Well, we arrived in Amsterdam without any problems last weekend, and although we've all had some trouble adapting to the time change, the city is beautiful and fun, and we've had a great time. Our friends arrived in town the other day, too, so we'll be doing some Netherlands day trips, including one today to Alkmaar, the cheese capitol of The Netherlands. For this reason, we have to get up early to ship out, so this will be a shorter-than-usual Short Takes, sorry.
Leo is back from China, so the Windows Weekly podcast returned this week, as well, and in fine form at that. The new episode should be up by the weekend, as usual.
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Microsoft Financials Nosedive
Microsoft on Thursday announced some pretty horrific quarterly financial results. For the quarter ending June 30, 2009, the company posted a $3.99 billion profit on sales of $13.1 billion, representing drops of 30 and 17 percent, respectively, from the same quarter a year ago. Microsoft noted that its business "continued to be negatively impacted by weakness in the global PC and server markets," which is an understatement: The company's results were a full $1 billion less than estimates. The company expressed some optimism for the wave of products and services it has coming in the months ahead—some kind of Windows thing, apparently—and said that, finally, it's seeing indications that the global economic nightmare is bottoming out. But don't get too excited by that: "We are seeing a little bit of growth \[in the next two quarters\]," Microsoft CEO Chris Liddell said. "While things are not necessarily getting better, they may have bottomed out."
Intel Tries to Take Partial Credit for Windows 7
When you're a winner, everyone wants a piece of you. And this week, it was Intel riding on the back of Microsoft's recently completed Windows 7, which Microsoft and the entire industry hopes will wash away the stink of Windows Vista. Intel representatives said this week that "collaboration" with Microsoft led to faster Windows 7 performance because the OS can take better advantage of multithreaded and multicore Intel microprocessors. Intel is also taking partial credit for Windows 7's faster shutdowns and other features that benefit from tighter hardware/software integration. You know, maybe Intel and Microsoft could merge and create a company that creates both the OS and the hardware. They could call it Apple.
Microsoft this week revealed a developer toolkit for its Bing Internet search engine (excuse me, "decision engine") called Bing# (pronounced "Bing Sharp" instead of "Bing You!" as I might have preferred). It joins C#, F#, and some other sharp-sounding names in Microsoft's growing collection of programming tools that use a "#" for some reason. What's the point of all this? I'm not really sure. But I still find the Bing name to be slightly humorous. And that's probably a good thing.
Amazon Revenues Fall on Weak Video Game Sales
They said the video game industry was recession-proof. They were wrong. Online retailer Amazon.com this week announced weaker-than-expected quarterly revenues, and the company blamed an unexpected drop in video game sales for much of the problem. "You're seeing an industry slowdown in video games and consoles," said Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak. Yeah, that and the fact that the second quarter is almost never a big deal for video game sales: All the A-list titles now ship at exactly the same time (read: November) instead of spreading out over the year. For myself, I've been playing the same video game ( Call of Duty: World at War) since last year. And I'll probably continue doing so until something new comes up. You know, in November.