A variety of Microsoft news items from this week that did not find a post of their own.
European regulators are questioning Microsoft Corp.’s competitors on whether the company is using its dominance in word processing and spreadsheets to thwart rivals, weighing whether to open a new front in the antitrust dispute.
Danger, Will Robinson! Related: EU Extends Microsoft’s Deadline to April 23 to Answer New EU Charges on Licenses.
Yahoo ups the ante for free email with unlimited storage offer. Maybe they make it up on volume? Perhaps more importantly, they also opened up the Yahoo mail APIs to third party developers.
Microsoft warns of zero-day Windows bug. Even worse, it’s a drive-by for all Windows versions including Vista with tainted Web sites or email causing an immediate infection. The problem is due to a glitch in animated cursor handling and third parties are already releasing their own fixes while waiting for Microsoft. A fake IE7 download email is also making the rounds. I got one and was flattered that firstname.lastname@example.org wrote to personally ask me to download IE7 when I have been avoiding it like the plague.
Microsoft’s announcement of the Xbox 360 Elite was rather an anticlimax after all the leaks. The key point is that the targets for the Elite are the upscale gamers and home entertainment users courted by Sony with the PS3 while Microsoft disdains those “childish” gamers buying the Nintendo Wii. (That’s Nintendo you hear laughing all the way to the bank.) There’s also another opinion that the primary target is really Wall Street, but I digress. Meanwhile, Sony’s PS3 looks to be getting a new 80GB hard drive and apparently sold well after its European launch.
Microsoft added Netflix founder Reed Hastings to the board of directors and maintained the dividend at $0.10.
SoftGrid roadmap: SP1 for 4.1 expected in April/May and along with a tech preview of 4.2. 4.2 RTM and availability “some time around July.”
No surprise: Microsoft targets Vista sales in line with PC growth. The only question is whether Microsoft will be able to increase the per PC revenue.
Windows Live Messenger 8.1 for Vista has been released as has Windows PowerShell 1.0 for Windows Vista, but where is the final version of Windows Mobile Device Center for Windows Vista? (Yes, there is a beta so the mobile gadget users aren’t completely abandoned by nonsupport of ActiveSynch).
Vista ‘Family Discount’ Bites Back with invalid installation keys. No date for a fix.
According to the EULA, you shouldn’t be running any Home editions of Vista in a virtual machine. I haven’t seen the results of any testing, but you may not have any choice since running in a VM is detectable.
Microsoft accused over software’s landfill impact. It’s a Green thing.
Update: Also apparently AWOL is SQL Server 2005 SP2 which provides Vista support for SQL Server Express, the successor to MSDE which is unsupported on Vista and the desktop database for a number of applications including some from Microsoft.
I’ve already mentioned the Forefront announcements, but Microsoft had quite a bit more to reveal today at their Tech Ed IT Forum 2006 in Barcelona:
Today at Microsoft Tech Ed: IT Forum 2006, Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of the Interop Vendor Alliance, a global, cross-industry group of software and hardware vendors that will work together to identify opportunities for enhancing interoperability with Microsoft systems on behalf of their customers.
Notable among the founding members are BEA, Novell, Sun and AMD, but not Intel, although why AMD signed up is a bit of mystery. Of course, the whole alliance is a bit of a mystery as the goals described are unusually fuzzy. However, Scott M. Fulton III may have won the prize with the observation:
In Europe, at the heart of the global controversy over whether Microsoft and interoperability are incompatible, the Redmond company announced it is funding a global consortium of software and hardware manufacturers in the name of interoperability itself.
Maybe it’s an extra credit assignment from Neelie Kroes?
Update Nov. 15: PowerShell won’t be compatible with Vista until January 31, 2007.
Update Nov 16: Peter Galli at eWeek elaborates on Longhorn Server:
The Redmond, Wash., software maker plans to release another Longhorn CTP (Community Technology Preview) later this year, followed by another CTP in early 2007 and then Longhorn Beta 3 by the middle of the year.
“The current plan is to ship Longhorn and Vista SP1 simultaneously, as it is one source code base. So, if you follow that model, you have to ship them both at roughly the same time,” Bob Muglia, Microsoft’s senior vice president for server and tools, told eWeek at the company’s TechEd IT Forum here.
The server code will be feature-complete in early 2007, said Muglia, who put to rest speculation that Longhorn would be officially renamed Vista Server, as it is referred to on some Microsoft staff blogs.
Some new Microsoft betas this week (so far):
Microsoft Launches Forefront Security for SharePoint Beta:
Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 28) is launching the public beta of Forefront Security for SharePoint® (http://www.microsoft.com/forefront). This latest release of Microsoft® Forefront security products for businesses is based on Antigen for SharePoint Server, the multi-engine security solution acquired by Microsoft as part of the acquisition of Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.
Forefront Security for SharePoint is optimized to provide advanced protection for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows® SharePoint Services 3.0. Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies facilitate easy collaboration across an organization, connecting people, processes and systems within and beyond organizational boundaries. Forefront Security for SharePoint uses the combined power of multiple antivirus engines from leading security providers to protect against viruses, unwanted files and inappropriate content.
While we’re on the subject, Microsoft was also touting Gartner’s glowing assessment of their email security offerings including including Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Forefront Security for Exchange Server.
Windows Mobile Device Center Beta Coming Soon. It’s the replacement in Vista of ActiveSynch for synching up mobile devices with a Vista machine. It was AWOL in Vista RC1.
Windows PowerShell Release Candidate 2 was released. The scripting tool (codenamed “Monad”) for system administration tasks is expected to ship in the 4th quarter and/or embedded in Exchange 2007 when it ships.
The Windows Live Writer blogging tool beta got an update which fixed a number of problems in the original beta released in August.
Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 26) released a beta developer kit for the Microsoft® .NET Micro Framework, a new development platform for use with devices that are typically constrained by cost, memory, processor and/or power consumption. Announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, the .NET Micro Framework broad beta extends the advantages of .NET and the Visual Studio® toolset into a class of the smallest of devices.
The .NET Micro Framework grew out of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft.
The framework currently provides the software platform for all Smart Watches for MSN Direct. Additionally, the company plans to include it in Windows Vista SideShow displays and in an upcoming version of Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, the statements say.