windows phone 7

Canonical – To Skype or not to Skype?

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My good friend (and co-host) Roy has recently been writing about Canonical and its promotion of the now Microsoft owned Skype.  As usual with TechRights it’s a very interesting read and whilst I have other commitments taking me away from this digital world of wonder, I do have time to put a slightly different angle to the whole “to skype or not to skype” question.

The article I refer to is here: http://techrights.org/2012/08/01/software-center-spyware/

So now that Microsoft owns Skype (and as we will see has a plethora of snooping allegations against it) should we turn our heads away in disgust? or should, as I believe stop and consider that maybe its not so much an issue.

I use Skype. Whilst the TechBytes show in the future may not be facilitating it on my return, the fact is I have relatives who do, so why not just get them onto an alternative? – well for me (and I expect many others) its not that simple.  My relatives have people on their contact list who aso use Skype and those contacts have contacts (ad infinitum) so in order to migrate my contacts from a communication tool such as Skype is far more convoluted than merely offering them a different method, especially when we are dealing with the type of user who is not prepared to have a plethora of apps installed all doing the same thing.

If we also look towards the allegation of snooping – which has hit the mainstream press, we have to consider that if it is true, then its hardly a secret and people are going into Skype with full knowledge of the allegations towards it.  If they choose to accept that caveat in return for speaking with their contacts, then fine, there is no issue – as long as they are aware of the implications of using.

Whilst it seems a bizarre world where Microsoft, hardly friendly towards competition has its app in the forefront of the Ubuntu app store and a given that many people would feel put out by a Microsoft product getting exposure on a Linux OS (and a damn popular one),  on the other-hand if we look say at one of my relatives, Skype (rightly or wrongly) is an important part of their online life and to boycott/remove it from the Ubuntu ecosystem would be a barrier to them if they are considering a move to Canonical’s offering from Windows.

Knowing that Skype is spyware, will Canonical remove it from the software center and its main homepage? Those who really want it installed will find a way; it’s opportunistic for Canonical to use proprietary software to lure in users.

Source: http://techrights.org/2012/08/01/software-center-spyware/

To which I’d remark that possibly the includsion of Skype would prove to encourage more to enter the Linux world.  Those who really want it probably won’t have the level of knowledge required to install it, so to remove Skype, in my view would effectively “kill” it for the majority of mainstream Linux users (as well as giving a potential issue to some who use Skype and wants to migrate from Windows)

I’d be interested to hear others views on Canonical’s Skype decision.  For me, if it acts as a “selling point” to replace Windows, then thats a good thing and whilst we know of previous dirty tricks allegations against Microsoft, so long as users are aware of the implications of using Skype, I cannot see the harm.  To remove, would (as in the case I’ve highlighted above) potentially harm a decision to move over to Linux by your average consumer who needs/wants Skype.

Whilst considering the issue of “snooping” it may be worthy of note that casting an eye over your mobile phone contract will reveal quite a robust set of agreements.  For me, the fear of any particular individual being intruded upon, is no more or less serious than the situation we have in the mobile phone world already.

On the Ubuntu marketplace, the Android marketplace and from my circle of friends/relatives, Skype is up their with the most popular apps.  Surely for Canonical to refuse such an app would be far more disastrous than to keep it in situe?

We must also consider that whilst Microsoft hardly has a good image in the minds of many, Skype was merely bought by Microsoft.  The popularity of the app is has little to do with what Microsoft has achieved since it was bedded into the market by others.  I certainly, in the case of Skype don’t feel tainted by using this particular “Microsoft” product.  Do they want to listen to my calls? Do they listen to my calls? I’ll keep that in mind next time I have a conversation.

As for proprietary, I think that’s a personal decision for each Linux user and I would say that using any software with the knowledge of its implications is fine (providing you agree with those caveats)  I would also like people to consider that whilst they may find Canonical’s inclusion of Skype distasteful, they also include Dropbox, which unless I am mistaken is competition to their own Ubuntu One.  Presumably they do this as they want as much choice available to users as possible in order to bring them to Ubuntu.

Application choice on the back of informed choice – there’s no problem with that at all.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com

Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

It’s rebranding time again for Microsoft! – Hotmail gets a new name & DanceFailLIVE

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Every so often when the moon is full and perspiring Ballmer is in its third phase, Microsoft takes one of it’s products and changes its name re-brands it.

I can’t be the only user who refuses Hotmail as part of their email filters – its usually junk, often a scam and occasionally a throwaway mail address for the purposes of insult.  Either way, Hotmail is about as welcome in my in-box as a pork chop at a vegetarian conference.

It is being reported by several sources that the aforementioned Hotmail is to now be called “Newmail” – Not really so much new (although as you will see by the comments it appears to be trying to emulate another Google product):

It’s a minimalist new look for Hotmail, looking closer to Gmail’s redesign a few months ago……

Source: Cnet

It will come as no surprise to many that the observation of Microsoft imitating is rearing its bald sweaty head again, although in the case of Hotmail, is there a point? Does anyone trust a Hotmail email? – I’ll let you answer that.  I suggest you follow the link above,  I don’t think anymore time needs to be devoted to this tot.

DanceFailLIVE – Nobody does it better than Microsoft!

Since Microsoft seems to love the word “LIVE” let me introduce you to DancefailLIVE (patent pending ;)) We’ve seen many times in not only the products but the PR excercises behind them, that Microsoft is rather clueless when it comes to knowing what people want or how they behave.  Its very similar to the “reaching out” that the Advocates do (who talks like that in the real world?) and infact the origins of my observations of this bizarre way the Microsoft Advocates have of talking goes back to 2008 when one certain MVP (who liked to back up his own arguments here with multiple accounts) over on Microsoft Watch, when I repeatedly remarked “Who on earth actually talks like this?”

I digress.  We’ve seen failed PR stunts of Microsoft before.  From the silly shoe commercial which nobody seemed to find funny to the fake funeral for the iPhone when Windows Phone 7 was announced. Oh dear.

Not deterred by the stage antics of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft seem to have outdone themselves this time in the #stagefail stakes, which is why I give you DanceFailLIVE which was meant to promote updates to Azure platform, it consisted of live dance on stage for attendees.

As if dancing girls and cheesy techno music weren’t bad enough, the song contained a number of drugs references and lewd lyrics, among them: “CSS is my LSD”, and: “The words Micro and Soft don’t apply to my penis”. Seriously, who gave this the green light?……Perhaps a little patronised, several of the attendees took to Twitter. One tweeted: “As a former #NDCOslo organizer I must say I don’t stand behind that azure dance act. What were they thinking? It’s not ironic, it’s just bad.” “The dancing girls, hokey song, and marketing speak to MS’s Azure announcement at #ndcoslo shows how much they misunderstand their audience………Microsoft has shown just how spectacularly out of touch it can be.

Source: Cnet

But maybe its not all that bad, according to Cnet, Microsoft made a groveling apology and maybe it will take the focus from that older stage production by Microsoft that has been popular for so many years:

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

Microsoft products banned from German market!

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Whilst Microsoft has been busy creating Android “licenses” with an untested patent claims under secrecy of NDA, one initially could be forgiven for having very little sympathy for Microsoft.  It is being reported that a German court has taken steps to remove Microsoft products from the shelves most notably the 360 and Windows Phone 7 due to infringement claims by Motorola.

In respect of Windows Phone 7, I don’t suppose it’s much of a loss, its failed to grasp the market interest in the same way as Android and Apple and now it looks that even if you did take the chance on WP7, WP8 will be released soon with an apparent lack of ability to upgrade – No surprise to me as I would suggest yet again its Microsoft throwing its hands up in defeat at another product to the expense of the few customers who were unfortunate enough to buy it and acted more like guinea pigs for Microsoft’s latest scheme to get into the smart-phone market.

A court in Mannheim ruled on Wednesday that Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility’s patents and ordered Microsoft to remove its Xbox 360 gaming consoles and Windows 7 operating system software from the German market.

Source: Rueters

Now whilst it’s tempting to say Microsoft (after its own patent aggression) is getting just what it deserves, it does highlight the bigger picture of why the only winners in these insidious patent cases are the large corporations & lawyers.  The person suffering will be the consumer who has choice removed, prices increased to accommodate these dirty tricks.

One cannot argue that the Xbox360 is a popular product.  How popular? It depends on which country/market you look towards, but suffice to say there are a great many people who have the system.  Now it appears as if German consumers right to choose will be hampered.   Microsoft, I presume, will ultimately have to take this on the chin, they can hardly play the “woe is me” line when they themselves are tackling other markets with similar tactics.

You live by the sword, you die by the sword, so they say.

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

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

More bad fortune for Nokia – The Microsoft disaster

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As WP7 languishes in (at best) apparent apathy by the masses, is it prepared to suck in anything that surrounds it - such as Nokia with its "agreement" with the platform people don't seem to want?

Microsoft’s WP7 can be summarized by giving the example of a star collapsing in on itself – its dragging everything near it, in with it.  Nokia who to be fair have been suffering of late seem now to be in the death throes since their “arrangement” with Microsoft.

Nokia shares crashed 15 per cent yesterday as the Finnish mobile phone company admitted its profits will be hit by competition

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ailing-nokias-shares-nosedive-7637555.html

What is maybe more surprising is that it appeared when Nokia took steps to recover, one facet being a Microsoft relationship, many tech writers and commenter saw this coming.  Mr Elop and his “burning platform” (his words) seems to have doused the flames with petrol – figuratively speaking.   In my view, if the allegations of Mr Elop being sent by Microsoft to destroy Nokia are not correct, then it shows on his part a catastrophic failure to be able to lead the company to the slightest glimmer of hope for recovery.

With 14,000 layoffs rumoured and issues with their recent Lumia 900 model, the question now isn’t will Nokia recover its bad fortunes, but more how long has it got left?

With WP7, I’d guess not long.  A reader from the Independent makes the following observation, which certainly goes to explain why the mainstream consumer is choosing Android or Apple products:

Nokia don’t deserve this.  The Microsoft ‘Special relationship’ is a disaster for them.  It’s almost as if Microsoft sent Elop in to destroy Nokia.  Windows Phone stinks.  Nobody wants it.  – On anybody’s hardware, not even Nokia’s.  The situation is now worse than if Nokia had stuck with Symbian.  At least people liked that OS.

I’ve said before that I believe a deal with Microsoft often results in a reverse Midas touch – that which it touches it ruins.

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

Stating the obvious – Microsoft and open $ource

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A rather short post today relating to an article which explores Microsoft’s relationship with open source and its future direction.  A rather interesting (if somewhat already known) piece which states:

You know why I know Microsoft has no leadership and vision when it comes to Open-Source? Because I asked Steve Ballmer when he was in London, and he replied with this: “I don’t know, but we won’t impose any view on our divisions. I’ll come back to you by email though.”

Source: http://codebetter.com/sebastienlambla/2012/04/05/microsoft-and-open-source-2/

Which then goes on to say:

Microsoft has no vision when it comes to Open-Source, no strategy and no leadership….

And this comes as a surprise or something new? Isn’t the Microsoft business model completely incompatible with the ideals and ethos of real open source software?

Its a good article though which I would recommend you read, in the meantime, taking a more generic look at Microsoft, here is a comment from a Cnet reader which I think sums up Microsoft very nicely and maybe hints on its perception with the mainstream consumer:

…Let’s face facts, Microsoft has gotten it’s hand into everything. Once there, they consistently become the 900lb gorilla in the room with a bad attitude that kills competition and is bad for consumers….

Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57411175-94/microsoft-gives-away-free-time-to-promote-windows-phone/

I’ll leave it there.

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.

One mans patent is another mans future – AOL sells $billion+ in patents to Microsoft

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Whilst some firms are creating innovative products, Microsoft's got its wallet out buying up patents again...Developed a popular tech? You had better watch out!

What do you do when you have products which people are not buying? What do you do when you produce a product that fails to grasp the interest of the consumer in the same way as your competitor?

Do you make your products desirable? – No need.   In todays modern world you don’t have to develop anything, you can merely stock up on patents, stuff your portfolio full and then go out on an expedition of legal challenges, NDA’s and take a little of the cream from your competition! What a wonderful fair world we live in.

Microsoft and its WP7 are a good example here.   Not exactly capturing the imagination of the consumer and failing to compete with both Android and Apple products, it went forth with its legal team and managed (according to reports) to claim a few scraps of the success from manufacturers  of Android phones by way of “licenses”.  Microsoft obviously doesn’t want people to know exactly what its up to, so then a convenient NDA can come into play to ensure the competitors “don’t talk”.  But WP7 is not the only example of the Redmond company producing legal challenges instead of products, it is mentioned more since the mainstream consumer is migrating in large numbers towards smartphones and tablets for their computing needs both on the move and in the home.

Some Microsoft “advocates” are changing their tactics too, instead of their claims of “Linux failure” its now “Linux desktop failure”.  Of course thats not true since Linux is still going and if these “people” are to believed in what they write about Linux, then we wouldn’t see such choice in Linux desktops for the home.  The failure (or rather lessening demand) of the desktop is due, in my view to the concept of the tablet, where the mainstream user’s are met with a rather more convenient (and space saving) tablet over the traditional CPU, monitor and keyboard.  I would expect this has Microsoft worried.  They are way behind in tablets, late to the party.  Having been late to the Smartphone market they already see their WP7 languishing near the bottom of the pile and to make matters worse they are trying to build on-top of a reputation consisting of Winmob and the 60 day Kin.

I digress, as the purpose of this article is to report that it appears Microsoft is investing in its future again – no, not by employing new teams to develop new idea’s and concepts, but investing approximately $billion pounds buying up a pile of papers (or patents) from AOL.

AOL (AOL) agreed to sell more than 800 patents to Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) for $1.056 billion in cash. AOL also granted a non-exclusive license to Microsoft for the rest of its patents.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/09/technology/aol-microsoft/

So happy times are here again for Microsoft.  One just has to wonder what else Microsoft will turn its eyes to in the future?  Have you developed tech? written a piece of software? you may just get Microsoft knocking at your door for its dues if you create something people want to buy.

And what’s Microsoft got on the horizon? Windows 8? – need I say more?

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.