Thursday, February 21, 2008

Microsoft live.com, Yahoo attempted buyout

I have been following the attempted Yahoo buyout with great interest because I buy into the idea of universal access to online information using many types of devices: PCs, Macs, iPhones, Nokia N800s, secret decoder rings, etc.

In the future that I predict and look forward to, following and exploiting standards will be absolutely required for success. As part of my own research (and fun), I just about continuously try and evaluate every type of online information service (Amazon's web services, Google gdata, freebase.com, dabbledb.com, etc.)

Microsoft's live.com seems to be getting better as far as supporting Mac, Linux, Firefox, etc. The question to me is: how open is Microsoft willing to become?

If I were to sit down and enjoy a beer with Bill Gates and Steve Balmer (unlikely unless they are vacationing in Sedona, Arizona) I would have some good advice for them: do a sea change and embrace open standards, stop selling new versions of Windows and instead sell yearly subscriptions to Windows and Office (slow improvements, no more big "XP", "Vista", etc. releases), and use their resources to make their software and infrastructure flexible, standard, and valuable to users.

If Microsoft does buy Yahoo, it will be interesting to see if they try to force changing to Microsoft infrastructure: they certainly had problems after buying Hotmail and doing a major conversion to Microsoft server side infrastructure. Yahoo is doing some great things with Open Source (Hadoop, Javascript libraries, etc.) and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft will permit using competing infrastructure software for internal systems.

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