Bonum Certa Men Certa

Zune and Windows Mobile Are Going Away

Summary: Repeated failures of Microsoft in the area of portables are mentioned even by the Microsoft reporters; we bring together the pertinent facts

WITH Zune and Mobile, Microsoft has attempted to enter gadgets (largely dominated by operating systems like GNU/Linux), but Microsoft failed miserably in both ventures and there is no obvious path to recovery. Last week we saw Jeremy Allison warning [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] that Microsoft will use patents against Linux specifically because of Linux domination in these areas where Microsoft is dying. He talked about embedded and devices, where people rarely think about the underlying operating system. It is important to pay attention to this because GNU/Linux has an extremely high market share outside the area that's desktop (where GNU/Linux is doing only decently).



One of our readers wrote a whole post about this over at OpenBytes. The last sentence quoted is probably most relevant as it addresses patents as a last resort.

Theres been some rather poor press reported by some and I whilst the some reports written about at the time, I have the luxury of being able to look back at them now the dust is settled (a little).

We will start off with the IE exploit that was widely reported by many outlets coming into the new year. Microsoft though in true fashion had this to say:

Customers should also upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 8, which provides improved security and privacy protections, as well as sign up for Microsoft Update and enable the Automatic Update functionality. This will enable automatic installation of all applicable updates this month and help to make customer systems more secure.
[...]

A comment said by myself many times last year was that Microsoft is fighting a war on too many fronts and not only failing to conquer those but at the same time loosing its grip on its traditional products which are being challenged by alternatives. Alternatives that have been quietly improving their products while Microsoft tries to take on the planet. We see this with IE. We see the moving away from Windows (whatever figure you want to put on it) and other traditional MS products.

So 2010 will be the year of the alternative? I think its now the mainstream user is realizing that which so many people have already found out, it doesn’t need to be Microsoft. It matters not if you are an Apple user, Linux, BSD or anything else, a more diverse IT world will be better for the end-user as everyone ups their game to compete for your custom/usage.

I wonder though if Microsoft will, instead of challenging with great software, dig into its patent portfolio and challenge with that instead. Its often thought by many that the Microsoft ethos of “do it our way or not at all” is one of the dangers that Microsoft poses to alternatives, be it Linux, be it in the form Mono or anything else.


There are interesting comments in there too. Separately, says the author: 'So I am now accused of "anger" and regarding an MS employee as the enemy? Where do I say that? I think an article an quotes from polite.....] conversations with MS employee's is in order. I wonder why this employee thinks they are any different? [...] What I don't like is being ignored. All they had to do was say "refer your points/q's to MS directly" [...] As much as I would like to wait and see if I do indeed get an apology or retraction from the MS staff member, I have to go to bed. It's late'

Well, Microsoft is just a group of people, so there is nothing funny going on here. Companies are not an organism, just the joining of many individuals.

Zune has already suffered long downtimes (and prior to that an embarrassing suspension). Here comes another one. Mary Jo Foley reports:

Microsoft is taking its Zune services down for maintenance Monday night, January 25, at 10 p.m. PT for approximately 24 hours. During that period, no content will be rentable or purchasable.


Why would 24 hours of downtime ever be required? Well, it could be worse given that a one-month Microsoft downtime was reported earlier this month. Things are breaking apart. Mary Jo Foley also writes about the pulling of the Windows Mobile 6.5 SDK. It is a really bad operating system and Microsoft won't tell how to fix it. There are talks and speculations (from Foley's colleague at The Register) about Microsoft merging Mobile with another client division (Windows), but Vista 7 is just too bloated and buggy. We have discussed this in IRC, starting here (yesterday's log).

“Microsoft can hardly fit Office into standard PCs now.”Microsoft does not expect to fit Vista 7 into phones, does it? Microsoft can hardly fit Office into standard PCs now. According to this new report from The Register, next version of Office may require new PCs because it's heavy and because Microsoft adopts a one-size-fits-all mentality.

In conclusion, Microsoft's business when it comes to gadgets is in a chaotic state (as the recent departure of Enrique Rodriguez ought to show [1, 2]). Will Microsoft gadgets go in the amnesty bin any time soon? Will Microsoft sue even more Linux gadgets like TomTom, using software patents? Either way, these are signs of a company dying.

Amnesty bin
From fimoculous

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