An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...

Windows 8 SKUs Revealed?

My buddy Stephen Chapman notes in a blog post this week that HP might have inadvertently spilled the beans on the SKUs (stock keeping units, or what I call "product versions") Microsoft intends to sell for Windows 8. And sure enough, it's a lot simpler than it was with Windows 7. We get a base version of the OS called, simply, Windows 8, which comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Then an Enterprise version, also in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and finally a Professional Edition, again in 32-bit and 64-bit variants. Of course, this doesn't include the ARM versions of Windows 8, or Windows On ARM (WOA), as Microsoft calls them. I'm guessing that WOA will match up exactly with the basic Windows 8 version, but we'll have to wait and see, of course.

If Windows 8 Beta Is Called the Consumer Preview, What is Server Called?

My Windows Secrets coauthor Rafael Rivera has a short post noting that the coming milestone of Windows Server 8 will almost certainly be called "Beta," even though the client version will be called the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. This makes plenty of sense, and just so we're clear: Microsoft regularly refers to the client as "Beta" as well. Since that's what it really is.

Not News: HP Promises Windows 8 Tablet by the End of 2012

And no, this is not "further proof" or even "new evidence" that Windows 8 will ship in calendar year 2012. Microsoft already explicitly promised this. But it's still pretty interesting that HP this week announced that it would deliver an Intel-based Windows 8 tablet by the end of the year. Hopefully it won't just be a rebranded TouchPad.

"Smoked by Windows Phone" Ads Go Viral

Microsoft this week dramatically expanded its selection of "Smoked by Windows Phone" advertisements, which appear online. In the ads, Microsoft's Ben Rudolph takes on users of other smartphones, competing to see whether Windows Phone or the competition can complete common tasks more quickly. Needless to say, iPhone and Android users come up short almost every single time. (Windows Phone has a 95 percent success rate so far.) And that's not surprising to me at all, since I use Windows Phone and understand the advantages. Check out the ads, and you will too.

Nokia Now the Largest Seller of Windows Phone Handsets

Analysts from Strategic Analytics claim that Nokia sold 900,000 Windows Phone handsets in the last two months of 2011, good for 33 percent of the 2.7 million Windows Phone devices sold in that quarter. That's a slightly low estimate compared with the other numbers I've seen, but looked at as a rough figure, it's still pretty interesting to see how quickly Nokia has come to dominate this market. And this happened despite only limited geographic availability. I suspect Nokia's share of the Windows Phone market will grow dramatically throughout 2012 as well.

Microsoft Talks Up Visual Studio 11, Almost Ignores Windows, Metro Development

Lest there be any doubt about who wears the pants at Microsoft, we can safely say it's not the folks responsible for Visual Studio. Instead, the shots are being called from over in the Windows division, so while the Visual Studio 11 Beta got a little coming-out party on Thursday, the people responsible for it were clearly on a short leash. Yes, Windows 8 and Metro-style apps were mentioned—glossed over, really—but these topics were on par with Windows Azure and legacy application development, and no effort was made to mention (let alone describe) what if any improvements have been made to Windows 8/Metro-style development in the Beta. So, I'll provide a little inside baseball: The Windows 8 platform was completed about two months ago, so what we see in the Beta should be close to complete. You heard it here first.

Google Will Add "Do Not Track" Button in Chrome

Which is a bit like a car thief giving up his door jimmy, I believe. Google this week said it would add a "Do Not Track" button to its Chrome web browser, but if this company's activities in other browsers are any indication, I think it's safe to say it will probably do next to nothing. "We're pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the 'do-not-track' header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls," Google Senior Vice President Susan Wojcicki said this week. Of course you're pleased, Susan. I'm so glad that you agree to it about a year after Mozilla, Microsoft, and Apple.

Google Allegedly Replacing Motorola Mobility Chief

I guess he wasn't evil enough. Fresh off regulatory approval of its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, Google is apparently set to replace that company's CEO, Sanjay Jha, with a more Googley replacement, Dennis Woodside. Mr. Woodside currently runs Google's US-based ad sales, so he's clearly familiar with making mountains of cash, something Motorola Mobility has proven adept at avoiding thus far. Of course, this is all just a rumor at this point, as Google hasn't closed its purchase of Motorola Mobility quite yet.

Apple Holds Shareholder Meeting, Never Even Utters the Word "China"

And that's pretty much all you need to know about this company, really. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!

This week,  Mary Jo Foley, Leo Laporte, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday, as usual. But as of this writing, Andrew Zarian and I haven't figured out a time for What The Tech, as I was on vacation through Wednesday. I'm sure we'll get it done, and the new episode(s) will be available soon, generally in both audio in video formats, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all of my podcast activities on the SuperSite for Windows.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on TwitterFriendfeedPaul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and the SuperSite Blog. Coming soon: Windows 8 Secrets!