An often irreverent look at some of this week's other news ...
Windows 7 Sales Are Fantastic, but They're Also Accelerating
Microsoft announced this week that Windows 7 had surpassed the 150 million unit sales mark in record time, making this version of Windows the fastest-selling version of any OS in history. No surprise there: This is what they said when Windows 7 surpassed the 90 million and 100 million unit sales marks as well. The software giant also reiterated a cute sales statistic, that Windows 7 was selling at a rate of seven units per second. Also neat. But the big news with this milestone is that Windows 7 sales are actually accelerating: Whereas it took almost four months to sell 40 million units earlier this year, the next 50 million units happened in just two months. That means Microsoft is selling more than 25 million units each month. Are enterprise upgrades finally kicking in as expected (and hoped)? Maybe.
Or Maybe Not
Former PC giant Dell this week said it expects its revenues to jump 14 to 16 percent this year, thanks to renewed spending by both consumers and business customers. For Dell, this is great news, as the company has hit a rough patch in recent years and this marks the first time it's provided any revenue guidance in quite a while. But Dell also noted that corporate upgrades to Windows 7, thus far, have only been in "the single digits," which sounds like a Windows Vista-esque estimate. That said, the company thinks these sales will pick up. Certainly, the sky is the limit.
Confusion Surrounding Kinect Pricing
When Microsoft announced the branding for its Kinect motion-sensing controller earlier this month at the E3 trade show, many were logically expecting that the software giant would also announce pricing. But it didn't, triggering speculation—accurate, I think—that Microsoft was waiting to see where Sony's competing Move system would be priced. Well, Sony announced its pricing, but still nothing out of Redmond. What's interesting, however, is that its retail partners weren't nearly as shy on Kinect pricing, with several posting a very believable $150 retail price. But still Microsoft demurred, stating that those prices were "speculative." But then the official Microsoft Store made the Kinect available for preorder for, get this, $150. So that must be the final price, right? "All prices now, no matter what the retail source, are placeholders," a Microsoft representative said. Pfft. Come on guys, come clean. This is getting silly.
Bing Gets Even Friendlier
Microsoft ushered in a surprising number of software releases this week, including new Bing and Windows Live Messenger apps for the iPhone, a beta version of the next Windows Live Essentials, a third Internet Explorer (IE) 9 Platform Preview, and of course the ongoing rollout of the new Hotmail. But one of Microsoft's more underappreciated offerings, the Bing search engine, also received a significant update. And if you've been ignoring Bing, as I know you have, you should take a few moments to check it out. Among the updates in the new version are nicely designed entertainment portals around music, TV shows, movies, and even video games. But it's the changes across all of Bing's search experiences that I think will make the biggest difference, and Microsoft has made the whole site more useful and efficient via a simple new navigational interface. Check out the new Bing online, of course, and also check out my review for more information.
Apple's New iPhone Launches to Massive Lines
The phenomenon is just like that classic Apple "lemmings" TV ad, though I'm sure the irony will be lost on the glazed-over fanatics who waited in line. At least the iPhone 4 is clearly pretty awesome, unlike the tepid iPhone 3GS that Apple shipped last year. Anyway, Apple is going to sell millions of them. I suspect it already has.
Apple Files New Suit Against HTC
Speaking of Apple, the Cupertino consumer electronics giant filed a new lawsuit against rival smartphone maker HTC, alleging that the company is violating four more of its patents. I kind of have this image of low-level lawyers-to-be mucking around in Apple's basement just looking for things to sue HTC over, but whatever: It's clear that Apple and HTC are heading toward some massive courtroom battle. I just hope HTC can afford to wage this war, regardless of the outcome.
This Week, on the Windows Weekly Podcast
Leo and I recorded a new episode of the Windows Weekly podcast this week, moments before I hopped in my car and headed out for a cross-country road trip. As always, it should be available by the weekend on iTunes and the Zune Marketplace, in both audio and video formats.