Microsoft


I probably learned more useful things from working as a lowly assistant for an expert witness in US v AT&T, than from my formal education. So I was all agog when the next big anti-trust case came up, US v Microsoft. But that was also when I began to realize the need rethink of the core concepts. This article in Medium (I hope it will not be paywalled) makes an insightful comparison between the tying arguments that were central the Microsoft case and the loose claims of monopoly being bandied about in relation to Facebook now. While some of the questions and concerns echoed those the senators had two decades ago, Microsoft and Facebook’s situation could not be more different.
It’s a natural progression from big data to AI. Also from thinking about the broad social implications of big data to thinking about ethical issues of AI. So we’re happy that Microsoft is putting a focus on AI ethics. The formal relegation of the Windows franchise, said Michael Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, “has been a long time coming.” And such a transition, Mr.

White spaces, again

Posted by on July 11, 2017  /  0 Comments

It was in 2007 that we first wrote about white spaces. Ten years later, the talk continues. The technology is sometimes known as “super Wi-Fi” because it behaves like regular Wi-Fi but uses low-powered television channels to cover far greater distances than wireless hot spots. It is also more powerful than cellular service because the frequencies can penetrate concrete walls and other obstacles. Promoting the white-spaces technology could reap rewards for tech companies: The remaining 24.
It has been the common position of OECD member countries to oppose mandatory data localization. Data localization flies in the face of the logic of cloud computing. Microsoft has fought the US government on the issue in courts. Yet, when Canada wants data localization, they acquiesce. In response to the mounting public concerns, leading technology companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google have established or committed to establish Canadian-based computer server facilities that can offer localization of information.

Cloud ducks a bullet

Posted by on July 16, 2016  /  0 Comments

In 2012 we wrote about the dangers posed to cloud computing in our contribution to the 2013 UNCTAD Information Economy Report. When the lower court ruling mandating Microsoft to give the government access to data stored in Ireland came out in 2014, this is what we said. Now the Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Microsoft: On Thursday, Bradford L. Smith, Microsoft’s president, said the court’s ruling was a victory for digital privacy rights. He added that the adoption of cloud services by customers in some countries, especially in the public sector, had slowed as a result of the uncertainty around the privacy of their communications.
It’s been sometime since we wrote about cheap feature phones for the BoP. Around seven years, if my search does not mislead. But here goes Microsoft. We wish them success. The company billed the €19 device as “the most affordable mobile phone with video and music player”.
Six years ago eyebrows were raised when Google announced the rollout of a transpacific undersea cable named “Unity”. Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, KDDI Corp., Pacnet and SingTel were members of Unity consortium. It was activated on April 1, 2010. Google wanted to bypass the cumbersome transcontinental supply chain of broadband, as Capacity Magazine highlights: Google’s mould-breaking intervention was motivated by what, as a customer, it saw as the unnecessary complexity and inflexibility of the traditional consortium model.
We flagged this as a critical issue in our contribution to the UNCTAD Information Economy Report, written before Snowden. Now the rubber is hitting the road and billions of revenue are at stake. The Snowden leaks and the view that American tech companies were too cooperative with the United States government have hurt the prospects for American tech companies abroad. Earlier estimates of potential lost sales over the next few years have ranged as high as $180 billion, or 25 percent of industry revenue, according to Forrester Research. To address those concerns, the companies are building more data centers abroad.

Nokia exits handset market

Posted by on September 3, 2013  /  2 Comments

I never thought I would write those words, but there it is. Just a few years ago, Nokia was lapping its competitors. Now it’s exiting. How evanescent is market leadership in ICTs? Beleaguered Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia will sell its mobile phone unit to US group Microsoft for 5.
I just returned from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a monster event with 70,000 plus attendees that puts the ITU Telecom World events to shame. No wonder ITU’s Hamadoun Toure was introduced at the Ministerial Program as being a good friend from GSMA’s sister organization. We talked policy, but the real game was the exhibition. NYT reports one of the more significant piece of news to emerge: The new handsets, which the company introduced at the Mobile World Congress industry trade show in Barcelona, reinforced Nokia’s strategy of aiming at the lowest-priced but fastest-growing segment of the market. The Nokia 105, the company’s new basic, entry-level phone, will sell for 15 euros, about $20.
After forking out the carriers’ revenue, Skype has launched a business solution for the small entrepreneurs. Skype in the workspace (SITW) will help small businesses to market their products and services and build stronger connections. “Given the number of small companies that use Skype as a communications tool and the number of people that use Skype — more than 280 million connected users per month — the company may be on to something,” said Heather Clancy in ZDnet. Companies can post invitations on SITW to potential customers and partners interested in learning more about their business via Skype sessions. “Users can also share their SITW actions on their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts,” according to PC World.
In the old days one needed supercomputers to analyze big data. American Express was the second largest customer for Cray after the NSA. Then you could do analysis on normal computer computers but with fancy software like T Cube. Now Microsoft plans on building these capabilities into Excel. Next year’s version of the Excel spreadsheet program, part of the Office suite of software, will be able to comb very large amounts of data.
Vertical integration has been a no-no. The advantages of specialization (sticking to one’s knitting) have been emphasized. And now, Microsoft moves into hardware. That, in turn, has limited their ability to take the kinds of risks on hardware innovation that have helped define the iPad. Furthermore, with the iPad, Apple has proved that there are significant advantages to designing hardware and software together.
The acquisition of Skype by Microsoft was a big story. So was Nokia’s tie-up with Microsoft. But now comes the question of how to realize the synergies. Good piece in the NYT. Stephen Elop, the chief executive of Nokia, a maker of Windows Phones, told an audience at a recent conference that “the feedback from operators is they don’t like Skype” because its cheap and free phone calls can steal revenue from traditional phone businesses.
For the thousands of young people in emerging Asia wanting to break into the apps market, perhaps an opportunity? But the hundreds of thousands of apps that run on Apple and Android devices will not work on phones like the Lumia 900 that use Microsoft’s Windows Phone software. And many developers are reluctant to funnel time and money into an app for what is still a small and unproved market. So Microsoft has come up with incentives, like plying developers with free phones and the promise of prime spots in its app store and in Windows Phone advertising. It is even going so far as to finance the development of Windows Phone versions of well-known apps — something that app makers estimate would otherwise cost them anywhere from $60,000 to $600,000, depending on the complexity of the app.
It was just a few weeks ago that reports said Asian markets had more or less saved the year for both Ericsson and Nokia. Yet the product launch focuses on Europe and US. Go figure. BTW, these handsets are LTE. Nokia’s chief executive, Stephen A.