Microsoft – When did they become an also ran

Being someone who has just reached 35, I can clearly remember that no conversation about computer in my lifetime was ever held without Microsoft coming into the picture. My first experience was with DOS and later with Windows 3.1. Then came 95, 98, XP, Vista and 7 (Yes I deliberately left out Windows Me. Too big an embarrassment).

With XP being installed on 95% of the computer, it seemed as if Microsoft will sit on top of the heap for quite a long time. Slowly but steadily Microsoft started flexing its muscles and try new things XBox, Windows Live, Sharepoint, Silverlight etc. It seemed as if Microsoft just wanted to kill every other company in the business. Microsoft was trying to capture all the markets and kill all the bigwigs. During this period slowly but steadily an old foe, whom they had given a new breath of life (http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-202143.html) was slowly building some products which would soon become mainstream. Yes it was Apple with its iPod.

iPod was a huge success beyond anybody could imagine. Within few years they captured most of the market for portable MP3 players. It was helped by the mistakes made by companies like Sony. iTunes was a terrible piece of software but was a great companion to iPod. By 2006 they were making huge money with these devices. But that was the time when mobile phones started coming out with MP3 player functionality. Everybody expected Apple to take iPod to the next level by venturing into the mobile phone market. 2007 saw the release of the first iPhone and mobile phones were not the same again. It set new standards of usability and brought in such a cool factor. There were some people who couldnt see how it was going to change the mobile phone market. One of them was Steve Ballmer (http://www.electronista.com/articles/07/04/30/ballmer.on.iphone/). It is OK if an analyst makes such a mistake but not when you are the CEO of a competing company.  Ballmer soon joined Michael Dell in the history books for misquotes about Apple.

Bill Gates was preaching about tablet computer for long time. Microsoft and co made many attempts at mass market tablet computer but sadly none clicked. 2010 turned out to be the turning point when Apple introduced iPad. Initially dismissed by many as just a large iPod it soon clicked and went onto sell more than 15 million units in 2010. Bumper sales with good margins made sure that Apple made lots of money. This helped them dislodge Microsoft from the throne it was occupying for long long time as the most valuable tech company.

http://www.google.co.uk//finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=Logarithmic&chdeh=0&chfdeh=0&chdet=1299358560548&chddm=996659&chls=IntervalBasedLine&cmpto=NASDAQ:MSFT&cmptdms=0&q=NASDAQ:AAPL&ntsp=0

Meanwhile Microsoft was fighting a losing battle against Google on the web front. It was losing search market and also losing all the gains it made in the browser market. It invested huge money and resources in fighting with Sony and Nintendo. Vista came out and it was a big disappointment. That was followed by Windows 7 which got good reviews but many people were of the opinion that Windows 7 was what Windows Vista should have been.

Mobile OS is another area where MS was losing out. With better processors and emerging technologies, smartphones were becoming mainstream. Apple with iOS and Google’s Android was setting the market on fire. Suddenly the old bigwigs like MS, Symbain and Blackberry were found wanting for innovation. MS went back to blackboard and came out with Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately the result is less than spectacular. The Samsung update fiasco was really bad press which only made things difficult.

Tablets have changes a lot since Apple introduced the original iPad. Multi-core processors and innovative OS has made them good enough to replace the desktop or laptop for most people. MS sure cannot afford to lose out this market as it would be bad for its dominance on personal computing. They cannot count on the revenue from Office to keep growing as Google is busy attacking there with Google Apps and Chrome OS.

Microsoft in the next few quarters will have to fight on many fronts like desktop OS, mobile OS, gaming console, enterprise application etc. Steve Ballmer’s success as a CEO will be judged by how he leads MS in the next few years. They surely dont want Google and Facebook to overtake them in market valuation. Interesting time ahead and I sure dont want to be in Ballmers seat.

 

 

Junk journalists

Apple is the biggest tech company in the world. As with any big company, there are many smaller companies whose business models are evolved around the larger ones.  Most of them are involved in making accessories or apps for Apple devices.

But of late there seems to be another industry whose only output is rumours related to the next Apple product. This has resulted in lots of useless websites which have no credible information. Just search for “iPhone 5 or iPad2″

Sample this.

http://www.beatweek.com/news/8196-paradox-why-most-verizon-iphone-4-sales-are-thus-far-invisible/

Another so-called expert analysis on poor Verizon iPhone sales. He says that Steve Jobs wasnt there nor was the person who is running Apple now. if I remember right, Tim Cook, the COO of Apple was present at the event and it is he who is now running the show at Apple. It’s funny to see people jump into conclusions without getting their facts right.

Western diplomacy

Protests have started in Bahrain and the country has dealt it with severe violence. Bahrain apparently is an ally of the Western countries. The muted response from the western governments is rather shameful. Right to freedom of the people is a universal right and not restricted to the people who oppose western values.

Few people opposing in Tehran made Lady Clinton come out and ask the Iranian government to respect human rights. They don’t really seem to be bothered about the human rights of the Bahraini counterparts. Diplomacy has lost all righteousness.

Lovely debate

The content below is copied from the following website. No intention to violate any copyrights. But hats of to the arguments made by Rickk. 
http://www.vindy.com/news/2011/feb/15/scientific-theory-carries-weight/
 RickK (3 comments) posted 1 day, 5 hours ago

 

Two points: (1) a scientific theory can indeed be “proved” in the same way a court case can be proved – beyond reasonable doubt. There is more evidence for evolution in one person’s DNA than there is for any court case ever. The only remaining doubt in evolution is unreasonable. (2) If evolution opposes the Biblical account of man’s creation, then plate tectonics oppose the Biblical account of the Earth’s creation. If we’re willing to throw out biology, why not geology? And physics, while we’re at it, since all that radiometric dating must be wrong, no? It’s a slippery slope when we let faith trump facts.

 

Suggest removal:


2 kmayo (1 comment) posted 1 day, 1 hour ago

 

Hey Rick, it’s interesting you pointed out the DNA as your evidence. I’d suggest before you place your faith in that statement you read two books. “Signature in the Cell” (DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design) and “The Language of God” by Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project). One is an Intelligent design advocate and the other a “theistic” evolutionist. I hope you don’t flippantly write them off, because they are both brillian men.

Also, as for McLaughlin above I will only address his second point that the “majority” believe it to be so. My reponse: who cares what the majority thinks. Since when does that determine truth? First it’s a logical fallacy, and second, how many times in the worlds history has the majority been wrong.

 

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3 RickK (3 comments) posted 23 hours, 21 minutes ago

 

kmayo, I’ve read both books. While I respect Francis Collins’s right to believe as he wishes, his argument is essentially “I believe, and I will interpret the evidence to fit that belief”. Anyone could do that. The same argument can be used to justify “aliens did it”. And he simply doesn’t make an evidence-based case.

As for “Signature”, it is authored by Stephen Meyer, one of the authors of “The Wedge”. So you must first read his book as an “end justifies the means” attempt to use science-sounding design discussions to sneak fundamentalist beliefs into science. He does this by trying to impress the public rather than publishing actual papers to convince scientists. His book is part of a marketing strategy to support his fundamentalist backers, just like the scientists working for Big Tobacco who gave all sorts of medical evidence that smoking isn’t bad for you.

You can find with a quick google many scientific criticisms of “Signature”. But if you want a thoughtful, education Christian’s takedown of “Signature”, read here. RJS has more room than I to point out the flaws of this book, which ultimately fails what it attempts.
http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/….

I’ve also read the Bible, read quite a bit of higher criticism on the origins of the Bible, and several popular works like “Evolution of God” and “Case for God”. Now, have you looked as hard at the scientific evidence and mechanisms of evolution as I’ve looked at the religious implications?

 

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4 RickK (3 comments) posted 22 hours, 47 minutes ago

 

And kmayo, you said: “Since when does that determine truth? ” It doesn’t. Truth is determined by what fits the facts.

Let’s look how often evidence has led to a truth that the majority did not at first believe:

The Sun – was a god, now a ball of fusing hydrogen
The Moon – was a god(dess), now a big round dusty rock
The stars – were gods or spirits, more flaming gas balls
The tides – were attributed to gods, now gravity
The seasons – attributed to gods, now Earth’s tilt
Earthquakes – were caused by gods, now plate tectonics
Lightning – was thrown by a god, now static electricity
Rain & drought – was God, now atmospheric moisture
Health & disease – was God, now germs & genetics
Schizophrenia – was demonic possession, now brain chemicals
Epilepsy – was divine possession, now neurology
Origin of species – was God, now science (evolution)
Identity & personality – was the soul, now neuroscience

See how that works?

Given that this is how the world works, if they understand history and are objective and honest, then both Francis Collins and Stephen Meyer should start from the assumption that natural events have natural causes. But they don’t. They both start with the assumption of God (though Meyer says “designer” to avoid trouble with the U.S. Constitution).

Androidify

image

My daughter just loves the new android application Androidify. Spent ages yesterday playing with it. Sample this

Andoird Tablets

Update : Xoom has been priced at $799 for 3G + WiFi and $600 for WiFi only. That sounds good.

I am waiting to see all the android based tablets coming out and I must say that the last few days have been exciting for me. First the Motorola Xoom and now Samsung Galaxy 10.1 (Did anyone get paid to name it ? Will they change screen size in the next model?).

Motorola Xoom was listed for pre-sale at $1200 on the best buy website. While we still dont know if that’s the price or whether it is just a place holder. Whatever the case may be, it did create a lots of news on all the geeky websites. Most of them said “dead on arrival”, a view to which I have to agree, provided it sells for $1200. Motorola is not a brand which can price itself as exclusive. They are not Apple, Bose or Bang & Olufsen. They are yet to earn their right to be exclusive.

While the Motorola pricing was disappointing, I am more upset with Samsung Tab 10.1. They have removed the SD card storage and dropped HDMI out (I believe we will have to buy an expensive proprietary cable). From being a standout product, they have become another Apple wannabe. Now if iPad2 comes out with SD card support (unlikely), Sammy will be doomed.

Irrespective of how things turn out, this will be an interesting year for all the gadgets lovers. Cant wait to see it unfold.

Culture of Respect

I saw this sad news today of a Police officer cleaning the shoes of Mayawati, Chief Minister of the most populous state of India.

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/pso-cleans-mayawatis-shoes-opposition-slams-cm/20110208.htm

What was more shocking is how her party members were justifying this act. Mayawati seems to take pride in the fact that she is able to disrespect and insult another human being. To be fair to her, she is not one of a kind. We have seen similiar deplorable behaviour from other Indian politicians. They seem to have lost the very basic culture of respecting fellow human beings.

Political elite of the country insult and try to play down the role of policemen and other parts of the executive. They are insulted and not given the respect which they should get. It is very difficult for them to get back at their masters. They are now void of any self respect. This lack of self respect inspires them to do the same injustice to the common man. What we now have is a vicious cycle of injustice which is propogated through the social hierarchy.

What India seems to lack is good leadership at the top. It is not that the country doesnt have any good leaders. Sadly they are not given a chance to govern. Money and muscle power is essential to win elections and these are not something good leaders are associated with. This leads to rotten apples sitting right on top and spreading the rot through the system. It wont be long before the whole system is like a malignant cancer. Untreatable.

The only way forward will be for people to take ownership of whom they elect to lead. Those elected to lead should lead by example. Respect others and spread a culture of respect. This respect shouldnt be restricted to fellow human beings. They should learn to respect the law of the land, rights of animals and nature.

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