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It was just before midnight last night that I caught up on the news that Microsoft had demonstrated the new Windows 8 UI at the D9 conference (liveblog and video here). The demo’s were slick, and Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky did a great job under pressure, handling Walt Mossberg’s pointed questions with aplomb.  I sent him a congratulatory email afterward.

One question left unanswered by Sinofsky was the intended ship date for Windows 8.  At best, he offered that Windows operating systems generally ship every 3 to 4 years.  My bet is that Windows 8 is going to manufacturing in June of 2012.  Why? In Redmond’s playbook:

  1. Serious public displays of important Windows operating systems usually start about a year before the ship date.  The goal is to build a wave of demand around launch.  The first public demos of Windows 8 were at the Mix’11 conference in mid-April, where Dean Hachamovich showed IE 10 running on Windows 8.  Yesterday’s public demo of the new UI at D9 is another the next step in the demand building strategy.
  2. Large scale professional developers conferences are usually held in the fall of the year before a major Windows release.  Developers need time to build products to target the platform, and Microsoft wants them to ship their products when Microsoft is ready with its own.  In April Microsoft also announced the next PDC will be Sept 13, 2011 in Anaheim California.
  3. Operating systems releases targeted at consumers generally go to manufacturing no later than June of the year in which they ship.  This is to allow hardware manufacturers to target the fall sales season – back to school, followed by Christmas – which is the busiest consumer buying cycle of the year in the PC world.

Microsoft is clearly targeting May / June 2012 for release to manufacturing.  And, given how Apple and Google are gobbling up market share in the tablet space, it seems clear that Microsoft has no choice but to meet that date.

Any bets on the exact date?

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The invaders are at the gates of mobile

by alec on May 18, 2011

Kevin Fox muses that Microsoft, Apple and Google may be “quietly preparing for war with mobile carriers”. He cites the ten-year innovation desert in voice, coupled with the explosion of data on the handset, weaves in Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, and spins a tale of how the data companies take over the telecom industry.

Implausible? No.  In fact, the innovation piece of the story has been being told for years now.  A band of rebels in the communications industry, myself included, have been speaking at industry events like eComm, authoring documents like the Voice 2.0 Manifesto, and building business plans to pitch to investors for a very long time. Nobody in mobile, however, has been that interested in listening.

Today’s mobile industry is a bit like the music industry. Just as the music industry has been built around physical distribution of goods, and was slow to react to the digitization of music, the mobile industry has been built around a steady predictable minutes model, with share driven by the carrier with the current handset-de-jour. It has made them complacent, and ripe for disruption.

The App Store model was the first real disruption, as it capped new margin growth from software.  Will Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype – the world’s largest carrier of international long distance minutes – be the next disruption?  It’s hard to know, but one thing is certain – the invaders are at the gates and change is coming.

Change is coming.

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Google Voice: Abandoned at the Altar?

May 17, 2011
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Skype Journal’s Phil Wolff wonders where Google Voice was at last week’s Google I/O.  He writes: Where’s the platform, folks? Will Skype’s platform come to market first and better? Or is Google ceding the field? To which Andy Abramson has written a lengthy defense titled Is Google Voice The Bride or the Bride’s Maid? You […]

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Dumb carriers moving pell mell to dumb pipes.

May 16, 2011

Writing in today’s New York Times, Jenna Wortham reports that: The ultimate risk for the carriers is becoming “dumb pipes,” providing only the data connection and not selling any more sophisticated communications services themselves. It’s not just a risk.  It’s reality.  Carriers are moving toward becoming dumb pipes, and there’s little that can be done […]

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Spam blogs ruin the web for everyone.

May 16, 2011
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I keep an RSS search for terms like conference call, and conference calling.  It’s a simple way to keep tabs on competitors to Calliflower.  In recent years, though, it’s become a meaningless sludge pile of garbled English as SEO “consultants” create endless spam blogs by “respinning” content using a combination of thesaurus’ and reordering of […]

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How do you sell advertising on a light bulb?

May 16, 2011

Kevin Krause asks “Is Google spreading itself too thin with Android and Chrome?”  The answer is absolutely yes and not just on the Android vs Chrome question.  Google’s celebration of the engineer is taking the company in all kinds of directions.  Light bulbs controlled by mobile phones? Self driving automobiles? Solar energy plants? How do […]

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Senate hearings become Apple witch hunt.

May 11, 2011
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Apple and Google took a drubbing from the US Senate yesterday over location based services.  At issue — Apple’s use of GPS data collected on iPhone in order to improve the accuracy and speed of location fixes. As I wrote in July 2009, iPhone (and I’m sure all other mobile handsets today) uses assisted GPS, […]

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Google loses Belgian copyright case

May 11, 2011
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Apparently Belgium newspapers don’t want to be part of the internet.  The Belgian appeals court has said that Google infringes their copyrights when it publishes excerpts of what they write on Google News.  The company now faces a fine of approximately €25,000 per day until it comes into compliance.  In addition, the suit asks for […]

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Does Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype change anything?

May 10, 2011
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So Microsoft has acquired Skype for $8.5 billion.  Whew!  It’s a breathtaking sum, especially for a company who’s bread and butter is the prepaid telecom business. Of all those rumoured to have been in the hunt for Skype, however, Microsoft was the suitor most able to take advantage of Skype’s network, ecosystem, and technology.  Their […]

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Deathmatch: Ostrich versus Troll

March 22, 2011
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We shouldn’t feel a lot of sympathy for Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec.  These are the creators of the Barnes and Noble Nook e-book reader, and they’re also the folks that Microsoft sued yesterday, alleging infringement of a series of Microsoft patents in that same device. The patents are listed below. 5,889,522: System provided […]

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