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

Windows Phone 8 Details Leaked by Mobile Blog

The mobile blog Pocketnow leaked a ton of information yesterday about Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 8 system, which will be based on Windows 8 but be backward-compatible with current-generation apps. (My write-up about this leak can be found on the SuperSite for Windows.) This comes at a tough time for Microsoft and its Windows Phone partner, Nokia, and if it were up to me, I would have held on to this information. The thing is, Nokia is busy trying to resuscitate its smartphone market share with a version of Windows Phone that will soon be obsolete, and doing so in a market (the United States) that it had ignored for years. Windows Phone 8 won't ship until the end of 2012, and before that happens, an interim version of Windows Phone 7.x—code-named Tango—will ship in certain markets, especially emerging ones. Well, the cat is out of the bag now, so what can you do? I will say this: I still intend to get a Nokia Lumia 900 when the device ships in the United States in March. It looks fantastic. 

Preorder a Nokia Lumia 900 at Your Local Microsoft Store

And yes, I know what you're thinking: "Microsoft has a store?" But if you live near one of Microsoft's few retail stores in the United States, you can apparently reserve a Nokia Lumia 900 for $25. No official word on the final price (hint: $99) or availability (hint: March 18). You know you want one. 

Microsoft Lays Off 200 Marketing People

And just queue up whatever joke you think is appropriate here. Microsoft this week quietly laid off approximately 200 marketing-related workers, mostly in the Seattle area, as part of an internal restructuring. (Some claim the number is much higher.) According to a report in The Seattle Times, the layoffs are aimed at reducing job duplication, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the company's central marketing team versus divisional product-marketing groups, and improving overall marketing. More to the point, this move apparently coincides with a plan to give more marketing control to the actual product groups at Microsoft, which can only be a good thing. You know, unless you're one of the unfortunate people who just lost a job.

Facebook's IPO Filing Reveals a Few Obvious Things About the Company and Its Founder

This week, the social networking giant Facebook filed paperwork for its initial public offering (IPO), looking to raise $5 billion, and in the process, of course, revealed some interesting information. Facebook has more than 845 million users who upload more than 250 million photos and "like" 2.7 billion items each day. Last year, Facebook had $1 billion in profits on revenues of $3.7 billion, which is frankly a lot lower than I would have imagined. (For example, Google took in about $40 billion in revenues last year. Facebook is only 1/10th the size.) CEO Mark Zuckerberg was paid $1.5 million last year, but thanks to his majority stock ownership, which includes voting rights, he is worth tons more than that. In fact, Forbes estimates he's worth $17.5 billion. Not bad for someone who stole someone else's idea, eh? 

Growing Furor Over Google's Privacy Policy Changes

While Google and Microsoft are amusingly sparring publicly over Google' s recently announced privacy policy changes, the big news is that various governments are concerned about the changes too. Various members of the US Congress have expressed outrage over the changes, which admit that Google does indeed track users' movements online, and one representative is investigating whether Google is now violating federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws. In Europe, the furor is even worse: The European Union's (EU's) Data Protection Working Party has requested that Google delay the implementation of the new policy because of its privacy concerns, and the EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has publicly stated that EU regulators will "ensure that EU law is fully complied with in Google's new privacy policy." Remember when Microsoft used to get this kind of attention? Yeah, I miss the old days too. 

This Week in Mobile Patents Madness: A Few New Legal Defeats for Apple

While Apple is busy suing every Android device maker it can think of, those rivals have been racking up legal victories against the Cupertino bully at a fairly alarming rate. And just this week, Apple lost two more legal cases, both in Germany. First, a judge from the Munich Regional Court denied an Apple bid for a sales ban on Samsung tablets and handsets, noting that Samsung was selling its products in the market "before the [Apple] intellectual property had been filed for protection." And Motorola Mobility won its second Germany-based patent ruling against Apple this week in a case involving email account synchronization and Apple's infringing iCloud service. Just a heads-up to Apple: This is why Microsoft seeks out patent-licensing deals instead of trying to make its competitors disappear. Turns out that latter approach just doesn't work. 

Yes, Android Still Beat Apple Handily in the Q4 Smartphone Market

Anyone who thought stronger-than-logical sales of the iPhone 4S in the previous quarter were going to make a difference short-term needs to breathe deeply for a few seconds. Because it didn't happen. Even in Apple's magical fourth quarter, the iPhone fell well short of the Android horde, with Google's smartphone platform actually raising its share to 47.3 percent in the United States, up from 44.8 percent in the previous quarter. Apple's share jumped from 27.4 percent to 29.6 percent, which is to say "a distant second." As for the rest of the market, it was all bad news: Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry devices slipped to 16 percent of the market, while Windows Phone came in at almost 5 percent. Nokia Symbian brought up the rear with 1.6 percent. These figures all come from comScore, which reports that about 98 million people in the United States bought smartphones last quarter, while smartphones accounted for about 40 percent of all mobile handset sales. Speaking of which ... 

Struggling Nokia Still Leads Mobile Market ... For Now

We know that Samsung was the number-one smartphone maker overall in 2011, beating Apple despite a late-in-the-year bump from the iPhone 4S. And this week, we also learned that both Nokia and Samsung were the bigger overall sellers of mobile handsets (i.e., smartphones plus other phone types) in the fourth quarter. Nokia shipped 114 million devices in Q4 2011 for the number-one spot, compared with 97 million for Samsung. Nokia's numbers, of course, were down—it sold 124 million in the same quarter the year before—while Samsung's were up; it sold 81 million devices the previous year. In third place? Apple, with 37 million devices. But that was a huge (if one-time) jump over the previous year, when Apple sold a bit more than 16 million devices 

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 on Tuesday, and Mary Jo Foley, Iyaz Akhtar, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday. 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 TwitterFriendfeedPaul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and the SuperSite Blog. Coming soon: Windows 8 Secrets!