An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
Microsoft, TiVo Drop Dueling Lawsuits
Microsoft and TiVo announced this week that they're dropping their lawsuits against each other, ending a two-year legal battle over TV/DVR patents. Not to be glib about it, but let's face it: Not a serious number of users are using either company's DVR products anyway. And AT&T, which does use Microsoft DVR technology in its U-Verse set-top boxes, previously settled with TiVo in January, taking some of the remaining wind of Microsoft's sales.
Nokia Lumia 900 to Arrive on AT&T in Early April
A trusted source from AT&T has finally provided the information I've been waiting for: The Nokia Lumia 900, originally set to launch March 18 on the network, will be released in the first week of April, on either April 8 or April 9. But you can find out for sure on Monday, when AT&T will make the big announcement. As previously and exclusively reported here, the Nokia Lumia 900 will cost only $99 on AT&T, which is an astonishing price for such a high-end device. Yes, I will be getting one. In fact, I can't wait.
Angry Birds Snubs Windows Phone, but Not for the First Time
This week, Rovio launched the latest title in its blockbuster series of Angry Birds games, called Angry Birds Space. (Like the James Bond series with Moonraker, I guess.) There's been a lot of angst in the Windows Phone world because Rovio is snubbing our favorite platform with this title: The company says it has "no plans" to deliver Angry Birds Space on Windows Phone because of its tiny market share and the difficulty of having to totally rewrite each game to work on the platform. But what no one else seems to notice is that this isn't news. Rovio released the first Angry Birds title on Windows Phone almost two years after its debut on the iPhone, and the other Angry Birds titles—Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio—were never ported to Windows Phone. Why the heck would you think Rovio would suddenly jump to port this newest game? Sorry, folks, but that's just the reality of the situation.
We might not be getting a new Angry Birds title anytime soon, but Windows Phone users do have some app-related news to cheer about: The platform surpassed the 70,000 app plateau this week, after hitting 60,000 back in January. And while I'd quibble about the need for hitting iPhone-like numbers of apps, come on: 70,000 is pretty impressive.
Xbox is the Center of Microsoft's Universe?
Mary Jo Foley has an interesting post this week about a former Microsoft employee, James Whittaker, who joined Google only to return to Microsoft. There are a number of aspects to this story, but the most interesting are his comments about why he returned. "When I joined in 2006, the company was centered around Windows and Office," he noted. "Today there is a new main street in Redmond and it houses the studios, not offices but studios, of the Xbox team." When you consider than Windows NT creator Dave Cutler is part of the Xbox team now, this starts to get very interesting indeed, even when you factor in the fact that the Xbox, so far, has been nothing but a financial sinkhole for Microsoft. Is the Xbox finally going to stampede this living room market that we keep hearing about? You never know.
Microsoft Cofounder Gives $300 Million to Brain Research
No, not that cofounder. Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen this week donated $300 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science, an organization dedicated to studying the human brain. This isn't Allen's first donation, either: It comes in addition to the previous $200 million gift he provided. Allen, you might recall, has had a couple of health scares and is a prominent philanthropist who has given billions to various health, science, and educational concerns—the type of good deed one might expect of such a wealthy person. "Our brains are many magnitudes more advanced in the way they work than any computer software that has ever been invented," Allen said. "Think about this, we can teach students to program computers in a couple of years in school, but even with a lifetime of learning at present we are far away from fully understanding the brain."
Home Is Where the Heart Is, If Not the Sales
There's nothing like a home crowd, as any sports team can tell you. But for struggling smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM), even the home crowd isn't particularly enchanted anymore. According to data from IDC, Apple's iPhone outsold RIM's BlackBerry platform in Canada for the first time in 2011, 2.85 million units to 2.05 million, a blow to the prestige of one of the country's few tech superstars. But fear not, RIM fans. The company's absolutely clear-headed CEO Thorsten Heins can see the forest for the trees, noting, "In the rest of the world, BlackBerry is growing very fast." Yes, very fast. Rapid growth is what we always think of when we think of BlackBerry. You know, if it were 2003.
Next Week: Connections in Las Vegas
I'll be in Las Vegas for Windows Connections next week, so if you're in town, you can look me up at the MGM Grand. I should be there all day Tuesday and Wednesday, mostly lurking in the speaker's lounge, but I'll try to make my way around the show as well. I'm cohosting a Windows 8/Windows Server 8 panel discussion with Mark Minasi on Wednesday morning from 8:00 to 9:15 am, as well, and that promises to be fun, given Mark's and my penchant for verbally using each other. In a fun way.
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, Leo Laporte, 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.
The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?
In case you haven't seen them, we're now offering Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech apps for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone
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