At one point – and not too long ago in anything but telecommunications and IT years – Microsoft dominated.
Microsoft’s new leadership showed this week that it fully understands that its iconic status doesn’t mean anything outside of the PC museum. It took three steps – cutting its workforce drastically, making a decision about Android and showing that it is amendable to more open approaches than in the past – that show that it has fully accepted the challenge of moving forward.
Here are the highlights of Microsoft’s moves, net neutrality filings and other interesting news and insight from the week:
Networking the Home
Control of the wide variety of devices and networks in the home is one of the most important developmental challenges faced by the telecommunications companies, consumer electronics and the Internet industry. The problem is pretty simple: Billions of devices need to be connected in some way to each other. Many of them were built before the need for networking was apparent. All of them were built before a universal standard was arrived at, since that hasn’t happened yet.
The other side of the coin is that the organization or consortium that comes up with the dominant way to get all the devices talking will be in great shape. This week, several companies – led by Google (through its Nest acquisition), Samsung, Yale Security, Silicon Labs, Freescale Semiconductor, ARM and Big Ass Fans formed The Thread Group, which will push the protocol. Thread relies on 802.15.4, IPv6 and 6LoWPAN protocols.
Net Neutrality Still Trails Janet Jackson
Computerworld reports that the last-minute comments regarding the rulemaking on net neutrality brought Federal Communications Commissions’ servers to their knees this week. The initial deadline for the first round of comments was 11:59 on July 15.
An error message greeted visitors to the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The FCC agency received 677,000 comments as of Monday. The breakdown led the agency to extend the filing deadline until Friday. Reply comments will be due in 60 days, presumably from the new deadline.
The story notes that the FCC received about 1.4 million comments on Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.
Comcast CSR Doesn’t Help Its Image
Viral and social media can turn a bad moment or two for an individual, and his or her company, into a full-fledged problem. That’s what happened when a customer service representative for Comcast was too strident in his reaction to a couple who told the CSR that they wanted to leave the company.
The reaction of the CSR, an eight-minute over-the-top effort to get the couple to stay – went viral, according to Newsfactor. To its credit, Comcast immediately apologized. The incident is precisely what the company doesn’t want as the regulatory wheels on its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable get rolling.
IBM and Apple Working Together
IBM MobileFirst for iOS, which was announced this week, marries Big Blue software and Apple devices. PCMag says that the arrangement includes more than 100 enterprise-specific native apps, IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, AppleCare for enterprise users and other features. The site sees it as a win for both companies:
The deal appears to help the companies break into areas both have been eyeing. Apple can push deeper into the enterprise with the backing of IBM, a well-known name in the space. And IBM, which has lagged in recent years despite its illustrious history, gets an injection of Apple "cool" and can offer up products that businesses really want.
Fujitsu Cuts Switches in Supercomputers
And, finally, comes a story about how creative scientists and technicians are when they are presented with a challenge. eWeek reports that researchers at Fujitsu Laboratories have found a way to speed things up in supercomputers that doesn’t rely on denser chips or exotic materials.
The idea is to simply reduce the number of network switches in supercomputer clusters. The approach involves switching from “fat tree” network topology to “a multiplayer full mesh topology.” The bottom line is that using the mesh approach cuts switch requirements by 40 percent.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Intenet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.