Quoting from Forbes:
"The Guardian reported this morning on details of Optic Nerve, a secret British spying program in which the government reportedly targeted as many as 1.8 million Yahoo users, collecting millions of webcam images–-including a number with nudity.
"It turns out that the GCHQ—the British surveillance agency behind Optic Nerve—also considered using the Xbox Kinect voice and motion sensor.
"The recent revelations of webcam hacking by the GCHQ only make me more nervous about the power of the Xbox One’s Kinect as a surveillance device.
"Even if no government agency has used or has any plans to use it, the fact remains that the sensor can track voices, body temperature, and perform facial recognition—it’s in many ways a privacy nightmare.
"Or a surveillance agency’s dream machine.
"What once would have sounded like paranoid conspiracy theory has evolved into reasonable doubt. These days a tiny bit of paranoia goes a long way.
"Of course, for firms like Microsoft this sort of press is nothing but bad."
This is a Watchbird. This is a Watchbird watching YOU.
Quoting from Tech Crunch:
"Microsoft is looking at a cost conscious crisis, relative to both mobile and desktop hardware, and on the heels of the news that it might be reducing its Windows Phone software license fee, there’s new evidence that it’s looking at pursuing the same strategy for the desktop. The Verge reports that Microsoft has an experimental free version of Windows 8.1 called “Windows 8.1 with Bing.”
"Windows 8.1 with Bing sounds like it’ll be a lightweight version of the full OS that focuses on bundling Microsoft apps and services in order to drive monetization through use of those, rather than through up-front software costs. This version of software would be positioned as a free (or low-cost) upgrade option for users still on Windows 7. It could also help PC makers with devices priced at under $250, which is a category that Microsoft is apparently targeting in order to help it compete with Google’s Chrome OS devices, including Chromebooks.
"The nomenclature makes it sound like Windows 8.1 with Bing might be pretty heavily focused on the browser and its role as a potential platform play, so what we could end up with might look a lot like Chromebooks, in fact. This is all said to still be experimental, however, so it’s not guaranteed that it’ll ever hit the market."
Bingo. What Microsoft is responding to here is the Chromebook threat. And make no mistake, it is a dire threat.
Has Microsoft sued Google itself over Android? I don't think so, and I don't think they would dare, because Google has serious skin in the game, and would strike back. Maybe what it will take is for Google to indemnify Samsung and others...
A free Firefox neutralized the IE giveaway, and a free Chrome is finishing it off.
Giving away Windows won't work, because Android ( i.e. Linux) is already free. But Microsoft's patent extortion game remains to be quashed.
That's an abuse I fight constantly, for different reasons altogether.
Working with computers has taught me the importance of having precise and unchanging meanings for words and phrases, well-structured sentences, rigid rules of inference etc. It's a lesson most people never learn. So I can't bear to hear most people talk, what issues from them is such garbage. Evolution isn't done with us yet; we think we have the power of language, but really most of us don't, yet.
*yawn* a new spambot just came on stream. Let's see how long it lasts...
Do you wonder why I ignore those two aliases that always show up in gray?
Indulging an irrelevancy of my own in turn -- Listening to Glenn Gould performing the Goldberg Variations. No connoisseur I, but I begin to hear what is so extraordinary about his performances. It's the crystalline clarity. He's almost machine-like, except that he's not at all machine-like. Does that make any sense? Not really. I could say what I mean more precisely, and probably will sometime, but this is not the time or place.
Quoting a little from SJVN:
"I still can't see Microsoft producing MS-Linux—although I wouldn't count it out either—but I can see Microsoft retiring Windows Phone. Supporting Android with their own app suite simply makes too much financial sense to do otherwise."
Sounds like he's taking the position that Microsoft has come to its senses and decided to do what I said would be the smart thing -- i.e. stop trying to compete with Linux (a.k.a. Android). But they are only halfway there. Microsoft is still knocking itself out trying to maintain Windows on the desktop. How much longer?
Quoting from Business Insider:
"Microsoft plans to discontinue support for Windows XP in April after 12 years on the market.
"The problem: XP remains Microsoft's second most-used Windows operating system, according to NetMarketShare. XP is still miles ahead of Windows 8 — a lot of users resisted upgrading to Vista and more modern versions of the system because XP kinda got it right — it did everything that most desktop users need an operating system to do, and it was not complicated to use."
I have to agree, up to a point. XP was the nearest Microsoft ever came to having a good operating system. There is fairly general agreement on that. Even some Open Source advocates were heard to say, "This isn't so bad." It had a fatal flaw or two, from my point of view, but it was Microsoft's high water mark. By cutting support for it, Microsoft is, shall we say, burning its only bridge.
Ironically one possible trigger for the next glacial age could be the melting of Greenland ice, reducing the salinity of ocean water in the North Atlantic, reducing the specific gravity of ocean water, which could interrupt the global "conveyor belt" that includes the Gulf Stream. Sceptics should put themselves to the trouble of looking it up...
"In terms of overall market share, Microsoft finished 2013 with a 3.4% share of the tablet market, compared to Apple's 35%, according to year-end numbers from IDC. Yet rising adoption of Windows 8 tablets/hybrids in hospitals could boost those numbers by the end of 2014.
"Here are three major reasons that the Surface could eventually displace the iPad in hospitals:
"Its keyboard cover allows physicians easy access to a keyboard without having to dock to a keyboard (as with hybrid devices) or synchronize via Bluetooth (as with an iPad).
"It includes a stylus -- a tool that is frequently requested by physicians who want a quick way to jot down notations. More importantly, it blocks input from the wrist while the stylus is being used to eliminate accidental input.
"The Surface contains more ports (USB 2.0, HDMI, MicroSD) than the iPad, which allows it to be connected to a wider variety of peripherals."
Note well: "...the Surface COULD EVENTUALLY displace the iPad in hospitals." Emphasis added.
The next Glacial Age is still expected, though most likely it won't start for another millenium or two. But this winter has looked a lot like the onset of a glacial age. What it would really take is snow that doesn't quite melt even in summer, so that the next winter's snow is added on top of it.
Oh, please. There are a lot of families out there where both parents MUST work, often at more than one job each, because one income is no longer enough.
Quoting from The Motley Fool:
"Microsoft's biggest problem is the lackluster adoption of Windows 8 and 8.1, which only have a combined market share of 10.6%, compared to the 47.5% for Windows 7 and 29.3% for Windows XP.
"Since Windows is installed on the majority of hospital PCs, older EHR software was usually designed for Windows first. However, there are three major problems with traditional Windows EHR software:
"No remote access -- doctors have to return to their workstations to input patient data.
"Generic patient templates that aren't flexible enough to cater to different specialties and practices.
"Patient templates were designed to save time, but they have also been implicated in causing clerical errors.
"To address these complaints, leading EHR providers such as Allscripts, Cerner, and Epic have developed "native" iPad apps that are tethered to the cloud, rather than a desktop workstation.
"iPads can be carried to the patient's bedside, onboard cameras can be used for patient documentation, apps feature simple touch menus, and backing up data over the cloud is more reliable than keeping it in an on-site desktop. In other words, native iPad apps completely cut Windows computers out of the equation.
"Now that Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP in April, hospitals must upgrade their systems or risk security breaches. Since iPads are gaining ground in hospitals, hospital administrators could abandon more PCs in favor of iPads."
So much for softie shills' nonsense about iPads being "toys".
Yes, he would know, and he's clearly right. But clearly there's a lot else he could say.
Quoting from Yahoo Finance:
"John Thompson, Microsoft's newly appointed chairman of the board, says Microsoft today reminded him of IBM before its historic turnaround.
"He told Fortune's Adam Lashinsky:
"I would argue that there are some attributes to Microsoft today that do look vaguely like IBM circa 1990. The Windows monopoly is in fact under attack, and therefore we're going to have to change or think differently about the management systems and the associated culture of the company as time goes on.
"Thompson would know. Although he's best known as the former CEO of security software company Symantec, doing that job for 10 years (1999-2009), he was at IBM for 28 years before that.
"This is what IBM was like in the early 1990s, he says:
"One of the things IBM learned was when their monopoly ran out and they had to compete with a bunch of smaller, more agile companies, they needed to have a different rate and pace of change.
"And Lou Gerstner coming into IBM certainly brought about a sense of urgency [saying] "... here are the behaviors that will be rewarded, and here are the ones that will be punished."
"That's the job that now falls on the shoulders of Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella."
Oh, I don't know about that. Internet Explorer 6 was pretty idiotic. Only reason anyone ever used it was that it came bundled with Windows. It was the bane of web developers for a decade or so.
Quoting from The Motley Fool:
"The rise of Chromebooks has spooked Microsoft
"Last July, market research firm NPD reported that Chromebooks were the fastest growing part of the slumping PC market, claiming a 20% to 25% share of sub-$300 laptops in the U.S. By December, NPD reported that Chromebooks accounted for 21% of all commercial U.S. laptop sales in 2013, regardless of price range, and 10% of the entire U.S. market for computers and tablets -- up from 0.2% at the end of 2012.
"However, those huge numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, considering that OS tracking site Net Market Share didn't record a subsequent spike in Chrome OS/Linux users in January. In addition, market research firm IDC's numbers indicate that Chromebooks finished 2013 with a 1% share of the global PC market, primarily due to its lack of a footprint in the enterprise market."
I draw the opposite conclusion. It has long been pretty clear that Net Market Share is in Microsoft's hip pocket, and this tends to confirm it. Chromebooks are making a real dent in the market, and Net Market Share is failing to reflect it. Microsoft's price cut for W8.1 was a necessary move; how effective it will be remains to be seen.
Hmmm... hard to see Google leaving Android behind, it's such a success. But perhaps they will re-program parts of it to avoid even the appearance of legal claims by Oracle or Microsoft or others. I don't see the need for anything related to Java, for example.
Agree completely, spin-offs would help Microsoft financially.
I'd like to think there is widespread discontent with the Microsoft handicap. I know I'd be chafing, were I in their shoes. I do think having one very high-profile incident like Ford dumping Microsoft will encourage others to drop Microsoft, like penguins all jumping into the water once one has jumped.
:) Coupla long range projections (subject to long range margin of error):
Google will find a way to overturn Microsoft's partaking of Android revenues.
Microsoft will keep trying for a share of mobile, because it can keep trying, and because it has to. With ChromeOS's expected continuing inroads into the enterprise, the "can" will decrease, but the the "have to" will increase. I.e. Microsoft's options will narrow.
If Microsoft spins off Bing, XBox etc, both "can" and "have to" will increase.
Ford dropping Microsoft will start and/or exacerbate a trend.