What would it be like to wake up tomorrow and have the ability to take everything that exists and recreate it as needed absolutely free from royalty or limitation? If people and companies could copy anything in existence, rolling it into whatever product they can design, and then attempt to sell it to others ... what would that world look like?
Phil Schiller, Apple's chief of worldwide marketing, took the stage
yesterday morning to deliver the Macworld 2009 keynote, DRM-free iTunes
was one of three key topics on the keynote agenda. The announcement
was met with cheers and viewed as a big win for Apple. But was it Apple that ultimately won?
Opinion – Google surprised us all yesterday with Google Chrome 1.0 and
the suddenly concluded beta phase of the browser. And usually, a
“final” version makes certain promises, which we aren’t sure Chrome 1.0
can keep. Our conclusion: Just because Google says Chrome now deserves
the “1.0” label and is now final, does not mean that Chrome is final.
In fact, we would hope that Google would update its browser right away
again and put it “back” into 1.5 beta.
Opinion - Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its new WARP10 DirectX extension which enables raster operations to be carried out on the CPU when no GPU is available. This will become part of the standard Windows 7 platform. This latest software extension seems like a notable step backward when considering how parallel compute hardware today is everywhere and growing because it's extremely cost effective. It's had me scratching my head all week trying to figure out what Microsoft's plans are because surely this extension is a large software effort for Microsoft. I think I've finally nailed it, though: Money.
Analyst Opinion - Microsoft just announced it will be discontinuing
OneCare and roll out out a free antivirus product soon. I believe the
company made a huge mistake by not owning all aspects of primary
security for Windows from the start. I applaud this move, because it
corrects a problem Microsoft created itself. Apple should learn from
Microsoft's lead here, because if Microsoft is successful, virus
writers and Bots Masters may shift to Mac OS X. Some are already
reporting that this shift has begun.
Opinion - Adobe says it is working on a version of its Flash player for
the iPhone. But realistically I doubt that you will ever get to use it,
at least not in why you are used to Flash on a regular PC or Mac. The
reason? Simple: The terms-of-service agreement on Apple’s iPhone does
not allow Flash to run on the iPhone.
Opinion - The Internet could be a much simpler place. Utilizing one
password, one log in to keepg a close eye on all of your contact
information is actually possible. You can even make decisions as far as
how much information a website has access to, and which websites you
share with. We’re getting closer and closer to employing this
technology utilizing OpenID. OpenID allows you to minimize your
passwords and account user names to one. The problem is that the
concept is still too complicated for the masses and few actually know
how to apply it.
Analyst Opinion - Few topics among economists and business leaders
engender the same enthusiasm as productivity. Doing more for less seems
the universal balm for individuals, businesses and markets. If we all
have growing productivity, well, then everything practically takes care
of itself. You'll find few dissenters. Cloud computing may hold a
massive new opportunity for the IT industry and we recently saw
Microsoft taking this topic more seriously. But why is Microsoft tepid
in its march to the cloud? Why is it "software plus services," not just
services? Dana Gardner looks at the implications of cloud computing and
Microsoft’s role, opportunities and risks in this new arena.
Analyst Opinion - We seem to be awash in both negative campaigning and
stupidity this fall season. I am sure that, at least here in the U.S.,
there is little on all our minds other than how this historic election
will turn out. There a better opportunity to weave that into this
week’s column and draw comparisons to the IT world.
Opinion - As long as we can remember, Apple has always been viewed as being much
more creative and innovative than Microsoft. If there was a new feature
in Windows, you could bet that the comparison with Apple would follow
almost immediately – and allegations that Microsoft simply copied what
Apple had already. There is an ongoing argument, even if many Mac OS X
"innovations" are borrowed from the open-source community. Expose
windows manager? Borrowed from a long list of Linux UI add-ons. Spaces?
Linux has had virtual desktops for years. Windows 7 came out of almost
nowhere with some new features we believe Apple not only should take
serious, but integrate in OS X as well.
Analyst Opinion - Windows 7 is the next big jump for Windows after
Vista, Scheduled for a 2009 release, the software is driven by a
largely new team, the organization building the product is
significantly reorganized, and the processes used to create the
offering are substantially revamped. The end result is that this
effort is unlike any that has preceded it.
Opinion: This morning in a public webcast, Microsoft announced its upcoming Windows Azure tier-based operating system. Designed to take enterprise-level server systems where they could not previously go, this massively distributed cloud computing OS brings several technologies and products together through shared services and direct interaction. Presenter Ray Ozzie called it, "the Windows of the next 50 years." So, is this truly a blue letter day in history (in honor of Azure's name - which ironically means 'cloudless sky,' or 'blue')? Or is it the beginning of another 50 years of blues song about the Windows operating system?
PDC 2008 Preview – Microsoft will give us a first glimpse at Windows 7
this week and will introduce developers to core components of the new
operating system. So far, Microsoft used every opportunity to
underwhelm customers when talking about its new software. Is this part
of a carefully crafted strategy to surprise us with a great new Windows
or is 7 just what many expect – Vista, take 2? Will Windows 7 be good
enough to bring Microsoft’s client OS back on track? We know quite a
bit and it is clear that Windows 7 may have a least one secret ace up
its sleeve: GPU acceleration.
Opinion - For low-level software developers, having a machine emulator is an absolutely essential tool. It is often a necessity to step through lines of code one by one via a debugging process in some way that can't always be done easily or economically on a physical machine. One such example is developing software for mobile devices. These are typically developed and tested completely in an emulator, only to eventually be deployed to the real device. In the past few weeks, I've spent some time migrating old 80386 code to now run inside of VMware Server. In the process I've discovered a serious limitation in the debugging capabilities of the software API. These limitations exist because of business practices and not because of hardware or software limitations.
Analyst Opinion - Google recently released a new browser set to
compete directly with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Firefox
Mozilla. Chrome is supposed to provide a more compelling, easier to use
and faster browsing experience, with a look and feel that “Googl-ites”
should find familiar (and others may not). Google’s goal, or course, is
to capture as much of the search and homepage market as it can to
increase its revenues (it doesn’t make any money on the browser, which
is free). But is providing a new browser the best way to establish more
dominance, or an indication of its hubris?
Opinion – How would shopping for shoes compare to using a Mac. Jerry
Seinfeld and Bill Gates try to play such a scenario in a first episode
of a series of commercials to ridicule the tight grip Apple has on its
Analyst Opinion – Microsoft’s business is built on four main software
pillars - Windows, Office, Windows Server and IE. The two most
important, because they have the greatest number of related offerings,
are Windows and IE. Windows has been struggling for some time and IE as
been losing ground slowly to its rivals, especially Firefox. But
Firefox against IE is kind of like Switzerland against the U.S. The
resource mismatch is massive and you’d think Firefox would have failed
given this massive disadvantage. It didn’t and has become a poster
child the power of viral product growth. But now Google is joining the
party – with funding levels that rival Microsoft.
Opinion – Ok, I get it: Beta software isn’t software that should be run
on computers you rely on every day. Betas are merely previews of
products we can use to get a glimpse of the future and should be
treated with care as bugs and hiccups are almost certainly part of the
deal. Microsoft’s latest IE8 Beta surely has bugs as well, but there is
one surprise that is a bit beyond my comfort level: Some users may
actually not be able to uninstall this beta anymore.
Opinion – Microsoft has a tough time these days. First we complain that
they don’t react to Apple’s mean and insulting Mac vs. Vista
commercials and then nobody appears to like Microsoft’s choice for a
spokesperson, Jerry Seinfeld (we do agree that this is a strange
choice.) But we do not want to simply criticize Microsoft – criticism
always should offer solutions and this is exactly what we wanted to do.
Here are our top 10 choices for Microsoft’s anti-Apple campaign.
Opinion – Ok, so we adjusted our hopes that Windows 7 will not become
that revolutionary operating system we hoped it would be. But the
ongoing flow of news suggests that we should downgrade our expectations
even further, as Microsoft’s recently updated server roadmap indicates
that there will not be a Windows 7 server, suggesting that Windows 7
indeed will not be what Microsoft would call a major operating system
release. Sounds to me like Windows 98 SE all over again.