What is it with Microsoft‾

Last week  we reported on how Google has gained a stranglehold on how we look for and at things, underlined by its hugely successful deployments of Google Street View, most recently in the UK.

So why has Google succeed with 3D mapping where Microsoft failed - after all, Microsoft had 3D maps back in 2007‾ Simple. Google used existing technology that almost every computer user has in its browser, Adobe Flash. Microsoft insisted everyone had to download its Virtual Earth view to the facility. Few bothered.

Microsoft needs a reality check. The world is no longer made in its image (well, only Microsoft ever thought it was) - it is not in a position to demand and insist that the rest of the world does it Microsoft's way. This is not the 1990's, when Microsoft was able to overcome upstart Netscape by one swish of that mighty tail.

It's amazing that barely two weeks after market-leading Apple announced plans to make life easier   for iPhone app developers, there are reports that Microsoft is considering charging app developers if they submit more than five apps in a year to the Windows Mobile Marketplace - and that updates will count as an app.

What is it with Microsoft‾ It is clearly going to struggle to compete the Android and iPhone app stores, so why go out of its way to make it even less attractive to developers‾

The most generous interpretation of this is that Microsoft is keen to maintain high quality, making developers think twice before submitting early iterations of apps that have lots of flaws. Talk about irony.

In fact there is already a huge incentive not to put poorly executed apps up for sale: in this mobile context, rotten apps don't sell and developers don't make money as none of them is in a position tantamount to a monopoly. And you get a bad name too.

As Bill Gates himself admitted, Microsoft very nearly missed the internet phenomenon altogether, and although it did manage to grab hold of the back rail of band wagon, in many ways it still doesn't look or feel like it fits in.

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