Tag: bill_gates

Steve jobs throws the cat among the pigeons!

I have written about DRM many times previously and what an evil, anti-consumer, scum-sucking device it is. Many of the comments on these posts disagreed with my position.

I really began to doubt my thinking on DRM though when Bill Gates, speaking about DRM seemed to agree with me!:

People should just buy a cd and rip it

However, overnight Steve Jobs has come out with an open letter pleading for music companies to let him sell DRM-free music!

the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.

Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly.

Wow!

Here is the largest seller of music online telling his customers (us) to hassle his suppliers (the music companies) into allowing him to sell DRM-free music. Brilliant!

Maybe there’s hope for a DRM-free world after all.

For more, see the biggest discussion on techmeme I think I have ever seen.

"An operating system has never had parental control features before" – Bill Gates

“An operating system has never had parental control features before”

Bill Gates came out with this incredible statement two and a half minutes into the following interview on NBC

http://www.youtube.com/v/BO1pvWUELIUReally Bill? So how do you explain this screenshot of the built-in Parental Controls on my Mac?

OS X in-built Parental Controls

There have been Parental Controls on the Mac for at least three years now (that I can remember, possibly longer).

Bill, two possible explanations come to mind. Either you don’t know your competition or you feel the need to lie about your new product. Neither is a particularly satisfactory situation.

Ballmer going soon too?

I see Bill Gates has decided to take early retirement – I hope he has a decent pension plan in place 😉

Seriously though, this has to be good news for Microsoft. Ray Ozzie who has been named as his successor (along with Craig Mundie), is someone who has a very good name in the software community and if there is anyone who can help Microsoft shirk the poor corporate image they have, it is Ray.

Owen Thomas reckons that Steve Ballmer can’t be far behind and that:

At this point, Ballmer’s associated more with the hard-charging business tactics that led to Microsoft’s antitrust woes and a low stock price that’s sapping employee morale. Whoever replaces him will have a host of problems to solve – but unlike Ballmer will be able to start with a clean slate.

No Gates and no Ballmer, now that’d be a new Microsoft!

Could podcasting get content through the Great Firewall of China?

I wrote a couple of pieces last week about Google’s Internet censorship in China and the debate continues this week.

The four largest American companies who are actively helping the Chinese government censor the Internet are Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Cisco Systems. These four companies have been invited to a U.S. congressional subcommittee hearing on February 15 on the subject of U.S. Internet firms operating procedures in China.

The ‘fab four’ failed to turn up for a hearing this Wednesday are were roundly berated by Tom Lantos, D.-Calif., one of the caucus leaders:

Companies that have blossomed in this country and make billions, a country that reveres freedom of speech, have chosen to ignore that core value in expanding their reach overseas, and to erect a ‘Great Firewall’ to suit Beijing’s purposes,” he said. “These massively successful high-tech companies, which couldn’t bring themselves to send their representatives to this meeting today, should be ashamed. With all their power and influence, wealth and high visibility, they neglected to commit to the kind of positive action that human rights activists in China take every day. They caved in to Beijing’s demands for the sake of profits, or whatever else they choose to call it.

It is thought they will attend the Feb 15th hearing!

I note see now that the BBC are reporting that MSN is considering changing its censorship policies:

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s senior lawyer, said it would now remove blog entries only if it gets a “legally binding notice” from the government of that nation…. He added that only people in the nation where the entry breaks local laws will be blocked from seeing the controversial comments. In all other nations access to the entry will be unrestricted.

This is a marginal improvement over MSN’s existing policy of deleting accounts of people who wrote about ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’, or ‘demonstration’ but it is still shoring up the ‘great firewall‘ of China.

Interestingly, Reuters is reporting that Bill Gates has come out against censorship today:

The spread of private e-mail means online users could distribute banned news despite government injunctions, he told a news conference.

“You may be able to take a very visible Web site and say that something shouldn’t be there, but if there’s a desire by the population to know something, it’s going to get out,” he said.

However, Gates said Microsoft, the world’s biggest computer software company, had to meet legal requirements of the countries where it does business.

I have spoken to several representatives of search engines recently and they have all told me that search engines are not indexing the audio content of podcasts and don’t have technologies to do so right now.

I wonder, if podcasts are more difficult to index, is there a role for podcasts to get content through the Great Firewall?

Microsoft 2.0? Yawn.

The online world is buzzing with the news of Microsoft’s conversion to Web 2.0!

Tim O’Reilly is quite positive about it:

Overall, leaves me with a lot of optimism that Microsoft is fully engaged with the right problems, and we’ll be hearing a lot more from them.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch said:

After what I saw today, I despair for many a silicon valley startup. Seriously.

And Om Malik, in what has to be one of the more original posts on Microsoft’s announcement reckons:

A little nip-and-tuck, some hip-hop and a $500 haircut with highlights to hide the 40-odd summers. Its a midlife crisis you can see from a mile. Trust me!

What are they all on about? Well, yesterday Microsoft announced two new services – Windows Live and Office Live – these are not, as the name might imply, online replacements for Windows and Office (more’s the pity – but i guess that’s one cash cow not ready for the slaughterhouse just yet!) – they are more like portal sites.

Windows Live, for example, is Start.com but there’s loads more coming to it we are promised – just look at the Windows Live Ideas page.

The announcement was made by Bill Gates himself, and by Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie – and it is being claimed as another “turn on a dime” moment (remember the last one was in 1995 when Bill realised that there was something out there called the Internet and people were using it without paying microsoft anything?).

Personally, if it weren’t for Michael Arrington’s enthusing, I’d fail to be even slightly whelmed!

UPDATE:
I just spotted the Live.com team have a blog

Further Edited to add:
Of course, if you have a Mac, don’t bother trying to view live.com – as usual microsoft’s developers live in a monocultural Windows only world – the chances of them taking over the web when they stubbornly refuse to develop for other platforms are, thankfully, small!

Yet another update:
I see Joel Spolsky has also rounded on Live.com’s poor Firefox support and DHTML issues