Feeds

Microsoft to offer free microbrowser as ‘stop Symbian’ campaign

Free 'open' browser, free source code, free licence... Holy Linux, Batman!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Having failed so far to get mobile phone companies to vote for CE in any significant numbers, Microsoft is now readying an alternative strategy - offer them a microbrowser free of charge for their handsets and devices. The W-Pack (Wireless Package Application) programme will include free microbrowser, source code, libraries and documentation. The plan is undoubtedly aimed at Symbian, the joint venture operation owned by Psion, Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola. Symbian is mounting a direct challenge to Microsoft in the smartphone/communicator arena, using Psion's EPOC32 software as a lean basis for their future devices, and trimming licence fees down to $5-10 a unit. Microsoft clearly can't match this with CE, without destroying its licence revenues from CE machines aimed at more computer-like functions. But it can match or better it by 'liberating' strategies from other companies and giving the software away for free. This one, for example, appears to involve an ultra-slim browser running on top of an embedded OS, and although Microsoft would no doubt like the embedded OS to be a Microsoft one, this is by no means essential. And the microbrowser on top of an embedded OS sounds rather like what you'd hear from Sun. Giving it away meanwhile sounds like a Microsoft implementation of the Open Source Software approach. Microsoft says that the WPA will be a completely open standard which isn't tied to CE, and though it will work with (and possibly be optimised for) CE, financial considerations will keep this combination out of volume mobile phone markets. Microsoft may however have left its counter-strike too late. Psion's decision to let the cellular big three buy stakes in a joint venture seems shrewd with hindsight, because they're now committed, and a lot less likely to defect to the Microsoft camp (Motorola has rumouredly already turned down an approach). So Microsoft is going to have to look at tier two global companies, and at US ones. Siemens is already theoretically committed to CE, so is a possibility, and Alcatel and AT&T might be available. The Koreans, as always, are most certainly available. But there's still a lot of catching up to do. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.