HardCopy Issue 57

Issue 57 – Autumn 2012

Editorial Intro – Matt Nicholson

A long time ago I found myself at an exhibition in discussion with the vendor of a range of custom controls for Visual Studio. He was upset because Microsoft had included in the new version of Visual Studio, which had just been announced, the functionality of his top-selling control, so wiping out the market for his product overnight. His bitterness is understandable, but then it was Microsoft which had created the market for custom controls in the first place. Rather less acceptable was the situation in which Netscape found itself when Microsoft decided to include a Web browser with Windows. The ensuing battle resounded around the courts for decades, and is the reason why even now an uninvited dialog occasionally pops up requesting that you select your default browser.

Such matters were brought to mind by recent developments. Like many, I use a range of products and services from a number of different companies. Much of it comes from Microsoft, but there are others. I have, for example, started using Dropbox cloud storage. Dropbox keeps my files backed up and synchronised across my various devices, and works well. However I am aware that Microsoft would much prefer me to use its own SkyDrive or Office 365 services, and that I am missing out on an increasing number of features by choosing to use something else. This is doubtless going to become even more apparent when I eventually upgrade to Office 2013, which is likely to be so integrated with Office 365 that I will eventually succumb – to the detriment of Dropbox and other companies like it.


Meanwhile, my wife has recently bought an iPad, which means she’s signed in to Apple’s iCloud, which is something else altogether. Then of course there’s the Google world which we are presented with every time we do a Web search. I already use Picasa to edit my photos, but it’s crying out for me to use Google Docs and store everything on Google Drive. And no doubt it’s right, in that my experience of the Google world would be the better for it.

This worries me because it seems that we are moving towards an ever more partisan world, where eventually each one of us will have to decide whether we’re going to build our computing experience around Microsoft, Apple or Google. It’s a personal choice, and it’s not completely exclusive in that a Google person can log in to iCloud, and an Apple person can use Office 365. However they do so as outsiders: unused to the facilities and unable to truly benefit from its features because they have not fully committed to that world.

And it’s extending to the hardware, too. Apple has always been a monolithic environment, in that you run Apple’s operating system on Apple hardware and connect to Apple’s cloud. Now you can run Google Android on a Google Nexus, and soon you will be able to run Microsoft Office on a Microsoft Surface. It seems the computing world is rapidly coalescing around these three corporate giants, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Articles for this issue

Inside Data 57

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Graham Keitch

Now you can access your data from mobile devices. Graham Keitch checks out BI on the move.

On the tiles

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Tim Anderson

Microsoft has released a new version of Windows, but what does this mean for developers? Tim Anderson finds out.

Software deployment

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Kay Ewbank

Deploying software to end user platforms is an issue for both developers and administrators. Kay Ewbank looks at both sides of the equation.

Looking to the future

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Tim Anderson

Where next for Embarcadero Delphi and C++Builder? Tim Anderson talks to David Intersimone.

Cloud integration

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Mary Branscombe

Major business applications are taking to the Cloud, but do they really give you the best of both worlds? Mary Branscombe finds out.

Azure does infrastructure

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Simon Bisson

New facilities in Windows Azure open up new possibilities for managing your infrastructure. Simon Bisson finds out more.

Straight talking 57

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson argues that Windows 8 is a lot more than ‘business as usual’.

And another thing 57

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Jon Honeyball

Jon Honeyball challenges the powers that be to tackle issues around trust.

Short cuts 57

Published: September 1, 2012 | Author: Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens takes a sideways look at the world of IT.