Microsoft Product ActivationWritten by Richard Lowe
Let's see if I've got this straight. Microsoft bolts together an excellent office package by purchasing programs from many other companies (or just purchasing companies outright) and improves those products tremendously. They put an incredibly high price on product, and in spite of that price manage to sell enough to more-or-less own market. Admittedly, product is excellent, so good, in fact, that it is ruthlessly copied by people all over planet. In spite of copying, Microsoft manages to eek out a few tens of billions of dollars on this product suite alone.
After numerous releases, product has finally come close to perfection with Office 2000. In fact, it's so close to perfection that only significant "features" of following version are smart tags (which no one seems to want and are not implemented very well anyway) and product activation.
Now it turns out that there really is not any reason for anyone in their right mind to upgrade their Office suite from 2000 to XP. I've looked closely at new release, and I could not sell my boss on spending several hundred dollars per copy - there is absolutely no return on investment of any kind. And as far as home version is concerned - why on earth would I want to change? The Office 2000 suite already contains everything I could ever possibly want from this kind of product plus about 2000% more.
Naturally Microsoft has figured this out and has taken steps to remedy situation. They have decided, in their infinite wisdom, that we shall upgrade whether we like it or not.
You see, businesses are being forced to upgrade through changes in support and licensing agreements. It does not matter that not a single person in my position at any company that I know of has any plans to upgrade to Office XP at any time in immediate future. We have to purchase upgrade almost immediately or we may have to pay outrageous fees to upgrade in a few years. Since it's a pretty good bet that newer operating systems will not run older versions of Office suite, we are pretty much being forced to upgrade because, well, we don't have any choice.
Obviously Microsoft's biggest problem with home users is convincing them to install product on one and only one computer system. Heaven forbid that someone purchase a product and actually install it on two computers that he owns - it doesn't matter that he paid over $479 ($239 for upgrade) for a glorified word processor, a spreadsheet program and some other things he will probably never use.
To prevent this travesty of justice, Microsoft has created product activation. What this means is you purchase product (in this case, Office XP suite) and install it on your computer. Now you get to run it 50 times or so before it more or less stops working. You now have to activate product, which means you let it "phone home" over internet. You get to do this on one and only one machine.
Gearing Up for Wireless RevolutionWritten by Richard Hsu
Wireless Internet is booming and we are heading toward an information-everywhere society. Already, it is hot in Europe. U.S. is now catching up at very rapid rate. Worldwide cell phones sales already outpace personal computer purchase. Boston-based Yankee groups says there could be 50 million wireless Internet users by 2004. It projects that by 2002, there will be 860 million wireless subscribers worldwide. International Data Corp, of Framingham, MA, reports that by that same year, 70 percent of wireless s phone users will access data application via their phones.
More encouragingly, many companies in U.S., according to a recent survey, will pay for wireless Internet service for their mobile professionals which will results in increased use for wireless Web from 3% to 78% in next 12 moths.
By end of 2000, all new cellular phones will be equipped with wireless Web features known as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). The revolution brought by wireless Internet will change how people shop. For instance, one may order a book right on spot after talking to a friend while waiting for a doctor appoint.
With tens of millions of people expected to own Internet phone in a few years, many online companies see an opportunity to push wireless commerce as an extension of their Internet businesses, thus providing mobile phone users ability to make their purchase anywhere and any time. Several major Internet portal such as Yahoo! Excite , MSN have announced and launched its mobile Internet service since last year. Even Oracle launched a mobile Internet service after its five-year preparation. These services will be appearing personalized for mobile use in banking, shopping, news, travel information and other specific tasks (buying and selling of stocks).