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January 3, 2006

Mountains or molehills?

Posted by David Hunter at 12:06 PM ET.

Roiling the murky waters in the industry press today are the following:

The CES rumor du jour is from Sallie Hofmeister at the LA Times:

Google will unveil its own low-price personal computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft’s Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and president of products, will give a keynote address Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Analysts suspect that Page will use the opportunity either to show off a Google computing device or announce a partnership with a big retailer to sell such a machine.

It sounds suspiciously like a web appliance circa the year 2000, but I’ll defer comment until it actually happens. Update: Google has now issued a statement, “We have many PC partners who serve their markets exceedingly well and we see no need to enter the market.” Analysts are wondering what else might be up their sleeve.

Web site Email Battles teases the punters with “Microsoft Employees Rage As Internet Explorer Ship Sinks” which is a collection of blog posts about Internet Explorer development from current and former Microsoft employees prompted by the recent end of support for Mac IE. While the headline is somewhat overheated, the Internet Explorer story is an odd one with Microsoft going full speed to develop a web browser that swept the field and then seemingly going to sleep and disbanding the development teams. Best line as quoted in the article:

“Then why on earth did we pursue IE in the first place? Just so that the DOJ would sue us?”

The result now is that, aside from the DOJ, Mac IE has disappeared and Microsoft is playing catch-up in Windows with IE7. While not really new news, it does make one wonder anew about the planning process.

Microsoft’s decision to drop support in Vista for older DVD drives which require software support for region encoding opened a can of worms, not just for stranding a few users, but because region encoding continues to be one of the more obnoxious impositions on the PC industry by the movie studios. As the commenters on the original post point out, it is a restriction that makers of consumer DVD players are able to avoid. Undoubtedly a molehill, but of the most annoying kind.

Filed under CES06, Conferences, Coopetition, Google, IE7, Internet Explorer, OS - Client, Windows Vista

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One Response to “Mountains or molehills?”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft to acquire Yahoo? Or someone else? Says:

    [...] Sally Hofmeister has been getting a lot of mileage today with her Sunday LA Times article. First, the computer press was buzzing over her speculation that Google might introduce it’s own non-Windows PC at CES. Now the part of the story involving Yahoo and Microsoft: Within days, speculation was rampant that Microsoft, determined to keep itself in the game, had offered to buy Yahoo Inc. for $80 billion. If rumors were to be believed, the Microsoft bid — a premium of more than 30% over the Web giant’s current market value — was rejected by Yahoo as too low. [...]

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