An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...

Note: The Penton offices will be closed Monday, February 20, because of President's Day here in the United States. WinInfo will return on Tuesday, but if anything important happens before then, I'll post it to the SuperSite for Windows.

Hilarious: Microsoft "Mistakenly" Flags Google as Malicious Site

Microsoft's consumer- and business-oriented anti-malware solutions—Security Essentials and Forefront, respectively—this week mistakenly flagged Google as a malicious website, preventing users from visiting. Well, that's the official story. Which I believe, because I'm not an idiot. But it's amusing to watch the conspiracy theorists come creeping out of the woodwork as if on cue. Then again, maybe there is something to this. After all, last year, Microsoft's security software flagged Google Chrome as malware and automatically removed it from some users' PCs. Also hilarious.

Microsoft's Mobile Patent Licensing Is Tough but Fair

Geekwire's Todd Bishop reported this week that unsealed legal documents explain why Barnes & Noble lost a preliminary decision to Microsoft with the International Trade Commission (ITC). And it all boils down to one simple legal opinion: Microsoft's attempts to get Barnes & Noble to license its patents wasn't "patent misuse" but was instead "hard bargaining." In other words, tough but fair. "Even assuming that these transactions and the related evidence establishes that Microsoft is bent on eliminating Android as a competitor, the mere fact that Microsoft is targeting Android for destruction is insufficient to establish an antitrust violation let alone patent misuse," ITC judge Theodore Essex wrote in his decision. Barnes & Noble has already appealed the ruling.

HP: Google/Motorola Deal Could Close-Source Android

HP CEO Meg Whitman said Wednesday that recent regulatory approval of Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility could cause to Google to rein in Android and stop open-sourcing the mobile OS for others to use. This would be an interesting opinion if Whitman's company hadn't recently driven erstwhile Android competitor webOS into the ground and then open-source that system. Sounds like Ms. Meg is up to a little old-fashioned FUD to me. And for the record, Whitman says she's "excited" by webOS and that "the industry needs another OS." You know, like webOS.

Rumors of a Smaller iPad Continue. Apple Should Do It. But Apple Will Never Do It.

Working off the theory that Apple will never do anything I want it to do, recent rumors of a smaller, 8" iPad model have me excited, which means of course that it will never happen. But such a device would give Apple the means to compete with the new low end of the tablet market, which is to say the Amazon Kindle Fires of the world. And though Apple can't possibly be expected to match the Kindle Fire's low-ball $199 pricing—there are iPad cases that cost that much—it could certainly deliver a smaller iPad that's at least kind of competitive. You know, for Apple. Ideally, such a device would start at just $299, but if you split the difference between the iPod touch's starting price of $199 and the iPad's starting price of $499, you arrive at $349. And that just makes way too much sense. Apple will never do it.

 Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!

This week, Andrew Zarian and I recorded the latest episode of the What The Tech podcast a day late, on Wednesday, because of my travel schedule. And Mary Jo Foley, Leo Laporte, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday, as usual, but I had to leave early, again because of travel. Ah well. As always, these episodes should be available now or soon, generally in both audio in video formats, 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.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter, Friendfeed, Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and the SuperSite Blog. Coming soon: Windows 8 Secrets!

I'm flying to Barcelona as you read this, perhaps, and thanks to an Iberia pilot strike, my trip is going to be a bit more miserable than originally planned. But hopefully this excuses the slightly short Short Takes this week. See you Tuesday!