Feeds

Microsoft, 'open' data, and the curse of open source

Thanks a lot, HTML5

Website security in corporate America

Do the rise of cloud computing and the outbreak of peace on open standards in the browser mean programmers will be forced to find new ways to make money online?

In the last few days, Microsoft surrendered to common sense by announcing that Internet Explorer will finally embrace common standards with HTML5.

It was a critical moment that potentially means the end of the lock-in that enabled Microsoft and others to charge for their coding work. While IE might be free, billions of hours were spent on custom coding as Microsoft, partners, and an entire industry built web sites, applications and online services first for Microsoft's browser and then for everybody else that bothered to adhere to web standards.

The disappearance of this walled garden - due to happen with IE 9 - has coincided with the feverish rise of smart-phone makers and service providers falling over themselves to give consumers access to things like Twitter and Facebook on their handsets.

Apple, Palm, Microsoft, Google, Blackberry, and Symbian are fighting to prove they too offer access to exactly the same handful of social networks so their users can also Tweet their way through important business meetings.

Increasingly, this battle to carry the same services requires both integration between services and between those services and the operating system.

Palm, for example, has Synergy in its webOS that links and merges contacts, calendar information and messages to avoid fumbling through different screens. On the other end of the scale, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Series has a long way to go on basic integration and multitasking, but we should expect it to catch up over time in classic Microsoft fashion.

This trend for integration is starting to reach into the world of the desktop. Lucid Lynx - the next version of the Linux desktop due imminently - will integrate Twitter and Facebook into the software, according to Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth.

That should merge the desktop and online worlds so people don't have to fire up their browser or a separate application to use their social applications.

All this means that while each mobile and desktop operating system is unique and highly complex - facts that let developers charge for the time and work that goes into building their software - they are all targeting exactly the same data by writing to exactly the same APIs, be they Facebook's or Google's vast repository of search queries or geo-location information.

This trend of writing to what speakers at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) this week in San Francisco, California called "open data" - never mind the whole issue of proprietary cloud lock in - is being further driven by giants like Microsoft and Google.

In health, for example, you have Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health - two growing repositories that are seeing Microsoft and Google set themselves up as massive gatekeepers of information. They have recognized that in the information age, survival comes not by adding more features to applications or operating systems but by owning the information itself and then letting others access it. Talk about buying your way into the future.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Oh my, OData

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.