Ed Bott's Weekly Wrap: Ballmer goes full Android, tablet sales slide, Google faces new privacy complaint

Steve Ballmer attends Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting and says something inflammatory just for old time's sake. Elsewhere, tablet sales are down, Microsoft is bringing containers to your Windows PC, Samsung is writing a big check and making it out to Apple, and the EFF says Google is spying on kids,
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

Did last week ever end? I keep getting Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails from marketers who apparently didn't notice those selling frenzies are over.

Meanwhile, in other news...

Microsoft adding containers to Windows clients

Mary Jo Foley dug up this interesting nugget from a Microsoft job posting. It looks like Hyper-V containers could be on their way to a Windows desktop near you:

There are a large number of client focused scenarios, currently unannounced, where Containers form the core pivotal technology providing security, isolation and roaming ability. To deliver this, we are creating a new team with a mission to impact client computing in the same revolutionary manner we are changing the datacenter.

Surprise! The Microsoft Career listing has been pulled.

Steve Ballmer goes full Android

Microsoft's largest shareholder was at the company's annual meeting last week, acting like he still wants to be CEO:

An audience member questioned Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about the continued absence of key apps for Windows Phone, to which Nadella responded that it was appealing to Windows developers through its universal apps program, which lets them build apps that work across PCs and mobile devices.

"That won't work," Ballmer is quoted by Bloomberg as saying as Nadella spoke. Microsoft instead needs to allow Android apps to run on Windows Phone.

This reply from Chris Suh, Microsoft's general manager for investor relations, is classic: "We enjoy a regular dialogue with Steve, and welcome his input and feedback, as we do from our other investors."

Or as they say in the South, 'Well, bless Steve's heart."

Tablets are so 2014

Tablet shipments are dropping faster than PC sales, down 8.1 percent in 2015, according to data from IDC. But one segment is still growing: 2-in-1 devices, or tablets with detachable keyboards.

IDC senior research analyst for mobile devices Jitesh Ubrani sees the iPad Pro as Apple's only opportunity to gain tablet market share in the coming years as it targets both enterprise and prosumer audiences.

Windows-based devices -- slates and detachables combined -- will more than double market share by 2019, Ubrani said.

I thought the PC was dead.

Google denies spying on kids

Yet another opportunity for lazy pundits to break out the "don't be evil" meme. Thankfully, the Christian Science Monitor stuck to the facts:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation alleged in a complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission that Google's Chromebooks and its cloud-based Google Apps for Education, which the company says are used by more than 40 million students, teachers, and school administrators, are pre-installed with a feature that allows the company to monitor the websites that students visit.

Meanwhile, Google says it is shocked, shocked by the suggestion that it would use the same business model that provides more than 90 percent of its revenues in the fast-growing education market.

"Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure," Google says in a statement. "While we appreciate EFF's focus on student privacy, we are confident that these tools comply with both the law and our promises, including the Student Privacy Pledge."

They would say that, wouldn't they?

Samsung paying Apple $548 million

Patent case grinds to a close:

A court in September awarded Apple the partial judgment. Samsung's options narrowed to simply paying the money or trying to take its fight to the US Supreme Court.

The hefty sum is significantly less than the billion dollars Apple sought at the outset of the 2012 patent trial in Northern California, and doesn't put to rest an argument over who should pay Apple's legal costs said to total $1.8 million.

Samsung has confirmed to Apple that it will pay Apple the $548 million partial judgment directly," attorneys representing the companies said in the court filing.

The payment was to be made within 10 days of Apple delivering an invoice to Samsung on Friday, according to a joint filing.

No word yet on whether Samsung will try to deliver the payment in nickels.

Editorial standards