Highly popular mobile chat apps for smartphones are slowly replacing traditional SMS text messaging.
The Next Web describes the results of Informa research suggesting that while SMS messaging is by no means dying (usage continues to grow), it is being replaced by free mobile messaging apps. Eventually, the assumption is that SMS will disappear altogether, but the continued increase in usage numbers means that this will not happen for quite some time. At the same time, free mobile messaging already exceeds SMS usage and the gap between them is only expected to grow.
The continued usefulness of SMS can be attributed to its universal availability and the fact that the majority of mobile phones in use today remain “dumb phones.”
Dropbox has announced that it is rebranding Dropbox for Teams, its product aimed at large enterprise, as Dropbox for Business.
The idea, according to TNW, is to get the message out that this Dropbox product is meant to handle hundreds or thousands of employees rather than the ten or so that the word “team” implies.
In addition to the branding change, Dropbox is also working on Single Sign On and Active Directory integration, which will make it much more desirable for large IT departments.
A worldwide outage of the Microsoft Azure cloud storage service was caused by the expiry of an SSL certificate on Friday, according to reports. This comes on the heels of a week-long outage of an SQL server component of the Azure service.
The news was reported in a number of outlets, including Slashdot, which cites articles from the San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo, and the Register. PCWorld reports that service was restored on Saturday.
Coursera & edX, two major providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs), have recently announced the addition of 35 new schools between them.
According to TechCrunch, Coursera has added 29 schools, 90 courses, and 4 new languages. edX has added 6 schools.
The unlocking exemption from the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), previously maintained by the Librarian of Congress, has been allowed to expire. Unlocking a smartphone in the United States that was purchased after October 28, 2012 is therefore now illegal. For now, unlocking remains permitted in Canada.
Digital Trends has a question-and-answer article that describes the situation and what it means for American smartphone users.
Belkin has announced a deal to take over the Linksys brand from Cisco, which has owned Linksys since 2003. Engadget provides a copy of Belkin’s press release along with a brief summary, noting that Belkin intends to continue support for Linksys customers. CNET also mentions that Cisco has dropped some other consumer-oriented products from its portfolio as well, and appears to be concentrating on its core enterprise products.
Microsoft Office 2013 pricing has been announced, the first to include a monthly subscription option. Microsoft’s licensing and pricing, especially for “Enterprise” software products, can be Byzantine, so it comes as little surprise that the first version of Office to have both boxed and Software-as-a-Service options will be available in no less than nine distinct editions: University, Home Premium, Home & Student, Small Business Premium, Home & Business, Midsize Business, Standard, Enterprise & Government, and Professional Plus.
The Next Web compares Office 365 to Office 2013 in an attempt to unravel the pricing knot. The conclusion is that total cost will end up being much greater for the Office 365 service for everyone but students, assuming a life cycle of 36.5 months, though a reader of the linked article has pointed out that Office 365 includes five licenses compared to Office 2013’s two.
There are alternatives to Microsoft Office altogether. Historically Apache (formerly Oracle, formerly Sun) OpenOffice has been the preferred Office replacement, but recently LibreOffice (actually an OpenOffice fork) has emerged as a strong competitor. Both are free, open source software and are capable of reading and writing Microsoft Office formatted files as well as exporting documents directly to PDF.
Blackberry users in the UK and Ireland experienced an outage that lasted through the morning on Friday, in another blow to RIM’s reputation.
The Independent reports that the service was back up by lunchtime, but any outage is bad news for RIM’s already shaky reputation. A number of system problems over recent years have weakened the confidence of its customers and caused some to jump ship to other mobile devices such as Apple’s iPhone or one of the many smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.
For a short period on Monday, Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2) was made available for free download without any activation requirement. As this Ars Technica post points out, it was a nearly brilliant move that turned out to have been done by mistake.
When Adobe shut down the activation servers for Creative Suite 2, there was no longer any way for users of the software to permanently reinstall it. Strangely, rather than offer a patch to make activation unnecessary, a full copy of the software package was made available for download along with a working serial number. Beyond that, all that was required was a free-to-create Adobe ID. The news of this spread quickly through Twitter and CS2 was downloaded an untold number of times.
Instead of rolling with it, as the linked article argues they ought to have, Adobe put out a clarification and removed the download page, thus putting an end to free CS2 downloads.
Microsoft has announced that it will be discontinuing its Windows Live Messenger on March 15th, 2013. All users aside from those in mainland China will be required to switch to Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011.
As this OnSoftware blog post notes, this is an unusually bold action for Microsoft, which normally puts great effort into maintaining older software.
Some additional information about the switch along with a sample of the mail sent out to Messenger users about the change is up on The Next Web.