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Microsoft News Tracker

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January 31, 2006

Microsoft reveals Visual Studio service pack and Team Server plans

Posted by David Hunter at 8:23 PM ET.

Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft Watch has the story on Visual Studio service packs:

Microsoft is moving ahead on its promise from late last year to release service packs for both its Visual Studio 2003 and Visual Studio 2005 tool suites in calendar 2006.

Microsoft is planning to roll out Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Visual Studio 2003 (VS 2003) in the second quarter. Beta testing of that service pack is slated to begin in late March. The company is readying in parallel SP1 for Visual Studio 2005 (VS 2005), and planning to ship the final release of that code in the third calendar quarter of this year. Microsoft has not gone public with an expected beta date for SP1 for VS 2005.

More details by following the link where there is a pointer to the weblog of Microsoft’s Heath Stewart where he points to a new Visual Studio web page that describes the servicing plan.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Corporate VP, S. “Soma” Somasegar, reports on his weblog that, as promised, the Team Foundation Server for Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) will be available in March. On Monday at the VSLive! conference in San Francisco, he also revealed:

A release candidate, considered a prelude to the final, general release of the product, will be available on the Microsoft Developer Network either this Friday or Saturday…

and other tools news:

Somasegar said Microsoft has had more than 10 million copies of its .Net Framework 2.0 runtime downloaded since the November release of Visual Studio 2005.

“This is by far the fastest adoption of the .Net Framework that we’ve ever seen,” he said.

There have been more than 1.8 million downloads of the Visual Studio Express products since then as well, he said. Visual Studio Express tools offer an abbreviated list of functionality from what the full Visual Studio 2005 platform has. Express tools are language-specific.

Somasegar also cited an IDC survey that he said shows more companies betting on .Net for mission-critical applications than Java, with 35 percent of respondents opting for .Net and 25 percent for Java.

Microsoft in the next week plans to offer a CTP of its planned Visual Studio for Applications offering. Geared mostly toward ISVs, this product is intended to enable .Net-style application customization.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Executives, S. Soma Somasegar, Team Foundation Server, Team System, Tools, VS 2003, VS 2005

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Google disappoints Wall Street

Posted by David Hunter at 6:38 PM ET.

Google earnings lag expectations

Google Inc. said late Tuesday fourth-quarter profit rose 82% as the world’s largest provider of Internet searches expanded its lucrative online advertising business.

Sounds like a good business to me!

However, its earnings excluding certain charges fell well short of Wall Street estimates, hurt by a higher-than-expected tax rate, sending its shares plunging as much as 19% in late trading after the results.

My interest is largely what it means for Microsoft’s search efforts, and that’s apparently not very much since the search and advertising business seems to be healthy and the reasons for not meeting expectations are pure Google including the following:

CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts during a Tuesday conference call that the fourth-quarter results topped the company’s internal projections. Management has steadfastly refused to publicly project its earning potential, making it difficult for analysts to reach the calculations that investors depend on for appraising a company’s value.

A much higher tax rate during the fourth quarter accounted for the bulk of Google’s earnings shortfall, Chief Financial Officer George Reyes said during the conference call.

The company’s effective tax rate in the fourth quarter was nearly 42 percent, well above the roughly 30 percent rate during the second and third quarters. Google also expects its 2006 tax rate to be about 30 percent.

However, there were repercussions:

The investor backlash also stung Google’s two biggest rivals, Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Inc. Yahoo’s shares fell 83 cents, or 2.4 percent, after shedding 68 cents to close at $34.38 on the Nasdaq, where Microsoft’s shares gained 15 cents to close at $28.15 before retreating by 21 cents in after-hours trading.

Finally, some interesting statistics:

Revenue from Google-owned sites rose 24% sequentially to $1.1 billion and represented 57% of total revenue. Revenue from Google’s partner sites rose 18% from third-quarter levels to $799 million, or 42% of total revenue.

Revenue from outside the U.S. contributed 38% of total revenue…

More by following all the links.

Filed under Coopetition, Google

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EU still waiting for Microsoft licensing proposal

Posted by David Hunter at 2:49 PM ET.


Europe’s competition chief said on Tuesday she is waiting for Microsoft Corp. to flesh out a statement that it will open up secret source code to avoid an antitrust fine of 2 million euros ($2.4 million) daily.

The U.S. software giant’s top lawyer, asked when the company would provide details, noted only that the deadline for a reply was Feb. 15.

“Last week Microsoft announced its intention, via press release, to make certain source code available for review by competitors. We have not yet received full details from Microsoft,” European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told a committee hearing of the European Parliament in Brussels.

The rumored meeting yesterday must have been just that or at least very strange.

Update: I guess we have to mark it up as very strange. Reuters:

The European Commission team assigned to the Microsoft case met with company representatives on Monday and Tuesday at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Discussions included the question of opening source code–the blueprint for software–to licensees, Smith said.

But the full details haven’t been revealed? Admittedly, Ms. Kroes statement came after the Monday meeting and before the Tuesday meeting due to timezone differences.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal

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Google at work on desktop Linux

Posted by David Hunter at 12:36 PM ET.

Google releases its earnings report later today after the market close, but here’s something to pass the time. Ben King at The Register reports:

Google is preparing its own distribution of Linux for the desktop, in a possible bid to take on Microsoft in its core business – desktop software.

A version of the increasingly popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, based on Debian and the Gnome desktop, it is known internally as ‘Goobuntu’.

Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for.

As the rest of the article makes clear, this project could be just about anything. I really doubt that Google feels the need to provide its own operating system since it is mostly irrelevant to them and to their main business.

Filed under Coopetition, Google, Linux, Open Source

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