Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Microsoft losing online battle

Microsoft is loosing the online battle. First and foremost, they're losing it to Google but (maybe a wee bit of a surprise), Apple is regaining authority on the web as well. A recent stat analysis by Net Applications showed that the Internet Explorer marketshare has dropped to an all time low of just (cough) 67,55% amongs the surfing crowd.

Most notable online competitor of course is the Mozilla Firefox, with a 21,53% market share. Take heed, Firefox is not the adversary from the old days, Netscape (which is down to a mere 0.57%), but a Google funded open source community thingy, which is rapidly reaching its end of life status. Chances are it will eventually be replaced with Google Chrome, which is up from nowt to 1.12%. As said in the introduction, Apple is slowly gaining weight again, with its popular iPhone and iPods, more and more people start the like the Apple way of life. In the last year, the Safari webbrowser increased it's market share from 5,82 to 8,29%.

Mind you, we're talking percentages here of web broswer users, so every percent counts for tens of millions of users. The image below is a summary of the first and last line of the Net Application results, showing the statistics for January 2008 (topline) and January 2009 (bottom line).

The upside of losing millions of customers

What we're looking at is a bunch of statistics, numbers and percentages. However, when you translate it, Microsoft has lost millions of customers on the online market in the past year. However, this loss may hold a bright spot for Microsoft in the European Union.

Microsoft and the European Union have been clashing heads over Microsoft's market dominance for years on end now. The EU has been investigating to see if the company has taken advantage of its position by offering the Internet Explorer as an integral feature of its Windows OS and deliberately straying away from internet standards making other browsers to work incorrectly.

Microsoft has noted that it's marketshare is going down and isn't as oblivious as it was before, hence there can be no talk of unfair competition.

Dominance or Survival?

Well, we've taken out a few million IE users, so what? Microsoft still is the preferred supplier to the vast majority of websurfers. What's the big deal?

The big deal is that we're seeing the first signs of Microsoft loosing the online battle, the war of the web. And they're loosing it to Google. I've written a few blogposts on this before (see referal list below) as I wrote that Microsoft desperately needs the cooperation with Yahoo to strengthen its online position.

More blogposts on Google, Microsoft & Yahoo:

Beware of Snakes dressed as Spiders

A lot of people I know are welcoming the downfall of Microsoft and Internet Explorer. Throughout the web we're familiar with the anti Microsoft campaigns, the Bill Gates parodies and we all cheer the efforts of the European Union to crack Microsoft's market position, but in the mean time, Google crawls its way to the top. Just earlier today I wrote how Google teamed up with Nasa to get Mars into Google Earth and in November I blogged the Google Flu tracker, which they'd developed in close cooperation with the government.

Whereas Microsoft seems to get the full load from Governments, they're actually helping Google to take over the position...

and worse.

More blogposts on Google's rising dominance:

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Turn Firefox into an iPhone HOWTO

At Sogeti Netherlands we've done our fair share of development for Mobile Devices, but we've only recently started developing specifically for Google Android and Apple iPhone. As we lack experienced colleagues in this field to teach us the tips and tricks, we've got to go out on the net to find out how things work. Sometimes you end up in the weirdest places.

We're an IT company and have a massive amount of laptops and desktops, but guess what, just two Macbooks. One specifically allocated to a client account and one we bought to get a good and working development environment to start programming for the iPhone. There are a few options to develop without a Mac environment, but they're a real hassle. Maybe I'll get into these later.

With only one environment to develop (and a few iphones) we started looking for emulators. Developing and testing Native Applications requires a bit more than developing web applications, so turning your browser into an iphone would help. And in this case we wound up in a strange place... ismashphone. Well, not really the strangest of places when developing for an iPhone, but the context wasn't exactly office material.

Back in may 2008 the ismashphone team reviewed the new Zinio magazine reader for iPhone. Zinio is a distributer for Technology magazines and they were offering a number of magazines to iPhone users for free, including magazines like Penthouse and Playboy, which do have some bits about gadgets and tech to let you have an excuse. The ismashphone team was kind enough to provide you with a hack so you can update your Firefix or Safari browser to act like an iPhone and be recognised as an iPhone.

It seems the hack still is pretty hot, also judging by the fact that the same article (Read MacWorld...) on the Aplletell blog is among the fastest rising blogs on Technorati this week.

In case you're looking for pictures go their, if you want to try out the hack inside your office for serious testing, here's the version without distracting piccies. The hack is rather easy and gives webmasters an easy tool to check how their websites look when visited by an iPhone. Here's the 7 steps to walk through:

Turn Firefox into an iPhone - HOWTO

(by ismashphone)

The Issue: With a few steps you'll be able to turn your computer's Mozilla Firefox into an iPhone browser. This is similar to our post on turning your computer's Safari browser into an iPhone browser.

Why? To access iPhone only websites with your Firefox browser in order to preview them, or to obtain data from iPhone mobile-web targeted sites.

The Lesson:
1. Open your Mozilla Firefox browser
2. In the URL bar, enter "about:config"

3. Right click anywhere on the page, go down to New and over to String

4. You will be prompted to enter the preference name. Enter: general.useragent.override

5. You will next be prompted to enter a "string value". Enter: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419 (United States) 6. Once you have hit OK, you have morphed your Firefox into an iPhone mobile browser! Woo!
Here is a sample of what Google now looks like: Associated Press has made an iPhone only website: http://www.apnews.com/
Without this configuration you would not have been able to access this page.

To reverse this process and return to regular Firefox mode, you must go back into "about:config".
Then scroll down to the "general.useragent.override" and right click it. Select Reset.

You're back to regular Firefox.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome: Less is More but also more is less

Less is more

Back in the old days of the internet you had search engines with gigantic amounts of search categories and click by click by click you narrowed your search. These old dogs -like Yahoo, Alta Vista and Lycos- are still around, somewhere in the dark corners of the net but driven away by a search engine everyone ridiculed at first: Google.

Opposing the enourmous yellow pages of the web, there suddenly was a company that brought to you an empty screen with a single textbox to search. No way this would work. Well, Google is one of the Titans now, hungry enough to take on the world. It's picking on Microsoft now. Their first shot was Google Docs and stuff, taking on the Microsoft Office suite and now there's Chrome.

Chrome is Google's new webbrowser, released for download just yesterday and it bears the same marks as the Search Engine that shook the world: It's minimalistic. Whereas the Microsoft family tries to offer you dozens of features you'll never use (but put a pricetag on them anyway), this Chrome webbrowser is lean and mean.

"Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier."

Mmm... safer, I don't know. Heard they already found its first leak, but faster is always welcome.

More is less

Right now, Microsoft's Internet Explorer holds about 70% of the browser market, 20% is up for Firefox and the last 10% divided over the others, such as Opera and Safari, but no doubt this new browser will take a big chunk out of IE's marketshare and could well mean the end of Firefox. The development of Firefox is mainly open source, Google Chrome will be open source as well, which means you -as a consumer become a prosumer and build the product you want yourself. It makes the product better, and gets you addicted to it in the same run. The other part of the Firefox development is Google funded, so that's a well soon to dry up I guess:

Mitchell Baker, chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation admits it herself on her blog:

Another important element is the financial resources Mozilla enjoys. We’ve just renewed our agreement with Google for an additional three years. This agreement now ends in November of 2011 rather than November of 2008, so we have stability
in income. We’re also learning more all the time about how to use Mozilla’s financial resources to help contributors through infrastructure, new programs, and new types of support from employees.

Okay, so that propably means Firefox is going to pull the plug in 2011, after Google has had time to establish itself and suck out every usefull Firefox option.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yesterday I stumbled upon yet another Web 2.0 application, that looks cool, but really doesn't do much: Wakoopa. Okay, it does a few things.

Let's have a look:

"Wakoopa tracks what kind of software or games you use,
and lets you create your own software profile. Ready for you to share with the
world. Why? Because what you use on your desktop is who you are"

Wakoopa is a little program you install from a slick looking website:

Once installed Wakoopa tracks which applications you use. Why? Because what you use is who you are so the site says. Why would I want to track what applications I use? Haven't we furiously tried to ban all sorts of trackers and other malware from our PC's?

Here's the next level: I can see which programs my friends use through the Facebook Widget.

I crossed out the face of the one Facebook friend who also uses this software. He's definately geek.

For what it's worth, here are my most used apps, including my background thingies. Now, this is a business tool. My boss will make this mandatory software and see what I do all day. Can anybody tell me why we would like to use this? Judging from the usage of Internet Explorer and Firefix I'd say probably around 15.000 people.

I must say: The website looks cool and slick, very professionally web 2.0. As far as website technology goes, it's a sound piece of work. The technology behind the app... the tracker is pure evil in my opinion. I'm going to ban this sooner or later.... (like the first time I'd start up strip-poker or some other 'private' application I don't want my wife or boss to know about - but probably sooner)

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