Unified Messaging? Now Microsoft Wants Unified Everything

A decade ago, vendors from Novell to Lotus to Microsoft pushed unified messaging, a single place to get your voice, pages and e-mail. Instead, we have cell phones, BlackBerries, laptops and good ol' landline phones. So much for unification.

Now Microsoft wants to unify entertainment, pushing a single IP connection for phone, Internet, TV and anything else they can stuff on there.

Redmond exec Robbie Bach is pitching the idea to telcos at this week's TelecomNEXT show. Hey Robbie, don't you guys still owe us the video-on-demand stuff you promised back in the '90s?

Saving the World, Redmond Style
Bill Gates recently spoke again of bridging the digital divide, and once again Microsoft is fighting a fairly finished solution, the $100 Linux laptop from MIT, with good ol' fashioned FUD.

Gate reiterated the recently invented (but far from built) Microsoft vision where a cell phone and a TV do all the computing a third-world geek would ever need. Of course, this assumes a phone, a cell phone plan, a TV and of course electricity -- none of which are needed to run the MIT lapper.

It's time for Microsoft to stop talking (and bad mouthing the MIT box) and start delivering something just as good and just as cheap. What do you think? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Windows Mac Attack
A month ago we talked about a contest for the first person to make Windows XP run cleanly on the new Intel Macs without using virtualization -- a contest that would never have been needed if Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got on the horn and decided to do what is best for customers. Instead, it took two California whizzes to do the right thing. They cracked the code and shared over $13,000 in prize money for their efforts. The solution is open source, so any glitches can be fixed and new features added.

This is the machine I'm jonesin' for -- using Windows to do most of my work, and browse, create, and just plain have fun over on the Mac side. Would you buy a dual-boot Mac? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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Google Gone Bad?
Google, a name synonymous with search, is so powerful that a high rank can make you, and a low one break you. But according to a recent lawsuit, its ranking technology is a secret, its retributions -- like totals bans -- for shenanigans too severe, and it has little interest in explaining its actions to those who claim they've been harmed. The lawsuit also calls into question just how legitimate, fair and ultimately useful these rankings are.

I'm not ready to jump to any conclusions, and a company as powerful as Google is going to attract critics like flies to a bologna sandwich. Do you think Google is on the up-and-up, or is it abusing its power? Spill your guts at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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