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January 7, 2006

Weekend Microsoft News Roundup

Posted by David Hunter at 1:21 PM ET.

I should probably title this “Wacky Microsoft News Roundup” since that’s a better characterization of most of it. In increasing order of importance:

Bubbasoft?: To start things off, how about Internet pundit Andy Abramson’s rumor that Bill Clinton will be replacing Steve Ballmer as head of Microsoft? It seems to be receiving universal skepticism.

Private label Windows patches: Then since Microsoft declined to patch the WMF vulnerability on Windows 98 and ME (more here), tech guru Steve Gibson has offered to do it himself. Steve also reports that the official Microsoft patch was effectively the same as the “unofficial” patch from Ilfak Guilfanov. The way this whole thing was handled had Microsoft defending itself on Friday.

It’s all Microsoft’s fault: There were more than a few cringe-inducing moments in the Yahoo CES keynote, but there was a convenient excuse:

Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel’s glitch-riddled keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday was saved by Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres–and by making Microsoft Windows the butt of jokes.

When they tried to demo Yahoo Go TV with the music and movie content, the screen showed an error message. “And we know whose software this runs on,” Rosensweig quipped.

Even Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini, who was brought on stage to discuss how Yahoo has optimized Yahoo Go TV for PCs running Intel’s new Viiv technology, couldn’t resist taking a shot at Microsoft.

Otellini showed off a “concept” handheld PC called “Slide,” with a 5-inch screen. He said it would be released in a couple of years, following a slightly larger version that would be in production later this year. As he played with the device, he suggested that he should try to get e-mail over the Internet on it.

“Oops! We got a not-responding (message),” he said. “I think it’s a Windows problem.”

And last but not least, Verizon Says Google, Microsoft Should Pay For Internet Apps (or translated from telco-speak, Verizon Joins The Net Greed Chorus). A primary job requirement for US telco executives is apparently the ability to plead poverty before government regulatory bodies and the press. Their latest wheeze is a variant of the old “modem tax” (the real one, not the perennial Internet hoax), except that now it’s a “broadband modem tax” and they have figured out it is politically much more desirable to try to bill the content providers than the end users. Quoting David Utter at the second link:

In calling for “the right economic model,” Seidenberg referenced “free” applications, such as those supported by advertising. Those don’t provide any direct compensation to the network provider.

It’s an interesting claim, and echoes those made by Whitacre and Smith. Despite their positions within their telecom companies, none of them seem to realize that numerous customers pay them each month for use of those broadband networks. Perhaps ‘direct compensation’ has a different meaning in telecom than it does in other industries.

Jeremy Reimer explains the political background at Ars Technica (see also his prior article here).

Update 1/08: See also this article at CNET by Anne Broache and Declan McCullagh which provides a large amount of background information on “network neutrality” activities and legislation.

Filed under CES06, Conferences, Coopetition, Executives, General Business, Governmental Relations, Hardware, Intel, Public Relations, Steve Ballmer, Verizon, Yahoo

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2 Responses to “Weekend Microsoft News Roundup”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Verizon exec trash talks Google’s “free lunch” Says:

    [...] Lot’s of luck with that since the perpetual whining of Mr. Thorne and others in the in the telecom industry about how they really need two tiered Internet access (five star restaurant and dumpster) is bound to make people nervous. Finally, although Google seems to be the designated industry whipping boy, Microsoft is also on the list of purported “free diners” whose pockets these guys would love to pick. Filed under Coopetition, Governmental Relations, General Business, Verizon Listen to this article   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Consumer Electronics Show Spoiler Alert -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Ouch! The rest of the article is about some smaller companies who may actually have some inspired ideas as to what the “Digital Home” might be, but if we can’t count on the big players for anything earthshaking, I expect that, like last year, we can at least count on them for something mirth making (e.g. [1], [2]). [...]

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