Thingish Things

Pinging Bing

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - May• 11•11

I sat down last night to write a few complaining words about Microsoft’s awful web browser, Bing, that is now being foisted on Blackberry users.

The thing is typical Microsoft. It’s too smart by half. It tries to do a little of everything instead of the one thing it is supposed to do well — web-browsing. (Google “Bing sucks” and see how many listings come up.)

The other night, while at a dinner, I got an alert to download an updated version of Bing to my Blackberry, so I did, thinking it might improve its heretofore bewildering performance. That was a mistake. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to stop the thing from taking over my digital life. It was asking three “application permissions” a second and preventing all other Blackberry functions — like getting email — from functioning until I said “yes, I surrender. Take my life over.” I had to do  a hard re-set of the device to make it stop. Then, out of spite, I tried to delete Bing altogether. I’d rather have no web-browser at all, I thought at the time, than this greedy, bug-filled parasite. Can’t be done. It’s a stain that cannot be expunged.

The next day I read that Microsoft is buying web-based video and telephony provider Skype for $8.5 billion. My first reaction was “there goes Skype.” But after reading more about the sale, a thought occurred that buoyed my spirits: Microsoft is panicked. It knows it is falling far behind Google and Apple, and it is willing throw a good chunk of its fortune into trying to leap ahead of them. Video communications — Skype — is where Microsoft is placing its bet.

My second thought was that Blackberry is panicked, too. It’s why they went with Bing as the default browser–a clearly inferior product– rather than Google. Blackberry has teamed up with Microsoft in a desperate attempt to head off Google and Apple at the pass.

In the end, all of this can only be good news for consumers like me who have wanted to own a Dick Tracy watch for more than 40 years, even if it means enduring a few more bug-filled years to get there.

Good old American competition.  It’s not always pretty, but it does move the world forward.

Oh, in a “duh” moment, I set my Bing home page to Google. Glad I wasn’t able to delete the thing.


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