Monday, July 11, 2011

Will Microsoft Wipe Out the Google Android Advantage?

Microsoft seems to be working many different angles to wipe out any advantage that Google should get as the primary developer of the Android OS for Smartphones. The sneaky angle is to persuade the Smartphone makers to replace Google as the default search engine with Microsoft's own Bing search engine. For example, the LG Revolution has the Android OS, however as the PC Mag review says, it has been thoroughly Binged. Bing is the default search engine and Bing Maps is the default mapping application. My son, who recently got a LG Revolution told me that he had to download Google Maps to get the mapping application he prefers.

Microsoft has also been going after the various Android smartphone makers, getting them to pay royalties on Microsoft patents. Reputedly, HTC is paying Microsoft $15 per smartphone to license patents. It would not surprise me if Microsoft is making more money from licensing patents to Android handset makers than it is making from selling its own Windows 7 Mobile operating system to handset makers. They are certainly making more profit from Android than from Windows 7.

Microsoft could apply pressure other smartphone makers to set the default search engine to Bing in exchange for reduced payments of royalties. If this becomes widespread, Google loses the advantage that it gets from having developed Android, and in the long run even threatens the existence of Android. If Google gets no advantage from developing Android why should it continue? This is only a tiny slice of what is going on with mobile patents, however the ball seems to be in Google's court and we are waiting to see what they do with it.

Friday, July 01, 2011


It happened yesterday. They just sent me an eMail. How is that a good way to be fired? Anyway, from today onwards I can tell you that I am no longer an Associate. I cannot fault Amazon's reasons for firing me. Yesterday Governor "Moonbeam" Brown signed a law that because Amazon has associates in California they would have to collect sales taxes from California residents, and Amazon, clinging to "the internet is tax free" mantra fired all their associates that are California residents.

Also, I cannot really fault Governor Brown. He has a big budget gap to fund, an intransigent legislature and the determination that he is going to fix the budget problem properly, or at least better than his predecessors. So Brown signed legislation that would provide California with more revenue, or at least try to plug a gap in state revenue, or at least be a stage along the way to plugging the internet sales tax hole. This legislation on its own is not going to generate any extra revenue, however if enough other states with a sales tax pass similar legislation maybe enough companies will throw in the towel and start complying with state sales tax collection.

What am I going to do? Well I am not going to leave California. The weather is good, there are plenty of good jobs that pay well enough and the other amenities, while not cheap, are well worth it. Also, I have to confess that I have not been a very good Amazon Associate, making practically nothing from all those seductive links sprinkled throughout this blog. In truth, I did not become an Amazon Associate to make money. The real reason was that I was concerned that if I copied a link from the web site, and if you clicked on that link, you might see a message at the top of your screen that said something like "Hello Richard Taylor. Have we got some recommendations for you." As an Associate, I could get a good clean link for a product without having to worry about the fact that the link could have other unwanted baggage attached.

So adios Amazon. I will just have to go back to guessing how to fix up links to your site so that they do the right thing.