Short Takes: January 30, 2015

Short Takes: January 30, 2015

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

An often irreverent look at this week's other news. In this issue: New BlackBerry fails, Microsoft Bob 2015, an iPhone victory lap, IBM layoffs are real, a new Apple product launching in April, and a personal 'thank you.'

Sort of old, but definitely good

I just can't let this one go. This news comes from last week, but due to our last Short Takes episode serving up the Windows 10 event's pomp and pageantry, I skipped talking about it. But, it's just too good to let sit and the comedic value has driven me insane with distraction. Last week, Blackberry CEO, John Chen, launched a public whining session suggesting that Blackberry is failing because of apps. OK, that's partly true, but that's not the funny part. Chen goes one step further to explain why there are no apps for his product. His reason? Good old discrimination. His words:

If Apps — Like Netflix — Don’t Work On Our Platform, It’s Discrimination And Should Be Illegal... ... if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system.

I agree with part of this: Blackberry is failing.

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, repeat it

When Satya Nadella was handed the reins of Microsoft last year, he brought Bill Gates back to work on special projects. Whenever you see Bill Gates, you immediately think – Microsoft. It's hard to separate the two, despite Bill's efforts to distance himself over the years. Bill's a busy man, after all. In addition to his efforts to seek out and fix world problems through investments, he recently made public rounds promoting his water-from-poop investment, delivering an homage to Reddit, siding with Elon Musk on the growing evil AI controversy, and suggesting that speaking only a single language somehow makes you stupid. This is all well and good, (it's great to see Bill so active) but, you have to wonder what he's been doing for Microsoft.

Amid all those public appearances, we've now learned a little about those special projects. Granted, the guy can basically do anything he wants, but is turning his magic to the project of building a Personal Agent for Microsoft. For lack of better understanding, this is basically tech that turns all your devices into your own personal butler, able to remember and retrieve everything and help you become more efficient with your day. Revolutionary, right?

Uh, does anyone remember Microsoft Bob?

iPhone sets another revenue record

While many tech companies are struggling to gain a foothold in China, it seems Apple has found the path of least resistance, which led to a record quarter for the company. In the last three months of 2014, Apple reportedly sold 74.5 million iPhones. Part of that number is due directly from the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but consider this: revenue in China jumped 70% in a single year. During its own earnings report this week, Microsoft blamed geopolitical problems in China for lackluster performance in some areas of its quarterly statements.

Call it the iSilk Road, if you will.

Big Blue goes pink. No, it doesn't. Yes, it does.

Marshall, Will, and Holly just didn't belong in the prehistoric world in which they found themselves after a routine expedition that ended in a 1,000 foot plunge below. They spent 3 TV seasons and 43 episodes between 1974 and 1976 trying to get home – but, never got that chance due to cancellation. And, that sort of depicts IBM employees these days. The company that ruled business hardware technology in the 60's and 70's, and much of the 80's (some will argue it's been viable for longer than that, but I disagree), has been struggling to find its way in the modern world. Through acquisitions, reorganizations, and layoffs, the company has been trying feverishly to find some way to compete. The solution has been as elusive as the true age of the universe.

A couple weeks back, it was rumored that another massive IBM layoff would take place. 26 percent of its global workface would be whacked, which equates to some 100,000 employees. IBM denied the rumors, calling them 'ridiculous.' But, well, it's happening anyway.

One IBM employee said this on the [email protected] site:

Once again senior management is trying to 'fix' the company by terminating the very people who can fix it. It is time for a clean sweep in the executive offices and Board of Directors. It is time for a new direction, one that values employees.

And, another said this…

Watson nor Dickson nor analytics nor cloud is going to change the fortunes of this company.

Sounds like we have some modern-thinking employees stuck in an old dinosaur. If we dug deep enough, I bet we could locate a Marshall, a Will, and a Holly, but definitely a Cha-Ka and a few Sleestack. Follow my voice and walk toward the light, folks.

Apple iWatch will be fabulous – until you use it

We now know, thanks to Apple CEO, Tim Cook, that Apple's much anticipated entry into the booming smartwatch market will happen in April, not March as originally suggested. If you're someone who has only worked with Apple products this should excite you. But, if you're someone that has worked with Apple products in addition to other platforms, you know that Apple develops products based on a style-first mentality – meaning, they're pretty, but rarely the most technologically functional devices in the bunch.

That said, the iWatch looks fabulous and will probably make a truly excellent accessory for some. But, once again, Apple tuned its focus to fashion instead of capability. How do I know? Apple says that battery life will see roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use.

I expect we'll see a new colloquialism come from this. Let's get a head start. What do you call a flock of hipsters with their iWrists tethered to Starbucks power plugs?

I love my device because I'm not wrong

Speaking of fashion over function, the whole Apple revolution makes me wonder how many people say they love their devices, when in fact, it’s just a matter of pride. No one wants to admit they made a mistake, particularly when that mistake has an $800 or greater price tag.

And, lastly…

I think it's hugely important to offer a public 'thank you' to Richard Hay. Some of you know Richard already from Twitter and from various events like TechEd, but for those that don't, Richard is a long-time Microsoft follower and reporter and Microsoft MVP. Richard has been helping out with our SuperSite for Windows renovations and refocus and has been doing an amazing job writing articles, covering news, and spending time addressing community needs and comments.

Personally, I'm really excited to be working with Richard. If you get a chance, drop Richard your own personal 'thank you.' You can follow him on Twitter at @Winobs, read his articles at the SuperSite, and even check out his personal blog at

I'll be spending time next week adding my personal flair to the System Center Universe 2015 in Dallas, TX. Richard will be helping cover things while I'm away, so be nice. If you're interested in all things System Center, follow the #SCU2015 hashtag on Twitter and you'll probably hear me say something stupid - because its only in English.


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