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December 31, 2005

Microsoft acquires GeoTango

Posted by David Hunter at 6:28 PM ET.

This just popped up on the radar today via Directions Magazine, but the press release is dated Dec. 23:

MSN today announced that it has acquired Toronto-based GeoTango International Corp.

The acquisition furthers MSN’s rapid push into creating an immersive mapping and local search framework that enables users to easily find, explore, discover and share information and content for anywhere on earth.

The GeoTango web site is now pretty sparse except for some illustrations of the 3D mapping and imagery they create from aerial photographs. Directions Magazine has a more detailed profile here which indicates they also have a product that provides “location-based services” like local search and driving directions. Presumably their products and technology will be integrated in Windows Live Local if not its predecessor, Virtual Earth.

Filed under Acquisitions, Live Search Maps, MSN, Virtual Earth, Windows Live

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Enough Web ads for everyone?

Posted by David Hunter at 11:36 AM ET.

Steve Rubel ruins the party for online ad-supported software in 2006 Trends to Watch Part V: Crash 2.0:

The startups, however, aren’t the only ones who are enthusiastic about free ad-supported Web apps. Take Microsoft. In November Microsoft unveiled Windows Live and Office Live. Both of these too will be primarily supported by advertising. They are designed to complement, rather than replace their desktop brethren. At the time Bill Gates said: “This advertising model has emerged as a very important thing.” That certainly made people stand up and take notice.

Unfortunately, the reality is that for all of the hype this year around online advertising, it is not growing as quickly as the Web 2.0 market hopes. In fact, just last week Jupiter Research projected that online display and search advertising spending will grow at an average annual rate of 10% between 2005 and 2010. This spells trouble for startups hoping to capitalize on online advertising. There won’t be enough to go around – at least right now. Their window is closing.

He thinks the big players like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft will be able to do OK, but it’s a useful reminder that despite the recovery from the dotcom bust and the decline of traditional media, there isn’t an unlimited pool of advertising dollars going begging for publishers.

Related: Gates, Ozzie chart radical new course for Microsoft

Filed under Advertising, General Business, Office Live, Windows Live

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Microsoft denies OEM credits for HD DVD

Posted by David Hunter at 10:59 AM ET.

Concerning the story earlier this week that Microsoft was pressuring PC Makers to install HD DVD drives and was considering offering “credits” to those that do, Paul Thurrott reports a denial by Microsoft (see the update at the bottom):

Microsoft tells me that it has “not offered PC [makers] special discounts or financial terms related to Windows Vista in exchange for adoption of HD-DVD technology.” The “EE Times” report, it seems, was so off-base, Microsoft chose not to respond.

Which begs the question of what Microsoft actually feels they can do to promote HD DVD among OEMs, although you can see that this an area where they need to tread carefully.

Filed under Blu-ray, HD DVD, Hardware

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SCA arrives to challenge Indigo

Posted by David Hunter at 10:36 AM ET.

If you aren’t heavily involved in the continuing standardization of web services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), it’s easy to miss how it is evolving. Just before Christmas, David Chappell provided a nutshell update on his blog:

Last month’s announcement of Service Component Architecture (SCA) suggests that, in the not too distant future, choosing between Microsoft’s Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and SCA will displace significant parts of today’s .NET vs. J2EE decision.

and linked to an article in his newsletter which explains at length – Foundations for Service-Oriented Applications: Comparing WCF and SCA:

When Microsoft went public with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) in 2003, I wondered what the Java world’s response would be. We now know the answer: it’s Service Component Architecture (SCA), defined in a recently-published group of specs created by IBM, BEA, Oracle, SAP, IONA, and others.

Originally code-named “Indigo”, WCF was expressly designed to support the creation of service-oriented applications. SCA, according to its creators, focuses on “building applications and systems using a Service Oriented Architecture”, which at least in this case amounts to pretty much the same thing. In the .NET world, WCF is certain to become the dominant foundation for building service-oriented applications. If the vendors behind SCA can breathe life into this still-incomplete specification, SCA has the potential to play the same role in the Java world and beyond.

Much more by following the link including an explanation of the similarities and differences and what it means for the two platforms. For Microsoft, Indigo was always the least glamorous of the three original Longhorn “pillars” (Avalon, WinFS, Indigo) because it provides improved plumbing for distributed applications and thereby is hard to demonstrate to an end user. Of course, that didn’t change with the revamped menu for Windows Vista and the decision to backport Indigo and Avalon to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but the implications for enterprise applications are such that it should and will get more attention.

Filed under BEA, Coopetition, IBM, OS - Client, Oracle, SAP, SCA, SOA, Technologies, WCF, Web Services, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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