moving to web browsers and mobiles; we don’t need powerful machines or OSs.

You only have to look at the banks, supermarkets, media organisations, musicians, games companies and everyone else offering mobile or tablet apps to see that a post-PC world isn’t fanciful; soon there will be more smartphones in the world than PCs (and there are already many more phone users than PC users).

Quite how soon that Windows-free day will come is hard to guess…..

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/nov/15/microsoft-windows-system-apps

Can Microsoft’s Kinect compete with the Wii?

I’d suggest not.  Even BBC Click seems to have a hard time celebrating it as “the must have”  One “feature” Click mentions which Ive not seen mentioned is reported lag.  Apparently making a particular game a “anti-game”.  Ouch, that doesn’t sound good.  I’m sure though there will be many people trying to play this “anti-game” over Xmas and Click even go as far to say that the sports game which is included with Kinect is not as good as the WII offering.

Can Microsoft compete with the Nintendo with Kinect?  – On the basis of this and other reports around the net, I wouldn’t think so.

You can see the BBC Click feature here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9170898.stm

And this is probably the one and only time you will ever see me linking to anything Click says.

Its reported though that “Move more precise than Kinect” which is Sony’s offering and its also worth noting that Sony’s Move device beat Microsoft’s Kinect to an award at Gamecon 2010.

It also seems Microsoft advocates/boosters will tell you that demand has it sold out.  This doesn’t appear to be the case and at time of writing HMV had these in stock.  Maybe Microsoft is trying to generate some interest?  Maybe Kinect sales are suffering with the same type of lag that the device reports to have (as per the BBC Click review) .  Maybe the people who part with cash for this contraption can let us all know.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.