Ignacio Torres Masdeu

Microsoft surprise: more open than the alternatives

For two weeks I’ve been using an “old” Nokia Lumia 800 I had forgotten about.

I got the Lumia in January 2012, tried it and put it in a drawer with a “meh” sensation. A couple of weeks ago I got fed up with the slugginess of my iPhone 4 and started looking for an alternative.

Android did not cut it for its performance on my Nexus 7 is far from being brilliant. A friend of mine lent me a Geeksphone Peak and I don’t have words to describe how horrible the Firefox OS experience is.

I remembered the old Lumia and got it out of spite. The first surprise was being unable to use it for the best part of an afternoon while it updated itself to Windows Phone 7.8. Then I was able to start configuring it.

First step, create a Windows Live account linked to my torresmasdeu.name email account. Configuring my work (Exchange) and personal (Google Apps), Facebook and LinkedIn accounts was a breeze. I had easy and fast access to all my email, calendars and contacts. The ability to merge accounts is great and reminds me a lot of Palm’s WebOS Synergy. The great point is that my phone’s People Hub becomes a single point of communication and it has a web version on people.live.com.

Then I looked for an alternative to Google Authenticator and found that Microsoft has an inhouse one.

And the final shoe falled today as I discovered in a ZDNet article about Windows Live Domains. I thought “what the hell” and changed my MX to point to Microsoft’s platform.

It bugs me that I’m changing a propietary platform for another one, but this one is more open to foreign ecosystems. In fact it’s obvious that the Windows hubs are not only a trendy gimmick but a concept. One account to rule them all.

I would greatly prefer to use an open alternative but let’s be frank. Managing the set of services needed for this kind of integration is a lot of work and I know about no utility or set of utilities that seamlessly integrates so many functions in a so easy to setup manner.