CyberTech Rambler

October 24, 2011

Microsoft Mobile Strategy Rant

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 5:47 pm

Brian Proffitt’s latest post on Microsoft mobile competition litigation strategy reminded me that I had meant to write something about Larry Page’s widely quoted comments when asked about Microsoft’s attack on Android during its last earning call.

Before that, let me just says that I fully expects Microsoft managed to signed up all 100% of OXM where X is a placeholder for any alphabet you can think off, but ‘E’ and ‘D’ are the two letters that most people will think of. The patent looks to me to cover everything under the sun (or mobile device domain) that the part focused on Android is probably not as significant as Microsoft is making a fanfare out. Headline figure might be, say 10 dollars, per Android phone. However, it is possible that nine dollar and 99 cents cover everything that is not the operating system, e.g. mail software, designs etc. While it is true that paying 1 cent is still paying extortion money, but frankly, there are more important thing to do than to argue over 1 cent.

What is more interesting is how Larry Page responded to the questions about Microsoft assault on Android. Everyone know it is heavily scripted and a lot of people spent a lot of time crafting the words that came out from Page’s mouth.

The comment that it is “kind of odd” that Microsoft is hassling its own customers strike me as a double-edge comment. Even if one accepts Page’s comment that Microsoft is actually “hassling” its customers, I don’t find that behaviour “kind of odd”. Everyone get cold calls, complain about not being properly license and attempts to sell more software from one’s own suppliers every day. So the “hassling” is part of the cost of doing business nor is it “kind of odd”. However, from the PR view point it plucks the heart string really well.

What is most interesting is Page commenting that he suspects “Android manufacturers are making good deals for themselves”. That could be inflammatory to Google’s customers if he got it wrong. Knowing that this sentence had been carefully researched and scripted, I am pretty sure the majority of Android manufacturers will grudgingly agree to the statement.

Steve Jobs biographer strongly suggest that Apple’s litigation against Samsung is because Jobs is really unhappy with Samsung. This strike a cord with me because it is a bit out of character for Apple to pursue Samsung so forcefully. Galaxy Tab may be great, but it is not an iPad, nowhere close. If he is right, with the sad passing of Jobs we will see that litigation front running out of steam slowly. So only time will tell whether the lawsuit is simply one man’s vendetta.

With Microsoft, I still believe that it is simply a strategy to smear Android until it can come out with a phone operating system that can compete with it. Again, only time can prove this. Obviously Microsoft thinks that it has more to gain this way overall than the normal approach. Unfortunately, it dare not grab the bull by its horn so it is trying to dance around the bull.They might think they are dancing  skillfully like a Matador. I think in the long run it will prove to be like running of the bull.


October 13, 2011

Finally we can draw a line under the Gizmodo iPhone 4 affair

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:13 pm

Well, two final acts in the saga: First, Gizmodo will not be prosecuted. Second, although the two persons who sold the iPhone4 to Gizmodo is guity of the crime, they got off lightly since there is no jail time and the fact that the fine imposed on them won’t even crawl back the money Gizmodo paid them.

One thing: The prosecutor is bitter over the whole affair. There is no need for him to mention the bad blood between Gizmodo and Apple, but he had chosen to mention it. In my opinion the law (which include the prosecutor) is caught between a rock and a hard place. They were the one whose outcome is definitely not what they would want whichever way they choose the play it. The other parties, i.e. Apple, Gizmodo and the two persons, got what they wanted.

Another pioneer lost to the world: Dennis Ritchie

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:16 pm

He is less famous than Steve Jobs, and his passing was not as well noted  by mainstream media as Steve Jobs. However, it is safe to say that Dennis Ritchie’s contribution to the world of computing and technology in many ways dwarf that of Steve Jobs. It is sad that we lose both men in such quick succession. Please, we don’t want a third anytime soon.

October 6, 2011

Farewall, Mr Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 10:17 am

In case you miss it, Steve Jobs had completed his current existance in the Samsara cycle.

A lot of more eloquent writers had spilled digital inks on him. I won’t humilate myself by trying to join them, except to say that he contributed so much to the field of computing that only a few contemporaries of him can match. he will be missed by all, friends and foes alike.

I wish him well in his next jati.

October 5, 2011

Yesterday’s new IPhone is a bit of a disappointment

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 4:06 pm

Granted, Apple called it iPhone 4S rather than iPhone 5. This, as iPhone3 GS is to iPhone 3, is Apple’s way of saying there is no big change. However, compared to iPhone 3 to 3GS upgrade, there is practically nothing that says it is worth the asking price when compared to the discounted iPhone 4.

Only significant change is the Half Definition camera (720p) becomes a High Definition camera (1080p). That looks like the distinguishing feature from iPhone4.  Pay the premium just for a camera upgrade? No. Especially that upgrade looks to me like a catch-up rather than something groundbreaking.

Siri, the new voice-based assistant, it is a very difficult software to get working correctly for everyone. One have to wait and see. I am worried  it might be Face recognition in iPhoto for me, i.e., not working well. [As I recalled correctly even Steve Jobs had problems during the demo.] Therefore I has to exclude it from consideration. Furthermore, since it looks like Siri is exclusive to iPhone 4S, it looks like Apple is simply trying too hard to make 4S stands out from 4. Sorry, but it does not work.

iPhone 5 in early 2012. They better, if only  to keep their market lead.

Yes, the antenna is redesigned. Apple already said there is no fault in iPhone 4 antenna design. In other words, users hold it wrongly. Therefore it is not surprising that it is not going to pay much attention to  the redesign of the antenna. From the pictures, the antenna cage looks like it has four notches (top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right) and left/right symmetry. Compare it with iPhone 4 which where there is only three notches (top, bottom left and bottom right). From engineering point of view, with external antenna, when you hold it, you change the impedance of the antenna and that is going to change your signal reception. The engineering trick is to either (1) make your hand part of the antenna design such that your grip will actually alter the impedance of the antenna to your advantage, i.e., enhancing the reception [difficult] or (2) to make sure whichever way you choose to hold it, you do not change the impedance so badly that your signal drop is going to be too bad [easier]. The unfortunate problem with iPhone 4’s antenna is if you cover the bottom left notch, you alter the impedance of the antenna in an extremely detrimental way to your signal reception. The good news is even a slight alteration of the antenna design, e.g., changing the length of the antenna by a bit can do a lot to improve the reception so an extra notch might make the different. I think it is possible that we have a more-than-two-pieces design here. Whatever the case, the left/right symmetry suggests to me that antenna designer took left/right handedness into account. May be, just may be, he is making a statement with the symmetry.

All in all, with iPhone 4S, I think Apple just left the door ajar for its competition to catch up and overtake it. 15 months passed and this is all Apple can muster? No wonder Apple’s share dropped after the announcement. Apple may simply be a victim of events which includes Steve Job’s illness, management transition to Tim Cook and the Japanese Earthquake. However, that won’t stop its competition from dethroning it.

I am not in a charitable mood today, so I am going to say that I finally understood why Apple felt the need to sue the competition over patents: It knows that iPhone 4S is not as groundbreaking as the market need it to be to justify the Apple premium. Therefore, just like Microsoft, it chooses to use patents to put obstacles in the way of the competition to show them down.

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