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Fragmentation: The FUD That Never Dies

Microsoft FUD



Summary: Why the "fragmentation" slur against Free software no longer applies without the messenger being extremely hypocritical

APPLE'S platform is fragmented. Microsoft's platform is fragmented. It all depends on the definition of "fragmentation" and this word has been abused by Microsoft for years in order to spread FUD against GNU/Linux. Currently it is used by Microsoft as FUD against Android (Microsoft apparently uses former employees and bloggers whom it bribes to spread such talking points). As this latest example ought to show, the "fragmentation" curse is still being spread by the Microsoft camp (even after Google refuted it). This time it's done by Microsoft's buddy Harry McCracken.



"Fragmentation good for the user, says Nokia" is the headline of this fairly recent article. Linux is hardly fragmented at all. There is only one Linux (kernel.org). As for graphical user interface systems, most use X and the level where there is a lot of diversity is probably working environments (there are 2 dominant ones for the desktop, namely GNOME and KDE).

"iPhone Now as Fragmented as Android" is the title of this new blog post. Take that, Apple.

At Transpond, when we were building apps on the iPhone and Android platforms last year, all of our engineers were enamored with the iPhone and annoyed with the pesky Android devices.

The iPhone environment was remarkably consistent. There was a single 480×320 screen resolution and API consistency across iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. Even though the original iPhone doesn’t have GPS, it provided an approximation based on cell towers, and our customers like CBS and NBC are more interested in syndicating video and engaging users, so we did not need the 3D graphics of the newer generation iPhones. All in all, the iPhone platform presented a clean, wonderful experience for our engineers where they could write one piece of code and it would run beautifully on all of the iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

[...]

This all changed in the first half of 2010. The engineers at Google, with backgrounds in Java and UNIX, recognized this problem and came up with a solution: the Nexus One. A lot of people thought that the Nexus One was Google’s entry into the handset market. This was actually far from the truth. The Nexus One is the equivalent of the Java Reference Implementation or UNIX POSIX and X/Open: a baseline of what handset manufacturers would have to support in order to create a real Android handset. If a developer wrote an app that ran well on the Nexus One, but it did not run well on a Motorola Droid or HTC EVO, the problem was clearly with Motorola or HTC, not with Android. In addition, Google obsoleted the 1.5/1.6 generation of handsets. So a developer could now target the Nexus One, adjust for various screen resolutions, test for hardware features such as a camera, and feel confident that their app would run on Android 2.0/2.1/2.2 devices. If a problem arose, it was a problem for Motorola or HTC to fix in their next patch, not for the developer or Android.


As we will show later on, Microsoft's own mobile business is also heavily fragmented and confusing, especially following the failure of Windows Mobile. One thing that Microsoft and Apple phones have in common is lack of freedom. There is a lot of censorship and anti-competitive abuse by both Apple and Microsoft.

"Microsoft says no to mobile porn," states the headline of this new article. We'll get back to it later today.

"Wandering eyes: Windows Mobile users show lack of commitment," say the Microsoft boosters (pessimism from Microsoft proponents too).

A Nielsen Co. study about mobile phone usage got lots of attention over the weekend for its insights into the battle between Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. But the report also includes some interesting data about the rest of the smartphone market. And once again, the news isn't good for Microsoft's mobile business.


Nielsen is actually close to Microsoft, so the excuse of "bias" would not work in this case. Here are more survey details. Windows Mobile faces a tough reality no matter what Microsoft renames it to. As shown in this new post, Microsoft's mobile business is messy and fragmented. There are too many different products which try to achieve the same thing; it's amusing because Microsoft apparently uses the separation between Chrome OS and Android as FUD against Google. Microsoft itself has at least 3 different operating systems for mobile phones (SideKick included). "Pressure is on for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7" states the headline of this article from CNET as Microsoft is trying to push it into businesses. Linux is the key contender here and it's down for Apple to determine if it can gain back its advantage. The best-selling mobile platform in the United States appears to be the Linux-based Android. Microsoft is just grasping at straws and uses MSNBC to promote its mobile products this month (at least it says in the article that "MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture."). This article can also be found in Wired Magazine and its original publication source.

Based on early numbers, Microsoft's product is failing to sell and its managers are leaving. As phonesreview.co.uk put it: "Microsoft KIN Phones Prices Slash Coming Due to Poor Sales?"

“As for Apple's hypePhone, it's not even doing the basics like multitasking.”This is also covered in Electronista, which writes: "Price drops on hot-selling smartphones like the Motorola Droid have exacerbated problems by leaving no true up-front price advantage." As we pointed out last week, these Microsoft discounts are a sign of early defeat. "KIN" is doing pretty badly [1, 2, 3, 4] and all that Microsoft can do now is spread FUD against its competition. As for Apple's hypePhone, it's not even doing the basics like multitasking. Apple is very worried about Google (Linux phones and tablets with Android in particular), as we'll show later today. eWEEK gives "10 Reasons Why Android Is Making Google the Next Apple" and other news sites offer the illusion of just 3 players, with Google playing for "Open" or "Linux" (Android/Chrome OS).

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