August 2009 Archives

This one's for my co-workers who bleed Microsoft.

I love my iMac, and I'm super keen on Snow Leopard. You'll pry my iPhone from my cold, dead hands. But, damn it if Windows Live Writer doesn't just beat the hell out of every Mac OS X blog editing app I've tried. MarsEdit, ecto, neither of them hold a candle to WLW.

If only iWeb supported Movable Type...

Excuse me while I go back and fix the formatting on the blog posts from my Mac.

A non-story story

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I'm going to get a cup of coffee while you read this.

"Microsoft is at the center of a group of companies who see Google as a threat to them in some combination of business and policy," said a source familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity to avoid retribution. "The effort is designed make Google look like the big high-tech bad guy here."

The meetings have occurred as frequently as once a week, sources with knowledge of the meetings say.

Microsoft employs several D.C.-based public relations firms, including Law Media Group, a secretive outfit founded by former Democratic operative Julian Epstein, and the Glover Park Group, which the software giant retains for issues related to "public policy and governmental affairs," according to Microsoft's website. LMG declined to discuss its work for Microsoft; GPG says it had never been involved with any 'screw Google' meetings.

Nevertheless, one source familiar with the meetings says, "Law Media Group has several people who work full-time on Google-bashing. Everybody knows Microsoft is trying to throw roadblocks at Google and knock them off their game. Microsoft is trying to harm Google in the regulatory, legal, and litigation arenas because they're having problems with Google in the competitive marketplace."

"This is textbook Microsoft," the source adds. 'Microsoft has got some of the best, highest-priced lobbyists that money can buy in Washington."

The meetings have been led by Fred Humphries, Microsoft's chief lobbyist in D.C. Ginny Terzano, Microsoft's Washington spokesperson, acknowledged that Google has come up in Microsoft meetings with "lawmakers, regulators, and our own consultants." But of Humphries's alleged "screw Google" meetings, she says, "This is absurd. While Google is a healthy competitor, Fred is focused on advancing policies that benefit our partners and consumers, and not running meetings of the type you describe. Your sources are badly misinformed, and your information is wrong."

"As you would expect, Microsoft and Fred are working to educate policymakers and regulators about the benefits of the Microsoft/Yahoo deal," Terzano says. "When you talk about the Microsoft/Yahoo deal, of course Google is going to come up."

A source with knowledge of the matter called Terzano's statement a "non-denial denial," saying, "This is an attempt to obfuscate the fact that they are indeed having 'screw Google' meetings."

Microsoft's secret 'screw Google' meetings in D.C. -- DailyFinance

So, let me summarize that for you:

  • Some anonymous guy told me "Microsoft has 'Screw Google' meetings"
  • Actual Microsoft person, with a name and everything, says on the record they don't
  • Same nameless guy says "That's exactly what someone holding 'Screw Google' meetings would say; it's proof!"

Consider me a source familiar with how Microsoft competes with Google. Working for Microsoft Health Solutions, I go head-to-head with Google Health. Working in the policy space, I find myself in DC a fair amount, too. I don't waste my time thinking about how to screw Google (or Dossia, or WebMD, or anyone else).

Yawn.

Yes, China is huge, so any market entry here would have been big, but the most interesting thing about this deal, to me, is the starkly different revenue model for Apple:

"Under the three-year deal, iPhones will start to be sold in China in the fourth quarter of this year. Unicom will not share revenue with Apple, as some operators do, and it will purchase the handsets from Apple on a wholesale basis and resell them to consumers, the Chinese company said. Unicom Chairman and Chief Executive Chang Xiaobing said at a news briefing that it will offer a subsidy to customers to lower the iPhone's price, but he didn't elaborate on how much the subsidy would be. An Apple spokesman confirmed the Unicom deal, but declined to give further details."

China Unicom Strikes iPhone Deal - WSJ.com

In other words, Apple's selling into China Unicom as a channel, and recognizing the revenue like a retail sale, not as a subscription. China Unicom is taking the inventory risk in exchange for keeping all of the service revenue over the life of their iPhone users' subscriptions.

It makes sense, of course, as Apple can do heavy lifting in the US for AT&T that it can't do in China. In the US, Apple can giftwrap subscribers for AT&T through Apple Stores and Apple.com. That's a cost of acquisition that AT&T doesn't have to carry, but one that Unicom does.

Dancho Danchev manufactures his own target in his latest Mac OS X security post:

The much hyped built-in malware protection into Apple’s Snow Leopard upgrade appears to be nothing more than a XProtect.plist file containing five signatures for two of the most popular Mac OS X trojans - OSX.RSPlug and OSX.Iservice.

Snow Leopard's malware protection only scans for two Trojans | Zero Day | ZDNet.com

“Much hyped,” indeed. So hyped, in fact, you can’t even see a mention of the feature on Apple’s web site. The only people generating any hype around Snow Leopard’s little anti-malware feature are other bloggers, but Danchev’s not taking any shots at them, he’s implying that Apple’s foisting a false sense of security on its users by “hyping” one security feature.

This is what Apple actually says to users about Mac OS X security:

image

Couldn’t be more hype-free.

I hate it when security researchers seem like they’re rooting for software companies to fail at protecting users. Makes me feel like they’re not interested in security, but rather they’re interested in being the smartest, snarkiest guy in the room.