Today, Microsoft takes the stage for the first of two days of Professional Developer Conference (PDC) keynote addresses, with the software giant promising big surprises at each. Despite this, PDC 2009 will likely be a much less exciting time than the previous three PDC shows, which focused on Longhorn/Vista and Windows 7.
I'm here in LA to cover PDC in person, but with the first keynote looming, there is a spate of non-PDC news to cover. I thought it might make sense to provide coverage of this news in a mini-Short Takes style. Here's what's happening as Microsoft preps to start its latest PDC.
Windows 7 Suffers First "Zero-Day" Flaw
And the countdown begins for the inevitable "told you so" Apple advertisement. Microsoft admitted that reports about a denial of service vulnerability in its newly-minted Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008 R2) were correct but downgraded the seriousness of the issue because it cannot lead to remote control or remote installation of malicious software. It's unclear now if Microsoft will deliver before or at its next regularly-scheduled monthly security patch release (which is due in December).
Microsoft Ports Windows Marketplace for Mobile to Older Devices
Microsoft provided Windows Mobile 6.5 users with a Windows Marketplace for Mobile online store at the system's launch in October. But this week it opened up the store to users of older versions of Windows Mobile, including versions 6.0 and 6.1. The store now has 800 applications, or about three times the number at launch. But looked at another way, it has about 1/125th the number of apps in Apple's iPhone Apps Store. It's getting there. Right?
Office 2010 Beta Comes Early to MSDN, TechNet Subscribers
Microsoft previously said that it would ship a broad public beta of Office 2010, but this week it delivered the beta only to subscribers of MSDN and TechNet. You can expect the public release soon, since I know that's what you're really worried about. And yes, I'll be providing a thorough overview on the SuperSite for Windows.
Microsoft Co-Founder Treated for Lymphoma
If you're steeped in Microsoft lore, you know that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen came down with Hodgkin's lymphoma in the early 1980's and left the company. Allen survived his bout with lymphoma and went on to become one of the world's richest and most successful men. Sadly, after over 20 years of good health, Allen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and is now undergoing chemotherapy. He said he expects to beat cancer this time too and he continues to work. Good luck, Mr. Allen.
The Misreporting of Zune's "Global Launch"
When the Financial Times reported this week that Microsoft was getting set to launch Zune around the world, a lot of people got excited about the prospect of buying Zune HD portable media devices in countries other than the United States. There's just one problem: That's not happening. Instead, Microsoft is simply launching the Zune brand worldwide, courtesy of the limited Zune Video Marketplace service for the Xbox 360 video game console. The service launches today in the United States and 17 other top western markets, Microsoft says. "The strategy and vision of Zune is to continue to build out that full entertainment experience," a Zune spokesperson said. "This is a very important step for us to introduce Zune to new consumers around the world." A more important step, methinks, would be to get the device out there. Just a thought.
Microsoft Loses Font Ruling in China
Microsoft this week lost a court case in China and was found to have infringed on a Chinese company's intellectual property rights by including certain fonts in Windows. "We plan to appeal the decision for the fonts case," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "We believe our license agreements with the plaintiff cover our use of the fonts." The case was filed in 2007 and doesn't cover Windows 7.
Bing Continues to Increase its Usage Share
Microsoft's Bing search engine accounted for 9.9 percent of all web searches in the United States, up from 9.4 percent the previous month. However, most of that gain clearly came at the expense of Yahoo! since market leader Google also expanded its share, from 64.9 percent to 65.4 percent. Yahoo! lost big time, falling to 18 percent from 18.8 percent.
OK, back to PDC. See you at the show: I'll be providing blog posts and news articles over the next two days and will be live-blogging the keynote events on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Stay tuned to the SuperSite for Windows for updates