Oct 04

Steve Jobs on Innovation. Copyright © Cea (Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology). Image used under Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5 today at a major press event.  A PriceGrabber survey in July showed that a whopping 35% of respondents want to buy the yet-unseen iPhone 5 when it hits the market.  The iPhone 5 is arguably the most anticipated tech product of 2011.  It’s also the first major product released since tech legend Steve Jobs retired as CEO of Apple.

Mr. Jobs plans to remain Chairman of the Apple board.  COO Tim Cook has taken the helm as full-time CEO.  Cook had already served as Apple’s temporary CEO a few times since 2004 when Jobs was on medical leave due to pancreatic cancer. 

Cook has done a great job running Apple’s day-to-day operations while Jobs has been ill.  Cook is widely credited with getting Apple out of the hardware manufacturing business.  This helped the company reduce inventory levels, streamline its supply chain, and dramatically increase margins.

But a good businessman is not the same as a visionary technical genius.

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Aug 12

Broken Computers. Copyright © Paul Downey. Image used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A new study by Gartner shows that 94% of newly purchased PCs run Microsoft Windows 7, four percent run Apple OS X, and two percent run Linux.  This number is boosted by corporate IT departments, which are conducting massive rollouts of Windows 7.  Many enterprises are still running Windows XP because they had decided to skip over Windows Vista, which was widely panned due to software incompatibilities and overzealous security. 

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Jul 14

Titanic. Copyright © Paramount Pictures.

I saw the James Cameron movie Titanic again the other night.  In the scene shown above, the band plays on with grace and dignity, while the ship slowly sinks, and all hell breaks loose around them.

That’s when it hit me: .NET developers face a similar fate.  Do we ride Microsoft .NET to the bottom of the icy Atlantic, or try to jump on one of the HTML5+JavaScript lifeboats?  Or perhaps more likely, .NET isn’t really sinking after all, and this controversy is just another molehill made into a mountain by the frenzied blogosphere.

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Jul 06

Microsoft logo, Copyright © Microsoft Corp. Red Heart Rising, Copyright © Bernhard Aichinger, image used under license. Android logo, Copyright © Google, Inc.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  This seems to be Microsoft’s new mantra for mobile. 

Microsoft missed the initial smartphone wave in spite of having a decade head start with Windows Mobile and the Pocket PC.  Now Microsoft is playing a hurried game of catchup with Windows Phone 7. 

But the immediate future is not looking good for Windows Phone.  The most recent data from comScore shows that Microsoft’s share of smartphone subscribers is only 6% and continues to fall.  Whereas Android’s share is 38% and rising at a fast clip.  Apple’s 27% share of smartphone subscribers is also growing, though at a slower rate.

The Android explosion is not all bad news for Microsoft, however.  MobileCrunch reports that Microsoft is earning 5 times more revenue from its patents on components of the Android operating system than it is from Windows Phone.  That’s $150 million from Android versus $30 million from Windows Phone.

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May 26

Windows Phone 7. Copyright © Microsoft Sweden. Used under Creative Commons License.

In spite of having a decade head start with Windows Mobile and the Pocket PC, Microsoft somehow completely missed the initial smartphone wave and is now playing a desperate game of catchup. 

Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, essentially defined the smartphone ecosystem, and jumped to an impressive early lead.  But with a more open platform and cheaper hardware, Google Android has grabbed a commanding 35% share of smartphone subscribers.  Apple is holding flat around 25%. 

Microsoft entered the smartphone market late in 2010 with Windows Phone 7 (WP7), which was already generations behind competing platforms and lacked key features like copy/paste and multitasking.  WP7 is also incompatible with previous versions of Windows Mobile, so existing users have no allegiance to the new Windows phones, and hence are just as likely to switch to iPhone or Android.  As a result, Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market is only 8% and dropping.

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May 11

Sky.net.  Public domain on imgur.

This would be even more funny/scary if Microsoft was still the 800-pound gorilla in the computer industry that everyone feared.

Feb 18

Microsoft has stated that its Windows Phone Marketplace will reject any apps that use the GNU General Public License (GPL) and similar licenses.  As stated in Article 5 of Microsoft’s Application Provider Agreement:

“The Application must not include software, documentation, or other materials that, in whole or in part, are governed by or subject to an Excluded License, or that would otherwise cause the Application to be subject to the terms of an Excluded License.”

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Jul 06

Microsoft has launched a new software architecture website devoted to sharing best practices and customer stories. The site features case studies, video interviews, architect evangelist profiles, links to blog articles and a Twitter feed

If you are an architect or senior developer, this site will help you connect with your peers and learn more about patterns, model driven architecture and design, and the latest technology advancements to provide cutting edge solutions.

Microsoft Architecture Website

Sep 28

Microsoft has launched a new WebsiteSpark program for independent Web developers and companies that build Web applications and Web sites for others.  The program enables qualified developers to receive FREE software, support and business resources from Microsoft for three years.  The purpose is to help independent Web developers expand their business and build great Web solutions using ASP.NET, Silverlight, SharePoint and PHP.

WebsiteSpark provides the following free software licenses:

  • 3 licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • 1 license of Expression Studio 3 (which includes Expression Blend, Sketchflow, and Web)
  • 2 licenses of Expression Web 3
  • 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • 4 processor licenses of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
  • DotNetPanel control panel (enabling easy remote/hosted management of your servers)

The only two requirements to join the program are:

  1. Your company builds Web sites and/or Web applications on behalf of others.
  2. Your company currently has less than 10 employees.

If you meet these requirements, visit the WebsiteSpark website to enroll in the program.  As part of the enrollment process, you can pick either a network referral partner (for example: a Web host or an existing Microsoft partner), or enter a referral code that you have received at an event or from a Microsoft employee.  Or you can send an email to webspark@microsoft.com to get a referral code quickly.

Jul 24

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates decided to weigh in on Gizmodo’s ‘79 Celebration:

“I read those 1979 stories all last week, and it put me in a nostalgic mood, so I wanted to offer my own memory to add to the collection.

“In 1979, Microsoft had 13 employees, most of whom appear in that famous picture that provides indisputable proof that your average computer geek from the late 1970s was not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion.  We started the year by moving from Albuquerque back to Bellevue, just across the lake from Seattle.  By the end of the year we’d doubled in size to 28 employees.  Even though we were doing pretty well, I was still kind of terrified by the rapid pace of hiring and worried that the bottom could fall out at any time.

“What made me feel a little more confident was that 1979 was the year we began to sense that BASIC was right on the verge of becoming the standard language for microcomputers.  We knew this could be the catalyst that would unlock the potential of the PC to democratize computing and create the right conditions for an explosion in programs and applications that would lead to really rapid growth of the PC market.”

Read the rest of Gates’ story at Gizmodo