Monday, April 28, 2014

AAP - Media Bias and Double Standards

India is going through a very difficult time right now. Most politicians are complaining that media is misquoting them, giving false information and promoting an agenda. People who follow news closely too are feeling miserable seeing the way Indian media is handling news. Media is acting like a Mafia doing whatever it feels like, knowing well that they can get away with it. Media has become the king maker today. 

We soon might have to introduce some laws to regulate media and to ensure that it is held accountable for atleast the facts published if not the opinions. But as of now, we expect people of influence to not encourage cheesy headings and misinterpretation of quotes. 

While Arvind Kejriwal has spoken openly against media bias and the way news is being handled in India, I find it strange that he himself has no problem when the same style of Journalism is used against his opponents. I am well aware that there was a phase when Indian news channels were telecasting rubbish against Aam Aadmi Party. That was unfortunate. But having been a victim itself, I was hoping that AAP would not indulge in such cheap tactics of misleading people. 

Whenever the verified account of Arvind Kejriwal or AAP shares a news article which is very misleading, it saddens me. This is because the youth of India (Including me) have a high amount of respect for AK and AAP. It saddens me because it looks like he is encouraging media to publish groundless data, without worrying that he is breeding a monster which would some day come back to haunt him. 

These are some of the examples. All the screenshots are taken from the timeline of respective VERIFIED accounts and you can check them on Twitter/Facebook. 

1) BJP is using Google Ads extensively to publicize itself. Google shows ads based on user's browsing history and the content on the website. In one such case, some users might have seen BJP ads on which is Pakistani news portal. You can see such ads on any website of the world which uses Google Ads. Either Kejriwal was not aware of this before retweeting the content, which would mean he does not understand simple things like Google ads and just retweets anything which looks anti Modi OR he was aware of the system and willingly tried to misguide his followers. 

2) Modi's Interview on IndiaTv clearly said that Vadra should be punished on the basis that judiciary feels he has done something illegal and not just because he is 'Vadra' . We can not go about throwing people in jail because they are close to the opposition party (witch hunt) and instead we must follow the judicial process. 

If the verified and official account of Aam Aadmi Party Uttar Pradesh shares such misleading news without actually watching the video then this is very unfortunate. I am in no way suggesting that other parties do not follow such cheap tactics.

3) Wal-Mart Pvt Ltd runs 20 wholesale stores under the Best Price Modern Wholesale brand. These are cash and carry wholesale stores and can not be considered as retail stores. AAP can always oppose FDI in wholesale as well. That is acceptable. But saying that Gujarat has allowed FDI in retail is misleading. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Microsoft, The Biggest Beneficiary of Piracy

“The actions of the pirates have merged with the interest of Microsoft to create a near monopoly in the operating systems market for the PC.” - Dagens Politik
Microsoft seems to be fighting hard against piracy and claiming huge losses due to piracy. But the fact is that the biggest beneficiary of software piracy has always been Microsoft. Some of the reasons below will help you see through this claim.

1) Piracy is okay. Indifference is not.

The biggest fear of any company is that nobody cares enough about it’s software to steal it. While the ideal scenario would be to have 100% of the target market becoming paying customers, we don’t really live in an ideal world.
The next best thing would be to have a lot of users and then hope to convert them to customers one day. Piracy helps Microsoft have a huge user base which eventually drives revenues. This is what happened in China and India around the year 2007.

Microsoft Piracy

2) Price discrimination

Piracy helps Microsoft achieve a very effective price differentiation strategy. Instead of down pricing/going open source to avoid loosing customers, it can simply choose to ignore piracy.
Corporates/users who are able and willing to pay the steep price of Microsoft softwares become paying customers. Those who can not just use the pirated copies.

3) Maintaining Monopoly

It is extremely difficult for any company to sell a product slightly inferior to Microsoft’s at even half the price. The users in emerging market or the value conscious users tend to buy the pirated copy of the real stuff for a couple of dollars instead. This has also helped Microsoft, to some extent, counter the attacks from open source softwares.
“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not,” – Bill Gates

4) Corporate sales

Imagine how much pain it would be for large companies (non-tech) to move to open source operating systems. All the employees will have to be given basic training and the productivity of each employee would take a dip.
This is because employees themselves are used to using windows all their life. Piracy has ensured that most people are very much familiar with Windows and in most cases only Windows.

5) Adoption. Third party applications.

Since piracy ensures that Windows OS is the most widely used operating system around, most developers take all the pain to make their offerings perfectly compatible with Windows. This is true even for web developers. This trend in turn makes Windows even better and makes the job of its competitors even more difficult.
As much as Microsoft likes to crib about piracy, piracy is it’s single biggest weapon against open source. To quote Matt Asay, the COO of Canonical (company behind Ubuntu),
To hold its lead, Microsoft may well need all the piracy it can get/afford. The question is, how much is that?