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Monday, January 26, 2009

Microsoft's Windows Vista "Capable" bill could hit $8.5 billion

A Microsoft marketing scheme persuading consumers to buy PCs "capable" of running Windows Vista could cost more money than Microsoft made from the program. Microsoft is calculated to have earned just $1.5 billion in Windows licensing from the program, which ran between August 2006 and July 2007.

Upgrade costs are based on the fact that consumers who'd bought a Windows XP machine designated as "capable" of running Windows Vista would need to buy additional RAM and a video card and the fact some notebooks couldn't run Windows Vista. Consumers by spring 2006 knew Windows Vista was coming and were likely to have held off buying PCs until Windows Vista shipped. That would have damaged sales of PCs and revenue from Windows licensing.

Microsoft refused to comment on the document, beyond what it had said in its own filings in the case.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Microsoft issued faulty fix for Downadup virus

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a warning on regarding the Downadup worm that has infected over 10 million computers so far. They said Microsoft's original proposed fix does not address all versions of the Windows operating system.

The Downadup worm creates an "autorun.inf" file on every USB drive it finds on a Windows system. The AutoRun feature in Windows will automatically execute the instructions contained within, allowing CDs, USB and other removable media forms the ability to spontaneously start install programs, or programs specific to the media form.

Microsoft originally advised a registry fix which would disable the AutoRun feature. However, US-CERT said that fix does not work on Windows 2000, XP and 2003 Server. The subsequent KB953252 support document describes how to manually install the fix for 2000, XP and Server 2003 users.

US-CERT warned that since Microsoft's solution only works on those systems which have the KB953252 patch applied, then only those systems which would have automatically received it would be rendered immune to this form of Downadup's attack.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Google courting resellers to push Google Apps to corporations

Google is building a reseller program for its online suite of enterprise applications as it seeks to push its productivity tools and software as a service model deeper into corporate computing.

They said it has 50 resellers in a pilot program that will allow them to sell and support Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) with a host of corporate features such as directory synchronization and end-user provisioning. The Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program will formally open in March. GAPE is the Google's $50 per user productivity suite targeted at businesses.

Google is battling with Microsoft and others to provide productivity applications and collaboration as an online service.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Will Windows 7 stymie Mac OS X's growth?

As of December, Apple's Mac OS X commanded 9.63% of the OS market, according to Net Applications, while Microsoft still led the way, accounting for more than 88% of the operating system market. There are numerous reasons why Mac OS X has become so popular over the past few years. Part of it can be attributed to Apple's success and its status in the industry as the most renowned and respected company to consumers. And most assuredly, part of the reason for Mac OS X's success is Windows Vista.

Even though it's only in beta testing, Windows 7 is easily one of the best operating systems MS has made. Driver support is outstanding, and performing basic tasks is very fast. But there's another key factor to consider: Windows 7 is optimized for netbooks. And although the market is currently still in its infancy, the netbook space is one of the fastest-growing in the industry, and most analysts believe that the mini devices are the future.

Besides the world of netbooks, Windows 7 is still an extremely compelling offering for the enterprise and consumers alike. But the real success for Windows 7 will come from vendors and the enterprise. Hewlett-Packard and Dell will be happy with Windows 7 because their customers will be happy. And the enterprise will be absolutely delighted with Windows 7 because it's not the resource hog Vista is, and believe it or not, it does more in fewer steps, creating an extremely simplified experience--something I've been enjoying on Mac OS X for years now.

In the process, Mac converts who moved to Mac OS X out of sheer hatred for Vista might start making their way back to the Windows world, after they hear great things about Microsoft's latest operating system.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Nonprofit laptop maker forced to cut staff

In another sign of the growing financial strain on nonprofit groups, the One Laptop Per Child program is cutting its work force in half.

The project, a spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that sells durable, green-and-white laptops to developing countries for use in grade schools, will be left with just 32 employees at reduced salaries.

"Like many other nonprofits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop Per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources," Nicholas Negroponte, the group's founder, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

The group sells its XO laptops to governments of developing countries for $199 but would like to get the cost down to $99. The computers run on open-source software and use less power than ordinary PCs.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Illegal copy of Windows 7 leaked

The first beta of Windows 7 is out illegally on BitTorrent. You can get a copy and run it before you're supposed to but that might be a mistake, especially if you're not careful. Turns out that it's impossible to apply security updates to the bootleg version, including the recent "out of band" update for a seriously critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer.

The torrented build was a daily build for the beta, and anyone who was supposed to have access to it has access to more recent builds which probably incorporate the fix. Microsoft has no good reason to release a patch for this version.