Hypocrisy: Microsoft, Google, Silicon Valley and OEMs

The world of Technology is a fickle one. You can be a darling one minute and a hated evil empire the next.

There is a lot of talk going around on the technology websites. With all the announcements made recently there has to be. You have Microsoft’s Surface, Google’s Nexus 7, Apple’s new MacBook, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. As always there is much debate about what these things mean, not only to the world at large, but in terms of what a company is or is not. These opinions help shape the future of tech, and what company’s bottom lines will be. The problem is that those writing opinions are just that, opinions, but people take them as facts.

For instance, lets look at Microsoft and its reputation as an “Evil” empire. This thought, which started back in the 90’s, when Apple was on life support and when Microsoft was trying to outflank any competitor, mostly by using integration with less superior products. There was an Anti-Trust suit, Microsoft had to capitulate to oversight and allowing use of its APIs fairly. The tech world wanted Microsoft broken into multiple companies, like AT&T had been many years ago(and that turned out so well). Here we are now in an age where the world of technology is well more than just PCs. A world where overall, Microsoft is not that big of a player. Yes it still is the dominant PC operating system. The world of mobility though belongs to Apple and Google. The world of the internet belongs to Google and Facebook. Microsoft’s name and slips seem to measure bigger, get sounded louder, and last longer than any slip from any of these other companies.

Take a look at security and privacy. Microsoft has been working for years, and getting much better, at security. Third party applications, such as Flash and Java, have been the big holes into Microsoft systems recently. Yes there are still vulnerabilities found in Microsoft’s software, but the have gotten pretty responsive about patching those holes. Apple recently had the Flashback malware, which came through a Java exploit. A Java exploit which had a patch out from Oracle for 60 days before Apple decided to push it to the OSX machines out there. Apple has control over the updates that get pushed down to its devices. It doesn’t like playing with others. As a result, it has now changed its marketing about Macs and Malware, removing the idea that Mac’s do not get viruses from its marketing. There was a lot of talk about Apple’s problems with security, but overall it did not hurt Apple as a company. The average person didn’t even know about the whole deal. If it was Microsoft the whole world would have been down their throats and never forgotten.

For a second example of the hypocrisy in the world of technology, we can look at Tablets. Microsoft has announced it is making its own tablet called Surface. Most tech writers are pleased with this idea, but the OEMs are pissed. How dare Microsoft produce a tablet of its own. Yet when Google announced its own Tablet, the Nexus 7, these same OEMs had no issue with it. Apple produces the iPad, with utter control over it, and OEMs don’t complain. So why be up in arms over Microsoft? The issue at hand is that Microsoft has been burned by its partners on non-PC’s as of late (I won’t get into the whole HP PC stupidity). Think about it, Microsoft created a tablet type computer almost 10 years ago, besed on specific types of hardware, and the OEMs screwed it up, and overpriced it. Apple comes along with the iPad and its a revolution. Microsoft had the Windows CE phones (I had one and loved it back in the early 2000’s). The OS eventually got a bad rep as it became bloated, but when Microsoft fixed things with Windows 7 Phone were the OEMs ready to get back to producing items with it? No. For that matter, OEMs which have done the same thing with their support of Linux, claim to be supportive, and claim to be coming out with new products based on Microsoft technology, yet either come out with one item that is not pushed in the marketplace, or don’t ever come to market with the item. Now add on that Microsoft has its own store (like Apple), and you can understand why Microsoft would get into making a Tablet of its own.

The reality of it all is that people are letting certain things from the past cloud their judgement. They are not basing everything on the current facts only. Truth be told, Apple is a more controlling and “evil” empire because of its control than Microsoft is. Google has been shown to have a ton of privacy issues, as much if not more than Microsoft. Microsoft gets held to a higher standard because of their past and the Anti-Trust suit more than they should at this point. For technology to really grow right, we need to hold everyone to the same standards.

Tech-Ed 2012: Wishlist

Here I am a week away from Tech-Ed. I am going for my first time and I am a little bit nervous. Nerves aside, there are some key things I am looking forward to and things I am hoping for.

This year’s Tech-Ed is shaping up to be fantastic. At least for someone who has spent years convincing his company to send him to the premier tech event for Microsoft Technologies. I’ve used a number of different places such as Twitter and Linked in to get information on how to best manage my time and get into sessions while there. That said there are a few key sessions I am looking forward to. Most of them hit more on the security side of things, but there are also Powershell and Windows 8 sessions and hands on labs that I have marked on my schedule.

As far as the hopeful stuff goes, there is one big thing. That is getting some real time with a Windows 8 tablet. I have an iPad from the office, along with a Blackberry phone. I have a Droid phone as my personal phone (yes, I do believe in separation of work and personal devices). I have touched 2 Windows 7.5 phones, and have thought them alright, but have not had a chance to really learn them. That is mostly due to lack of need to learn them. On the other hand if the Windows 8 tablets on x64 architecture are what they say, it could be the perfect storm for Microsoft. The melding of the tablet into the office in an elegant fashion.

The one thing I hope they did fix, is the signing certificate installs. On Windows 7.5 installing a SBS self signed cert is a pain. Its Microsoft technologies not playing nice with each other, and that needs to be fixed, otherwise Exchange integration is a failure compared to the iPad and Android.

With all the vendors, Sessions and yes, parties (a group called #TheKrew and the Jam Session are the ones I want in on), the chances to not just network, but in this day of connectivity the chance to make friends is amazing. Tech-Ed should be a site to see, and I will be tweeting and Blogging from there, so stay tuned!

And one more thing…

Apple, a company you either love or hate. Its about as black and white as one can get. Now they really have a chance to make some good changes to their culture, but they won’t.

When Apple was founded, the computer world was a simpler place. Young people just wanted to be able to play, to work on these new machines. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created a company that fed into those dreams, helping define an era. Having an Apple II machine was hip, it was cool, and it was around $1000-$1500 to get one. Most of its competitors cost around the same, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. You could purchase or write your own programs, and do what you wanted to with the system.

Somewhere along the way, after Woz left, Apple’s vision started changing. They came out with the Macintosh which was an amazing little machine. A machine that started to really open the world of computers to more people. A machine that would redefine Apple. Who can forget the Orwellian Ad that they came up with for the Mac. Funny how prophetic that would be.

Steve Jobs always had a great mind for marketing and a brilliant mind for ideas. Some over the years would stick, some wouldn’t. He got removed for Apple, sold all but one of his shares, and eventually through the means of  mergers and acquisitions wound up back in charge of the company he had founded. He brought them back from the brink with a savvy set of ideas that pushed the envelope not in computing, but in consumer electronics.

Jobs also took the paranoia he got from his original ouster to an extreme. While Mac is a good, and solid system, and pretty easy to use, the helped create fallacies around it, from the level of its security to the ease of its use. He also locked the system down tighter than Fort Knox. Same with the iPhone and iPad. Locking down these systems not only gives Apple more control over the device and the data but creates a problem for consumers from a pricing standpoint. The lack of competition helped Apple become the 2nd largest company in the United States, only behind Exxon Mobile. It also gave Apple another item at its disposal, the lawsuit.

Apple is as much a company now that is anti-competitive as Microsoft was back in the 90’s. Its biggest rival is Google, who is just as closed minded and stupid about things as Apple is. Both companies claim to have the consumers best interests at heart. Apple looks at any competing product and immediately tries to find what it can sue over. This is not in the best interests of the consumer.

With Steve Jobs stepping away from the CEO position to Chairman of the Board, he still has a great influence over Apple, its products, its direction. Tim Cook could try to open things up, but won’t. The consumer friendly company that was the little engine that could is gone. They are a company that wants, like Google, to tell you how to do things. They don’t care about what you think. This is why they have been referred to as a cult over the years. Just like Scientology, Jonestown, the KKK and many others over the years, the ultimate goal is to control you and make you bend to their will.

Steve, thank you for all you have done to forward technology, but your controlling and paranoid thoughts, I won’t miss.