Microsoft’s Windows 8 Metro interface sure looks pretty with its tiled background but news that the operating system will require new APIs for applications that run in this new environment has at least some developers on edge. According to Microsoft applications in its new finger friendly operating system will have to be optimized for touch screen use to work within the Metro environment. A major part of Windows 8’s new look and feel and the software giant’s attempt to make it a viable tablet operating system are new full screen immersive applications. Windows 8 will include new APIs for developing these applications. Now having new APIs is not what’s spooking developers the issue is there have never been apps like this before on Windows so the old APIs won’t work. Windows developers have developed a lot of time, money and effort into the platform. Over the years they’ve learned Win32, COM, MFC, ATL, Visual Basic 6, .NET, WinForms, Silverlight and in Windows 7 WPF. All of these technologies at one time or another were needed to create desktop applications for Windows. With the exception of Visual Basic 6, all of them are still more or less supported on Windows today, and none of them can do it all; all except Visual Basic 6 and WinForms have a role to play in modern Windows development.
Frankly, whether or not Microsoft is investigated over Windows RT anti competitive behavior consumers in the mobile device business can vote with their wallets and have real choices. Remember, Microsoft has been a monopolist in the past and has attempted to use their monopoly position to illegally thwart competition. It’s one thing to want to outperform your competitor it’s another to want to kill it entirely. The good news for anyone but Microsoft is with the software giant facing real competition Windows 8 adoption remains flat. Few consumers are willing to upgrade their PCs to Windows 8 and to try and entice people the Redmond software giant is offering Windows 8 coupons to Windows 7 PC buyers to upgrade their computer for free. My biggest complaint with Microsoft has always been the Windows Tax that has to be paid even when buying a PC without Windows the good news is Microsoft can’t bully their way to dominance in the smartphone and tablet market.
Interesting it seems Facebook is going to make it harder to circumvent its filters with some of its new features. One feature change involves their notifications system which is now being designed to only show the “important updates” I discussed in previous posts first. Important updates as noted in the last post are those that are personally relevant but what if they think something is not personally relevant to you that is? So this is a change that really worries me. One of the biggest problems of the filter bubble is most users don’t know about it. One day we could wake up and all discover that filters are running things on the Internet and it already be too late to reverse the trend. So it is important to spread the word and educate others on the issue. Those of us who blog regardless of what blogging site your affiliated with concerned with the filter bubble phenomenon should if possible inform our readers about this problem. That is we should use our platforms to increase awareness among others about the filter bubble.
A previous post detailed some steps users could take to pop their filter bubbles but noted there was little they could actually do in doing so which is why Eli Pariser has been pushing for web companies to drop filters or program a set of ethics in them to make sure they also provide us not only with information they think is personally relevant for us but information that challenges or broadens our world view. In an ideal world users could opt-out of filters by choosing to not use Google+ or Facebook, deleting the Web History associated with their Google accounts that keeps track of their web searches, using social networks that respect their privacy more and don’t have filters like Twitter or the open source Diaspora. Should users choose to still use Google+ and Facebook even then they could turn off automatic personalization in their accounts. The problem is as most users are unaware of the filters how can they be expected to opt-out. Ideally users should have to opt-in to personalization if they want it so they’ll know about it. If personalization is automatically on and you have to opt-out but don’t know it how are you expected to opt-out.
Internet companies especially those rightly supporting Net Neutrality should worry about the potential of the job killing, competition and consumer choice reducing AT&T T Mobil merger. The merger which would likely result in higher prices would also give AT&T more market power and increased incentive to discriminate against innovators and users online. Nonetheless some technology companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, and Yahoo have unfortunately chosen to support the merger. Whether or not they are aware of the risks to the wireless market and chose to ignore them or naively chose to believe AT&T’s empty promises that if it wins approval for the deal it will expand mobile broadbnd access is unclear. One thing is certain though one web company Google is strangely silent on the issue of this merger.
Google which has been a longtime supporter of Network Neutrality at least up until last year when it reached a controversial deal with Verizon Wireless on a Network Neutrality framework exempting nondiscrimination requirements from wireless services has been silent on this telecommunications merger. Last year when they announced their pact with Verizon Wireless they were criticized by Facebook and a number of public interest groups and pro Net Neutrality activists.
On the issue of Microsoft’s support for the merger remember this is the same company taken to court by antitrust regulators in the US Department of Justice for trying to illegally monopolize the market for web browsing software. So Microsoft’s no champion of the Open Internet and their past history proves such. However, for Google a previous supporter of openness and nondiscrimination to have made that pact with Verizon Wireless was really outrageous. What’s more outrageous is their silence on the issue of the AT&T T Mobil and Qualcomm mergers as well as Facebook’s support of the merger.