technology

In a recent conference keynote, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said the following:

We’ve got to monetize [Windows] differently. And there are services involved. There are additional opportunities for us to bring additional services to the product and do it in a creative way. And through the course of the summer and spring we’ll be announcing what that business model looks like. At the same time it’s wonderful to see these nine-inch and below devices explode, because that was an area, candidly, I was blocked out and I had no share of what was getting built. So it’s a very fascinating transition for us. And finding new ways to monetize the lifetime of that customer on those devices, again, I would tell you we’re learning, we’re growing, and we’re smarter and wiser every day.

The key language is “finding new ways to monetize the lifetime of that customer,” which is another way of saying that they’re shifting from a product-centric view to a customer-centric one. It doesn’t have to be Windows per se necessarily.

Many have interpreted that to mean the base OS might be free, and that Microsoft will earn via subscription or freemium. While the Redmond company will likely continue to charge enterprises and computer manufacturers, Windows and all its updates should absolutely be free to consumers. It probably will.

Although it may not look like it, Microsoft has actually been dealing with monetization questions for a long time. Back when Windows was a monopoly, it was difficult for Microsoft to add features to Windows without incurring anti-monopoly wrath. Security was one such example – the likes of Norton and McAfee lobbied hard behind the scenes to keep built-in security out of Windows.

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One of my biggest learning from writing this blog is the power Google wields. Building a following that is loyal and reads whatever you write is incredibly hard; much easier to appeal to the Google gods to send traffic your way.

I understand this, and I’m writing a rinky-dink blog.

The newspaper publishing industry in Spain doesn’t, so they lobbied the government to enact a law so newspapers can charge Google every time snippets appear on Google News. This wouldn’t just apply to Google News but to all other news aggregators too like feecha.

Google responded the way I would’ve and called their bluff — by pulling Google News out of Spain and excluding Spain-based newspapers from Google News.

Here’s the industry’s response:

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Chromebooks are finally getting serious about penetrating the mass market. No, it’s not better offline capabilities, though that would help greatly. And no, Minecraft is not making an appearance any time soon.

Chromebooks are getting serious because finally, Acer is releasing a 15.6-inch version of its Chromebook, supposedly on March 2015.

Months ago, I wrote about how the most popular computing device of the future will be a 15-inch tablet weighing less than 1.5 pounds with a keyboard accessory. While we are a good three to five years away from that getting there, the rationale is that the 15-inch display size is actually the most popular category of laptops.

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Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 810. The reason to care is that Qualcomm’s chips are what’s powering all the mid to high end Android phones — if you have an Android phone, chances are it has a Snapdragon variant. The Snapdragon 810 will be the flagship chipset for phones early next year; the Samsung Galaxy S6, the new HTC One, etc. will all likely have it.

It’s a good sign is that Qualcomm did not spend much time talking up performance improvements. Today’s top phones are already roughly on par with laptops from 2010 in terms of power, and it’s questionable whether more is needed. Phones simply don’t need laptop-level performance — it’s not like you’re going to need CAD on your phone.

Just as netbooks and cheap laptops invaded PCs, so too will low cost phones that are “good enough.” We reviewed one just a few weeks ago (see the Moto G review here) and found it impressive for the price.

In the first few years of mobile, paying premium was worth it because the base experience on cheap phones wasn’t good enough. Buying the iPhone 3GS instead of an iPhone 3G made a big difference for example; whereas you’ll be hard pressed to tell the power difference between an iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S.

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Instagram is now used by more people than Twitter. Let’s talk about why. This post is a continuation from yesterday’s, which explored the evolution of how Twitter is used.

Twitter is great for getting news and opinions about the things you’re interested in. For example, Marc Andreesen is a fantastic person to follow if you’re interested in technology and business. Finding those people, however, is hard.

Instagram’s appeal is more immediate and more universal. It’s easier to create and find good content on Instagram, better for conversations and great to use with friends.

Getting “into” Twitter is difficult. I love my friends, but I don’t care about what they do on a real-time basis. I also love Duke basketball, but few Duke basketball players are actually interesting enough to listen to on Twitter. Finding great content on Twitter is hard.

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When people think about ranking social networks, it’s usually Facebook #1 and Twitter #2. Well, there’s a new #2 in town and that’s Instagram, who with 300 million monthly active users recently supplanted Twitter’s 284 million users.

Twitter was a compelling solution to a problem few understood. I’m not a big Twitter user by any means, but I’ve kept close tabs on it ever since its debut on SXSW, and my own understanding of Twitter has evolved a lot over the years.

Like most, I didn’t get Twitter the first time. It felt like a feature Facebook already had in status updates. Moreover, did I really want to know that people were doing on a real-time basis? Having lunch or going to the gym or feeling sad?

I soon realized it was a precise way of getting updates of only the people you’re interested in, which was/is different to Facebook’s algorithmic approach of getting updates from all your friends — who you may not actually be interested in following on a real-time basis. That was my first take on Twitter’s purpose.

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Probably because it has a 50% fatality rate. This is from a list of the most popular global topics on Facebook, which the company just published yesterday in its Year in Review.

What’s the #1 topic? Thankfully, it wasn’t something as vapid as Kardashian. The top topic on Facebook is the World Cup.

Here’s the full list:

  1. World Cup
  2. Ebola virus outbreak
  3. Elections in Brazil
  4. Robin Williams
  5. Ice Bucket Challenge
  6. Conflict in Gaza
  7. Malaysia Airlines
  8. Super Bowl
  9. Michael Brown/Ferguson
  10. Sochi Winter Olympics

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