Thurrott Daily: May 25

Thurrott Daily: May 25

Tech tidbits from around the web.

5/25/2016 5:09:43 PM

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Please dear God watch this spectacular video

A Microsoft video from 1991 features a young Bill Gates demonstrating Windows 3.1 and Visual Basic, and talking up key tech of the then-near-future like Pen Windows and Multimedia PCs, plus tech coming to Windows in the future: 32-bit multithreading, multiprocessor support, advanced security, and even RISC support.

The first video in this series is here, BTW.

I found out about this from Visual Basic at 25: Microsoft looks back and ahead on Infoworld, which is also interesting.

The good old days.

PayPal kills its Windows phone app

PayPal announced today that it will “sunset” its Windows phone app.

For Windows Phone users, we will sunset the current version of the PayPal app on June 30. However, Windows Phone users can still access PayPal through our mobile web experience on Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers. users can also use the PayPal add-in to send money directly from their inbox.

Some people are noting that PayPal says it is discontinuing its app on Amazon Fire and Blackberry, and that the “sunset” language means there’s still hope. I don’t see it that way: PayPal says it will “no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms.” It’s simply going where it’s customers are.

Survey: Google, not Microsoft, owns mobile productivity

This one is surprising, and troubling, assuming its true: A Survey Monkey survey claims that Google is killing Microsoft in mobile productivity.

Despite Microsoft’s historical dominance, Google is beating Microsoft in every category on mobile. In email, Google’s app usage outpaces Microsoft by 14 times. Google Sheets even boasts many more users than Microsoft Excel, an area where purists have traditionally continued to prefer Microsoft.

But what about as a suite? Even viewing all of Microsoft and Google’s products together, eight times more people used one or more Google productivity apps in the past month, compared to Microsoft.

Looking to the future, Google’s has the odds stacked in its favor. Google’s apps are well designed for mobile: they’re simple and lightweight. Google also has a tremendous advantage in that its apps come preinstalled on most Android phones. With Android more than half of the US smartphone market, this is a huge advantage.

Google is beating Microsoft in productivity on mobile, and that seems unlikely to change dramatically in the near future. Ironically, Microsoft Office is being thwarted by the same structural distribution disadvantages on mobile (Google’s ownership of Android) that its competitors suffered on desktop.

Not sure what to think about this one.

Google tries to get Android handsets updated more quickly

A Bloomberg report suggests that Google is trying to tackle Android’s biggest problem: The wireless carriers that refuse to upgrade Android handsets.

Google is getting serious about remedying what ails Android, and it’s using both carrots and sticks to get partners to keep the world’s most popular mobile operating system more up to date.

The issue — a mishmash of different smartphones running outdated software lacking the latest security and features — has plagued Android since its debut in 2007. But Google has stepped up its efforts recently, accelerating security updates, rolling out technology workarounds and reducing phone testing requirements.

The most challenging discussions are with carriers, which can be slow to approve updates because they test them thoroughly to avoid network disruption. Verizon Communications Inc.’s tests can take months, according to a former employee of the largest U.S. wireless provider. It has shaved a few weeks off at the behest of Google and customers, the person said. Shortening it further is difficult because Verizon supports so many different Android phones, which must be tested before updates go live, the person added.

I’m starting to come around to this issue. In the past, I argued that Google’s inability to get Android handsets updated had done nothing to prevent the widespread success of the platform, so fragmentation was basically a lie. But the security implications of so many unpatched older OS versions out in the wild are too great to ignore.

You might also wonder how Google can succeed here where Microsoft failed. I think this comes down to volume: Unlike with Windows phone, the carriers need Android, and its reliability and security are actually important to their networks and thus to their businesses.


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