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August 23, 2002—In this issue:
1. SHORT TAKES
- Windows XP SP1 License Changes Explained
- Visual Studio .NET Updates Will Sync with Other Releases
- Borland Looks to Galileo to Compete with Visual Studio .NET
- Microsoft Reveals Critical New Office, IE Flaws
- Microsoft Drops Free Outlook XP with Pocket PCs
- MSN 8 Heading to the Mac
- Taiwan to Investigate Microsoft
- AOL Time Warner and WorldCom Deals Are Focus of Investigation
- AMD: Megahertz Myth Megahurts the Industry
- Jaguar Roars: Mac OS X Hope or Hype?
- Jaguar Not Enough? How About Panther?
- Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick up Our New eBook!
- Take Our Survey and You Could Win a Free T-Shirt!
3. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. SHORT TAKES
(An irreverent look at some of the week's other stories, contributed by Paul Thurrott, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Microsoft's licensing guru Allen Nieman dropped me a note about the licensing changes in Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), which will ship soon. Here's Allen's succinct version of the announcement: "Microsoft will introduce additional technological measures in \[SP1\] for Windows XP aimed at ensuring legally licensed customers receive the full benefits of owning their valid licenses. These changes include denying access to the Windows XP SP1 updates for PCs with known pirated installations, product key validation during activation, and the repair of cracks to activation. Additional features have been added to provide a better customer experience, including an additional 3-day grace period to reactivate after significant hardware changes and the ability for volume license customers to encrypt their volume license product keys in unattended installations." Later today, I'll post a full write-up about the changes in an update to my SP1 review on the SuperSite for Windows.
Microsoft announced this week that it will start synchronizing updates to its Visual Studio .NET development tool with Windows OS and other product releases, beginning with the release of Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) later this year. The first Visual Studio .NET update, code-named Everett, will ship simultaneously with Win.NET Server and will feature support for Visual J#, the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 (which will ship with Win.NET Server), and the final version of the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework. Future Visual Studio .NET releases will sync with such products as SQL Server 2003 (code-named Yukon), Microsoft Office 11, Windows Longhorn (the next Windows release) and other programmable products such as future releases of Windows CE .NET and the Pocket PC. A full roadmap through 2005 will be available Monday on the Microsoft Web site.
Developertool-maker Borland will soon ship a software development suite that will compete with Visual Studio .NET. Code-named Galileo, the new suite will ship early next year and will offer programmers a new version of Delphi (Object Pascal) and other as-yet-unannounced programming languages. (Some people predict that Borland will include C# and Java.) Regardless of which languages Galileo uses, the product will work with the Microsoft .NET Framework and the Common Language Runtime (CLR), which means that developers can use the suite to build .NET-based applications and services.
Microsoft announced yesterday that its Office and Internet Explorer (IE) products contain critical security flaws, and the company recommends that users of these products immediately download patches that fix the problems. The Office vulnerability affects the Office Web Components in Office XP/2002 and Office 2000. The IE flaws affect IE releases 6.0, 5.5, and 5.01.
- IE patch:
- Office patch:
- MICROSOFT DROPS FREE OUTLOOK XP WITH POCKET PCs
- MSN 8 HEADING TO THE MAC
- TAIWAN TO INVESTIGATE MICROSOFT
- AOL TIME WARNER AND WORLDCOM DEALS ARE FOCUS OF INVESTIGATION
- AMD: MEGAHERTZ MYTH MEGAHURTS THE INDUSTRY
- JAGUAR ROARS: MAC OS X HOPE OR HYPE?
- JAGUAR NOT ENOUGH? HOW ABOUT PANTHER?
- PLANNING ON GETTING CERTIFIED? MAKE SURE TO PICK UP OUR NEW EBOOK!
- TAKE OUR SURVEY AND YOU COULD WIN A FREE T-SHIRT!
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Microsoft recently decided to stop giving new Pocket PC purchasers a free copy of Outlook 2002, the latest version of the company's email and personal information management (PIM) product, which also ships in Office XP. Apparently, the Outlook team felt that giving away the product diluted its value to users, so Pocket PC owners will instead receive Outlook 2000. Outlook 2002 is currently available as a standalone product and as a component of Office XP. Because most Pocket PC users probably already have a copy of Outlook, I can't imagine this decision is a huge problem, but I bet Microsoft is trying to help drive sales of Office and Outlook 11, which will feature a radically different UI. Office 11 will ship in mid-2003.
Microsoft's upcoming MSN 8 Internet software, formerly known as MSN Explorer, will ship in a Mac OS X version in early 2003, the company announced yesterday. MSN for Mac OS X will offer most of the MSN 8 for Windows features, including a cool new interface, Web services integration, and compatibility with the MSN online service and other ISPs, although the latter feature will incur an additional monthly charge. IE, the company's standalone Web browser, will remain free on both Windows and the Macintosh, Microsoft says.
Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission is investigating Microsoft for unfair trade practices, the agency announced this week. The investigation arose from complaints about Microsoft's new licensing policies, which require Taiwanese companies to sign contracts with Microsoft Singapore that restrict the companies' abilities to switch local software purchasing agents. Microsoft denies the claim, stating that its corporate clients in the area can change agents at any time, although they must first notify Microsoft. I'm sure a little begging is part of the requirement, too.
AOL Time Warner, which runs everybody's favorite online service, continues its way through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doghouse this week with revelations that the company improperly booked almost $50 million in advertisements that WorldCom, another SEC darling, paid for. Apparently the two companies have developed a close relationship during the past few years; AOL became WorldCom's biggest customer and paid more than $900 million last year for WorldCom to carry most of its Internet traffic. Then, in an effort to keep AOL Internet traffic on WorldCom's networks, WorldCom agreed in July 2001 to pay more than $200 million to AOL for advertising across AOL's various online properties. Not coincidentally, the SEC earlier charged Scott Sullivan, WorldCom's chief financial officer (CFO), with securities fraud, and his company is currently in bankruptcy court with more than $7.2 billion in inappropriate accounting charges. Sadly for AOL, its relationship with WorldCom can only harm AOL's already flagging fortunes and reputation, which have taken a beating in the days since AOL and Time Warner finalized their merger.
Microprocessor-maker AMD is continuing its fight to replace chip megahertz ratings with a more realistic performance rating that will make its products more competitive with market-leader Intel. Last year, AMD stopped using megahertz ratings for its processors; instead, AMD began marketing its processors with names that describe the products' relative performance compared with Intel chips. Now, AMD wants all chip makers to agree to a new measurement that will accurately reflect overall PC performance. Even today's performance benchmarks aren't adequate, the company says, because benchmarks tell only part of the story. According to AMD, the industry needs a way to easily identify a PC's overall performance. "Lightbulbs have better information about them at the point of sale than PCs," said AMD Vice President Patrick Moorhead. Good one.
This weekend, Apple will release its long-anticipated Mac OS X 10.2 update, code-named Jaguar. The release will finally bring Mac OS X into the mainstream, whereas prior updates focused on ease of use and performance upgrades. Mac OS X should now offer adequate performance on even mid-level Macs and—with software developers writing more and more applications for the platform—an even higher level of compatibility. Of course, from a technical standpoint, Apple is simply providing features and technologies that Windows users have had for some time, and the company still has no valid response to Windows XP's innovative, task-based UI. But Jaguar should address complaints from the Mac crowd that OS X was too slow and incomplete.
If the Jaguar release isn't enough for you, how about the next OS X release, code-named Panther, which will ship next year? Formerly code-named Pinot, the next Mac OS X release will reportedly prevent you from booting older versions of Mac OS, including OS 9, on new Mac systems, in order to give the Mac user base that final nudge it needs to upgrade. A cute side note: Cheetah was the code name for the initial Mac OS X release (which is humorous given its performance issues), whereas last year's Mac OS X 10.1 release was code-named Puma and Mac OS X Server 10.2 was code-named Tigger. Meow.
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