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02.07.08

Nokia and Microsoft Seem to Be Getting Even Closer

Posted in DRM, Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Mail, Microsoft, Oracle at 1:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Match made in a heaven of predatory capitalists?

In our previous posts about the Nokia/Trolltech acquisition [1, 2, 3, 4] we looked at its many implications and also spotted an uneasy event that can hopefully affect Nokia’s views on software patents. Nokia is a strong lobbyist for software patents in Europe, much like Microsoft which even blackmailed for it.

Despite the seemingly-malicious nature of some elements of this acquisition, Motorola claims to be unaffected. In fact, it’s readying a new phone at the moment, as reported just days ago after the company had made serious organisational changes and the stock jumped over 10% in a single day.

Anything is possible we guess, but this Motorola A810 looks a bit like it might have been put together at kindergarten craft hour. Apparently this Linux-based — LiMo? — 2.4-inch touchscreen device will feature handwriting recognition, a 2 megapixel cam, memory expansion via SD card, and hopefully the bezel around the screen will end up a little more even.

The more worrisome news comes from Microsoft’s direction. The company wishes to extend its existing affairs with Nokia

While Nokia phones don’t yet have a Windows OS, they do use a range of other Microsoft software. This includes ActiveSynch for connecting to Exchange Servers and the PlayReady DRM technology used to protect purchased music and video content.

Starkweather said the existing relationship between the two companies was strong and he was enthusiastic about it developing further in the future.

“We work closely with Nokia and we would love to have them go all the way,” he said. “It’s something we talk about all the time.”

Nokia’s stance on Linux is far from perfect. We wrote about this extensively in the past (e.g. here), but consider the following a reminder of where Nokia stands:

“Talking about Nokia and Microsoft getting close isn’t a case of making it so. Being unaware of this issue is the worst that can happen.”People still hope that Nokia will learn to love Linux because of Trolltech, but a source told us that Trolltech is indifferent and Microsoft’s relationship with Nokia is nothing new. Both companies are considered monopolies in their area, so an outside observer might even add that they should be expected to think alike.

Talking about Nokia and Microsoft getting close isn’t a case of making it so. Being unaware of this issue is the worst that can happen. We must understand the situation in order to respond logically. It sometimes seems like Nokia bought Trolltech only to punish its rivals, depriving them from necessary components in their stacks.

Remember Oracle?

How about Zimbra [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]? Here’s a comment about some of the latest developments:

This means competition authorities will view Microsoft’s potential take-over of Yahoo! in a different — the appropriate — light as an anti-competitive absorption of its chief e-mail competitor.

Yahoo! will do what it takes to avoid acquisition by Microsoft. Roy is working on it.

As laid out in the links digest which was posted a few hours ago, the Yahoo takeover seems less likely to materialise, which is reassuring news. At the same time, Microsoft’s fear of Google become more justified. Having made a large acquisition in this area, Google is now stepping into Microsoft’s lawn. Recall some of Microsoft’s past (and very rude) remarks about this.

Google Inc. is adding more e-mail security and storage products for businesses, sharpening its aim on a Microsoft Corp. stronghold while the competition between the two rivals also heats up in Internet search and advertising.

it is very unlikely that Yahoo’s takeover of Zimbra was a prelude to Microsoft’s involvement, which is, on the other hand, exactly what happened to XenSource and is arguably happening with Nokia as well (devouring Trolltech).

Here is the old (yet recent) announcement of the Zimbra acquisition by Yahoo.

The move reflects the belief among major players that collaboration represents a massive growth market. In March this year, Cisco paid $US3.2b for WebEx, a market leader in on-demand collaboration applications.

Remember that Yahoo and Microsoft have been negotiating a takeover for a long time. This was usually done secretly, but there were leaks to the media. Yahoo’s acquisition of Zimbra seemed rather absurd at the time because Yahoo was already very prolific when it came to mail. Likewise, Nokia was already using GTK in Maemo, so why buy Qt? Why did Citrix need Xen? Many questions remain largely unanswered.

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