Windows Phone 7 Pits Microsoft Against Carriers and Smartphone Makers

In pushing for a standard Windows Phone 7 experience across many devices and carriers, Microsoft is likely to run into problems. For as much as Microsoft wants its smartphone OS to look and act the same across many devices, carriers and hardware makers want to make their own marks, too. At stake is control of the user experience and, ultimately, of customers themselves.

Will the carriers and hardware manufacturers remain top dogs, or will the operating system vendors prevail? Put another way, will smartphones end up following the PC business model, where hardware manufacturers do not control user interfaces, or will they and carriers remain an important chokepoint between a smartphone OS and its users?

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Windows Phone 7 Spotlights SharePoint Collaboration

An application that many users have never seen--Microsoft's SharePoint--plays a key role in Windows Phone 7 Series' Office Hub, the center of business activities in the new smartphone operating system.

On a phone with rich social networking features, adding business collaboration through SharePoint seems only natural, if not obvious. Microsoft, however, might not be alone in offering this capability.

SharePoint is a mature technology that Microsoft has invested in for more than a decade. It has, however, morphed over time and is variously promoted to both individual and enterprise customers.

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Is Windows Phone 7 Right For Business?

Amid all the hoopla surrounding the introduction of Windows Phone 7 Series this week in Barcelona, Microsoft's core customers have been almost totally left out.

It's hard to imagine that business customers aren't important to Microsoft anymore, but at the announcement of the new smartphone OS in Barcelona, business certainly got short shrift.

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Google Apologizes for Buzz Privacy Issues

Google has responded to anger over its Buzz social network with an apology and second round of privacy-related changes.

The latest move replaces the controversial "auto-follow" feature with something Google calls "auto-suggest."

Saturday's revision was the second major change to Buzz since the service was introduced last Tuesday. Since then, Google had been besieged by complaints that Buzz endangers user privacy.

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Buzz: Google Needs Better "People Skills"

Google's inability to deal with people issues--like Buzz privacy and Nexus One customer support--makes the company look technically sophisticated but socially inept.

Google's millionaire genius-nerds need to learn what real people expect from technology and how to deliver it.

Forget for a moment that Google Buzz meets no obvious need, and consider just the human factors.

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Google Buzz Not Ready for Paying Customers, Are We Concerned?

If Google's new Buzz isn't ready for enterprise users' private networks, is it really ready for anyone? The delay between Tuesday's release of free consumer Buzz and the paid enterprise version is worrysome, especially if there are security or stability issues.

The only people who should--for sure--be interested in Buzz are paid Google Apps Premier Edition customers, for whom is should be a private, high-quality, preconfigured social networking intranet. But, it isn't. Not yet, and there's no definite word as to when, just "within a few months."

My guess is adding the necessary enterprise administration features to consumer Buzz takes time, perhaps accounting for the delayed release. Or maybe walling-off enterprise Buzz from consumer Buzz is the hold-up. Or it could be something else.

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Microsoft Ends War on Macintosh with Office 2011

The long war between Microsoft and Macintosh is almost over. It will end when Microsoft ships Office for Mac 2011, the release that ends Redmond's decade-long attack on Apple computers in business.

Office 2011, due before the holidays, replaces the much-despised Entourage e-mail client and information manager with a real version of Microsoft Outlook created for Macintosh.

When that happens, Mac users become full participants on their companies' Exchange-based e-mail systems. End of the Mac as a second-class corporate citizen.

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