Microsoft Invests in Its Own Mobile Browsing Technology

When Microsoft Research built technology that brings smoother video, better content organization and Web navigation to mobile devices, the company could have turned it into a Microsoft product, or perhaps added it to its Smartphone and other mobile OSes.

Instead, Microsoft decided to spin it off as a separate company, and then invest in it as a venture capitalist.

And so it is that we have ZenZui (the name seems to have little or no actual meaning), which is already aiming its software at the Zune. As Microsoft explains, "ZenZui works as a widget- or icon-based navigation system that allows the user to zoom in and out of various applications."

Microsoft Demonstrates its Own Mobile Browsing Technology
You might think I'm writing the same story twice, as Microsoft this week talked about new technology to improve the browsing capabilities of mobile devices. Instead of ZenZui, Microsoft was extolling the virtues of Deepfish, a technology that makes cell phone and PDA browsers look more like their larger PC or laptop brethren.

Deepfish offers the full layout of the Web site, but in a way that lets users easily read the content.

No, it's not a giant magnifying glass. Instead, Deepfish loads the portion of the Web site you are actually exploring. And best of all, DeepFish can work with existing pages without having them recrafted for mobile.

Google vs. K-Fed
My standard search engine went from AltaVista to Google four years ago (I'm a late bloomer, I know).

That may have to change now that I've found SearchWithKevin.com. That's Kevin as in Kevin Federline. Do enough searches and I may win a T-shirt, an autographed picture or, the grand price, an autographed K-Fed CD! Dang.

Handling Orphanware and Buying From Startups
Ever buy a product for a critical function, only to have the vendor go out of business? What did you do? How did you support a tool with no vendor to back it?

And when buying from a startup, which may or may not make it, what special precautions do you take? Do you demand to see the balance sheet, get source in escrow or come in with a backup plan in case they go under?

We are writing a feature story about these topics and would love to hear your war stories, lessons and advice. E-mail me 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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