Some Microsoft news items from this week that did not find posts of their own:
Ed Bott notes the first appearance of Vista OEM prices (for smaller OEMs) and Microsoft Answers ‘Vista OEM’ Questions. If you actually need to buy a retail copy of Vista, hopefully you’re savvy enough to not pay full price. Best line:
Going OEM means you don’t get the skimpy manual or other scraps of paper that comes with the regular retail version. But when (was) the last time a basic Microsoft manual told you anything you needed to know?
For a completely different demographic: Yes, there is a Windows Vista Starter Edition.
Microsoft released the software development kits (SDKs) for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and the Microsoft Office Project 2007 platform.
Shocking news: Microsoft hurt by poor Live branding, analysts say.
Stop me if you have heard this one before: Symantec warns of new zero-day Word attack. This one too: Windows Defender Lets Spyware Slip onto Vista PCs.
Nintendo profits soar and the Wii now does the Internet – Wii news channel debuts early. Meanwhile, Sony’s PlayStation 3 to Debut in Europe, Mideast, Africa and Australia on March 23.
The two main evangelizers of the Linux operating system, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG), are merging to form the Linux Foundation.
The duopoly of Windows Mobile and Symbian is to face its biggest challenge yet, with six big names in mobile telephony backing the development of a new Linux-based software platform for mobile phones.
The founders of the LiMo Foundation are handset makers Motorola, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung, plus two big operators – NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone
Vodafone, the European cellphone carrier, has chosen decided to limit the mobile phone operating systems they support to three and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile made the cut:
Vodafone unveiled plans on Monday to become the first mobile operator to standardise the software on its handsets, striking a deal with Microsoft and saying it will work with just two other software providers.
Vodafone said it planned to slash the number of operating systems it would develop applications for in the next five years to just three, supporting just Microsoft Windows Mobile, Symbian/S60 and Linux in the future.
With little standardisation in the mobile software world, applications such as e-mail, instant messaging and music players currently have to be written in an array of different software languages to enable them to work on different handsets.
The duplication of the software writers’ work makes developing new applications costly and time consuming for operators.
Microsoft Mobile and Embedded Devices senior vice president Pieter Knook told Reuters other operators were planning similar reductions in scale.
It would have added spice to the narrative if Vodafone had mentioned how many operating systems they currently deal with since three still seems rather large. No financial terms were revealed.
Some of the smaller stories that didn’t get a post of their own:
Vista application developers are complaining about the sidebar gadgets.
Microsoft Research has a new project which tracks down spam websites that pollute search engine results.
“Microsoft Business Solutions is to foot the bill for recruiting 400 new consultants for its UK partners, to combat a severe skills shortage in the channel.”
One of the most frequent questions Microsoft is getting this week at Semicon West is: “What are you doing here?”
Former Philips executive Drew Gude, now high tech industry technology strategist at Microsoft, is leading Microsoft’s foray into the electronics market.
For example, Gude said that much of the equipment on manufacturing floors today – 80 percent – already runs the Windows operating system.
Microsoft, Vodafone, and Palm to create new Treo.
Last November, several vendors got together to form a group called the Linux Phone Standard (LiPS) Forum to help their use of Linux on mobile phones better compete with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Symbian’s offerings. Apparently, that wasn’t enough because another group of vendors have gotten together with similar intent – Operators plan to stuff Microsoft, Symbian with mobile Linux:
A powerful bunch of players in the mobile phone sector announced plans to build an open Linux-based operating system for mobile devices.
The group, made up of Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone, said it would form an independent foundation to promote the platform. In a statement today, the group said the foundation would “leverage the benefits of community-based and proprietary development”.
There’s more from Nancy Gohring at InfoWorld on the as yet unnamed group:
The creation of a common platform might help spur growth of Linux phones, a segment that has been hampered by fragmentation, said Tony Cripps, an analyst at Ovum. The Linux handsets on the market now use unique specifications, making it difficult for developers to create applications that can work across different devices, he said.
The lack of an open, common approach has also meant that Linux handsets haven’t been able to compete directly with leading mobile operating systems from Symbian or Microsoft, each of which nurtures an open application development ecosystem, he said.
The presence of operators like Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo that order large volumes of handsets is significant. If such a large and influential operator as Vodafone adopts a Linux handsets based on this platform, then other operators are likely to adopt the same or similar phones, Cripps said.
This will be the third mobile Linux group to launch within a year, joining the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum and the Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI). Like the new foundation launched on Friday, the LiPS Forum aims to focus on the creation of APIs to enable interoperability of applications across Linux handsets.
PalmSource Inc., France Telecom SA and Orange SA are among the leaders of LiPS. The MLI, with members that include Motorola and PalmSource, is working on unifying developments around the mobile Linux kernel.
While MLI isn’t involved in the new foundation, it is likely to work with the new organization in the future.
Three groups? I must have missed one.