Microsoft as Crusader for the Common Man

Oh the irony – Microsoft as crusader for the masses against an evil monopolist who dominates a market and puts arbitrary limits on users. The market ? Mobile Smart Phones. The Evil Empire? Apple.

What is Apple doing  that has users up in arms? Here are the details of the dispute:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a filing with the Copyright Office, argues that the government should allow iPhone owners to circumvent technical barriers meant to keep them from changing the phone’s software, a process called jailbreaking. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act bans people from defeating technical protections for copyrighted materials (such as the encryption on DVDs). The act requires the government to consider exemptions to this ban every three years. Apple, not surprisingly, filed an objection saying that jailbreaking a phone indeed violates copyright law and that no exception should be granted.

In contrast to Apple, Microsoft touts its newly refurbished Windows Mobile as not having any restrictions on what programs users run on its software with one minor caveat – it will run best if it is developed with Windows Mobile development tools. But look what that means to the NYTimes reviewer of the new Windows Mobile:

All in, there was nothing I saw that made me lust for a Windows Mobile phone. But I hope that Microsoft’s openness will help force Apple and others to rethink their arguments that they need to approve every application that runs on their handsets. It’s nice to see a company that treats people who simply want to use their own phones their own way as customers, not criminals.

Now I must agree that Windows Mobile does not inspire great gobs of desire; however there is something to be said for the stylus tapping which Apple’s capacitative screens are of mixed adeptness at.  But the bottom line is that Mobile Windows is still playing catchup to Apple, Google, and Palm in UI multi-touch, gestures, and even widgetizing capabilities. Yet Korea’s LG has recently committed 60 of its phones to Microsoft Mobile Windows. Apparently being the Don Quixote of Mobile Phone OSs’ has a winning marketing appeal.