This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
Two of the most talked-about developments in communications of late have been the News Corp. PhoneGate story and the ongoing rise of Apple (News - Alert). So I decided to tackle both of the above herein.
Based on the constant media coverage you should all be aware that reporters at a now shuttered News Corp (News - Alert). newspaper broke into voicemail accounts in order to get scoops. News Corp. is certainly center-right in its reporting, depending on which brand of course. And it is also a very successful company with products like Fox News being monsters in terms of viewership. But journalists are generally liberal and before you dispute my assertion, please recognize I hire and work with them for a living and as such, media outlets across the world have gone out of their way to focus on what isn't such a huge story. And if the reasons aren't ideological, perhaps they are competitive. The more the general media can trash News Corp., the better it is for them competitively. Some journalists have tried to pin the illicit reporting practices of the now defunct News of The World tabloid on all Murdoch brands.
To follow this line of reasoning is to defy logic. Why? It’s simply because companies and employees are not the same thing. You see, employees quit media companies constantly, or are let go and then find other media jobs.If you work at a tabloid where they use a practice that allows you to get more notoriety, you will use this same practice when you go to your new job. To blame News Corp. alone for unethical reporting practices would ignore the fact that the hiring market is fluid and dynamic and cross-channel – meaning if voicemail hacking is taking place in one newspaper, it is taking place in many.
This gets us to voicemail systems. Back in 1983 or so when I was working on UNIX systems I recall getting alerted when my last failed login attempt took place. For some strange reason, however, many desktop computers and voicemail systems today don't bother to volunteer this information, if they make it available at all.
My recommendation is that every successful login should be greeted with information about previous login attempts, and voicemail systems should also record the calling number for potential future investigation if needed. If there is no caller ID information, the system should only allow one or two login attempts. When users log in to websites they also should be presented with the last failed and valid login.
We live in a world that is less secure by the moment because more of our data becomes digitized each day and much of it is living in various clouds with varying levels of security. My simple solutions to notify users of invalid login attempts with recording of IP addresses and phone numbers of potentially malicious users should reduce the problem dramatically.
Now, on to the Apple discussion.
There is constant debate about what the future is of Apple and Microsoft (News - Alert). After a recent trip to San Jose, Calif., where TMC met with more than 175 leading tech companies, it seems Apple is in better shape than ever. Yes, Cupertino has had record iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad sales as of late, but during my visit many top execs told me they are switching from Windows-based laptops to Apple devices.More importantly, they are evangelizing these products – pushing me and others to switch as well. As you may recall, it is these top execs that brought the iPhone and iPad into the enterprise and forced IT departments to integrate them into business environments.
We can expect this trend to accelerate. Why? Because people love their iPhones and iPads, and I’ve heard at least a couple people say that the MacBook Air is the best laptop they have ever owned. Obviously there is no higher praise. (Full disclosure: I indirectly own Apple shares.)
Ben Rooney at The Wall Street Journal says the future of Microsoft is mobile. While in part this is true, the bigger opportunity is to develop a laptop and desktop OS that offer an experience that is as sleek, fun and intuitive to use as Apple's products. Moreover, there needs to be close collaboration with hardware vendors to ensure consumers are presented with hardware and software combinations that are as well integrated and well-thought-out as those from Apple.
I tackled this issue a while back when comparing the differences between computing solutions from Intel (News - Alert) and Apple. The chip maker touts product durability while Apple keeps adding more glass to its products – obviously vastly different approaches to designing and selling computers. And yet, it seems while Intel thinks durability is a selling point, it is apparent that consumers prefer sleek designs.
The way I see it, unless something drastic happens at Microsoft to help it reposition its solutions, Apple still has tremendous corporate growth ahead of it – especially when you consider the additional revenue boost of selling apps and music to all these soon-to-be-company-sanctioned laptops and desktops.
Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi