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Google and Microsoft Fight Over Data and Contracts

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Summary: The race to refine people's digital profiles (for personalised/targeted advertising) reaches E-mail and Free/libre substitutes do exist

MICROSOFT is hoping to destroy Google, which is a big user of GNU/Linux. Microsoft has managed to wrap its tentacles around Yahoo! in hopes of harming Google's main source of revenue (search and advertisements), but as the Wall Street Journal puts it, the value of Yahoo! to Microsoft keeps declining.



Drop In Yahoo Search Share May Trim Microsoft Deal's Benefits



Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) expects to close its search deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) early next year, but the benefits of that partnership might already be eroding as Yahoo's search share slips with each passing month.


An interesting battle where neither Google nor Microsoft deserve a place is E-mail. Sadly enough, institutions and businesses are gradually selling their staff and students to a monopolist, passing all their mail to an untrusted third party which will be scanning people's communication and profiling based on it. The Chicago Tribune has this new article about it, titled "Microsoft vs. Google"

With university endowments and public school budgets still feeling the pinch, the competition between Google and Microsoft to convert the nation's colleges, universities and schools to the companies' free e-mail and other information technology services that run on the Internet "cloud" has grown fiercer.


The common choice these days has become somewhat of a duopoly, with quite a few Australian universities surrendering their personal data to Microsoft. We wrote about a few of them before and we have already explained why universities should use neither if they care about the autonomy and privacy of those who pay tuition [1, 2]. For the time being, it seems safer to cautiously accept Google, rather than give Microsoft a penny.

"For personal reasons, I do not browse the web from my computer. (I also have not net connection much of the time.) To look at page I send mail to a demon which runs wget and mails the page back to me. It is very efficient use of my time, but it is slow in real time."

--Richard Stallman



When it comes to online office suites, there is a third player that does not receive much attention because it's not a big brand.

Zoho Reports, the web-based productivity suite’s business and data intelligence tool, is ripping off the beta tag and officially launching today with a new pricing model and set of features. Zoho Reports, which was formerly known as Zoho DB, provides developers and database administrators with better ways to manage, digest and understand their data. It’s similar in theory to Microsoft Access but that the application is online.


Those who want a hosted service of this kind should preferably use Feng (formerly OpenGoo). It is Free software, so the server side can be deployed locally, modified, and redistributed too. Here is another article about Los Angeles moving to Google Apps (and away from Novell). We wrote about that before, but for other reasons with emphasis on Groupwise.

Lastly, we have been trying to determine whether this video of a Bing firing was real or just staged. According to this Seattle-based site:

Apparently, this guy was just a little too laidback in his response for Ballmer, who screamed “You’re Fired!” and without skipping a beat pointed at another guy.

Unfortunately, the video is unverified. The chap who uploaded hasn't responded yet for comment, and this piece will be updated when I know more. What do you think: real or fake?


There is a really embarrassing (and authentic) video of Steve Ballmer taken in September, but it was pulled and we never found it. Microsoft tried to limit footage of Steve Ballmer on stage, maybe because he is very tactless (and candidate for exit).

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