Blowin’ in the Fan (with apologies to Bob Dylan)

How many tablet PCs must be built
Before people get that they’re wrong?
How many demos must Microsoft give
Propped up by their own dance and song?
And after a decade of failure in this
Do they know that we won’t tag along?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the fan
The answer is blowin’ in the fan.

How many years can an OS exist
Before its best days have gone by?
How many new paradigms can be shown
That much better methods apply?
And how many times to the well will they go
Before seeing it’s finally run dry?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the fan
The answer is blowin’ in the fan.

How many vendors were pulled on a chain
Building tablets unfriendly to hands?
How many failures and misguided tries
Were continued according to plans?
And when will they get the futility of
Shoehorning PCs into cans?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the fan
The answer is blowin’ in the fan.

(Inspired by this tidbit about a prototype Windows 8 tablet.)

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Google and Motorola’s Patents [UPDATED]

The problem, of course, is that if Motorola had a savior set of patents, it wouldn’t have been one of the first targets of Microsoft. And if Motorola’s patent portfolio were really that dangerous, Apple would have settled quickly, not dragged out patent countersuits of its own. Apple settled with Nokia pretty quickly…

Everyone’s talking about the number of patents (17,000, with more in review), but not about what they cover. I suspect few of Motorola’s patents relate to modern smartphone technology or UI because Motorola hasn’t been making them for long, and they use Android.

If Motorola’s patents haven’t worried Microsoft or Apple up to now, it doesn’t change much that they’re now in Google’s possession.

[UPDATE:] This post today re-iterates my point: 

Motorola Mobility’s portfolio has failed to deter, and it has so far failed to make any meaningful headway in litigation. Motorola Mobility is on the losing track against the very two companies Google says those patents will provide protection from.

Microsoft Mobile Still Can’t Fit Text To Screen

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Some interesting detail from Engadget on early WP7 units. I see Microsoft’s still lopping off the “e”. You’d think after a year this would be fixed by now.

Now don’t get all bent out of shape. Honesty, it seems too early to judge WP7 because it’s not ready for prime time—opinions are all over the map. I just thought I’d point this Zune-ism out for some fun.

The Kin: Poor Sales? Seems to me this was all Microsoft.

It seems that after doing some initial work on these phones based around Danger’s proprietary Sidekick OS, Andy Lees — the SVP of Microsoft’s mobile division — instructed everyone to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the OS based on Windows CE. It appears the company didn’t want a project that wasn’t directly connected to its Windows kernel. This move allegedly set the release of the devices back 18 months, during which time Redmond’s carrier partner [Verizon] became increasingly frustrated with the delays. Apparently when it came time to actually bring the Kins to market, Big Red had soured on the deal altogether and was no longer planning to offer the bargain-basement pricing deals it first had tendered. The rest, as they say, is history — though we don’t think even great prices could have accounted for what was fundamentally a flawed product.

No company with a serious strategy and belief in a product kills it just seven weeks after launch, no matter how poorly it initially sells. A smart company might hold the line a little longer, spin a press release, or maybe tweak their strategy.

But this was Microsoft:

  • It’s just like Microsoft to decide the Kin must be Windows-based, and ignore the IP they’d bought in Danger.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to not understand an 18-month delay is poison in the mobile market. This isn’t Windows or Office, where customers feel there’s nowhere else to go.
  • It’s just like Microsoft for various teams to pull in different directions; even now there’s only talk of unifying their mobile efforts.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to write off tens of millions of dollars spent on the project so quickly because, well, they figure they can afford it.

This product should never have been released. It’s clear many in power were ready to kill it—at a moment’s notice and with little reason—without even the appearance of trying to make a go of it. Yet for all those who could agree to kill it so soon after launch, they hadn’t the guts (or sense, take your pick) to kill it beforehand. 

On top of that, Microsoft angered Verizon, the US carrier with no love for Apple since they can’t sell the iPhone. A decent Windows Phone 7 on Verizon might have made a good team against the iPhone/AT&T, but instead they’re barely speaking, with Microsoft saying they’re releasing WP7 phones on GSM first. 

The Microsoft Kin should have been another Palm Foleo, an idea that got too far internally, but cooler heads prevailed and avoided the embarrassment of a launch. Sure, Palm was kicked around a little for announcing a product they didn’t deliver, but it’s nothing compared to the critique Microsoft deserves for wasting years of time, resources, and money for a seven-week stint to prove they’re still clueless in the mobile sector.

Adobe Soon is Adobe’s most popular mobile product

Adobe’s newest Flash Player 10.1 will soon be available on Google’s Android “Froyo” 2.2 operating system for smartphones and other devices, and Adobe’s Murarka said other smartphones would soon support Flash.

“You’re going to see Flash not only on Android. Consumers will see devices from Palm, Research in Motion Ltd’s Blackberry, Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 support the full Flash Player,” Murarka said.

Emphasis mine. It’s always “soon” with these guys.