Back on 7 August I suggested that Microsoft’s plan for its own tablet was a big mistake (A Microsoft-made tablet? Big mistake). I may have been wrong – but only if it is part of a completely new and wider strategy.
Let’s look at the Big 4: Apple, Google, Microsoft and The User.
Microsoft’s strategy is built on the predominance and continued dominance of the PC. Without the PC there is only a small Microsoft – and the PC is in decline, and possibly a terminal decline. Microsoft’s strategy is in decline.
Apple’s strategy is built around owning everything, both hardware and software – and charging an obscene price for that monopoly. So far it has worked very successfully; but if you listen to the undercurrents from The User there is growing User dismay over both the price of that monopoly, and the frequency with which loyal subjects are asked to dump existing product and buy new product. Apple’s strategy is at the apex, and the only way is down (with a slight delay when it dumps OS/X in favour of desktop iOS).
Google’s strategy is to base everything in the cloud, and to own the cloud. This makes distribution very, very cheap, and upgrades cheap, seamless and invisible to the User. Google is proving very, very successful in this strategy.
But what about The User? The User’s strategy is to demand everything now, preferably free (but at least very cheap), anywhere and anytime. Microsoft provides none of this. Apple provides some, but not much, of this. Google provides it all.
So on current strategies, Microsoft is doomed, Apple will decline while Google will grow and thrive. (Incidentally, Amazon seems to have seen the writing, and I rather suspect that all three will have to watch out for Amazon in a few years time.)
But what if Microsoft has also finally come to its senses? What if the Microsoft tablet is not just a one-off foray into hardware, but part of a completely new strategy aimed at combining Apple’s hardware/software monopoly approach with Google’s cloud efficiency?
There are growing rumours that Microsoft is about to switch from, say, 3-yearly Windows releases to yearly releases. This makes no sense whatsoever under the current strategy. Expecting users to buy a new operating system every year won’t wash. Unless…
Let’s say that the MS plan is not new operating systems delivered in box or on disk, but new downloads delivered from the cloud just as its current patches are delivered every second Tuesday of the month. This model would require something like an annual license for the OS rather than a fixed price for the box. If that license were around £25 per year (preferably less), few users could say that use of Windows for just £2 per month is excessive. Let’s now take that to the logical conclusion: Windows and Office both migrate to the cloud and are both upgraded or patched on a continuous basis, as and when required, and paid for on a low-cost rolling license.
So Microsoft’s new strategy could be to own both hardware and software – starting with its own tablet but moving into phones (perhaps by buying Nokia?) and desktops (perhaps by buying Dell or Acer, or even building new from scratch?) – in mimicry of Apple; and then maintaining its software in and distributing from the cloud in mimicry of Google. Such a strategy would combine the best of all possible worlds; and while it is by no means certain that Microsoft could do it, if successful it could reverse the decline of Microsoft.
Prejudice is the difference and depth between any point of view and our own. If someone agrees with us, that person is unprejudiced; if someone disagrees with us, that person is prejudiced – either against us personally or at least our point of view. The ‘difference’ is a measure of distance in argument; the ‘depth’ is a measure of entrenchment despite argument. To be truly prejudiced, someone must have a different view and be impervious to logical and compelling argument.
So, from my point of view, anyone who disagrees with me and refuses to listen to me is prejudiced (and requires educational redirection). To them, it is I who is prejudiced and requires re-educating – but that is just a measure of their prejudice. I make this point so that any person who reads this post and flatly refuses to agree with me can understand just how prejudiced he or she really is.
OK – so I came across this article in governing.com, written by Steve Towns. It starts:
Until cybersecurity standards are in place, security professionals worry that terrorists could shut down large swaths of the U.S. economy with the click of a mouse.
My hackles rise. Typical government-sponsored fear-mongering to get the people to accept loss of freedom to an increasingly authoritarian government in exchange for the fallacy of security.
The second paragraph continues
Dan Lohrmann has been in the information security business for the bulk of the past decade, and he’s scratching his head over the continued inability of Congress to enact nationwide cybersecurity protections.
I don’t know Mr Lohrmann, but I scratch my own head that any thinking person can be taken in by this government claptrap. So I need to know more about Mr Lohrmann. Enter LinkedIn. A quick search reveals
Since his career began as an [sic] computer systems analyst at the National Security Agency (NSA) in the 1980s, Daniel J. Lohrmann has been a recognized leader in addressing the importance of global computer networks and security.
NSA huh? Well that explains it all. Just another pro-government, un thinking, pre-packaged, prejudiced apologist.
But seriously, I beseech all citizens of the land of the free and the home of the brave to stop and ask, just how much of that freedom am I willing to give up for the promise of unquantified, un-guaranteed, undeliverable, vote-winning security?
Well, as you know, I got in a bit of a mess over my BT password. All sorted now.
One of the reasons for choosing BT was to avail myself of the 3 million free WiFi hotspots it offers (and yes, when available in the right place, it’s a very, very good service). But, oh, those passwords again. My new BT account password didn’t work with BT WiFi. Nor was my BT account username recognised by BT WiFi.
So I contacted support. Let’s not go into all those recorded messages advising you to check their website for a solution to your problem (which is, of course, that you cannot check their website). No matter. Persist. There is a human being at the end of the monologue. He may not be in the same country, and he is almost certainly difficult to understand – but he exists and is polite so long as you don’t venture off the hymn sheet.
Turns out I needed a BT email address which I didn’t have. It’s OK, he said, I’ll give you one now. Which he did. And your password, he said, is…
Whoa, I said. Couldn’t you mail it to me? No. What about email, and I’ll change it as soon as I get it? No. What about security, I asked? This is secure, he said. What about eavesdropping, I said? It’s not possible, he said. This is secure.
OK. He didn’t actually know he was talking to me over a VoIP phone which I had on speaker in a crowded – but quiet – room. But, well…
This, he said, is your secure password: paris123.
Umm. If you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because our local terrorist or his file-sharing brother sniffed the details and used my account before I changed my brand new secure password.