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In the News

- Here Comes the Windows Vista December CTP

- AOHell: Google Sells Soul to Stop Microsoft

- Visto Sues Microsoft for Patent Infringement

==== In the News ==== by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Here Comes the Windows Vista December CTP

At a 2:00 P.M. Eastern time briefing with the press today, Microsoft will announce the release of the Windows Vista Community Technology Preview (CTP) for December 2005, a pre-release version of the company's next client OS. The December CTP will be released to beta testers sometime today, I'm told.

According to sources in Redmond the December CTP, or build 5270, will include dramatic functional changes compared with the preceding CTP build, 5231, which was distributed in October. As I've previously discussed, the next big push after the December 2005 CTP won't be in January 2006, as you might expect, but in February, when Microsoft will ship a feature-complete Windows Vista version to beta testers for the first time.

While you're waiting for the December CTP to hit, please visit my latest technology showcase on the SuperSite for Windows (URL below). I've been working on my review of the December CTP and will post it as soon as possible.

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/showcase/inside-the-windows-vista-community-technical-preview-ctp.aspx

AOHell: Google Sells Soul to Stop Microsoft

For Microsoft, Google's last-minute deal with America Online (AOL) owner Time Warner was like a knife through the corporate heart, ending the software giant's bid to dramatically improve the standing of its embattled online search unit. But for Google, the recently revealed deal might have even deeper consequences. Ignoring its "don't be evil" corporate mantra, Google has forsaken its pledge never to let its search pages be subsumed by corporate interests. In striking out against a would-be competitor, Google has simply revealed itself to be as flawed as any other corporation.

Here's what happened. In recent months, Time Warner has sought suitors for its once-troubled AOL unit, hoping at first to find a company that would be interested in purchasing all or part of AOL. When that didn't pan out, Time Warner turned to AOL's ad-supported search service, which since 2002 has been powered by Google technology. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Time Warner was set to finalize a deal with Microsoft that would replace Google Search on AOL with the software giant's MSN Search technology, with Microsoft and Time Warner splitting ad revenues.

Then Google swept in with a last-minute offer that scuttled Microsoft's plans. Google will pay Time Warner $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in AOL and will keep the AOL search business as a result. The deal, which was done solely to hurt Microsoft, will not financially benefit Google in any perceptible way. But as part of the deal, Google will do that one thing it's always promised not to do: It will present AOL-sponsored search results on its main search results page, complete with the AOL logo. That's right, folks. Google has sold out. And it did so to harm a competitor that has less than one third its market share.

There are two key lessons here, from what I can see. First, Google is not the trustworthy corporate giant that some people imagine, though the company's track record, including its close work with China's totalitarian government, should have already made that clear. Second, Google considers Microsoft a huge competitive threat, despite the fact that the Redmond company has yet to make any serious inroads into Internet search.

Visto Sues Microsoft for Patent Infringement

A California-based company, Visto, has sued Microsoft, charging that it's infringing on three of Visto's decade-old patents for push email and related mobile technologies. Visto is a wireless email technology supplier that recently formed an alliance with Research In Motion (RIM) competitor NTP. (NTP is suing RIM, the leading supplier of mobile email solutions, for patent infringement.) Visto says that Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 software for mobile devices infringes on Visto's patents for mobile email synchronization, remote access, and security.

Visto is seeking an immediate and permanent injunction to force Microsoft to stop distributing Windows Mobile 5.0 software. The company is also seeking unspecified damages. Visto charges that Microsoft's recent decision to include Windows Mobile 5.0-compatible push email technology with Microsoft Exchange Server was illegal product bundling, similar to bundling Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows Media Player with Windows.

Microsoft has yet to make an official comment on the suit, beyond acknowledging that it's looking into the charges. "Microsoft stands behind its products and respects the intellectual property rights of others," a Microsoft spokesperson said. However, Visto executives say that Microsoft is well aware of Visto's technology, because the two companies worked together in 2004 to jointly market Visto's mobile email products.

Clarification

In Friday's Short Takes, I noted that the Intel Viiv brand was taken from the Roman numeral 64, as in 64-bit. However, as many readers pointed out, VIIV is not 64, but is, rather, the numbers 6 and 4 in succession. Being a student of Super Bowls and motion picture copyrights, I actually knew that. But for the record, LXIV is 64 and Viiv is simply a silly pseudo-word that Intel figures it can copyright. Go figure.

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