Feeds

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

Thanks a lot, HTML5

The essential guide to IT transformation

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Oh my, OData

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
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.
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?