An often irreverent look at this week's other news ....
Windows Weekly Turns 6!
Today is the sixth anniversary of the Windows Weekly podcast, which I’ve been recording with Leo Laporte and, more recently, Mary Jo Foley. The first episode aired on September 28, 2006, back when pre-release versions of Windows Vista and Office 2007 were still in the news, and we just recorded the 280th episode this very week. (We weren’t always weekly at first, but we quickly settled into a regular schedule.) I recall Leo asking me about how I’d approach the podcast: I told him that I saw it as similar to my writing here and on the SuperSite, and in books and so on, in that it would be a conversation among people who care about technology. And a few years later, speaking with someone else at TWiT, I said the one thing I could promise was that I’d always show up. Ultimately, I do believe that’s half the battle: Anyone can start a blog, or a podcast, or whatever. The trick is to keep doing it, and after 18 years of WinInfo, 13 years of the SuperSite, and now 6 years of Windows Weekly, I think it’s pretty clear I’m in this for the long haul. Here’s to six more years.
From the "No S#!%, Sherlock" Files: Gartner Claims Enterprises Won’t Embrace Windows 8
Those ever-vigilant analysts at Gartner have really been doing their homework this week: They claim that Windows 8 could “suffer a similar fate” as Windows Vista with enterprise customers, in which just 8 percent of enterprise PCs ran that version of Windows at its peak. “Most organizations are still working on eliminating Windows XP and deploying Windows 7," Gartner’s Michael (“Master of the Obvious”) Silver noted. “Organizations will need to decide whether they continue with Windows 7 and or consider Windows 8.” Um, duh? Windows 7 is obviously the new Windows XP when it comes to enterprise (and general business deployments), and Windows 8 is equally obviously the rare consumer-focused Windows release that Microsoft frankly needed to ship in order to offer more compelling competition to the iPad/iPhone and Android alternatives. I mean, obviously.
Bill Gates Loves Windows 8
Good news, Microsoft enthusiasts (you are out there, right?): Windows 8 has at least one fan. Microsoft Cofounder Bill Gates, whom one has to imagine is under some form of contractual obligation not to dump on what the software giant is doing in his absence, claims to love Windows 8. “I'm very pleased with it," Mr. Gates said this week. “It’ll be a big deal.” To be fair, Gates was never this enthusiastic about Windows Vista. In a 2007 interview, when pressed about how he would promote Vista to users, he mentioned the new look and feel, the Sidebar, search, parental controls, and security, and how you could edit a movie and make a DVD. Compelling stuff, to be sure, but he never came out and expressed pleasure with Vista. I’m curious whether anyone can find such a reference. (I’ve looked.)
Microsoft to Face Formal EU Charges for Subverting Browser Agreement
The European Union’s (EU's) top antitrust official, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, said this week that he plans to file formal charges against Microsoft for violating the terms of a 2009 agreement in which the software giant promised to give consumers in Europe a choice of web browsers in Windows. As you might recall, Microsoft mysteriously turned off its “browser ballot” interface in Windows 7 starting in February 2011 and didn’t notice the change (cough) until mid-2012. “The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company's breach of an agreement,” Almunia told reporters at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, this week. “We are working on this.” The EU can charge Microsoft fees of up to 10 percent of its annual revenues, which amounts to $7.4 billion. Microsoft has already admitted to the error and even apologized, which should nicely preclude any need for an appeal. Get your checkbook out, Mr. Ballmer.
Nokia Announces Lumia 920/820 Pricing, but Only for Europe, and Only for Non-Subsidized Devices
Nokia generated a bit of excitement this week when it announced pricing for its upcoming Windows Phone 8 handsets, the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. But that excitement quickly turned to frustration and even alarm when eager tech enthusiasts misunderstood what it was that Nokia was really revealing: non-subsidized pricing (i.e., full price) only, and only for Europe. So imagine the sticker shock when the price of the Lumia 920 came out to $770 in US dollars, and the Lumia 820 landed with a thud at $650. Folks, relax. I have no doubt that the Lumia 920 will actually cost $99 to $149 here in the United States (with a contract), and the Lumia 820 will come in at $49 or $99.
Now Minecraft Creator Is Dissing Windows 8
Although Windows 8’s gaming cred is indisputable, it’s notable how many game makers are going out of their way to diss the new OS. First we get Valve’s Gabe Newell calling Windows 8 a catastrophe, and then of course there was id’s genius cofounder John Carmack, who said there was “nothing exciting” about Windows 8. I mean, how could it get worse? How about a high-profile game developer actively working to prevent Windows 8’s success? “I’d rather have Minecraft not run on Windows 8 at all than to play along,” Minecraft creator Markus Persson wrote on Twitter this week. “Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to Windows 8 that way.” By “play along,” he’s referring to the new curated app platform in Windows 8, by which only Microsoft-certified apps make it to users’ PCs. “[I] got an email from Microsoft, wanting to help ‘certify’ Minecraft for Windows 8,” he later wrote. “I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform.”
RIM’s Quarterly Loss Considered Good News
Research In Motion (RIM) posted a net loss of $235 million on revenues of $2.9 billion in its most recent quarter, results that sent the struggling smartphone maker’s stock surging 20 percent in after-hours trading. No, you didn’t read that wrong: RIM’s stock surged on the loss. But that’s because the loss was less than expected, RIM sold more BlackBerry handsets (7.4 million) in the quarter than expected (6.9 million), and the firm’s revenues were higher than expected (by 2 percent). Furthermore, when you exclude one-time restructuring-related items, the quarterly loss is really just $142 million. And RIM even increased its cash hoard in the quarter, from $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion. In the world of reduced expectations under which RIM now operates, this is all considered great news. Or, as analyst Shaw Wu said (you know how much I love those guys), “It's still bad, but it's a much smaller disaster than expected.” Winning!
Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!
I recorded What the Tech with Andrew Zarian on Tuesday and Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley on Thursday, both on the normal schedule. Both podcast episodes should be available soon, 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.
The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?
The Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech app is now available for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone
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