Short Takes: September 12, 2014

Short Takes: September 12, 2014

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including a trip to Las Vegas for IT/Dev Connections, a major leak of the next version of Windows, some major successes for Windows Phone amidst all the iPhone hype, Yahoo battled the government long before Microsoft woke up, Google stumbles in Europe again, Sprint plans an unlimited comeback, and Apple Pay has both proponents and detractors.

Next week: Las Vegas

I'll be in Las Vegas next week for IT/Dev Connections at the Aria. If you're in town for the show or otherwise, I'll be milling around the Aria's convention center area all day Tuesday through Friday inclusive, other than for my regularly scheduled podcasts. And Mary Jo and I will be doing a live panel and Q&A session about the future of Microsoft from this show as well. See you in Las Vegas! --Paul

Windows 9 Technical Preview leaks

We're expecting to see our first official look at the next Windows on September 30, but some enterprising leakers from Germany have decided that the world doesn't need to wait that long. Assuming these news leaks are real, and not just some ginned-up version of Windows 8.1 with a few third party utilities installed, what we're seeing does closely follow the rumors I've been tracking. I've written up separate analyses of a set of screenshot leaks (part one and part two) and, just this morning, a new video leak as well. If you want to stay up to date on the next Windows, I've got your back.

"Minecraft purchase is the first building block in Microsoft's new strategy"

Of course it is. Right in front of all that enterprise nonsense.

Microsoft: 14 new Windows Phone hardware partners, 22 new devices so far in 2014

While the entire world is bowing down before the altar of the iPhone 6 this week, and various analysts are continuing their call for Microsoft to drop the also-ran Windows Phone, the software giant is asking for a bit of sanity. Since announcing free (sorry, "zero dollar") licensing for Windows Phone and releasing a Qualcomm-based references design in February, Microsoft has seen 14 new Windows Phone hardware partners sign on and they've already announced and/or shipped 22 new devices to the market, with more to come. Point being, it's not time to start playing "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and Windows Phone may dodge that Android-shaped iceberg yet.

"Surface to Air Is Collaborating with Chromeo on a Capsule Collection"

No matter how many times you read that headline, it will have nothing to do with Microsoft Surface. Or Chrome OS. Or technology, for that matter.

Details emerge about Yahoo's battles against US governmental data requests

While Microsoft is publicly slapping itself on the back for resisting US government requests for data held in an Irish data center, it turns out that the company isn't really at the forefront of this movement. Back in 2008, NSA requests for data held in Yahoo's data centers got so contentious that the firm was threatened with fines of $250,000 a day if it didn't comply. The threat became public only this week because the court battle was at the time classified. But this battle took place several years before Eric Snowden's 2013 NSA revelations turned the rest of the tech industry into sudden crusaders for justice. And Yahoo couldn't even admit that the battle took place until last year; it still can't comment on any details about it. But here's the sad bit: Thanks to threats from the US government, Yahoo eventually did comply with the "unconstitutional and overbroad" deman... sorry, requests, in May 2008.

"NFL TV Announcers Call Microsoft's Surface Tablets 'iPads'"

Well, at least Microsoft didn't pay $400 million to get the NFL to adopt Surface Pro 3. Wait. What's that you say?

Google gets a cool reception in Brussels

Could Google have scheduled a worse time for its privacy tour of Europe? In the same week in which the shameful EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia was forced by lawmakers to demand more stringent search reform from Google, the search giant showed up for a tour of the continent. The goal: Show that it's approach to the untenable "right to be forgotten" rules would both work and respect customers' privacy. "We need to balance the right of information against the individual's right to privacy," Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said at the opening stop of the 7-city tour on Tuesday. To which Paul Nemitz, director of the European Commission's Justice Unit responded that Google's tour was "a publicity stunt" that masks how slowly Google is moving. Which, when you think about it, is both ironic and hypocritical, coming as it does from an official of the EU.

"The PS4 And Xbox One Are Already Out Of Date"

You're out of date.

Sprint CEO has a brilliant plan: Unlimited data

Remember when we all had unlimited data plans? And then remember when wireless carriers took them away? Well, new Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says he has a brilliant plan for growth at his firm, aimed in part in fending off a surprisingly strong T-Mobile: He's bringing back truly unlimited data. (Many unlimited data plans in the US throttle speeds after certain usage thresholds.) "We're launching unlimited [data, voice and text] for $50 only for iPhone 6," Mr. Claure told the Wall Street Journal. "Today we stand for the best value in wireless." From where I stand, Sprint is poised to fall into fourth place among the big four wireless carriers in the US. And I don't think unlimited data is going to help if no one wants to be on their network.

"Market evolution and Microsoft's moves have alleviated investor concern that tablets and mobile phones would largely displace PC demand"

The iPad is so 2010. Apple has already moved on to watches!

Not everyone is embracing Apple Pay

With Apple set to revolutionize yet another market, in mobile payments this time, we're starting to learn a bit about the companies that aren't signing up for the scheme. And go figure, these guys are pushing a rival standard for payments. Big retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy are part of a consortium backing something called the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is what's called an "out-of-network payment" initiative that is seeking to push credit card companies and big banks out of the customer/retailer equation. So now you know why all those credit card companies and banks were tripping over each other to adopt Apple Pay: They want their piece of the pie, even if it may be a slightly lower percentage than before. Because the number one law of economics is that something is always better than nothing. I just want a chip and PIN credit card, guys. Can we at least take that step, and join Europe in the 20th century?

"At 99 Cents, Amazon's Fire Phone Might Finally Be Heating Up"

I think you're misunderstanding the reason for the price reduction

"Dear iPhone 6 users, welcome to 2012!"

This is brilliant. Nicely done, sir.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and the Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows.

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I'm trying to change the book publishing model, and would appreciate your support: Windows 8.1 Field Guide is available directly from me for only $2 in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats. And it is now available on Amazon Kindle for $4.99 too. I also have other free and inexpensive e-books available too, including Windows Phone 8 Field Guide (free from that site, or available from both Kindle and Nook too) and the in-progress Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide.

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