Short Takes: April 17, 2015

Short Takes: April 17, 2015

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

An often irreverent look at this week's other news. In this edition: The thickening plot for a satisfying movie ending, Yahoo seeks some self-respect, no iPad left behind, Verizon and AT&T take a stand against bloatware (not really), our overlords are at the door, and a timepiece designed to be late.


KARMA is spelled: G-O-O-G-L-E

There's just something so satisfying about karma. The idea that you get what you give, reap what you sow, is a universal desire deeply engrained in all of us. Most movies and TV shows are that way. Good wins and bad get its just due. And, if a movie or TV show ever deviates from this cookie-cutter recipe, it's just not as satisfying.

This week we learn that the EU has charged Google with antitrust violations. Google, of course, is set to fight the charges, but unfortunately the company doesn't have as much pull in Europe as it does through its lobbyist strategies in the U.S. It's not a sin to own a monopoly, only if that monopoly is abused. I don’t think there's anyone alive today, given the facts, that would argue that Google isn't guilty.

Microsoft, of course, isn't exactly sad about the prospect of Google's business practices laid bare in court. "What goes around comes around, eh?" said one former senior Microsoft executive.

Ironically, at the time of the Microsoft antitrust proceedings in the 1990s, the charge was led by none other than Eric Schmidt. Schmidt was Novell's CEO at the time and now serves as the chairman of Google.

It's almost like Hollywood is back to writing good scripts again. Satisfying.


Bing Me Sometime

In discussions for months, Yahoo and Microsoft finally announced a renewed but altered search agreement this week. The original agreement, authorized in 2009 as a 10-year plan contained a 5-year re-evaluation period. The halfway point of the contract passed in February and then in March, the agreement was extended to April 24 until a settlement could be reached.

The original agreement went something like this…

Microsoft would provide Yahoo with search services (powered by Bing) and manage the capabilities for both companies’ storehouse of websites. Yahoo, in turn, would handle sales of search ads for both companies and receive 88% of the search revenue.

The new agreement has changed quite a bit, though many are stating the changes are minor. Here's what's new:

  • Yahoo will have control over how search results are presented on both desktops and mobile devices

  • Microsoft will take over selling ads for Bing while Yahoo will handle its own ads

  • This summer, Microsoft and Yahoo will create a joint team, combining sales and engineering

One thing's for sure, Marissa Mayer is no slouch in the negotiations department, but truth told, I have no idea what sort of business Yahoo is these days. Search engine? Ad company? Something else?...


Buyer's Remorse

In 2013 the Los Angeles Unified School District approved a proposal put forth by then-Superintendent John Deasy to deliver an iPad to every teacher, administrator, and student in the district. The total cost was $1.3 billion and presented as a civil rights initiative to enable low-income students to have access to the same devices and services as their wealthier counterparts. Almost immediately, the program fell flat. iPads came up stolen and the curriculum didn't work as promised. Deasy resigned amid controversy that Apple and Pearson (the curriculum provider) were given an unfair bidding advantage. The matter is still an ongoing FBI investigation.

This week we're learning more. The L.A. Board of Education this week approved to proceed with litigation against Apple and Pearson to try and exit the agreement and recoup some of the lost funds. Only two of the 69 schools in the district are using the Pearson curriculum and most of the 120,000 or so iPads received are, well, not in school inventory.


Irony is as Irony Does

If you're an AT&T or Verizon customer, you're familiar with apps arriving on a new phone that come preinstalled and you just simply can't get rid of them, no matter what you do. It's frustrating. These apps have become known to most as "bloatware."

Last month, Microsoft made a deal with Samsung where the electronics company would start preinstalling Microsoft's Office apps, OneDrive, and Skype on every Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge Android smartphone manufactured. This was obviously a huge win for Microsoft. Samsung has been paying Android fees to Microsoft for years and it's rumored that this new partnership was established to ease Samsung's Android licensing bill somewhat. So, the deal also helps Samsung.

This week, as the new S6 devices began rolling out from AT&T and Verizon, the two carriers did the most curious thing. They both started refusing the preinstalled Microsoft apps. Verizon's S6 won’t come with any of the apps and the ones from AT&T will have only Skype and OneNote. The reason?


With a side of irony.


More News from the Don't Be Evil Fortress

If history is any indicator, it'll be a while before any real news comes of the EU's antitrust suit against Google. So, our satisfying movie ending could take a while to coalesce. In the meantime, let's not forget that the search and ad company is still able to continue working on other nefarious plots.

This week, the USPTO awarded Google with a patent for cloud control over an army of robots. This patent comes just weeks after it received another for giving robots customizable personalities.

Methinks the company is taking this whole Android thing a bit too seriously.


Apple Watch Launch will be Late

Originally, Apple promised that its new wearable, the Watch, would be available in stores on April 24. The company has now backtracked and suggests that the fashion wristlet won't actually be available for pickup in stores until sometime in June. The company's web site was updated yesterday with the April 24 date removed and replaced with a new message: "The Watch is coming."

Additionally, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts sent a memo to Apple employees in which she hinted that the company might bring back the iPhone-style launches with lines outside its stores.

Just don’t ask anyone in line "what time is it?" You know, because the watch was just invented, or reinvented, or something…


And, finally…

I would be remiss if I didn't make mention this week about the excitement mounting for IT/Dev Connections 2015. There's a couple hot bullet points to talk about.

First off, all of our sessions have now been selected. We're still working out the details of getting everything posted to the event web site, but most everything is there already. And, if you sift through them, you'll quickly figure out what a valuable conference it's going to be this year. On the sessions page, you can filter by track and by day:

IT/Dev Connections 2015 Sessions

The second thing, which is sort of related to the first thing, is that the list of speakers is also starting to take shape. We're still waiting for some of the headshots and BIOs from a few of the selected speakers, but there's plenty to dig through already. And, if you find a speaker you'd like to read more about, click through and read the speaker's BIO and find the list of sessions the speaker will be presenting:

IT/Dev Connections 2015 Speakers

IT/Dev Connections is not a roadmap messaging event. It's a technical deep-dive, bringing sessions and training to help you do your job better today, fix the burning issues, and learn how to integrate tomorrow's technology into your current environment. It's a right-sized affair – meaning we purposely cap the attendance numbers to ensure you don't get lost in a huge crowd and you also have the ability to connect to speakers and other attendees. Many have stated that it's a real conference with a User Group feel and we work really hard to keep it that way.

IT/Dev Connections 2015 kicks off in September and I hope to see you there!

IT/Dev Connections 2015
September 14-17
ARIA Resort in Las Vegas

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