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September 29, 2005

Microsoft foray into hosted services?

Posted by David Hunter at 6:49 PM ET.

Mary Jo Foley has the buzz:

As the dust from Microsoft Corp.’s latest reorganization continues to settle, one thing is evident: Microsoft is intent on turning its long-term dream of selling software as a service into reality.

In fact, Microsoft already sells a number of such services, both paid and free, ranging from Xbox Live to MSN Spaces blogging service. Microsoft officials have hinted at other potential offerings in the pipeline, including both consumer and enterprise versions of the Windows OneCare hosted security services, as well as a hosted Microsoft CRM service, akin to what sells today.

But there are even more Microsoft services in the wings that the company has yet to detail publicly. Among those closest to commercialization: A new small-business bundle of VOIP (voice over IP), instant messaging and data conferencing about which Microsoft has discussed privately with some of its partners, as well as a managed, high-availability Exchange Server offering.

Much more by following the link including the sticky problem of dealing with the issue of competing with Microsoft’s current partners.

Filed under Coopetition, Hosted Services,

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PC Makers Fire Back on HD DVD, Blu-ray

Posted by David Hunter at 6:23 PM ET.

Ina Fried at CNETDVD dispute burns at PC makers:

After quietly heating up over recent months, the battle over next-generation DVD formats boiled over Thursday, as Dell and Hewlett-Packard assailed Intel and Microsoft, which have lined up in the opposite camp.

Earlier this week, Microsoft and Intel announced they were backing the HD-DVD format, saying its approach will spur easier home networking of movies and make it simpler to distribute hybrid discs containing both high-definition and traditional DVD movies. Dell and HP shot back Thursday saying that the world’s largest software and processor makers were spreading “inaccurate” information. They also reiterated their backing for the rival Blu-ray format.

Quotes from HP personal-storage unit general manager Maureen Weber and Dell founder Michael Dell by following the link.

Filed under Alliances, Blu-ray, Coopetition, Dell, HD DVD, HP, Hardware

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Microsoft loses in Eolas patent ruling

Posted by David Hunter at 4:04 PM ET.

Ina Fried at CNET:

In a decision made public on Wednesday, the patent office upheld the validity of a patent held by the University of California and its Eolas Technology spinoff. In 2003, a jury awarded more than $500 million in damages to the university and Eolas, but an appeals court this year partially upheld Microsoft’s appeal, saying the company should be able to present evidence that there were similar inventions that predated Eolas’ patent application.

A University of California spokesman said Thursday that the patent office’s ruling essentially says that the earlier work should not invalidate the Eolas patent.

Eolas and the university filed suit against Microsoft in 1999, alleging that the way Microsoft’s Internet Explorer uses plug-ins and applets infringes on an early 1990s patent.

UPDATE: Joe Wilcox has some analysis.

Filed under Legal, Patents

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Microsoft’s Ballmer to meet EC antitrust chief

Posted by David Hunter at 9:41 AM ET.

Simon Taylor at InfoWorld:

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will meet the European Union’s competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, next Wednesday to discuss a range of ongoing issues.

I’ll bet.

Kroes will meet Ballmer on Wednesday morning for a breakfast meeting at his request, Kroes’ spokesman Jonathan Todd said Thursday.

Filed under Antitrust, Executives, Legal, Steve Ballmer

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