They say that money Can't buy love in this world
But it'll get you a half-pound of cocaine
And a sixteen-year old girl
And a great big long limousine
On a hot September night
Now that may not be love ...
But it's all right!
-- Randy Newman, It's Money That I Love! (1979)
On the 8th of February, your humble blogger received an email from "Nokia" ... Or at least it claimed to be from Nokia ... But since it actually came from zencphosting17.zen.co.uk with munged headers purporting to have originated from a Nokia domain, including a Subject header: "This medicine is for my penis just what the doctor ordered!", and in the email body, a promise that the offerings of a certain URL would "surprise my wife" ... It seemed highly unlikely that the email really had come from any official channels within Nokia.
Ok, but more seriously dear reader, it is obvious that some inventive little spammer may have roped yet another Microsoft zombie into his stable in the UK, and he either has a sense of humour, or doesn't actually realise that Nokia is about to run off and elope with "The Big Softie" (Microsoft), who at this moment, is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the blushing bride (Nokia) on the steps of the "chapel of love" ... Somewhere in Reno.
And as to whether (or not) the hopeful groom will need pharmaceutical assistance in order to consummate this unholy union ... Is somewhere your humble blogger would rather not go ... Even metaphorically.
Of course, if Microsoft is genuine (and they seem to give the impression that they are) about making their mobile platform a contender that consumers will take seriously, then there is an urgent need for them to address the issue of their share of the overall mobile market, which has been declining steadily for the last five years.
The reasons for Microsoft's poor performance are many and varied and a topic about which your blogger has proffered his humble opinions in the past. For the time being however, this deal would seem to address those issues ... With a vengeance! ... Giving Windows Phone Seven a much needed leg-up into the big league of the top mobile platforms ... Rubbing shoulders with the likes of SymbianOS, Android and iOSX!
Nokia, still (arguably) the leading manufacturer of mobile phones, will bring to this union an established manufacturing process, a global distribution chain and a wealth of experience. Microsoft, on the other hand, brings a huge bundle of cash!
Whether or not the deal will assure that Windows Phone Seven gains and maintains a prominent position in the mobile market for more than a few quarters will become apparent in the fullness of time. And it is this question which has set the Internet abuzz with chatter ... Will these two ugly parents, with the help of Big Softie's money create a beautiful child? Or is this just a case of the desperate and the dateless getting together as a last resort?
Nevertheless, many of the official pronouncements about the upcoming tech conjugation are right on the money, if you will pardon the pun, dear reader. The new Winokia platform really will provide a third alternative and consumers should benefit from the contest that results. And for once we will be able to evaluate open source and proprietary products playing on a more or less level playing field. It is a competition which your blogger, for one, will be watching with keen interest.
Over the past decade, the Windows brand has proved lack-lustre for mobile products. Some of the points of interest to watch will be the marketing campaign that is run for Windows Phone Seven ... Will it emphasise the Microsoft/Windows brand or the Nokia brand? ... Or both? ... Or Neither?
And many of us will be watching to see whether this new collaboration arrests Nokia's decline. The general consensus seems to be that it won't. Nokia was caught between a rock and hard place ... From their point of view they could choose to become a mere OEM manufacturer for Google, or a mere OEM manufacturer for Microsoft ... So they entered a bidding war between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft, by far the more desperate bidder, has put the most money on the table.
The money is good for Nokia, in the short-term. How it plays in the long term remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, on the search engine front things don't seem to be improving much for Microsoft.
Back in 2009, when news of Microsoft's new search engine first broke, your humble blogger took Bing for a test drive, like so many netizens when this much-hyped new product erupted on the scene with a huge mainstream media advertising blitz ... Your humble blogger observed at the time that Bing seemed to be similar to Google, except that it was a few seconds slower in client response times and about a day or so slower in getting the same search results. The striking similarity to Google and the time delay has been observed and commented on by many pundits. And eventually Google themselves began to think that the similarities, especially the predictive typing suggestions were just too similar for it to be entirely a coincidence. So Google embedded subtle and weird little errors in their algorithms --- And later the very same weird little errors cropped up in Bing.
This was an Ah-Ha! moment for Google and should have been an Oops moment for Microsoft. Google claimed it was a smoking gun ... While Bing claimed it was just smart programming, making use of the data from their user base to make their own search results better.
This has ignited a few little fires in the Internet search community. There are questions about cheating and questions about privacy. After all Microsoft are using their operating system and their browser to gather information from the data that users enter into their Microsoft computers! Which might be construed as copying and/or snooping!
Although it must be admitted, it is obvious that Google and Facebook both gather information from their user base! So, as the Bing camp proclaim ... Why shouldn't Microsoft leverage the one advantage they do have, and harvest data from their own user-base?
But amongst all the accusations and counter-accusations one important point is being over-looked. If Microsoft have spent a considerable amount of time and money secretly developing software that is capable of harvesting key-strokes from the client-side combo of Internet Explorer and Windows, so that Microsoft can peek at Google's results ... Quite a remarkable feat of software engineering when one considers Microsoft software train-wrecks like Vista and Windows 95 ... Then your blogger can't resist wondering ... If some of that time, effort, research (and money) had been spent on improving user online security, and monitoring interactions with malicious software ... Then maybe, just maybe ... The multitude of Microsoft Internet security problems might diminish somewhat?
Alas, it seems that although Microsoft have lots of time and money to spend on their pursuit of Google's search results, Internet security, as they keep reminding their mostly mute, long suffering, much-abused, user-base, is the responsibility of the individual user! ... Unless, that is, government's can be persuaded to mandate that it is really the responsibility of ISPs to fix Microsoft's broken security model.
Ahh dear reader, if only Microsoft would spend on security, a fraction of what they spend on their futile attempts to catch Google, something might be done about the appalling global security problems posed by Outlook email vulnerabilities, compromised USB devices, Microsoft zombies and the spammers, scammers and online criminals who employ them. Such a campaign might make a start on repairing the serious damage security vulnerabilities are doing to Microsoft's already tarnished reputation ... And if such a security initiative was successful, miscreants such as the Nokia spammer from zen.co.uk, who initiated your blogger's contemplation of such matters, would then have to find other vectors for their stupid and annoying messages ... And so, your blogger would have to find another topic, about which to offer his humble opinions.
For the time being, there should be lots of material for your blogger ... Because in his humble opinion it is unlikely that Microsoft, like your blogger would partake in the dish of "humble pie" and start to show a little care and tactical consideration for their customers! Not when there so many bigger and more important strategic fish for them to fry!