Microsoft has had some relative success so far in enforcing various patents it holds to reach licensing agreements with Android device manufacturers. And, Microsoft is really just getting started. There are more manufacturers to target, and the combination of Microsoft intellectual property, Nokia patents, and the pool of patents recently acquired from Nortel, Microsoft could tie up Android device makers in legal battles for years to come.
The patent war is a win-win for Microsoft. As a result of patent licensing agreements already in place, Microsoft made an estimated $150 million from Android devices–five times the profit generated from its own Windows Phone 7 platform. Microsoft’s proposed licensing agreement with Samsung could net another $285 million. Essentially, Microsoft benefits significantly from the success and popularity of Android.
Of course, part of that success and popularity is driven by the fact that Android is an open source mobile OS that manufacturers don’t have to pay licensing fees for. If the patent licensing agreements eclipse the cost of licensing Windows Phone 7, Android may not be as appealing, and vendors may turn to using Windows Phone 7.
While that makes sense as a win-win for Microsoft, it also seems like extortion on some level–like Microsoft will punish vendors for using Android to drive them to embrace Windows Phone 7. Smells like the making of an antitrust suit of some sort.
Have you heard of Microsoft Hohm? I don’t blame you if you haven’t. Regardless, Microsoft announced today that it is ending the service effective May 31, 2012.
The Story of Hohm blog entry explains, “Today, Hohm allows you to answer three basic questions. First, it will let you know where your energy is being used across the different areas of your home. Second, it will let you compare your own energy usage with averages in your area. Third, it will provide bottom line actionable information on ways to reduce your energy usage so that you can save money or reduce your carbon footprint.”
Anyone in the United States could use Hohm, but apparently not enough did. The lack of mainstream awareness contributed to the untimely demise of the service according to today’s announcement that Microsoft is killing the project. Microsoft says, “due to the slow overall market adoption of the service, we are instead focusing our efforts on products and solutions more capable of supporting long-standing growth within this evolving market.
Do you use Hotmail? Have you ever used Hotmail? Have you ever felt that Hotmail was slow or sluggish compared with its webmail rivals? Well, it’s time you take another look at it because Microsoft got deep under the hood and boosted the speed of Hotmail tasks by as much as ten times.
A post on the Inside Windows Live blog explains, “We measured how fast our Hotmail pages loaded all over the world and how we compared to our competitors in a standardized environment, and then we dug deep into the numbers. In some ways, we were pretty good, but a number of very common actions were just too slow.”
According to the tests Microsoft has run, the results are impressive:
We wrapped up these changes a few weeks ago, and just finished releasing the code to all our users (with the exception of the pre-loading feature, which, as mentioned above, is not yet turned on by default in some markets). So, what did we accomplish? The data speaks for itself:
Open message 3.3 seconds 0.18 seconds Delete message 3.1 seconds 0.14 seconds Compose new message 4.3 seconds 0.20 seconds
Check it out for yourself, and see if you agree that it is faster. If the answer is yes–is it faster than its rivals, or fast enough for you to use it as your primary email?
A Blogging Windows blog post titled Helping People Around the World With Our Technology, starts off with this explanation:
Our friends over at Microsoft Citizenship have numerous programs running worldwide designed to help create social and economic opportunities for people and businesses (such as nonprofit organizations) through the use of Microsoft technologies. To help tell stories of success and impact from these programs, they have created the Local Impact Map (LIM). LIM is an interactive map of the world that lets you choose different regions to see stories.
Check it out, and click around the Local Impact Map for compelling stories of how technology is making lives better all over the world.
Despite the push to the cloud–or even because of the push to the cloud–desktop virtualization remains a hot topic for IT admins. Microsoft continues to hone its virtualization offerings to make it easier to deploy and manage virtual desktops.
The Microsoft Windows for Your Business Blog recently published Top 7 Desktop Virtualization Questions and Answers to address some of the frequently asked questions and help you figure out how to employ virtualization in your infrastructure.
The FAQ covers:
1. What questions do I need to be asking to figure out if desktop virtualization is right for me?
2. Now I know I could benefit from desktop virtualization, so how should I get started?
3. Should I consider VDI and how much does VDI cost?
4. Is VDI the only way to virtualize my desktops?
5. What business problems can I expect desktop virtualization to help me solve?
6. Where do you see desktop virtualization heading in the next one to five years and will my investments today still be valuable tomorrow?
7. Any desktop virtualization tips that I might not have heard of?
Infographic by: Cloud Hypermarket
Most of the business PCs in the world run some flavor of Windows, and most IT admins and support personnel spend a significant amount of time managing those platforms and troubleshooting issues. There is some speculation that Windows 8 could fundamentally alter that paradigm.
There are few (if by few, you mean none) real details of Windows 8 available. But, if the hints of the relationship between Windows 8 and Hyper-V pan out, and the speculation about what that relationship could mean comes true, Windows 8 could be an IT admin’s dream.
If Windows 8 runs as a virtual machine on its own Hyper-V, organizations can simply manage and deploy the virtual machine. The underlying hardware would be less important–as long as it meets the requirements for running the virtual machine. Managing, maintaining, updating, and supporting the virtual machines would be much easier than managing their real PC equivalents.
We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed until we learn more from Microsoft. In the meantime, you can read “Windows 8 and Hyper-V 3.0: Revolutionary benefits await admins” by J. Peter Bruzzese for more details of what may be.
I have to admit that I have been so busy I was unaware that Alaska was releasing all of former half-term governor Sarah Palin’s emails, and I completely missed all of the media drooling with anticipation. If it weren’t for Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, I might still be clueless, and I wouldn’t know that it had about as much thrill-factor as Geraldo opening Capone’s vault.
Apparently, the 24,000 pages of email failed to produce any smoking guns about Troopergate, or any other Palin scandals. But, most of the public wouldn’t know that. Why? Well, the emails had to be redacted to conceal sensitive information, and Alaska couldn’t do that electronically, so the only way to get the emails is printed out–on 24,000 sheets of paper…48 reams…who knows how many trees. And each printout of Palin’s emails costs $700. Ouch.
Thankfully, the Sunlight Foundation has come to our (and the environment’s) rescue, by taking the 24,000 pages, and re-digitizing them to offer them online at SarahsInbox.com. That’s right, The Sunlight Foundation put in the effort to scan all 24,000 pages and post them online in digital, searchable, format accessible to all.
A statement from The Sunlight Foundation explains, “Using an interface similar to Gmail, you can now search these records – as well as those previously released – by keyword, date or common phrase at http://sarahsinbox.com, as well as “star” ones that catch your attention. The Sunlight Reporting Group also runs down the six different email addresses (two official, four private) held by Sarah Palin and how they were used during her time in office.”
Thank you Sunlight Foundation.
That is great for Web developers who see an opportunity in being able to integrate with the Windows desktop at an OS level, but for the legions of existing Windows developers it is cause for concern. Microsoft has spent a decade pushing the Silverlight and .NET platforms, and developers are worried about how these will fit in to the Windows 8 ecosystem.
A PCWorld article cites some developer frustration: “One participant wrote that the demos were “potentially terrible news. It almost puts me in a state of shock. My biggest fear coming into Windows 8 … was that they would shift everything to Silverlight and leave the full platform … in the dust. To my utter shock, they did something much, much, much worse.”
Microsoft has not done much to clarify the issue one way or the other yet. More details on Windows 8 and what it means for developers is expected at the BUILD conference Microsoft is hosting this fall.
At the D9 conference, Microsoft’s Stephen Sinofsky unveiled the first official demonstration of Windows 8. It looks bold and impressive–nothing like Windows 7, or Windows Vista, or Windows XP, or WIndows 2000, or WIndows 98…etc., etc.
Whereas previous incarnations of Windows have been iterations of the same basic layout and functionality with new features added here and there, WIndows 8 looks like a completely new OS. It looks like a hybrid of Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7–heavy on the Windows Phone 7.
I will write much more about Windows 8 over the coming days, weeks, and months. I am sure there will be plenty to learn and write about. Here is a video Microsoft produced to show off Windows 8:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/p92QfWOw88I" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
I guess it’s time to rename this blog to “Windows 8: Through the Looking Glass”. I suppose I still have a year or so…but something to think about.