An often irreverent look at some of this week's other news ...

Microsoft + Nokia? An Alliance Isn't Enough. You Should Merge.

Allow me to step out on a limb for a moment. On Friday Nokia revealed its strategy for the future, a strategy that has the company partnering on Windows Phone with Microsoft. It's an interesting idea that has its backers and naysayers. But let me take this idea a step further since, let's face it, both Microsoft and Nokia need to be bold in order to succeed in a mobile market increasingly dominated by Apple and Google. I think the companies partnering isn't enough. I think, instead, that they should merge. This would send a message to the world that they are both serious about the mobile market, big time, and willing to bet their futures on it. Anything less would be a half-step. Anything less, in other words, simply doesn't go far enough.

Microsoft Names Muglia Replacement

Microsoft this week announced that it was promoting Satya Nadella to head its Server and Tools division. Nadella previously led the company's launch of the Bing search engine and was in charge of engineering for Microsoft online services. And this profile matches rumors that Microsoft was seeking to place someone with deeper cloud experience in charge of a division whose products lines are rapidly moving to a cloud-based delivery model. That said, Server and Tools generated tens of billions of dollars of revenue last year, while the online services stuff actually lost money. I'm just sayin'.

Google Whines About Microsoft Intervention in D.C.

A week after Google was revealed to be a sniveling baby-bully after it falsely accused Microsoft of copying its search results, Google is back in the news for the wrong reasons, again. Now, the online giant is crying that Microsoft has set the antitrust watchdogs in Washington D.C. after it, stifling growth. "We try to create lots of new technologies for consumers, and the companies and industries that we disrupt sometimes try to seek recourse in Washington," a Google spokesperson told Politico. "In particular, Microsoft and our large competitors have invested a lot in D.C. to stoke scrutiny of us. But our goal is to make sure that we can continue creating cool new things for consumers." That sounds just terrible, Google. And you're right; it is unfair that a ravenous corporate goliath should have to fall under the scrutiny of the federal government. Then again, if all you're doing is innocently trying to bring new technologies for consumers, I'm sure you've got nothing to worry about. Right?

Bing Gains on Google Search, Again

Actually, maybe Google does have something to fear from Microsoft. According to comScore, the software giant's Bing search engine gained usage share on Google Search in January. OK, it wasn't much: Bing jumped from 12 percent of US searches in December to 13.1 percent in January. But the big news is that Google share actually fell, to 65.6 percent. So, still dominant, but down. If these trends continue, Bing should pull even with Google sometime in 2362, if my math is correct. I wouldn't break out the champagne just yet.

Launch of Verizon iPhone Causes Barely a Ripple

Hear that sound? No? Listen closer ... Got it? Right: It's the sound of a cricket chirping. And that's the sound you could have heard had you visited an Apple Store Thursday morning in order to buy the new Verizon iPhone. Instead of the usual mobs of fanboys that greet most Apple product launches, this week's launch of the Verizon iPhone was a complete non-event, at least at retail locations around the United States. That doesn't mean it's a failure per se—Verizon says it very quickly sold out of phones for existing customers who preordered it—but it does show that consumers aren't complete idiots. (Frankly, this surprises me.) After all, the iPhone 4 is a year-old design with a known-faulty antenna. Why would you buy one of these things just months before a brand-new next-generation iPhone goes on sale?

RIP, Ken Olsen

Computing pioneer Ken Olsen died this week at the age of 84. He was the cofounder of Digital Equipment Corp (DEC), one of the last great computer companies to come out of the East Coast. (Other also-rans from the area include Commodore and Wang.) Olsen grew DEC from its humble roots in Massachusetts to a colossus that trailed only IBM in size and power by the mid-1980s. But he refused to see the potential in the personal computer, claiming that the toy-like device would "fall flat on its face in business." Oops. Within years, DEC was spiraling downward and he was forced to resign from the company he helped create in 1992. DEC was later acquired by Compaq, which was itself later acquired by HP. In fact, since we're discussing history, it's worth noting that the team who developed Windows NT for Microsoft was derived largely from ex-DEC personnel. In fact, many people believe that Windows NT, or "WNT," is really just the next version of the DEC VAX operating system, VMS. (Add one letter to each letter in VMS and you get WNT.) But that's just a weird coincidence, really, since Windows NT was originally just called NT, or even OS/2 NT. But from a technical standpoint, it turns out there really are a lot of similarities between VMS and the initial NT version. Hmm.

This Week, on the Windows Weekly Podcast

Leo is still away, so I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly on Thursday with Tom Merritt. The new episode should become available by the weekend on the Zune Marketplace, in iTunes, and wherever else quality podcasts are found, in both audio and video formats.

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