Welcome to the May 12, 2012 issue of
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|TODAY'S TOPIC: A NEW MICROSOFT MONOPOLY?||
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Microsoft's new "tile" interface for their new smartphones and Windows 8 Operating System has sparked lots of positive feedback. It's a make-or-break attempt to recover Microsoft's shrinking share of the phone, tablet and PC market. Virtually all smartphones and most tablet computers run on ARM processor chips because they draw less power and thus increase battery life. So Microsoft is making a version of Windows 8 especially for tablets, called "Windows 8 RT."
But just this week Microsoft has announced that in Windows 8 RT, only its Internet Explorer will have access to the low-level APIs (application programming interfaces) required by today's browsers. Right away, the folks from Mozilla - the nonprofit that produces the Firefox browser - raised the alarm: see Mozilla: Microsoft blocking rival browsers in Windows RT. Google joined in the fray as well: "We share the concerns Mozilla has raised regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation," Google said in a statement sent to CNet. "We've always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition."
This sounds like a repeat of the anti-monopoly lawsuit that Netscape, Firefox's granddaddy,fought against Microsoft in the 1990s, which resulted in the U.S. Department of Justice forcing Microsoft to separate Internet Explorer from the Windows OS and allow other browsers to be installed. But the computing landscape is vastly different today than in the '90s: Apple's MacIntosh held just a sliver of the market then, but today is over 10%, Apple's iPad is the dominant tablet computer by far, Apple's iOS for the iPhone and Google's Android OS for a plethora of brands run on a huge majority of smartphones, while Microsoft's phone OS has only managed to grab a few percentage points of the market. So it's hard to make the case that Microsoft is monopolizing the tablet or phone marketplace. The real issue appears to be that Mozilla will eventually find itself squeezed out of the marketplace as the trend toward tablets and smartphones increases: see Why Mozilla believes Firefox on Windows RT is a bust.
The Security Blurb:
Way back in February 2010, I reported on the Chinese hacker attack on Google's operations in China. As it turned out, Google asked the NSA for assistance in twarting and recovering from these server intrusions: Google to enlist NSA to help it ward off cyberattacks. Right away the civil liberties people cried foul: what if the NSA gets access to some or all of the information Google has collected from its users? Well, finally an appeals court has upheld the ruling by the DC Circuit Court "in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, that the National Security Agency doesn't need to either confirm or deny its relationship with Google, ruling that a FOIA exemption covers any documents whose exposure might hinder the NSA's national security mission" - see Court Rules NSA Doesn't Have To Reveal Its Semi-Secret Relationship With Google.
The NSA will neither confirm nor deny any relationship with Google: "If NSA disclosed whether there are (or are not) records of a partnership or communications between Google and NSA regarding Google's security, that disclosure might reveal whether NSA investigated the threat, deemed the threat a concern to the security of U.S. Government information systems, or took any measures in response to the threat," the court's ruling read. "As such, any information pertaining to the relationship between Google and NSA would reveal protected information about NSA's implementation of its Information Assurance mission." In other words, you can bet your booties that the NSA has a working relationship with Google.
The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!
"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"
Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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