Bionicoder's Blog

Windows software development and business blog

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Microsoft gives free Windows 7 to invitation-only testers

Posted by bionicoder on July 30, 2009

Microsoft will give free Windows 7 Ultimate  to invitation-only tester to show thanks to Windows 7 Beta Tester.  This is 180 degree turn from early statement that members of the Windows Technical Beta Program would not be receiving a complimentary copy of Windows 7.

Posted in Microsoft | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

IE7 Shell Window Registration in Vista

Posted by bionicoder on June 17, 2009

A Shell window is a window that has been registered by calling IShellWindows::Register or IShellWindows::RegisterPending.  Upon registration, the specified window is added to the collection of Shell windows.  The Shell windows collection includes file explorer windows and web browser windows Internet Explorer and 3rd-party web browsers.  The shell window collection can be retrieved through:

        IShellWindows *psw;
        HRESULT hr;
        hr = CoInitialize(NULL);
        if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
        {
             hr = CoCreateInstance(CLSID_ShellWindows, NULL, CLSCTX_ALL, IID_IShellWindows, (void**)&psw);

             if (SUCCEEDED(hr))
             {
                  // TODO: Use the IShellWindows instance...

                  psw->Release();
             }
         }

Before Windows Vista, all opened file explorers and Internet Explorers can be found through the above code. But this changed in Windows Vista because of UAC. The issue is when UAC is ON, sometimes the IE can not be enuermerated. This issue was also discussed in MSDN forum. Some developers thought IE can only be enumerated when UAC is OFF.

I spent a couple of hours to do some resarch and found:

  1. When UAC is ON, the IE run in Protected Mode: ON can still be enumerated through above method
  2. When UAC is ON, the IE run in Protected Mode: OFF can NOT be enumerated through above method.

This is very interesting.  I am not sure why Microsoft does not allow IE in protected off mode being enumerated when UAC is ON.  Maybe it is because of Microsoft own security consideration.  This inconsistent behavior has not been updated in Microsoft website yet.

So, in Vista (UAC on), developer needs to use two different ways to get IWebBrowser2 interface.

Posted in vista, windows development | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Is this good? – IE free Windows 7

Posted by bionicoder on June 11, 2009

Consumers in Europe probably will see IE free Windows 7 sooner or later.  Reacting to antitrust concerns expressed by European regulators.  Microsoft plans to offer a version of Window 7 in Europe that has IE removed.  This is called Windows 7 E. Micrsoft  try to appease European Commission (EC) regulators who are mulling possible remedies in the ongoing Opera-Microsoft browser-bundling case in the European Union.

Is this good? For consumers, it is not a big deal. They will see other browsers installed when they purchase new PC with preinstalled Windows 7.  OEM manufactures won’t ship new PCs without any browser.

For browser software companies, it is a chance to get more market share. That is Opera has been struggling for.

For developers, it is hard to say at this point.  Starting from Windows 95, IE has been the “must have” browser in Windows.  So many desktop application is dependent on browser library – shDocVM.dll, which is the core component of IE browser. If this were removed in Windows 7 E, then the software dependent on WebBrowser control will not work properly. That would be a nightmare for developers.

Posted in Microsoft, Software | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Is Microsoft late?

Posted by bionicoder on May 4, 2009

There were many discussions about Microsoft ad-supported Office 14 available next year.  One point is that Microsoft is 5 years late to offer free version of products. Is that true?

I don’t see this as Microsoft arriving late. I see it more as Microsoft waiting until the right time. They will no doubt make more money selling the product, than presenting ads on it. I imagine Microsoft have been waiting for the right metrics in the market share before offering the ad supported version.

Not to go off topic, but I see this as a way of clawing back users who have moved to OpenOffice or other free office suites. Making something has to be better than making nothing.  If Microsoft can get these users back to the MS office, they will keep the leading position.

OpenOffice still can not compete with Microsoft Office from user experience and functionality perspective. They used to be an alternative if users can’t afford to or not willing to buy office products. OpenOffice has been successful because of its “free” strategy. But it will lose its advantage if free Microsoft Office available. Unless OpenOffice can make money either from ads (ad-supporte OpenOffice?) or whatever other ways to do better marketing and product improvement, I don’t know how OpenOffice can compete with Microsoft Office next year

Posted in Microsoft, Software | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Ad-Supported Version of Microsoft Office 14 May be Available

Posted by bionicoder on March 22, 2009

On Feb 24th 2009, I posted an article asking that Will Microsoft consider ad-supported software model again? Now this will become true. On March 3rd, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop said Microsoft would release an ad-supported version of Microsoft Office 14 — Office 14 is expected to be available in 2010. Elop said the purpose behind releasing a free version of Microsoft Office with ads displayed alongside the workspace was to draw “pirate customers into the revenue stream.” according to Silicon Valley Insider.

As my analysis in previous article, this would be Microsoft strategy to compete with Open Source and freeware. It is not only for fighting software piracy. Then what would be Open Source ‘s response to this? Will Open Source follow Microsoft to use ad-supported model as well?

One thing we can predict is more and more software companies will follow Microsoft to put ads on their software in the future. No matter you like it or not, this is the trend driven by competition.

Posted in ad-supported, Software, Software Business | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Three Ways to Monetize Freeware

Posted by bionicoder on March 4, 2009

Some developers make freeware just for giving back to Internet community without considering any money back. I give my respects to those developers. For other freeware developers (maybe high percentage) who also want to make money from freeware. I summarize three popular ways to monetize freeware for your reference.

This is not for companies who use freeware to attract customers. For example, I know many security companies use free anti spyware or similar security tools to attract customer. When customer download their tool, it reports that your Windows has many malware running, if you want to remove them, you need to pay for the advanced feature.

Software as a Service(SaaS) Model

The implication of SaaS is software delivered as freeware. Your revenue comes from service provided following the software. The successful freeware or open source using this model are MySQL, JBoss, Apache and Spring. As you can see, this model better fits the freeware or open source which targets enterprise customer.

Also this model has high requirement for the development team. The team needs to be dedicated and have enough experience and skills for high quality product. The quality is the key for having ideal customer base.

Ad-supported Model

The ad-supported model better fits consumer software. The idea is simple. Software works like a media carrying ads. Software is offered for free. Revenue comes from advertising on software GUI. The ad-supported model I am talking about here is NOT equal to malicious adware. What I am talking about is like Yahoo Messenger bundle with ads on the GUI bottom.

The challenges for developers considering Ad-Supported model are:

  1. the ads inventory.
  2. It is hard for 100,000 user base software to get constant ads from advertiser

  3. ads management
  4. It is extra work to manage ads delivery

The available market solution is Younexus advertising solution for software application. What Younexus does for software is like what Google Adsense does for website. Younexus feed ads to software participating their program.

In addtion, Younexus requirements for software joining their program is software should not contain virus or any malware.

Selling traffic Model

This model requires you have enough patience because it will take longer time till you see revenue come in. The way it works is you offer software for free and wait for other website to add link to your website if they like it. Ideally you get bigger and bigger traffic, then you can get benefits from your website advertising.  This article explains how this model works in detail.

This model works for software with unique and special technique. For such kind of freeware, people like it because of its uniqueness. They can’t think of anything else once they need use the special functionality. For example, when you want to zip a file, the only one you can think of is WinZip.

How about if you wan to find out a FTP tool? They are many free FTP client tools available. It is too common.

Posted in ad-supported, Software, Software Business | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Will Microsoft consider ad-supported software model again?

Posted by bionicoder on February 24, 2009

Back to year 2005, there were hot discussions about ad-supported software model in ZDNet blogger community.  The topic was orginated by a news that Microsoft was ruminating on ad-supported software that leverages its new adCenter platform.   Although no specific plans have been made, executives within Microsoft were examining whether it makes sense to release ad-supported versions of products.

In July 2007,  there was another news said  that Microsoft Works would become a free, ad-funded product that will compete directly with Open Office and Google Docs & Spreadsheets.  However this did not really happen.  Microsoft Works 9 is sold at $39.95 currentlly.

Will Microsoft consider ad-funded software model again? I really don’t  know.  But looking at the background that drove Microsoft to consider ad-funded software model. I can bet that this topic may be brought up again in the  future. The background is the competition from Open Source and freeware growth. Till today, the competition is still there and even hot.

As the leader in operation system and business applications, Microsoft has to be very careful in any change of its revenue model.  Any change made by Microsoft will make a deep impact on the whole software industry.

Posted in Software | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »