Microsoft Should Acquire Twitter

Not a fully formed argument, but something that has got me thinking since the Microsoft Surface event.

1. Communication Platform – Microsoft has multiple communication platforms. Their platforms have always been a bit of a mess. Messenger, Lync, Skype, Skype for Business, Rooms (remember that?), Yammer. They’ve never had a very uniform system. They should take the consumer facing side of Skype and integrate the technology into Twitter Direct Message platform. Bring voice calls, video calls, and chat bots to the Twitter DM. Make Twitter a private communication platform that can compete with Facebook Messenger and separate the confuting Skype and Skype for Business. Let Skype become the enterprise option and Twitter be the consumer option.

2. Content – Microsoft already has a device in most households for entertainment, the Xbox. Twitter is trying to get live content that will be displayed in the living room (i.e. Thursday Night Football). Microsoft will be able to take these and similar content deals and bring them to a much bigger audience that is already setup to view the content. Twitter technology with the distribution of Windows seems like a good combination to complete with what Google, Apple, and cable companies already have out there.

3. Consumer Facing – Microsoft has been making a big push into the enterprise market. Office 365, LinkedIn, Yammer, and Office are all geared towards business users. Yet Windows 10 is being pushed as a friendly consumer operating system. Twitter can bring a consumer facing platform that will integrate with Windows 10. Microsoft has made a few entrances into social media that failed, Twitter will give them an actual foothold in social media.

Unified Operating System

Microsoft has recently announced they will be creating a unified operating system. Combining several versions on Windows, including Windows RT and Windows Phone, into a single operating system to run across all devices. This is bring my ideal computer set up closer to reality. I want to be able to have my smartphone (currently a Lumia 1520), connect to a computer/screen and boot into a full desktop environment. I can handle 80% of my work on my Lumia 1520, but there are still times I need a full desktop, or just want to work on a bigger screen.

This functionality was promised with Ubuntu for Android. A project I was very much looking forward to, but no progress was ever made or code released. The project was eventually scrapped and the team left to focus strictly on the Ubuntu Phone.

Here’s hoping Windows truly will pull off the unified operating system and bring the idea of one device to do everything to reality.

Microsoft Surface 2

I recently replaced my iPad 3rd Generation with a Microsoft Surface 2. I’ve been a loyal iPad user since the 1st generation, and I am still a big fan of Apple hardware, but iOS7 wasn’t working well for me.

Why the Surface?

I am not interested in needing to carry a tablet and a laptop with me for work. Tablets have come a long way since the first iPad, and should be able to replace my computer for just about everything. I’m not ready go without a laptop entirely, but it shouldn’t need to travel with me. The Surface 2 had the software and connections I needed to replace many of the little tasks that had me needing to carry a laptop.

Continue reading Microsoft Surface 2

24 Hours with Windows Phone 8

I purchased a Windows Phone 8 device yesterday, specifically the Nokia Lumia 820 from AT&T. My first Microsoft purchase is several years. I previously had a no-feature pay-as-you-go phone, and before that the iPhone 4S.

Here are some first impressions after a full day of use.

Everything on the phone is good, but not great (with a couple exceptions).

Continue reading 24 Hours with Windows Phone 8

The New Big Brother

Apple has been gaining market share and momentum with every product they release. Apple used to be viewed as the windows alternative in a time when Microsoft controlled everything. Apple products were for the independent, non conformist in all of us, our way of sticking it to corporate America. But does this still hold true today?

Apple released this commercial to play during the Super Bowl. It was a direct shot at big brother of the time IBM, and showed how Apple wanted to bring down big brother. View on YouTube.

Microsoft used to be criticized for its closed system and its control over developers (the whole issue with the antitrust law suits in the 90’s), however Apple is now more of a closed system than Microsoft ever was. Apple is looking to control everything a person does with media. They want to be your computer (iMac, MacBook), your phone (iPhone), your mp3 and PMP device (iPod/Touch), where you buy your music and movies (iTunes), and effect how you interact with your TV (iTV). For almost any conceivable way you can use digital media, Apple has a product for you. And that product fits into they entire product line that Apple offers. Every product and software is designed in a closed system, meaning all these products work great with one another in their own system but not so great with product outside the system (non-Apple product). This is the reason most Apple shoppers are repeat customers. Its just easier to have a product that you know will work with all your other gadgets. But is this a good system? Albert Einstein claimed that “a closed system would become stagnant over time.” Has Apple figured out how to prove this wrong or is their system going to come to a crashing halt in the future.

Trying to control everything seems to be becoming more of a common trend for big technology companies. Google is another perfect example of this. If you wanted to, you could trust almost you’re entire digital or online life to Google. They have services for everything. Companies that do this create closed systems and ultimately hurt the consumer. It makes things easier as first, as long as you stay with a certain company or product line. But what if you want to branch out? What if you want to customize your experience? What if you want to add things that these big companies don’t offer? The overall effect of a closed system is bad, especially if it manages to squeeze out smaller companies. Once a company has a closed system and has their customers locked into that system, innovation will suffer. Products become good for the masses and not tailored to the individual, and that was one of the appeals of computers, you could customize you’re experience. This is the entire view of the Open Source movement (but that’s another topic entirely).

The one company that is actually taking a turn to become more of a open system is big brother himself, Microsoft. Microsoft is still a proprietary software system but they are becoming much more open. Programs such as DreamSpark are looking to put developer tools in the hands of younger generations so that they can develop their own software for the windows platform. Microsoft also has the CodePlex project. This is a community software development site. People are free to create, share, add, help, discuss, and anything else they want to do with various project postings for software that will run on the Windows platform. Microsoft has even begun to develop a new free operating system geared toward education and researchers, Singularity. This program is still in the beta stages and a long way off from being complete but it is a move in the right direction. Microsoft has been a close system in the past and seen how it limits growth and creativity. They have stepped out of the box and embraced the software community. Microsoft is by no means a brand new company, they are still out to make money and most of their top-line software still costs top-dollar, but they are becoming more open for new software developers, where other operating systems (i.e. Apple’s OSX) are taking steps in the opposite direction.

The future of technology is in the creation of a more open system. Where software can be used and developed freely in a community or personal environment. Technology should be a custom experience to the individual, and they should not be forced to conform to a particular company’s views on what the consumer needs in a closed system.

Resources Used for This Post
Fast Company- All Eyes On Apple
PC World- Microsoft Develops New OS From Scratch
Microsoft CodePlex