back to article Google is 20, Chrome is 10, and Microsoft would rather ignore the Nokia deal's 5th birthday

Birthday cake makers, rejoice! There's a trio of tech industry milestones to celebrate or maybe commiserate. Google at 20 It is 20 years ago today that ad-slinger Google filed for incorporation and the behemoth that we all know and - some - love came into being via a jerry-rigged rack of servers in a Menlo Park garage. …

  1. Locky Silver badge

    Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

    What about ask Jeeves? How quick we forget

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

      What about the original Google too? A vastly different search engine to the crap they serve up these days.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

        I seriously miss the old Google engine. It was remarkable in its ability to help me quickly find what I'm looking for. The Google engine of the past few years doesn't measure up and appears to be getting worse.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

      What about Ask Johnny Dee?

      1. doublelayer

        Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

        Google's search is still pretty good. This is unfortunate because the previous sentence is the standard response to my question "How are you liking using duckduckgo?". I would cheerfully continue to use google's search, including seeing ads on that page, if only they could disassociate it from some of the other creepy things they do. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like a viable possibility.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

          There's always Startpage if you want Google search without the tracking.

        2. Daniel M

          Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

          !g, !gi, and, if you must, !gm are your friends.

    3. Swiss Anton

      Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

      Alexa, who is Jeeves?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

        Alexa, please ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to ask Alexa to

        [Click here to disable comment shrinking]

    4. strum Silver badge

      Re: Ask Google? Ask Microsoft?

      Back in the day, I did one of those focus group/product test days, looking at Search Engines. The winner was Infoseek.

  2. ThatOne Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    "Don't be evil" (Terms and Conditions apply)

    Amazing how Google evolved from a nerd's search engine to a all-powerful Megacorporation straight out of a dystopian SciFi scenario.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: "Don't be evil" (Terms and Conditions apply)

      It's almost as if power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Don't be evil" (Terms and Conditions apply)

      Project Maven fitted in admirably with Google's desire to gain control of everything. They must be really pissed that their involvement became public knowledge and their staff started speaking out against it.

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: "Don't be evil" (Terms and Conditions apply)

      All revolutions contain the seeds of their own destruction.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Phil W

        Re: 'Amazing how Google evolved ... to all-powerful Megacorp out of a dystopian SciFi scenario'

        Google is more akin to Massive Dynamic from Fringe.

  3. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Coat

    "Thanks to a lack of meaningful competition from Microsoft..."

    I think it was more Google splashing marketing call-to-actions all over their search home and results pages that brought about the rise of Chrome among the general populace than anything else.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      I have no idea how they got away with this; when you think how hard MS got clobbered for integrating stuff into Windows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have no idea how they got away with this; when you think how hard MS got clobbered for integrating stuff into Windows.

        Clobbered as in 'got away with it, and still are'?

    2. ratfox Silver badge
      Trollface

      I think it was more Google splashing marketing call-to-actions all over their search home and results pages that brought about the rise of Chrome among the general populace than anything else.

      If that was enough, Google Plus would have been a success...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And we'll have to pry IE 7 from your cold dead hands, right?

      Chrome gained popularity because IE is absolute garbage for users, developers, and IT.

      In some cases, marketing doesn't make a shit of difference if the reality is so incontestable. Consider the hoops, nags & dark patterns I endure trying to install Firefox on a fresh win 10 install, and you'd be surprised to find edge in the "other" category.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Chrome didn't have to do the "call to actions", since so much software comes bundled with a Chrome installer thanks to Google liberally applying cash to make that happen. The cost of that is a drop in the bucket compared to the money they make from all the personal data they collect from Chrome users.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Regardless of browsers, Google collect the same personal data.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Not true at all. Not every web site has Google ads / trackers installed, when you visit those Google can't track you unless you are using Chrome. If you block (whether via the browser, add ons or DNS hackery) Google's trackers then they might not be able to track you - or at least track you less well - using Firefox/Edge.

            If you use Chrome, they get a list of every site you visited, how long you were there, what you clicked on, etc. There's no comparison between the data they get from Chrome vs other browsers.

  4. DJV Silver badge

    "play on the mathematical term"

    I remember hearing somewhere that it really should have been called "Googol" but they didn't know how to spell it, which is why they ended up with Google instead. Ah yes, here you go:

    https://graphics.stanford.edu/~dk/google_name_origin.html

    1. Chewi

      Re: "play on the mathematical term"

      If only they'd googled it.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Alta Vista?

    wasn't it astalavista?

    My coat with the grey hat in the pocket ;-}

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Alta Vista?

      Depends on what you were searching for. Astalavista was the pirates search engine of choice when looking for cracks and pirated software

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Alta Vista?

      And alta-vista was porn

      First time I ever came across internet porn as well

      Still trying to work out when Yahoo dropped the ball and I am sure wildcards were better supported many years ago.

  6. tony2heads
    Linux

    For all your searching

    DuckDuckGo

    Icon - closest I could find for a duck

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: For all your searching

      My search engine of choice due to its fairly anonymous behaviour (and one of the first to use https from the browser's plug-in).

      But I still go to Google for cases when I actually want to see stuff to buy as they seem to do better at returning UK based adverts/shops then DuckDuckGo even though they have me down as UK-based.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For all your searching

        If I just want to search for specific words, then DDG is usually ok.

        If I want something relevant, then it's Google. At least I benefit from their tracking.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: For all your searching

          "If I want something relevant, then it's Google."

          It depends on what you find relevant. Searching on a place name inevitably brings up a load of estate agents, especially if combined with the name of a family that had a significant presence in the area (they feature in street names). Relevant if you're looking a buy a house. If you're doing historical research, a complete and utter waste of time.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For all your searching

        But why would you actually want a search engine to serve you better advertising?

        If a site is developed and written well, and linked to by reliable websites (which implies genuine popularity rather than link farming), then it should return further up the search results for the relevant query.

        (If a site isn't competently developed, and doesn't return such good results, is that a company that you would want to buy from anyway?)

      3. DougS Silver badge

        Re: For all your searching

        But I still go to Google for cases when I actually want to see stuff to buy

        I agree, Google is much better than DDG for that. However, I make sure to open the links in private windows, copy the URL and then re-open it in another private window if I'm actually going to make a purchase. Probably doesn't help, but I want to do whatever I can do to hurt Google's attempts to connect searches to sales :)

        Hopefully DDG will get better in this regard, as that's pretty much the last thing I still use Google for.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Use Startpage NOT DuckDuckGo

          For starters Startpage's search is far better.

          You can 'Proxy open' webpages for privacy...

          But also Yahoo's ties to DDG aren't healthy.

          See how they covered that up (webarchive)...

          1. Fading Silver badge
            Gimp

            Re: Use Startpage NOT DuckDuckGo

            No contributors to YACY here then?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              'No contributors to YACY here then?'

              Got any links to some useful articles? Scanned Wikipedia quickly, but it didn't offer a good picture or insight of what's involved. Except to mention JAVA, an install which will set off Security alarm bells around here. So can YACY be used without JAVA?

              1. Fading Silver badge
                Unhappy

                Re: 'No contributors to YACY here then?'

                Unfortunately it is JAVA powered. But it is peer to peer so not evil in itself (just running on evil).

        3. doublelayer

          Re: For all your searching

          I use DDG whenever possible. It is my default, and most of my searches go through it. However, there are types of queries that google can handle much better. One of these is when you want to download some piece of software, but you don't remember what the download link is for it. If it's a thing that has its own site, then it's straightforward (go to site, click download). Consider a program like thunderbird. Is it mozilla.org/thunderbird? I don't know; it might be. If you want the download quickly, google will direct you to the right one from the search "mozilla thunderbird download", whereas duckduckgo will give you several close but wrong pages. They are also prone to being attacked by the SEO-intensive software distribution sites that put malware in with the download if you can even find it. Google can also answer certain questions directly. When the standard user wants to ask a question and get the answer fast, google's lead in this keeps them from taking my suggestion and switching to something that is more respectful of the user.

      4. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: For all your searching

        "But I still go to Google for cases when I actually want to see stuff to buy as they seem to do better at returning UK based..."

        Which is ultimately why all this tracking exists at all. If it was purely about moustache-twirling villains in big business wanting to make a few extra quid, even the general public wouldn't put up with it. But the thing is, at least some tracking offers real benefits in the form of things like more relevant search results, so the average person just doesn't see the problem. Sure, all your data is being sold to the highest bidder (and probably all the rest of the bidders too), but it's a few seconds quicker to find the cat video you're looking for, so no worries right?

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: For all your searching

          "Which is ultimately why all this tracking exists at all."

          All that tracking certainly hasn't improved things for me. Google search results have been getting consistently worse over time, to the point where I get better results (for the most part) from DDG.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I did not get why the world needed the third ecosystem in phones"

    Only if your leadership can't get yours past the third place.... but Nadella showed he doesn't understand "personal" software and devices - he saw them only as data hoarding devices to ape Google - and he thinks Windows + Azure are enough to hoard data.

  8. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The "App Gap"

    " A lack of apps ensured customers stayed away in their droves..."

    Funny how people still pin the demise of Windows Phone on the "App Gap". Think for a bit - unless you have some kind of specialist area of interest or a specific game you're into, how many apps do you use per day on your phone? In my case, I know I'm normally in single figures, and two of them are "web browser" and "email client".

    I would be more of a mind that Windows Phone failed because of Microsoft's utter failure to market it effectively, their continual switching of architecture and development requirements, and, above all, the insistence on calling it "Windows Phone"...

    ... okay, they could have done worse on that last point and called it a "Zune Phone"...

    1. Test Man

      Re: The "App Gap"

      When your App Store lacks very very popular apps (YouTube, Snapchat), or only has really awful implementations of apps on other platforms (Facebook, Twitter - only recently rectified), there's most definitely an app gap for a hell of a lot of (potential) users

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "your App Store lacks very very popular apps (YouTube, Snapchat)"

        The YouTube app was there. Just Google complained it violated its policies... I would have seen what had happened with roles inverted...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          It wasn't just apps

          I thought the orphan devices had a lot to do with it - i.e. Windows Mobile 6.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 7.0. OK, as expected. Windows Phone 7.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 8.0. WTF? And then again for many (but not all) Windows Phone 8.x devices with Windows Phone 10.0! After all, for corporate users missing Snapchat and Youtube apps isn't a problem, but devices with a support lifetime of 18 months was.

          When you jerk your customers around like that, it is really hard to build any loyalty. Especially since they'd seen Microsoft able to support Windows upgrades on a near infinite combination of 3rd party hardware but somehow couldn't manage that feat with phone hardware they made themselves!

          Had they introduced Continuum in the 7.x days, even though it would be pretty slow, just the view people would have of being able to run their Windows PC applications on their phone in a few years time might have got a lot more people interested in the platform. Maybe not the consumers, but definitely the corporate types.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi
            Thumb Up

            Re: It wasn't just apps

            I thought the orphan devices had a lot to do with it - i.e. Windows Mobile 6.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 7.0. OK, as expected.

            A certain HTC HD2 disagrees. Not only it ran WP7, it also ran WP8, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows RT, and Android (up till either Nougat or Oreo, don't remember which), and was the "jewel" of XDA-Developers for quite some time. This is because M$ used it for testing WP7, and the bootloader's "secret" leaked.

            Windows Phone 7.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 8.0. WTF?

            IIRC, the argument was Secure Boot or something.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: It wasn't just apps

              >> Windows Phone 7.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 8.0. WTF?

              > IIRC, the argument was Secure Boot or something.

              WP7 devices were strictly single core SoCs. WP7 was based on 'CE' and couldn't cope with more than one. In fact the advertising had 'why would you need dual core' implying that others were inefficient.

              WP8 _required_ dual core and all the SoCs that it would run on were specific dual core parts.

              Microsoft only built versions of WP7 and WP8 to work with a specific list of SoCs and there was no overlap. The makers could not rebuild for a SoC not on the list. In fact originally each maker was directed to use a specific source.

              > A certain HTC HD2 disagrees. Not only it ran WP7, it also ran WP8, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows RT, and Android

              It seems that the HD2 (a Windows Mobile 6.x phone) was used by MS to develop WP7 as both WM6.x and WP7 were based on CE. This allowed developers (not HTC) to hack WP7 to run but is was unsupported.

              """In December 2012, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 were ported onto the device as a proof-of-concept; no working builds exist."""

              While the WM10 upgrade list does have an "HD 2" it is not the 'HTC HD2', it is the 'Blu Win HD 2'.

              Android (ASOP) is, of course, available to be built for any device.

            2. DougS Silver badge

              Re: It wasn't just apps

              The HTC HD2 wasn't a Microsoft / Nokia device. The market for Windows Phone was small, the market for non Microsoft/Nokia branded Windows Phone devices was almost non-existent. The corporate types were buying those because of the name, and the support policy for those determined its fate.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: It wasn't just apps

            > I thought the orphan devices had a lot to do with it - i.e. Windows Mobile 6.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 7.0. OK, as expected. Windows Phone 7.x devices couldn't run Windows Phone 8.0. WTF? And then again for many (but not all) Windows Phone 8.x devices with Windows Phone 10.0!

            It wasn't just the devices that were deadended, it was the apps and the whole development toolchain that was dumped and reset. WM6.x was a complete dead end, nothing could be ported to WP7*. At least there was a conversion that could be done to some WP7 apps so they could be loaded into WP8 - when they didn't fail due to incompatibilities. WM10 then moved to UWP but developers had lost interest in rewriting everything yet again.

            * WM6.x devices outsold WP7 for many months after WP7 release due to businesses needing new phones that ran their existing in-house developed apps that couldn't be ported to anything else and needed completely starting from scratch again.

          3. cat_mara

            Re: It wasn't just apps

            Very much this. As Charles Petzold, the author of what was the "Bible" for Windows programming for much of the 90s once pointed out, there are examples from the Windows 1 SDK that can still be built and run on the most modern versions of Windows (nothing that requires e.g., file I/O as Windows 1.x still needed DOS APIs for that but window management, message processing, resources, etc. are all present and correct and largely unchanged). I don't think there is no any UI toolkit still in widespread use that could boast this.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: It wasn't just apps

              > Charles Petzold, the author of what was the "Bible" ... examples from the Windows 1 SDK that can still be built and run on the most modern versions of Windows

              While it may well be true that _some_ of the examples could be recompiled on whatever was the 'most modern' at the time he said that, it is also true that programs compiled for Windows 1 or 2 would not run under Windows 95 or later.

              > I don't think there is no any UI toolkit still in widespread use that could boast this.

              X-Windows comes to mind as one that probably could do this, and that was before MS Windows 1. Also it wouldn't surprise me to find that some early Macintosh, also before Windows 1, example code could still be compiled and run.

              But, does anyone still program down to the raw SDK level ? I would have thought that most programming is done on much higher level frameworks.

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: "your App Store lacks very very popular apps (YouTube, Snapchat)"

          > The YouTube app was there. Just Google complained it violated its policies... I would have seen what had happened with roles inverted...

          Of course it violated the Google terms of trade, it was Microsoft that wrote it.

          The roles were inverted when software that competed with Microsoft products were not allowed into the MS store, such as word processing and browsers. OTOH MS Office for Android, and much else from Microsoft is in the Google Play Store.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "such as word processing and browsers"

            You mean like browsers in iOS and Chromebooks? Here again, MS came last, others paved the way to full lock-in.

            You may also want to read: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/03/microsoft_claims_google_undermining_winphone/

            Office is in the Play Store only because Google knows without Android would have not a chance in the business market.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: "such as word processing and browsers"

              > You mean like browsers in iOS and Chromebooks? Here again, MS came last, others paved the way to full lock-in.

              """Safari is the default browser pre-installed on every new iOS device, but there are plenty of alternatives, ranging from Google Chrome and Opera's various mobile offerings to Dolphin, Atomic and Ghostery."""

              """Firefox on Chrome OS. Opera Mini on Chrome OS. Dolphin Browser running on Chrome OS. Ghostery running on Chrome OS."""

              Windows Phone: """first launched in October 2010 with Windows Phone 7"""

              ChromeOS: """Initial release June 15, 2011"""

              I am not sure why you think that "MS came last", nor that "others paved the way", but then this is the world of 'alternate facts'.

      2. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: The "App Gap"

        And games too. We don't take that seriously round these quarters, but users *do* care.

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: The "App Gap"

        Youtube, Twitter apps ? Oh, did Windows Phone not have a web browser then ? Why use those aps ?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The "App Gap"

      I would be more of a mind that Windows Phone failed because of Microsoft's utter failure to market it effectively, their continual switching of architecture and development requirements, and, above all, the insistence on calling it "Windows Phone"...

      All of the above, and the lack of apps. Of course, the architecture changes burned so many developers that the apps were increasingly less likely to come and network effects and inertia (hard to get people to buy a new platform) on top. I don't use a lot of apps but I do depend on a couple: Öffi, OsmAnd, The Economist. A lot of the rest can be wrapped in Webviews and will presumable be available as PWAs. Oh the irony!

  9. cat_mara

    Maybe...

    ... if Microsoft hadn't been such greedy sods in demanding the same 30% cut as Apple did for entry to their app store, Windows Phone might have stood more of a chance. Or if they hadn't ended up appearing so weak by having to pay devs to develop apps for it. Or if they hadn't tied developing Windows Phone apps to a forced upgrade to Windows 8 whether you wanted to or not. Or if they'd curated their app store better to keep the fart apps out. Or...

    Nadella can play the "well, it wasn't my idea" card as hard as he likes and claim that markets always tend to converge on two dominant players anyway, but the fact is that Windows Phone didn't have to fail quite as hard as it did. That's all down to the pathological political situation that prevailed in Microsoft in the latter years of Ballmer's tenure and which still hasn't been fully resolved: witness the mass exodus of talent into the cloud services arm of the company in search of shiny things leaving the OS and desktop applications sides of the business apparently bereft of all adult supervision.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Maybe...

      Not spending the better part of the decade before the iPhone trying to cram the Windows desktop onto a tiny mobile screen for stylus prodding might have been an even better idea. "But, we added an 'OK' button in the title bar!" is not an especially convincing argument that you've seriously evaluated how to provide a usable mobile interface.

      Or not engaging in so much effort to tie web browsing, including your browser code, to desktop Windows that you're unable to offer a decent mobile browser.

      Or not being so incredibly arrogant that you dismiss new competitors out of hand, based on a paternal attempt to dictate what "doesn't appeal to business customers".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "trying to cram the Windows desktop onto a tiny mobile screen"

        While they could have designed it far better, they didn't have the multitouch capacitive screen technology which made the iPhone possible. Still, the PalmOS UI was less cluttered and easier to use.

        As long as they only made the OS, without a direct involvement in hardware design, they had to adapt to what hardware companies made available.

        That said, MS failed over and over to deliver the right UI for the right device - later it tried to expand the tile UI designed for small mobile screens to large desktop ones, showing they have real issues in understanding users needs, and putting their ideology about a single UI on multiple platform always first, despite the several failures.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: "trying to cram the Windows desktop onto a tiny mobile screen"

          > later it tried to expand the tile UI designed for small mobile screens to large desktop ones, showing they have real issues in understanding users needs,

          Microsoft hired consults to tell them why Windows Phone was not doing well in the market*. For a very large sum of money they told MS that the problem was that desktop users were unfamiliar with the UI. The solution was to force that UI down the users' throats until they loved it and _demanded_ it on their phones.

          * various analysts had claimed WP would overtake iPhone by 2010 or somesuch.

      2. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: Maybe...

        based on a paternal attempt to dictate what "doesn't appeal to business customers".

        If you've been following Windows itself before the advent of the iPhone and afterwards, you'd notice that the register "here meaning the writing style" in Windows documentation, interface messages, and public-facing material like its websites was always "business first, home user later".

        Windows documentation reads pretty rigidly "in a literary sense". There's nothing to appeal to the basic home user. The language reads like a technical manual. Errors that kept asking the user to "contact their system administrator." Wait, who is that again?

        (Or when the user thinks, "Hey! I'M the system administrator!" because he's using an Administrator account. Don't laugh ... because that was me.)

        This is because M$ has always seen itself as an "enterprise-focused" company (or too arrogant to condescend to the average person).

        On the other side, what other companies did (especially Apple and Sony Computer Entertainment) is "home user first, businesses, dunno, later?". The messages in their user interfaces and their documentation and the like are a lot more friendlier.

        Microsoft has learned the lesson of late, but they're frankly overdoing it with their "niceness" and "informality" of messages, actually.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Maybe...

          Microsoft has learned the lesson of late, but they're frankly overdoing it with their "niceness" and "informality" of messages, actually

          I think you - and they - confuse "information free" with "user friendly".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe...

      The 30% cut had nothing to do with there being no apps, considering Microsoft literally payed companies to port their apps.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Maybe...

      How was the 30% cut a problem, since not only Apple but also Google was and is taking a 30% cut? You thought Microsoft should be the low price player in this game?

      It wouldn't have mattered if they took a 0% as there was hardly any userbase to buy the apps! The apps were never a problem for corporate users, so long as you do mail, calendar, etc. and they could have done quite well if they replaced Blackberry as the corporate phone of choice. Then the corporate apps would have followed. Microsoft couldn't even be bothered to get a Word/Excel viewer on the thing though, which is pretty bad - if your OWN developers won't support your platform, how do you expect others to regardless of the cut you're taking?

      1. cat_mara

        Re: Maybe...

        How was the 30% cut a problem, since not only Apple but also Google was and is taking a 30% cut? You thought Microsoft should be the low price player in this game?

        Why not? Most commentators seem to agree that at least one factor in Microsoft's success at convincing developers to choose Windows over OS/2 back in the 80s was that the Windows SDK was freely available where'd you had to pay IBM for the privilege of developing for OS/2. Wintel has always been the "low price player" but it seems they were happy to let Android/ARM take tthat off them...

    4. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Maybe...

      > and claim that markets always tend to converge on two dominant players anyway,

      It was Microsoft that killed off Symbian, Maemo/Meego, Asha, Meltemi, Nokia-X (Android, later Microsoft-X) by contracts with Nokia. It was Microsoft that killed off WebOS (by waving 'Loyalty Discounts' at HP*). It was Microsoft that killed Windows Mobile 6.x, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 (by incompetence in making the next range incompatible). Granted WM10 died a natural death because, by then, no one wanted it.

      So the convergence to two players was the 'natural outcome' of Microsoft stamping on anything that it could that looked like competition to its products, and then being incompetent with its own.

      * HP did not want to pay retail price for all MS products so it was cheaper to drop WebOS.

      1. cat_mara

        Re: Maybe...

        IMO, Nokia killed Symbian, Meego/ Maemo et al. through managerial cowardice and a "fight it out amongst yourselves" mentality. Microsoft only turned up and delivered the mercy blow.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Maybe...

          > IMO, Nokia killed Symbian, Meego/ Maemo et al. through managerial cowardice and a "fight it out amongst yourselves" mentality. Microsoft only turned up and delivered the mercy blow.

          Certainly Nokia, as the top phone maker in the world, had many development projects that competed with each other. This is how product development works, but they could have been more efficient. It was Elop, Microsoft's wooden horse, that delivered 'the blow' with his burning platforms memo. He killed Symbian production even when there were outstanding orders. He killed the N9, and N9x0, even though it was outselling Lumix in the countries that were allowed to have it.

          Microsoft did 'turn up' to buy the division because they were switching to Android (Nokia-X) and then 'delivered the mercy blow' to Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile by closing it all down.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Maybe...

      "leaving the OS and desktop applications sides of the business apparently bereft of all adult supervision."

      Have you no idea how much it costs to pay adults?

  10. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Saints and fools

    Even the saintly British politicians have taken a look at the search giant's practices and said the parliamentary equivalent of "steady on, old chap".

    This article is either a) written by an American or b) written for syndication to the U.S (shamelessy, and much like the recent Doctor Who and that last Torchwood story).

    Can anyone look at a pic of the likes of May or Johnson (for American readers, not 'a johnson') and still say 'saintly British politicians' without breaking out in a disbelieving smirk at the sheer gravity of their fib?

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Saints and fools

      It's not written by an American because it's irony. Which we do, and only East Coast intellectuals do over there.

      But in fact many of the saints were pretty dysfunctional, publicity mad bastards, so it could just be factual. Saint Dominic could teach Rees-Mogg a thing or two about self publicity, for instance.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Saints and fools

      Compared to the Trumpanzee, MayNot, CorByMe, and even Johnny-Come-Never are bloody saints.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Saints and fools

        Seems that there are at least two Trumpkins infesting El Reg's comments section. Sad.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS bought Nokia for one reason: Nokia X.

    Android on a Nokia, they had to stop it. Bastards.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Nokia X? Seriously?

      The half-assed phone that couldn't be bothered rendering its own user interface without lag?

      The Android phone without Play Store (or any proof for the end-user that it was Android)? The phone whose crappy plastic would leave Chinese no-name factories and in-flight entertainment headset makers jealous?

      If only it was a flagship ... Maybe a current HMD device, only made by "real Nokia*", and to Nokia quality ...

      That's not to say that Microsoft liked the sight of the former giant releasing an Android device.

      * Some are gonna say that HMD was founded by Nokia ex-employees. Yep. They aren't Nokia. Their phones definitely don't smell Nokia, but rather of some China factory product ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nokia X, unlike their Windows phones, actually had potential.

        If Nokia had have dropped Windows and committed more resources into X then Microsoft would have saved billions getting the same end result, and Nokia would still have been around.

        In some parts of the world, "Nokia" was a generic term for "mobile phone". But not even that level of branding could have survived the negativity of Windows.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        "Their phones definitely don't smell Nokia, but rather of some China factory product ...".

        No it's Foxconn and quite a few phones smell Foxconn.

        But about HMD, according to the Wiki:

        "HMD Global Oy, branded as HMD, is a Finnish mobile phone company, made up of the mobile phone business that Nokia had sold to Microsoft in 2014, then bought back in 2016. HMD Oy (limited company) began marketing smartphones and feature phones under the Nokia brand on 1 December 2016." ......

        "HMD is headquartered in Espoo, Finland,opposite Nokia's head office, and the company is largely run by former Nokia executives.[10] The first CEO was Arto Nummela, a Nokia veteran for 17 years, until July 2017 when President Florian Seiche took over as CEO.[11] Manufacturing is outsourced to Foxconn.[12][13][14] Nokia has no investment in HMD but remains a partner, setting mandatory requirements and providing patents and technologies, in return for royalty payments." ......

        Headquarters

        HMD are based at the Nokia Campus in Karaportti in Espoo, Finland, opposite Nokia Corporation's headquarters. HMD's other main offices are located in London, England; Noida, India and Dubai, UAE."

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMD_Global

        As for who owns the company try this link (in Finnish) :

        https://www.tekniikkatalous.fi/talous_uutiset/kuka-omistaa-nokia-puhelimia-myyvan-hmd-globalin-nyt-se-tiedetaan-kun-talouselama-sai-yhtion-omistajaluettelon-6728053

      3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Nokia X

        > If only it was a flagship ... Maybe a current HMD device, only made by "real Nokia*", and to Nokia quality ...

        You are thinking of much later Nokia Androids.

        Nokia X was not by HMD and was not Chinese made. It was produced in Nokia factories and was very similar to Lumix models - except the OS. It was available in Feb 2014 and Microsoft kept producing them for some months after they bought the factories, calling them Microsoft X.

        The HMD devices were much later.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Why would Microsoft care about Nokia, specifically, running Android? Shouldn't they have wanted to buy Motorola since they were the early leader in the Android market? They could have set Android back at least a year if they bought Motorola instead of Nokia back when phone buyers didn't know what 'Android' was but they'd heard of 'Droid' from all the Motorola ads.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Why would Microsoft care about Nokia, specifically, running Android?

        Shouldn't they have wanted to buy Motorola since they were the early leader in the Android market?

        It's about market penetration. Nokia had a way bigger brand outside of the United States. It's basically a household name.

        Motorola? Not that much. The Droid series barely made it out of the US and Europe.

        There are bigger markets (Asia, China, India, Africa, Middle East) where Nokia is pretty popular and Moto is unheard-of.

        Nokia + Android in these countries is definitely a recipe for disaster (for M$, in this case).

  12. Waseem Alkurdi
    Trollface

    The company famously had the motto "Don't be evil" but became increasingly flexible in its definition of "evil" as it headed towards the difficult teenage years - the phrase was removed from its code of conduct this summer.

    Anybody remembers Animal Farm where the pigs disfigured, and later shortened, the Ten Commandments?

  13. DougS Silver badge

    It doesn't matter if Chrome bloats

    Google will continue paying software developers all over to bundle a Chrome installer with their stuff, making it almost impossible for an average user (who just clicks OK and doesn't look at the various checkboxes to see what they might want to uncheck) to avoid.

    It is worth it for Google because of all the personal data they can collect, the value of which far exceeds the cost of paying to insure that Chrome gets on everyone's PC. Firefox can't afford to do that, and Microsoft already has their browser on everyone's PC. It just comes down to a fight between IE/Edge and Chrome over trying to get/trick the user into making it their default browser.

  14. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    Blamer and Bill Gates don't talk anymore

    Wonder why?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Blamer and Bill Gates don't talk anymore

      Bill Gates got bored of toying around with Windows around 2005 or something when he resigned as CEO and started his charity. Maybe got depressed when the iPad made its debut (probably was like, "Hell! I've shown this to the world YEARS ago and everybody thought I was a damned asshole!")

      Ballmer? Dunno, aliens got him? He's a billionaire. Why would he bother saying anything to the proles while he could bask in the sun of his billions and enjoy life?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'New ways to maximise advertising revenue. Whether users like it or not'

    Welcome to Phase-2 of 'closing the loop'. 1. Phase-One: Ad-Targeting. Phase-Two: Hoovering up credit-card / financial-transactions / patient-health info. Phase-Three: Intrusive involvement in every single event or transaction in people's lives: Big-Data - AI -Algo - Automation etc etc.

    Does your child get to have the surgery they need? Do they get a place on the college course they deserve? Do they get the job they wish for? Do they get the loan to buy that dream home? Who can they date? Do they get arrested because a pre-crime system keeps flagging them up in error etc...

    _________________________________

    Google & Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/google-and-mastercard-cut-a-secret-ad-deal-to-track-retail-sales

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We used to do the searching

    Now the big boys search for us...

  17. Charles Calthrop

    I was listening to original pirate material, which - I think - makes me the coolest el reg commentator

    'you won't find us on alta vista' goaded Mike Skinner.

    'too right' I thought, sadly

  18. Charles Calthrop

    I still think WIndows Phone had hte best UI. I was so bemused something so beautiful and functional came from microsoft. then I bought a 1020, and with every update something was removed. Bemused I was no more, and so I bought an iphone

    Live tiles still haven't been copied properly. Or people, where I can see a list of my friends and get updtes from their twitter and facebook without having to use facebook's awful app. of course, MS killed that, too

  19. Andy Goss

    The Old Portal Fantasy

    "refreshingly uncluttered Google front page." Still works better. But I keep seeing portal-like ideas being floated, the concept has a hypnotic effect on people with a lot of money to invest.

    I use Startpage mostly, and Duck Duck Go, but Google pioneered the search engine that just searches. One big plus with Startpage is that it does not warp the search by referencing previous searches.

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