IT’s a weird, weird world

Usually I pick one hot computing topic to sound off about, but the strangeness of recent events has left me unable to choose which. Prepare yourself then, for a diatribe in two parts…

  • E-Mail
By  Matthew Wade Published  June 19, 2006

|~||~||~|To start us off, from a Bahraini internet user’s point of view it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. First, the liberalised Kingdom’s incumbent telco, Batelco, announced that it was proposing a 5BD (US $13) per month light broadband package for low income users (see our story here). Fantastic stuff. In writing up that story I discovered that Batelco had initially proposed a quicker, more expensive 10BD service to the Kingdom’s TRA back in January (the TRA being the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which has the final say on such matters). A matter of days later Batelco then announced the proper launch of this package (it now turns out, without this having been fully approved by the TRA). Naughty. Then last week Batelco released a press statement explaining that it was taking legal action against the TRA (for, as far as I can work out, ‘defamation’). At the same time it published a statement – actually within this same press statement – that it was ordered to distribute by the TRA, explaining how and why it had been ordered to cease offering its BD10 DSL package (namely because it, the TRA said, “failed to meet its obligations under the Telecommunications Law and its License”). The potential defamation claim seemingly relates to the negative picture painted of Batelco in TRA’s full statement. So why did Batelco allegedly fail to meet its obligations? I’ll tell you why - because the TRA had insisted it offer the same cut-price internet service, at wholesale rates, to its competitors (the Kingdom’s other ISPs). Ouch! Obviously not what Batelco wanted to hear, but it launched the package anyway, thus the hullabaloo. The result of all this was Batelco’s multi-page ‘war of words’ press statement, and its claim that the TRA was doing consumers out of a great product, at a great price (not a claim supported by at least one group of end users, namely those over at the subtly-named ‘Boycott Batelco’ site, here. They, it seems, prefer the notion of being able to choose cheap net packages from several ISPs. In other words, like you would in a proper liberalised market, which Bahrain is supposed to be). It’s a story that will certainly run and run (and one that I could dig out dirt for you on for weeks, largely through the Boycott site above), but if forced to choose I’m more inclined to sit on the TRA’s side of the fence at present. Simply because I’m an end user, with a budget, and I like bargains. Weirdism 2 is Vista related. After months of TechNet and MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscribers only getting access to trial versions of Microsoft’s next-generation desktop OS, the current Beta finally went ‘live’ to the general public this month. My thanks to Windows’ Arabic editor, Samer Batter, for pointing out this change to me, as there wasn’t a murmur of it to the world's press from the software giant (and it had been, in fairness, two whole days since I’d checked the Vista site myself, such is my trust in the communication skills of Gates’ gang). Only by revisiting a sub-page on the Get Ready section of Microsoft’s Vista minisite was it actually possible to identify this change; which I guess explains why when I called Microsoft Middle East’s press team they weren’t aware of this full public roll-out! What’s happening in the US and, I believe, Europe too, is that users can either download the huge 3.5Gbyte OS file, or pay a nominal charge to have Microsoft send the files across on DVD. There are no details at present of the latter option being offered here in the Middle East, but if this changes I’ll be sure to let you know. Last but not least, it’s not all growling at this end, as when not trying to figure out why there’s so much madness in the world, myself and the wider Windows team have been getting just a little bit too excited about this week’s Windows Gaming Championship. As I might have mentioned once or twice before, on Thursday and Friday this week Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates will become our team’s new home (along with 250 or so mad-for-it PC gamers). So if button-bashing action gets you worryingly hot and sweaty, come down, take a look, grab us for a chat (we’ll be the ones with the notepads), and savour the sight of the UAE’s best gamers perplexing passers by. ||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code