Google could win at least the Mobile Consumer Space

If you look at Microsoft’s Project Natal, you know that Microsoft is trying to go after the rest of the family in the gaming space.  Once those people become comfortable playing games like raggedy dolls 😉 they’ll be comfortable using whatever entertainment or service Microsoft provides on the box.

It goes without saying that Microsoft is big in business and will likely continue to be but that focus may continue to be their undoing in other market segments – just look at Windows Mobile.  Take the consumer who is buying their first or next mobile device and just moving into social networking or electronic communications or those that currently have no brand loyalty.  Here, Google could gradually and quietly take over from Symbian, Apple and Microsoft.

Google Wave + Google Search + other Google applications on an Android-based phone, a mini running Android or even on any other low-cost device with a browser, could be a winning formula and all that any social networking consumer needs.

While Microsoft will dominate business, gaming and home entertainment, Google may well end up dominating most of the mobile consumer space (with a little work on the UI – and imagine if Google and Adobe got together…).

Microsoft needs to come out with a Windows Mobile device and fast – like this year.  It needs to be a .NET-based OS and have a flourishing and up-front application/music market place.  That means dismissing their hardware partners and bring out a cheap Zune phone (while extending Game Studio Express to be App Studio Express) – it’s painful to other but it’s the only real way for Microsoft not to lose this space altogether, and not to Apple, but to Google.


Microsoft’s Azure xRM Play is Important

Read this through and you’ll see how Microsoft could be enabling a LOB platform in the cloud for ISVs.  Beware however, that this could also be a research asset for Microsoft to bolster it’s own CRM and other offerings and potentially take out, devalue or acquire (for a lucky few) a few LOB app ISVs like it is or is not (depending on your point of view) with application hosting partners.

Microsoft’s Cunning Plan to Get IE on Windows 7 in Europe – Part 2

So yesterday I explained how Microsoft’s plan to effectively keep IE on Windows 7 by removing it from copies sold in Europe was really is a great plan for Microsoft (i.e. not much change) and not so good for enthusiasts.

Today Mary Jo Foley reports as follows:

EC regulators said in a statement that they found a lot to like in Microsoft’s plan to strip IE out of Windows 7 and subsequently allow PC makers to add back in Microsoft’s or a variety of third-party browsers. But they were unhappy with the way Microsoft was removing choice for customers who bought Windows 7 at retail, by providing them with no browser at all. The EC regulators added that they had not been considering requiring Microsoft to remove IE from Windows 7 as one of the potential remedies in the case.

That can’t have it both ways.  First it’s claims of Microsoft’s browser ‘in your face’ in an anti-trust way, and now it’s concern of no choice.  From Mary’s summary the EU regulators sounds like a flustered parent that scolds a child about not doing a chore, only to find that the child has invented some other way to achieve the same thing, but the parent has to save face and so tells them off for not doing it the way they wanted it to be done, even if the child’s way is sufficiently acceptable or better than the standards originally expected.  Ahhh -  the petulant genius of Microsoft.

Mary further reports that Opera officials said:

“We note with intereste that Microsoft now seems capable of separating IE from Windows [Total historical dig there]. However, we do not believe that Microsoft’s move will restore competition for desktop browsers. Most users get their operating systems from the OEM channel and Microsoft will recommend that OEMs pre-install IE8. As such, users are unlikely to be given a genuine choice of browsers. [Which is exactly what I said]

“We believe that the idea of a ‘ballot screen’ is better [Do doubt – everyone likes free advertising]: when going online, users will be asked which browser(s) they prefer to use. The browser(s) of choice will the painlessly be installed and ready for use.”

Do they sound like sore winners? It sounds like Microsoft is likely doing what is required legally, but not want Opera officials want.  Could be too bad.

Microsoft’s people must be ROTFLTAO with arrogant back-patting glee 🙂 – they deserve to.

Microsoft’s Cunning Plan To Get IE On Windows 7 in Europe

It has apparently been revealed that Microsoft will not (directly) include IE with Windows 7 RTM in Europe.

This is clearly, on the surface at least, a plan to avoid litigation with EU authorities at the 11th hour towards Windows 7’s release.

This is different from making both Vista (inc. Media Player) and Vista N (no Media Player) available.  There will not be a version of Windows 7 with IE include available in Europe.

To be technically clear, Windows 7 will likely still have the underlying APIs available (I’m thinking WinInet, .NET framework, etc) to do Web interaction, but just no general-purpose web browser application for end users.  You can bet it will still do Windows/Microsoft updates for example and all other applications that talk to the Internet will still work (though any plain web-based help could have difficulties).  I bet the ActiveX IE web control is still in there. Will IE 8 be an optional install appearing in Windows Update perhaps? 😉

The real benefit/plan for Microsoft:

This is likely the best thing Microsoft could have done… for Microsoft (not necessarily the consumer and especially not the enthusiast), instead of for example confusing the poor user with a choice on power-up of one or more competing browsers to download (or have many install packages already bundled) and then install.

This way Microsoft can at least rely on a user’s expectation (from previous versions) that Windows should come with Internet Explorer.

In fact who are they fooling really – well the EU authorities most likely – because this critical initial choice (for the majority of innocent new computer buyers) now goes from the consumers to the computer OEMs if Microsoft is provided them with kits to bundle IE8.  Which major OEM is going to risk not putting at least Internet Explorer on their machines?  Also, if the OEM does it, there’s no browser choice window but there can be a default!  Which major OEM is not going to make Internet Explorer the default?

The likely end result – new machines in Europe go on sale with IE 8 bundled by the OEM as likely as the default browser.  Clever, isn’t it!

The competition moves from the consumer to the OEM and we know Microsoft’s… skills there.

The consumer really inconvenienced by this is the European user that installs a fresh copy of Windows 7 themselves.  However, a person towards the enthusiast end of the expertise scale will have no problem keep a copy of IE 8 handy.  I wonder what happens if you do an upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7?