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November 24, 2006

Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, November 24, 2006

Posted by David Hunter at 11:27 AM ET.

No good deed goes unpunished – Mapuche Indians in Chile are suing Microsoft for delivering Windows XP in their native language, Mapuzugun, without getting their permission. This is Microsoft’s Local Language Program which is supposed to sweeten up the locals.

Speaking of international relations – French MPs dump Windows for Linux, but Microsoft denies sinking a Linux project in Birmingham UK by slashing the price of Windows XP.

Also with a non-USA flavor – Google Sites (not including YouTube) edged out Microsoft Sites in October to become the most-visited Web property in the UK for the first time according to comScore.

And speaking of Google, Nicholas Carr spots Google CEO Eric Schmidt talking tough about open Internet services overtaking proprietary desktop software for office and other use. Coincidentally, Microsoft rebuts the idea.

Meanwhile in Windows Live Land, Windows Live Local has apparently had a stealth renaming to Live Search Maps. Similarly the often renamed Windows Live Search Center has been renamed to Windows Live Preview, but that’s OK since it seems to have been “indefinitely postponed.”

It’s OK if Microsoft’s Zune isn’t charging out of the gate, but Microsoft doesn’t need Zune PR like this:

Last Friday, the second-most watched clip on YouTube was about Microsoft’s long-expected, if not necessarily anticipated, attempt to take on Apple’s iPod digital music player. It showed a riff from late night talk show host Craig Ferguson who, if not quite a tech visionary, managed to strike a chord that resonated with some 225,000 online viewers.

“It has all the features of the iPod, only it’s not as good, and it’s five years too late,” Ferguson said. “The name just makes me want to buy it,” he added with clear sarcasm. “I think the market research guys said, ‘What’s going to appeal to the young people? Zune! It sounds good!’ I’m gonna go on MySpace: ‘Hey, the new Zune, it’s really crack-a-lackin!’”

Just how accurate Ferguson’s scenario is depends on how you define “crack-a-lackin.” If you mean, as Ferguson did, a bit of recent slang that already feels stale — well, that sort of applies to the Zune.

But the initial reactions to the Zune are negative enough that they will not only affect the holiday sales, they may also taint the brand for years to come.

The Ferguson video is here. However, Microsoft is getting help on the Zune from folks who are posting instructions on how to get the software running on Vista (it’s still unsupported, of course) and how to use it as a USB drive.

Meanwhile, the early report of problems with the new Xbox Live video sales was apparently an indication of widespread problems.

However, you’ll be glad to know that Business Week thinks the folks at Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division are The Soul Of A New Microsoft. Personally, I’d hold off on the beatification until some of their products actually make money.



Filed under Advertising, Argo, Coopetition, General Business, Google, Governmental Relations, Linux, Live Search Maps, Microsoft, OS - Client, Office, Office 2007, Online Services, Open Source, Public Relations, Windows Live, Windows Live Search Center, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Xbox, Zune

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One Response to “Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, November 24, 2006”

  1. Hard times in Zune land -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Ouch! As I mentioned last week, the Zune can certainly survive the occasional poison pen review and the more general lukewarm reactions, but what it won’t survive is a descent into Edsel territory where it becomes the butt of jokes. It hasn’t reached that stage – yet. Related: whoever decided that “squirting” was the appropriate term for the Zune Wi-Fi sharing should immediately don an dunce cap. Filed under Coopetition, Apple, Microsoft, Argo, Zune [...]

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