iWork photos (Apple)

iWork vs. Office: Apple Chooses, Microsoft Faces a Dilemma

Apple took a big step last week when it made its iWorks apps–Pages, Numbers, and Keynote–free to buyers of new iPhones, iPads, and Macs. But the redesign of the programs themselves may have been a bigger, if less commented-upon move. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 30th, 2013
Healthcare.gov screenshot

Obamacare: Where Did 500 Million Lines of Code Come From?

Anyone who knows even a little about enterprise software has to be horrified by the events surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Not so much the obvious flaws in the enrollment process, though they are bad enough, but …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 25th, 2013
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A Better iCloud: Missing in Action

If anyone mentioned iCloud at Apple’s announcement event yesterday, it went by so quickly that I missed it. And that means that a glaring hole will remain in its otherwise strong ecosystem for the foreseeable future.

iCloud does a few things …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 23rd, 2013
iLife screenshot

Apple Drives Consumer Software Prices to Zero

Oct. 22, was not a good day to be in the consumer software business.

In addition to a slew of new iPads and Macs, Apple announced the avaibility of new versions of some key software offerings. Mavericks, the new version of …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 22nd, 2013
GT_shutterstock_gov

Why Silicon Valley Can’t Fix Healthcare.gov

Senator John McCain is hardly a darling of the tech community. But he expressed a sentiment widespread among techies when he said of the woes of the Obamacare enrollment process: “Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 21st, 2013
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Two Cheers for IT

In a new post, my colleague JohnKirk gives IT departments a well-deserved dressing down. I actually agree with everything he says, but it isn’t quite the whole story. I have no love for IT. During the many years I worked for …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 17th, 2013
Windows Phone 8 with expanded display (Microsoft)

Tablets, Phablets, and Phones: Microsoft’s Confusion Continues

An update to Windows Phone 8, due to begin rolling out soon, has some good news for fans of really big phones. Devices with 1920×1080 pixel displays will get an assortment of new user interface features, including the ability to …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 16th, 2013
No winners or losers

Let’s Stop Talking About Winners and Losers

Enough already. The debate over Android, iPhone,  and occasionally Windows Phone as winners and losers in the smartphone market, being pursued with vigor in the comments  at Tech.pinions as well as nearly  everywhere else in the tech world, has become …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 10th, 2013
Photo of WD MyCloud (Western Digital)

The Do-It-Yourself Cloud

My working life depends on cloud storage. I regularly work on two desktops (Windows and an iMac), a MacBook Air, an iPad, and an iPhone, plus whatever I may be evaluating at any given time. I want my critical …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 9th, 2013
Signpost "Consumerization"

Enterprise and Consumer Tech Are Not Converging

In an important Stratechery post titled “Overstating the Consumerization of IT,” Ben Thompson argued there is a critical difference in how consumers and enterprises (or more broadly, business) approach technology. Consumers are willing to pay for hardware but balk at …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 3rd, 2013
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Schools and Tech: A Long-Running Tragedy

Last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District had a great idea: Provide all 640,000 students in the system with iPads equipped with custom software from Pearson Education at a cost of $1 billion. Today after 47,000 tablets …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   October 2nd, 2013
Photo of RealPlayer Cloud on iPhone (RealNetworks)

A Comeback Product for Not-Dead-Yet Real Networks

Younger internet users may never have heard of Real Networks. But the Seattle-based company was once a major media pioneer, inventing postage-stamp-sized streaming video back in the days of dial-up connections and creating Rhapsody, the first subscription music service.

Real has …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 25th, 2013
Surface screenshot (Microsoft)

Disruption: What Microsoft Got Wrong

Ben Thompson of Stratechery has deservedly been the talk of the tech world this week for his analysis of disruption theory, What Clayton Christensen Got Wrong. Thompson argues (and if you haven;t read his piece you should) that Christensen actually …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 25th, 2013
Fingerprint photo

Sense and Nonsense About Biometrics

Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner seems to have fueled an important but ill-informed and ultimately nonsensical debate about biometrics and privacy. The latest example is this muddled editorial in the Sept. 22 New York Times.

The Times editorial, and a great deal of other …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 22nd, 2013
Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 2.10.35 PM

BlackBerry: The Last Act of a Grim Play

There will be more stories about the final agonies of BlackBerry, but this is it. The company announced today that it  expects to report a loss of nearly $1 billion in its second fiscal quarter and that it is dumping nearly …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 20th, 2013
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Apple Maps: Still a Disaster

I was hoping that with the official release of iOS 7, Apple would finally produce some major improvements in Apple Maps. But for all the attention Apple has lavished on other parts of the new OS, Apple seems to have …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 20th, 2013
Photo of antenna at AT&T Research, Holmdel, NJ (National Park Service)

Apple Research: An Immodest Proposal

A recent column by Brian S. Hall and a followup conversation in the comments got me thinking about one of his “wild and crazy” ideas for Apple: That the company should fund a research lab in the tradition of Bell Labs. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 20th, 2013
about_the-data

Data Broker Acxiom Reveals How Little It Knows About Me

I recently accepted an invitation from Acxiom, the big data broker, to check out some of what they knew about me on a new web site. What I discovered was a considerable surprise; in an era when both private data …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 17th, 2013
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Apple vs. Microsoft: The Value of Strategic Thinking

Having a strategic plan and following it doesn’t guarantee corporate success. There’s always the possibility that the strategy is bad and fated to fail. But you can rest assured that the lack of a strategy will doom any enterprise to …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 12th, 2013
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Touch ID: A Big Deal If Apple Doesn’t Mess It Up

The Touch ID fingerprint reader could be one of the most important features of the new iPhone 5s. Although it will initially be used only to unlock the phone and to log into the iTunes Store, it has the potential …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 11th, 2013
microsoft-plus-nokia

Microsoft and Nokia: A Strategic Blunder

There’s an old military adage, “Reinforce success; never reinforce failure.” By purchasing Nokia’s device business for about $5 billion, Microsoft has just reinforced failure in a big way. It has been three years since Microsoft attempted to reboot its mobile …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 3rd, 2013
vz-voda-logos

The End of a Wireless Anomaly

Verizon Wireless has always been a very strange beast. Its DNA incorporates the tangled history of the U.S. phone industry since the 1983 court-ordered breakup of the Bell System.

Verizon Communications, which will finally become its sole owner of Verizon Wireless …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   September 2nd, 2013
Windows Mobile screenshot

The Irony of Microsoft’s Lost Mobile Opportunity

The dozens of commentaries on Steve Ballmer’s impending departure nearly all condemn him for Microsoft’s failure in mobile computing during his tenure. It’s certainly true that Microsoft was run over by an iPhone-iPad-Android train in the last few years, but …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 30th, 2013
© designaart - Fotolia.com

About Those NY Times and Twitter Attacks: What Really Happened

General news media mostly do a terrible job covering tech issues. And in the case of the attacks, allegedly by the Syrian Electronic Army, that effective took nytimes.com off-line for a good part of Tuesday, the tech media haven’t done …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 28th, 2013
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TV: A Faster Slow Death

Television as we know it is doomed and has been for some time. But I thought  broadcasters and cable operators would be able to hold off the inevitable for a long time because their business model, antiquated as it is, …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 28th, 2013