Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Tagged Microsoft

When success turns stale: This is what old guard feels like

Microsoft

Microsoft

After failing to reverse the declining fortunes of the fourth largest company in the world, outgoing Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer teared up this week in his exit interview with WSJ.

“Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,” he said. “As much as I love what I’m doing, the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is with a new leader.”

That must be an incredibly difficult thing to admit. I respect that. To ease his pain, Ballmer gets $18 billion in retirement. Pity him.

Published works: How to fix Microsoft, suspect dental technology

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I fell behind in updating my published works section this year (there’s always Google right?). In any case, here are a couple of recent stories I’m proud to have written:

My Chromebook is a fast tablet with a faster keyboard

chomebook

I’ve been using Google’s new Chromebook for over a month now. I use it a lot, often times reaching for it over my Macbook.

Why? It starts and stops faster. In a single second even. It connects to the internet faster. In seconds, mind you. The thing is quick and lightweight. Much like a tablet computer or iPad.

Better still, the Chromebook has a full-size but no-nonsense keyboard, making it the faster and better input device when compared to tablets. And it has a lot more “apps” than closed-system tablets.

Admittedly, the trackpad is finicky. But overall, I’m very impressed with the Chromebook, especially as it’s replaced some of the functions I used to prefer on either my desktop or laptop. It might be the best living-room laptop ever made. And it’s a great travel option as well.

If manufacturers price this thing under $300, I think it will make significant waves in the computing world upon release this summer.

Microsoft and Apple beware: Google on to something with new OS

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I watched the Google Chrome OS demo today and came away impressed. The product won’t meet the need of power-users, producers, and mult-media creators. But for everyone else, including power-users when they don’t need extra power, Chrome OS is the first legitimate consumer rival for both Macintosh and Windows I’ve ever seen. Much more so than Linux ever was (at least in a consumer sense).

Some highlights about Chrome OS, which has a planned release of “mid-2011” in select Acer and Samsung laptops:

  • “Nothing but the Web.”
  • Chrome OS features a fast and simple setup process, remarkably fast boot times and an instant resume feature to minimize wait time when the OS wakes from sleep.
  • Unified experience across Chrome on netbooks, desktops and more.
  • Multiple user support and guest mode — everything a user does in guest mode is private and history is deleted instantly when a session is ended.
  • Verizon Wireless cellular data connectivity (international options are available as well) in every Chrome OS notebook/netbook — no contracts, no activation fees and monthly plans starting at $9.99.
  • Updates are seamless — no user operations are required to update the OS or apps.
  • Most secure OS in the world — security is a major focus of Chrome OS; all Chrome OS data is encrypted by default.
  • Verified boot — core OS components are in firmware that cannot be modified.
  • Enterprise options — Google is working closely with partners like Citrix to ensure the enterprise market is addressed.
  • Google’s Chrome OS PCs get faster over time, not slower like other PCs.
  • Initial manufacturing partners include Acer, Samsung and Intel.

Will Chrome OS overtake the world? No. But I could see it becoming as ubiquitous as Google’s own Gmail, if not bigger. Which is huge.

In other words, watch this space. Desktop computing is about to change. If only in how we store an access many of our files.

See also: Will Google Chrome OS change computers?

Kinect is the most impressive Microsoft product in 15 years

kinect

I’ve been playing with Kinect over the past few days, and I gotta say: It’s the most significant consumer product the company’s released since Windows 95. It’s not a home run—at least not yet. But it’s definitely a double stretching for a triple.

It’s also extraordinarily cool and brimming with promise. Continue reading…

Microsoft has forgotten it makes software for a living

I don’t despise Microsoft. I still use XP (alongside OS X on my Mac). Xbox 360 can be a fun time. And Word is still a must for professional document design (GoogleDocs is too limited in some cases). But in recent years, I’ve started to like Microsoft less and less. The reason? They follow the leader now instead of carving their own path. Says long-time tech columnist John C. Dvorak: “Microsoft is a software company. It has been distracted too easily by the success of others in essentially unrelated fields.”

Too support this claim, Dvorak convincingly mentions Microsoft’s ambitions to launch a Google-killer, iPod-killer, and Apple Store-killer… all at the same time! Previously the company tried to be an AOL-killer, Netscape-killer (that didn’t make any money), book-maker, toy-maker, and Photoshop-killer… all while Microsoft Office/Enterprise—the company’s bread and butter—brought in the real money. Frankly, I’m not sure Microsoft has pioneered an original idea in the last 15 years.

Apple is the new Microsoft (they’re just a lot cooler)

img1.jpgNewsweek has the story:

Apple is looking like what Microsoft was 10 years ago—a Bigfoot that squeezes smaller competitors. A former lieutenant of Steve Jobs’s once told me something surprising about his ex-boss. “Steve is a monopolist at heart,” he said. “He’s just like Bill Gates. He just hasn’t been as successful.”

Gone are the days where Apple was the hip underdog. Now they’re becoming the cool monopoly, and I’m fine with it so long as their products stay fresh and the prices remain competive.

Microsoft Encarta sorta downplays Nintendo Wii success

howwiiwon.jpgThe paltry entry on video games from the Microsoft-owned encyclopedia currently has only one sentence regarding Wii’s popularity: “The introduction of Wii made Nintendo once again a major player in the video game industry.”

That’s accurate. And I wouldn’t expect up to date specifics — this isn’t Wikipedia, after all. But the language seems to deemphasize reality upon further reading from the same paragraph which quickly shifts gears:

Continue reading…

GigaOM: Will Halo 3 help Microsoft secure the Digital Living Room?

The latest skirmish in the console wars took place this weekend, at the Mission District’s ultra-hip Foreign Cinema. That’s where Microsoft offered the gaming media a hands-on media preview of Halo 3, one of gaming’s most anticipated titles— and the company’s bid to expand their broadband audience.

Make no mistake about it, though the PS3 trails far behind and the Wii isn’t a direct competitor, the 360’s position as the HDTV-powered next gen champ is far from assured. The console has sold 10 million units to date since first launching 18 months ago, and claims six million online members to its Live service. It is hard to say how many of those are paying members, and how many are part of trial or some giveaway.

Continue reading at GigaOM…