Yahoo in Cahoots With Google?

Someone like Bill Gates probably doesn't have too many worries. He has a gazillion dollars in the bank, the foundation he and his wife formed is busy doing good works across the globe, and he'll soon be stepping down for some well-earned leisure time after guiding Microsoft to the point where its wealth and power exceeds that of most of the world's countries. So what might make him sit up and take notice?

For one, it could be archrival Google and not-so-archrival Yahoo working together. The two search providers haven't formed an alliance per se, but Yahoo is expected to soon deliver software that will help other companies develop tools and utilities for mobile phones, regardless of the operating system running on those phones. Yahoo just wants to get in front of as many mobile phone users as it can, whether those phones are running Google's OS, Microsoft's OS or some other system.

Yahoo's first step is to make sure its e-mail and mapping services run on Android, Google's eerily named mobile phone OS. At stake is the huge and rapidly growing market for mobile phone advertising, and Yahoo doesn't want to miss the boat. That was the message from Yahoo execs speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

Google had previously stated its intention to give its mobile users equal access to any mobile services, without shutting out any particular vendor. Last November, the search giant said it was developing Android in concert with a handful of mobile phone hardware manufacturers like Sprint/Nextel and Motorola. This group, called the Open Handset Alliance, will provide free tools to anyone interested in developing utilities and services to run on mobile phones.

With all this corporate firepower, it seems we're doomed to having our phones be the next hotly contested frontier for advertising. Do you really want to see an ad when you place a call or send a text? I don't. Let me know what you think at llow@redmondmag.com.

New Top Dog at Mozilla
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss -- especially since the old boss won't be going far. That may sound like the situation soon to come at Microsoft when Bill Gates steps out of his day-to-day role, but stays on the board.

This scene, however, is playing out at open source contender Mozilla. Current CEO John Lilly will soon succeed Mitchell Baker as top executive. Baker will remain as chairman.

Despite these executive changes, the company remains committed to its Firefox open source browser and the open source market. As one of the most successful open source products, Firefox has been nipping away at the market share of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Firefox currently has a 17 percent share, domestically, with stronger numbers reported in Europe.

In their new roles, Lilly plans to focus on developing and updating future versions of Firefox, while Baker plans to spend most of her time on furthering the efforts of the Mozilla Foundation and its work with the open source community. You can expect Firefox, and the feisty folks of Mozilla, to continue its efforts to present an alternative to IE.

Do you use Firefox or IE? Or perhaps both? What do you like about your browser of choice? Fire off a note with your thoughts to llow@redmondmag.com.

Intel Bullish on Consumer Gadgets
While it has made its fortunes and forged its fame as being the heart of most PCs and laptops, chipmaker Intel is looking with great interest at the world of consumer electronics. Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Intel's top exec Paul Otellini talked about connecting just about all consumer devices to the Internet in one way or the other.

He outlined a grand vision of bringing all manner of electronic devices together. "We're now in the midst of the largest opportunity to redefine consumer electronics and entertainment since the introduction of the television," Otellini said during a speech at the show. "The personal Internet of tomorrow will deliver the information you want, when you want it, how you want, wherever you are."

He also detailed the challenges to such a Utopian technological landscape -- broadband access must first be made ubiquitous, chip technology must be more powerful and efficient (which would no doubt be his company's primary contribution), and more natural interfaces must be developed on all types of products so anyone could use them.

Already, we can use large-screen TVs as monitors and browse the Internet with our phones. Can Otellini's world be far behind? What's your take on the future of connectivity and interoperability? What would you like to see working together? Is it hype or happening? Connect with me at llow@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: More of Your Browser Thoughts
Today, it's the Davids' turn to reminisce about browsers past:

As a multiplatform user, I've tried all sorts of browsers, including Netscape 4 to 6, Internet Explorer 4 to 7, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, Safari and a few others. I like several of them on their own merits, but my browser of choice has to be Firefox. Being able to use the same browser on Windows, Mac OS and Linux combined with some of the bookmark synchronization plug-ins makes it the best tool for the job for me.

Sometimes, I do still miss the days of Lynx, though...
-David

Heck, I remember using Gopher, which predates Netscape and (I contend) was the first successful browser. True, the visualization left a lot to be desired, as you were limited to bold, blink, underline and plain text. Every once in a while, somebody went crazy and used the double-high and/or double-wide VT100 character sets or used color.

But I tell you what -- it had numerous advantages over a lot of the content today: Sites were speedy-fast; no adware, viruses, malware, pop ups or phishing sites; no such thing as multiple Java runtimes, Flash runtimes, ActiveX, plug-ins; no spammers.
-David

Comments? Criticisms? We want them all! Write in your comment below or send an e-mail to llow@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.

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