Microsoft and Sign Patent Agreement


Quote from the press release:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has signed a patent cross-license agreement with Inc. The agreement provides each company with access to the other’s patent portfolio and covers a broad range of products and technology, including coverage for Amazon’s popular e-reading device, Kindle™, which employs both open source and Amazon’s proprietary software components, and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers.”

Wow. Worlds biggest online retailer + Microsoft Marketplace + Windows Phone 7 Series + Zune + Windows Slate + Kindle + Xbox. The blogs all mention patent-dealing to avoid lawsuits – I am thinking market penetration and platform-share. Put on your conspiracy hat. What do you think they are planning to do?

Oh wait, would this also cover Amazon EC2 and Windows Azure?


3 things you may not have realized about the new Windows Phone announcement

WP7S Analysis:

I think Microsoft has blown away Apple and Google with their Windows Phone 7 Series announcement last week at the WCM. By introducing this new Phone platform an integral strategy is showing that can compete both with iPod, iPhone and iPad as well as the Android stuff.

To be clear, I came up with this view by myself, it has in no way been confirmed by Microsoft and I have no additional information that was not already available. So this is just me and my analysis.

To make my point, I will draw you a table of comparison between Apple and Microsoft, from the mobile perspective:

  Apple Microsoft
Media Player iPod Zune
Phone iPhone Windows Phone
Pad iPad Windows Slate
Store AppStore & iTunes Zune Marketplace
Game/Media Console Apple TV Xbox
Laptop iMac Windows 7
Online MobileMe – Office Live
– Xbox Live
– MyPhone
– Windows Live Sync
– Live Mesh
– BPOS (with Exchange, SharePoint, Instant Messaging, Presence & Live Meeting)

I did not add a column for Android, because that would include a lot of yet unannounced stuff.

Lets examine the table. With the announcement of the new Phone OS and the inclusion of the Zune interface they not only created a better Phone (yes, it will do a necessary form of multitasking), they also included a web store for media content and applications that also includes a full client for the laptops and desktops.

  • First:
    Because it is based on the Zune interface, the media player Zune instantly makes sense in the family of products.


  • Second:
    But what I predict is that they will make sure that the ‘Pad’ will also become part of the family. Remember Steve Ballmer on stage with the HP Slate at CES 2010? The device was shown but no definite availability has been announced. I bet HP was informed about the new Windows Phone 7 Series and the strategy behind it. I expect that HP is now working with Microsoft to make this slate run with a Zune interface also; this would allow the Windows Slate to also connect into the Zune Marketplace and run the same media and apps as the Phone and the Zune media player.

By the way – Microsoft already opened the Zune Marketplace for Xbox…

All of the Microsoft devices will behave as good online citizens and at least have Wi-Fi (Zune player) and support 3 or 4G connections out of the box.

  • Third:
    Finally, because each of these devices (including the PC’s but excluding the Zune Player) is running on the same platform, application development can all be done using one development framework and tooling set (it is clearly no coincidence that it is called ‘7’).

Now imagine the platform Microsoft is creating for apps, subscription based media and online gaming; just to name a few. All working together, all synced and enhancing the experience when more members of the family are purchased by the user.

For example, because of the included multitasking the phone will be able to run the Live Messenger client (or Office Communicator), thus making it possible to receive IM’s while running other apps. I suspect the phone will also be able to run VoIP applications. This could then connect into a multitude of live services for productivity, collaboration and social networking.

Microsoft obviously has had a hard look at the competition and have reset their original gameplan. I am impressed with the outcome.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

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Back from USA & Canada

Today I returned from a trip to Vancouver and Seattle. Lots of interesting activities on the Atos Origin Technology Operations Center and managing the IT of the Olympic Games. Also some good discussions with Microsoft in Redmond on BPOS, Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft Research. Some of it is under NDA, so I cannot go into much details. Other stuff will be posted in the next couple of days.

Social Search and the Integrity of the Social Graph

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.

Image via Wikipedia

Colleague Steve Nimmons has created a blog entry about integrity in social networking. It is on the Atos Origin Blog.

Steve writes:

“…the more I am connected within the ‘graph of others’ the more likely that my recommendations and interests show up in the Social Search results of others…”.

He then argues that this process can be manipulated to a certain extend, but probably the algorithms of search engines will understand manipulation and prevent false connections.

His piece is an interesting read, but does not mention the fact that we are seeing a lot of “de-friend-ing” at the moment (check out the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine). I believe that building large personal networks is a fun game (“how many followers do you have?”) and was a trend in past years. It certainly is now mostly a phenomenon to build attention, distribute news very quickly and a personal hobby from celebrities and PR people.

For opinions and thought leadership, people are now looking for trust and relationship in quality, not in numbers. Something does not have more truth to it if more people say so. The introduction of Google Buzz shows that it is at least necessary to distinguish between different types of networks. Many people are already doing that by using LinkedIn for business and Facebook for private relationships.

I agree with Steve that complex Social Graphs do hold an element of danger for manipulation. You can build a false persona of get robbed of your (highly respected and influencing) personality. Owners and managers of social networks should be very aware of these dangers and put measures in place to protect their users.

Read Steve’s post here.

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Siri – The next chapter of the Web

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase


Searching is one-dimensional; actions have much more value to us. It is interesting how we are now used to using the Internet in our daily live. Most of our activities focus on engaging with this vast amount of computing power by giving it single-dimensional tasks. We search for an address, maybe for a review of a new mobile phone or any other aspect of our complex live that needs information to proceed.

We as humans are very good in taking the outputs of the internet and combining it into actions and decisions. Putting context to facts and figures enables us to make decisions and actually do something.

No more endless clicking on links and pages to get things done on the Internet. Delegate the work to Siri and relax while Siri takes care of it for you…” (

Siri is about to change this paradigm. By combining existing capabilities with our inquiries on a mobile platform (with strong speech recognition) it can make decisions, take actions on our behalf and answer complex queries in Real Time.

Siri – I would like to have a taxi in 1 hour…”, is an inquiry that shows what I mean. Siri needs to understand where I am, otherwise it could not dispatch a taxi to the right location. It also has to find a way to actually order a taxi.

It all works based on two starting points: (a) the Programmable Web and (b) the Semantic Web.

Remember I wrote about the fact that we are able to monitor the availability of Internet API’s? There are already dozens of API’s available that allow a process such as Siri to reach out and send commands to the web services that have an API and the number is growing fast. Because most services also have a semantic context attached to it, Siri can distinguish between a taxi or a limousine service. When other data on the web also gets a semantic context, not only API’s will be available to Siri – but also storylines, opinions, emotions and priorities.

The creators of Siri have establish an engine that can already talk with dozens of API’s. These include restaurant services, music, movie, taxi, local shopping, weather and airline services. This allows you to ask very complex questions such as: “Siri, I want to see a movie with Clark Gable in about an hour, can you order me the transport and tickets for this?” or “Siri, please order a table for 2 in my favorite Chinese restaurant, next Thursday at 9:00 pm”.

This all is run through an iPhone app with apparently excellent speech recognition and the developers have stated other mobile platforms will follow shortly.Go to for the full story.

I do not know if Siri is going to make it, but they have some serious money behind them as stated in their interview with Robert Scoble. Even if this particular company is not going to make it – I predict this is the next killer app for any platform and a whole new way of utilizing the power of the Internet.

Siri is being described as a ‘Do-Engine’ to explain the difference to a ‘Search-Engine’. More of these applications are emerging as Personal Assistant Apps.

Star Trek comments are allowed, but this is real now and it works.

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