It's been three hours since I last heard voices outside. Since then, no one rushed past my office and the parking lot is visibly more empty than usual. It seems, most have survived this years Christmas party (though some livers may need more time to fully recover) and all remaining deadlines are in 2019. Offices are abandoned and Advent calendars emptied. Even the obligatory smell of coffee is missing. Soon, the last light will go out at Ashampoo headquarters and quiet will settle in for a few days.
As early as last week, a spicy rumor has been making the rounds on the Internet that led to lively discussions in many Christmas-ready offices. Would Microsoft really do it? Are we witnessing the end of an era that has had its fair share of successes, downfalls and desperation? Can you imagine a Mercedes with a BMW engine? Last Friday, it became official: Microsoft will base their next browser on Chromium. How did this happen and what does it mean for you?
In 2014, the music industry experienced an unprecedented crisis. World-wide music sales plummeted to 14 billion dollars, 11 billion less than in 1999. In the past, the biggest threats to music sales were bootlegs and radio recordings. Today, it's the internet. There used to be a time when users could simply search for "top 100 charts download" online and find a dozen sites with downloadable songs. But with €10 music flat rates and giant song collections, music streaming has slowly taken over the market. So can it save the industry, as many believe?
Sometimes, it takes government pressure to spur a company into action. For years, there have been rumors that Microsoft Office is a telemetry data hog with little to no transparency as to what is collected and when. The Dutch government had finally had it and prompted an extensive investigation. The result: 91 pages of unfettered and unabated data collection frenzy along with a lack of organizational structure that borders on chaos - enough to shake up even the most consummate of business professionals.
Recently, I got a new cellphone to review. After I had gone through a couple of its features, I accessed the front camera and took a selfie. When I saw the result, I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked like, well, a buttermilk biscuit with eyes. Was the camera broken? Had a co-worker played a trick on me and spread butter over the lens? Nope, it was the beauty filter, enabled by default. Had I asked for it? No. Do I look better as a nebulous figure? Maybe, on Halloween. There's a bigger issue here, though.