Proprietary Sucks big

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Proprietary technologies suck, no matter how good/neat they sound at the time. Case in point is the Microsoft SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) technology. At a sneak preview of the watches given by Microsoft at COMDEX 2003, Microsoft began referring to the SPOT watches as “Smart Watches with MSN Direct.” The purpose of MSN Direct, a new Microsoft service to be offered through a monthly or annual subscription, was to use FM radio subcarriers to feed data to the watches, such as weather, traffic, and other information. Watch owners could choose between two subscription plans: $9.95 a month with the first month at no charge; or $59 for a full year.

I still remember sitting in my chair at the 2003 comdex keynote and asking myself why? I mean Bill kept saying that this was the future…..yeah right!!! Well I hope you don’t have one of these watches, or if you got suckered in, lets hope you didn’t pay for a full year of service. Remember kids, Proprietory SUCKS BIG. I wonder what Bill is wearing on his wrist these days :-)

3 Comments

  • Brainiac

    Do you have an alternative to this? This sounds useful enough to the working man for me, and the subscription’s not that bad… I mean, I could pay for it, and I’m broke….

  • Many

    Hi Brainiac,

    The idea might be sound (although I would argue that there are enough information outlets out there for this kind of data…..ie: radio, tv, small barometers you can pick up from radioshack, xbox, playstation, etc.).

    My issue is the execution, if MS had made the protocol available (ie: made it a open standard) then you’re $200 dollar watch would not have lost half of it’s functionallity when MSN pullls the plug on the broadcast…..others (yahoo/google/amazon/facebook/weatherchannel) could provide that data to you.

    My beef is not with the technology, but with it’s execution (and executor) :-)

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