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.

Mac OSX, Linux, Windows, and the Enterprise

Windows 7 is coming out. Linux has a fwe new offerings including Ubuntu 9.04, Red Hat, and Suse. Mac has Snow Leopard due out soon. Many choices, yet some work well in the enterprise, and some don’t. Why not, and how can some of these become better for the enterprise? Lets take a look.

Mac’s are probably the worst offender for not playing nice in the enterprise, especially for a SBS office. Mac’s would be a perfect fit for SBS if the software that most SBS offices use was made for Mac. Costs of Mac’s is also prohibitive for an SBS environment, not to mention the more difficult time of setup and connectivity for Mac’s to an SBS server. Mac’s just work, but that is really only true in a consumer environment. while Mac’s are great for video and audio work, Linux and Windows have gotten better at being able to handle this stuff, and could eventually chip away at Mac’s stronghold here.

Linux in the enterprise is a great hing, but it tends to be back end mostly. Yes the desktop is becoming more and more user friendly, but unfortunately one of the biggest barriers in the Linux Community. They tend to look down at non-technical people, and when someone is starting to learn, there is a lot of snark that gets received that can turn people off to Linux. Compatibility with Windows programs has gotten much better, and there is a lot of software available for Linux. Major Software vendors still are not producing their software en mass for it, but with adoption of Linux as a desktop environment, it would happen much easier than with Mac’s due to the open source nature of Linux. The other problem with Linux is the multiple versions out there and the fact that there is tweaking at times needed for each version.

Windows is the de facto champion in the enterprise. The whole small business offering, the fact that they make both front and back end with single management tools, and that most people are familiar with the OS will keep Windows in this position for a while still. Unless a killer app comes out for Linux or Mac, Windows only has to worry about the long term and not the short term. Can the others chip away at Windows domination of the enterprise? Yes, but to overtake Windows is decades still to come without a killer, must have app that is only available on Mac or Linux.

Licensing… WTF!

So I’ve been working on a project at the office which is more annoying than anything I’ve ever done. I am going through licensing and see what we have, where we need to update, and what is what. The problem is twofold. First, the prior people never kept good documentation, so finding the actually pieces of paper with the licenses on them, or going to eOpen to check on what we have is nigh impossible. Heck, no one even knows what the eOpen username and password are for our licenses. This is a pain mostly because you need to create a Windows Live ID to use eOpen, and every time I try to do it with an actual e-mail address for the company itself, it fails, thereby forcing me to have to create a Hotmail account.

Second, there is no good piece of software to give you an accurate count of licenses installed. I know there is the license logging service on the servers, but it is not always accurate, I have to check it on each server individually, and to top it all off, it won’t show Exchange 2007 licenses, which I did find paperwork for.

Now if companies like Microsoft want people to stay in compliance with licensing, why don’t they make it easier to do an internal audit, so we can find where we are deficient, and then go through the process of ordering what is needed? Am I crazy to be asking for something like that, or is it just a matter of them wanting us to be out of compliance without knowing, so that we can get in trouble? I think that would be called entrapment in the legal field, but I could be wrong.