- Microsoft Preps Fall Launch of Games, Peripherals
- Microsoft to Sell XP K and KN Editions in South Korea

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==== IN THE NEWS

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- Microsoft Preps Fall Launch of Games, Peripherals
- Microsoft to Sell XP K and KN Editions in South Korea
by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Microsoft Preps Fall Launch of Games, Peripherals

At Games Convention (GC) 2006 in Leipzig, Germany, this week, Microsoft unveiled several new games and peripherals for both Windows XP and Xbox 360 gamers. The company also talked up some interesting developments for gamers who are interested in Windows Vista.

Microsoft revealed that two next-generation soccer titles, Electronic Arts' (EA's) "FIFA 07" and Konami's "Pro Evolution Soccer 6," are coming exclusively to Xbox 360 later this year. Microsoft also announced three Xbox Live Arcade board games that will ship this year: "Settlers of Catan," "Carcassonne," and "Alhambra."

On the hardware side, Xbox 360 users can look forward to several new peripherals. On September 19, Microsoft will ship the Xbox Live Vision camera for just $39.99, as well as a Gold Kit version that includes the camera, 12 months of Xbox Live Gold access, three full-version Xbox Live Arcade game titles, and 200 Microsoft Points, for $79.99. The company will ship the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel in November for $149.99. The Xbox 360 Wireless Headset is also due in November, for $59.99. And three new special-edition Xbox 360 console faceplates, based on images from such well-known games as Halo, Viva PiƱata, and Forza Motosport, will ship in November for $19.99 each.

For Windows-based gamers, Microsoft announced a number of upcoming Vista-compatible games, including "LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy" and "Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania." The company also showed off a demonstration of the Vista-exclusive title, "Flight Simulator X," which is based on next-generation DirectX 10 technologies.

Microsoft announced a partnership with Razer USA to release a new Microsoft Habu gaming mouse that combines high-tech design with the speedy response time that gamers expect. The Habu features an advanced 2000dpi laser sensor and seven programmable buttons. It will ship in October for $69.95. Microsoft also announced that it's bringing its wired IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 back to the market due to popular demand. (Coincidentally, I just bought this mouse on eBay because I found the company's newer mouse models unsatisfactory.) The IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 will be back on the market in October for $39.95.

Microsoft is also bringing the wireless Xbox 360 game controller to Windows gamers courtesy of a $19.99 Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. This device plugs into a USB 2.0 port on your PC and lets you use any Xbox 360 wireless accessories in XP.

Microsoft to Sell XP K and KN Editions in South Korea

As it did so infamously in Europe with its so-called Windows XP N Editions, Microsoft will launch new XP versions in South Korea this week to comply with an antitrust ruling there. The company will ship two new versions each of XP Home and XP Professional Editions: XP KN, which won't include Windows Media Player (WMP) and Windows Messenger, and XP K, which will include the software and also offer links with which users can download rival IM applications. PC makers in South Korea will choose which version to supply to consumers.

These latest XP versions arrive after the Seoul High Court rejected Microsoft's request to suspend the antitrust ruling. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Microsoft about $34 million in December, ruling that the company's bundling of Microsoft's media player and IM solution in XP violated that country's antitrust laws.

Unlike in Europe, the XP K and KN Editions will replace, not augment, the original XP versions. That is, Microsoft will no longer sell the original versions of XP Home and XP Professional in Korea--just the new versions. In Europe, however, consumers can choose between the original XP versions and the newer XP N Editions, the latter of which don't include WMP. Consumers have overwhelmingly ignored the XP N Editions in Europe.

Editor's Note:

Roadshow Targets Oracle/SQL Server Interoperability
Cross-platform experts from Scalability Experts and Solid Quality Learning will present interoperability tips to IT professionals and DBAs who work with Oracle or SQL Server in a one-day roadshow that kicks off September 7 in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Oracle Magazine, Windows IT Pro, HP, Intel, and Microsoft, the show will feature information about the Windows 64-bit platform for database computing, an under-the-hood tour of Oracle and SQL Server, an overview of deploying highly available Oracle and SQL Server databases, guidelines for using SQL Server business intelligence on the Oracle platform, and a research-based session about how IT professionals can prepare for the changing database job market.

The roadshow will visit 12 cities between September 7 and October 24: Washington, D.C.; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; St. Louis; Houston; Irvine, Calif.; San Francisco; Phoenix; New York; Atlanta; and Seattle. Attendees who register before August 25 will enter a drawing for a free iPod nano sponsored by Windows IT Pro. For complete agenda and speaker information, go to the Web site below. http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqloracle

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