An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news, including Thanksgiving, Microsoft's not-so-open formats, Xbox 360, XP N Editions, Sony rootkit suits, Google gifts, TiVo and iPod, Apple iTunes, Google search, Windows Server, and so much more...<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
If you're a bit confused by seeing Short Takes on Wednesday, you're not alone. Well, I'm confused for a number of reasons, but this week we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
The truth is, if anything of note happens over the next few days, I'll still post something about it to the WinInfo Web site. And I'll be publishing more Xbox 360 and Windows Server 2003 R2 content to the SuperSite for Windows by the end of the weekend as well.
Yes, it's been a busy if short week. Our quick trip to
Speaking of being way behind, I've yet to make a decent effort at getting to my email backlog, so if you're waiting on a response, I apologize. There's a weird Catch-22 that occurs when I go away. I don't want to spend the trip on a computer, but if I don't at least check email regularly, it piles up to the tune of over 100 emails a day. I didn't even see a computer the entire time I was away, so the end result was predictable. Hopefully, I can get caught up soon.
And speaking of getting caught up, November went by quickly. Plus, we woke up to snow on the ground this morning, which is as accurate a hint that winter is coming as anything. To be fair, this is the second snowfall we've had this season--the first actually occurred back in October, though we experience several 60 degree days shortly thereafter--but this time its clear there's no turning back. I'm not sure when the first significant snowfall will occur, but it's inevitable, like the madness of holiday shopping. I guess I'm looking forward to it.
Critics: Microsoft's "Open" Office Format Not So Open
So Microsoft's bid to open up its Office 12 data formats as international standards hasn't really done much to sway critics. Sam Hiser, a Linux consultant whose opinion I trust, writes in his blog about a line-by-line interpretation of Microsoft's agreement to not sue developers and others who choose to utilize these formats. The conclusion is somewhat shocking: The agreement applies only to the XML-based formats in Office 2003 and not Office 12, and since Office 12 is a full year away from release, he says that the Microsoft announcement is pure PR baloney aimed at freezing the market and dimming chances that the competing OpenDocument format will gain traction. I'd be startled to discover that was the case if, you know, Microsoft hadn't done that kind of thing so many times in the past. In any event, Sam's posts on this topic are good reading.
Defining Success for Xbox 360
So the Xbox 360 is off to a roaring start, with huge lines of people waiting outside of retail stores so they could purchase the few units being offered for sale. But how does one define "success" for Microsoft and Xbox 360? Does it have to beat the PlayStation 3 in the market? Some are suggesting that Xbox 360 needs to outsell its predecessor to be termed successful. I guess that makes sense. The original Xbox has sold over 22 million units worldwide, so that's the goal. That, I guess, and outselling at least the Nintendo Revolution. But here's another bellweather of its (early) success: If Xbox 360 doesn't outsell the PlayStation 2 during the time period before the PlayStation 3 is released, I'm not sure how anyone could call this thing successful.
No Demand for XP N Editions
Here's a shocker: The stripped down version of Windows XP that the European Union (EU) forced Microsoft to sell isn't exactly a best seller. In fact, the Windows XP N Editions, as those products are called, aren't even being sold by some major retailers and PC makers in
Sony Sued for Shipping CDs with Malware
If you thought that Sony's rootkit CD fiasco couldn't get any worse, you apparently forgot about the lawyers. This week, two major lawsuits were filed against Sony for its decision to include malware on audio CDs sold to consumers. The suits, filed separately by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) digital rights advocacy group and the
Google Gives the Gift of
So we've all questioned Google's motives for wanting to scan in the contents of books, but give the company a little credit. It's giving back, too. This week, the online giant provided a $3 million gift to the US Library of Congress to help the Library begin building a World Digital Library that will collect digital versions of the most significant documents from around the world. The project is modeled after the American Memory Project, which has been digitizing notable
TiVo Goes to iPod, PSP
Earlier this year, TiVo unveiled the TiVo To Go service, which allowed TiVo subscribers to copy TiVo recorded TV content to PCs, notebook computers, and, for the six bozos actually using these devices, Portable Media Centers. This week, TiVo announced a valuable addition to the TiVo To Go service, where it will provide software (for a nominal fee) that will let iPod with video and PlayStation Portable (PSP) owners copy TiVo content to their devices as well. The fee is required because of the expense of the MPEG-4 video format used by the iPod and PSP, TiVo says. But it's nice to see this kind of thing being offered to a much wider range of customers. The service should be widely available by December.
Apple iTunes Moves into Top 10
Search is Number 2
And presumably, porn holds onto its tenuous lead. This week, the Pew Internet and American Life Project announced that using a search engine is the second most popular online activity, just ahead of the news. Today, about 41 percent of users online utilize search engines, compared with 30 percent a year ago. And if you're wondering, email is actually the number one activity. Sure it is.
Today, the South Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it will delay a long-overdue ruling on Microsoft's business practices to next week. The FTC has been investigating Microsoft since 2001, so what's another week, right? The investigation stemmed from complaints from
Windows Leads Server Market
And finally, Microsoft for the first time saw Windows Server lead the new server market, thanks to strong server growth and healthy sales of Windows Server 2003. The worldwide server market grew 8.1 percent in the third quarter of 2005, according to IDC, while server revenues grew 5.6 percent. Sales of servers based on Windows Server accounted for 36.9 percent of all server revenue in the quarter, compared to 31.7 percent for UNIX and 11.5 percent for Linux. According to IDC, Windows Server growth was fueled in part by NT migrations, which are finally starting to happen in volume.