Sunday, January 06, 2008

When will innovation stop meaning "copy"

I just got done watching the last part of Microsoft's keynote from CES and I have to say that I was not impressed. While to many people it may seem that they are doing things that are "new" I did not see a single thing that was new. Well, I will give them the Ford Sync thing except the only thing new there is putting a few technologies together in a single package -- everything that it does could have been accomplished for at least the last couple years.

They went over a lot of stuff about Media Center and it irritated me just like any other DVR company. Even Echostar (a company that I really like) annoys me with their advertising of their "new" features they keep adding to their DVR systems. Open source technology has been doing all of the stuff these companies are doing and more for many years. And it's not really that I want to be critical about them adopting new ideas into their product but what I think is unfair is the statements that are made that they are the only one doing this and that the entire idea was from their company. MythTV can do just about everything Media Center or TiVo can do and it can do a hell of a lot more as well. MythBuntu has made the set up of MythTV just as easy as Media Center (and from some of the horror stories I've heard about Media Center, probably easier).

Then there's the Zune social. This especially irritates me. The entire concept and design is completely a rip off of Last.FM. Last.FM currently runs on many different platforms and is open source so that you can integrate it into virtually anything. I get exceptionally upset when companies try to make something proprietary that is something you want to be centralized. If you want to keep a log of all of the music you listen to and have a system make recommendations for you then you want that system to know what you listen to on every device. If you have a Zune, sure it will work for you..... but what about other devices? What about other software? Other computers? Unless Microsoft sees a profit in making a client for device x, we'll never be able to see it. If you really want to welcome me to the social, then please welcome me with the devices that I have

This post really isn't meant to be a "bash Microsoft" post but I'm really tired of any company that says they are innovators but all they do is copy the ideas of someone else and publish them as their own. It's really more of an example of where our society has gone. We no longer respect people for what they do out of the goodness of their heart or because they really enjoy it. For you to be honored you usually have to accept honor in making money. If you're not in it for the money then you are an outcast of society -- well, at least corporate america right now. People in the open source community create because they want to fill a void or because they enjoy doing it and that passion shows through in the finalized product. Same is true with those that volunteer. It seems that if you're doing it because you want to and not because you're in it for some selfish gain then your motives are questioned and people start looking for what you're trying to gain -- they can't just trust you that you really want to help.

I really do wish people would start looking at everything in life as being part of a team. The long term solution is to help one another and not be in it just for yourself. We all need to give credit where credit is due. Our society can go so much further if we just follow this simple policies.

No comments: