Microsoft Rumored to End Silverlight

From Mary-Jo Foley’s All About Microsoft blog:

Several of my customer and partner contacts have told me they have heard from their own Microsoft sources over the past couple of weeks that Silverlight 5 is the last version of Silverlight that Microsoft will release. They said they are unsure whether there will be any service packs for it, and they are also not clear on how long Silverlight 5 will be supported by Microsoft.

Considering Silverlight was Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash, this should come as no surprise. With Flash not able to gain solid traction in the mobile space, and Microsoft throwing support behind HTML5, keeping Silverlight around makes little sense.

Google Lawyer Discusses Patent System

The SF Gate—the online home of the San Francisco Chronicle—interviewed Tim Porter, Google’s patent counsel, on his perspective of the current patent system. Written in Q&A style, the article tackles topics including the patent system, Android, Apple, Microsoft and whether he thinks software patents make sense.

The article really focuses on Microsoft more than any other competitor. When pressed about Microsoft’s recent tactic to pressure Android partners into signing lucrative license agreements, Tim responded:

Unfortunately, the way it works is you don’t know what patents cover until courts declare that in litigation. What that means is people have to make decisions about whether to fight or whether to reach agreements.

This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past, with Linux, for example. When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they’ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies’ products.

It’s an interesting read on what Google’s legal team is currently facing, and their perspective on today’s patent system.

The Uphill Battle of Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5

David Pogue, of the new York Times, has posted his perspective on the newest release of Microsoft’s phone OS, Windows Phone 7.5. He wastes no time discussing its newest features, as well as how Microsoft’s design philosophy is anything but a copy of the iPhone. Even with all the great new features and differentiators, I believe the following two sentences summarize Windows Phone the best:

Now, if this phone had arrived before the iPhone, people would have been sacrificing small animals to it.

But Microsoft’s three-year lag behind its rivals is going to be very tough to overcome.

I feel time is only one aspect working against Microsoft. Apple’s entry into the phone market forced the existing giants to change. No longer could they sit back and offer incremental updates. The iPhone became the new standard and everyone was playing catch-up. Whereas Android did its best to copy the better features of iPhone, Microsoft took a big risk and created something new. Even with the great Windows Phone experience, Microsoft is forced to battle a different beast: its damaged brand. Windows Mobile has left a bad taste in many mouths, and with Android and iPhone offereing experiences that are good enough, what incentive does Microsoft offer to bring users back?

Windows 8 “SecureBoot” Lockout a Non-Issue at Dell and HP

Just a few days back, I wrote how Windows 8 “SecureBoot” could lock out non-Windows operating systems, and how Linux advocates were voicing their concerns. Have no fear, Ed Bott of ZDNet has posted an article outlining how Dell and HP plan to handle this issue:

In an e-mail exchange and a follow-up phone conversation, a Dell spokesperson told me, “Dell has plans to make SecureBoot an enable/disable option in BIOS setup.”


I also contacted HP’s PC division, where a spokesperson had to scramble to find anyone within the organization who was even familiar with the issue.


The spokesperson confirmed for me that HP has no plans to participate in any conspiracy against a non-Windows OS: “HP will continue to offer its customers a choice of operating systems. We are working with industry partners to evaluate the options that will best serve our customers.”

The fact that HP had to scramble to find “anyone within the organization who was even familiar with the issue” is disconcerting. While I appreciate Ed doing the research, it was hard getting past his blatant smarmy delivery.

Windows 8 “Secure Boot” a Threat to Competition

Do you enjoy booting multiple operating systems—including non-Windows variants—on your computer? According to Red Hat, Canonical and the Linux Foundation, Microsoft’s latest OEM requirement to qualify for the “Designed for Windows 8” logo may prevent you from doing so. From ars technica:

Windows 8 computers that ship with UEFI secure booting enabled could make the task of replacing Windows with Linux or dual-booting the two operating systems more difficult. In order to get a “Designed for Windows 8” logo, PCs must ship with secure boot enabled, preventing the booting of operating systems that aren’t signed by a trusted Certificate Authority.

One option is to give the users the ability to disable the secure boot feature, which seems like common sense. Another option is to create an independent certificate authority:

The Linux Foundation further supports the establishment of an independent certificate authority to issue keys to third-party hardware and software vendors, presumably allowing Linux-based operating systems to be installed and still gain the security benefits of UEFI secure boot. (The Free Software Foundation has also weighed in with a petition directed at hardware vendors.)

This issue is not just limited to Linux user. Haiku is another non-Windows desktop operating system that could also be negatively affected by this implementation. While some may recommend building your own computer, this does not provide a realistic solution to laptop users.

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