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Doug's Mailbag: Tablet Market, Government Involvement in Private Security

Stepping in for Doug last week, Mike Domingo asked about Microsoft's tablet future. Here's one reader's take:

I've been giving some thought to the whole (new) world of tablet computing that the iPad has opened up. The Slate is dead and Courier is a footnote. But there are plenty of other contenders waiting their turn on stage. What kind of computing model are they offering potential customers?

Apple makes a big deal about their "curated" model --  with them having the final say about what apps can be run, what technologies are supported (and not supported) and how these apps are developed. Is this really fundamentally different from the corporate model of the locked-down desktop that we've had for so many years? Approved apps, approved modes of doing things, etc. -- how is the Apple model any different, except in the breadth of the walled garden in which iPad users can play and work? It's freedom, of a sort. A moderated, subtly constrained freedom -- something that a lot of people are apparently comfortable with.

What model is the Windows tablet (if one appears) going to use? Will it be like the Windows PC environment, where essentially anything goes? Or will it be more like the Windows Phone 7 environment, which is basically an imitation of the Apple model? At this point, we just don't know.

We already have these two paradigms of computer usage in place in the video game realm. We have console partisans, and we have PC game partisans. Consoles are locked down, PCs are wide-open. Which model do you favor? How about your readers? Which model is doing well in the market -- one, the other, or both -- catering to different attitudes and value sets and demographics?

I suspect that there's room in the marketplace for both types of tablet computing as well. Except that, once again, Apple has stolen the lead on the other players, and we're seeing a mighty effort to play catch-up.

This is going to be fun to watch.

In light of the news that the DoD is considering taking a bigger role in large corporations' cyber security, one reader chimes in on why this could be a good thing:

If the government doesn't take more control of the Internet then America's security is at risk. With so many companies now off shoring software development, what is to prevent a cyber-attack using our defense weaponry against the U.S.? There are many telecommunications companies that work with the government and promise only domestic support. However, they are skirting the shoreline with phone numbers in the U.S. for those employees in Communist China, Argentina and India. How soon will it be for those countries so close to daily terrorism activities go after our security in the U.S.?

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Posted by Doug Barney on June 14, 2010