Feeds

Microsoft still just re-Surfacing Windows

Long-planned escape from beige boxes

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

But the 90s were a heady time, when anything seemed possible: even Microsoft software in the one arena where security and stability are the only factors that matter.

Microsoft in your pocket?

Getting Windows onto a credit card was never going to be easy - there's only a tiny processor and little in the way of memory, and Windows' advantages in ease of use and broad device support would be negated by the complete lack of user interface and standardised hardware.

But back in 1998 Mondex was pushing electronic cash, and JavaCard was neither stable nor secure, so Microsoft saw another opportunity to escape its beige boxes, even if it was to become embedded in plastic.

The original idea for a modular OS, which would be compiled into an image for each deployment, was scheduled for January 1999 but dumped in 2001. It turned out to be much easier to provide APIs allowing developers to work with any underlying platform, rather than trying to squeeze Windows onto a plastic sheet.

Windows Smartphone - a success story

In the light of the many and varied attempts by Microsoft to get its software into devices of every shape and size, it's hard to judge the smartphone as anything but a huge success. It may have taken a few versions, and may still not be perfect, but it is deployed on millions of devices around the world: which is more than can be said for any of the other forms we've looked at here.

Surface Computing may get Microsoft into the coffee-table form factor; but either way you can be sure it won't be the last time we're talking its Shawshank Redemption-style tapping away, that will, eventually, break it out of its beige prison. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.