WinInfo Short Takes, August 19, 2011

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

Reminder: Join Me and My Blogger Pals at the BUILD Blogger Bash!

Microsoft's epic BUILD conference is happening the week of September 12, and that Wednesday, on September 14, 2011, I'll be cohosting the BUILD Blogger Bash meetup at the Bar Louie Tavern & Grill in Anaheim, California, along with fellow Windows bloggers Ed Bott, Mary Jo Foley, Kip Kniskern, Marques Lyons, Ryan and Travis Lowdermilk, Rafael Rivera, and Long Zheng. There should be some great conversation, as Microsoft will be doing the full Windows 8 mind meld just one day prior. See you in Anaheim, and be sure to RSVP on the site!

HP Is Killing It's PC Business. OK, Fine. But What About Microsoft?

So I think we can all agree that when the number-one seller of PCs, HP, announces that it's quitting the PC business, things are getting a little weird. But what about Microsoft? HP wasn't just the biggest PC maker; it was also Microsoft's closest partner. And though HP's decision last year to buy Palm and focus on webOS over Windows (hilarious in retrospect) was a dent in that relationship, it seemed like things would work out. I mean, HP followed Microsoft down every rabbit hole imaginable, from Pocket PCs to Windows Home Servers to tablet PCs to Media Center PCs. There wasn't a clearly pointless Microsoft project that HP wouldn't back, in fact. Now? Not so much. But some people are starting to wonder whether Microsoft shouldn't really enter the hardware world once and for all and buy HP's PC business. I just don't see this happening. But after the Google/Motorola and HP/webOS/PC stuff over the past week, I'm starting to realize that no one can guess what's next. Hang on, people. It's going to get ugly, I bet.

Windows 8 Will Have an App Store, Sure. But Is It Really Called ... App Store??

When Steven Sinofsky blogged about the feature teams at Microsoft working on Windows 8, it set off alarm bells all over the blogosphere because he finally revealed a bit of interesting information about the next Windows. (Read my blog post about this event.) In that post, Sinofsky listed "App Store" as one of the feature teams, leading a lot of my less sophisticated blogger brethren to excitedly announce that this "confirmed" the existence of an app store in Windows. Um, right. We already knew that Windows 8 would have an app store, so that's not actually news. But what about that name? It's exactly the name that Apple uses for its own, um, app store, and it's been suing other companies who use similar names (including Amazon, which uses the term "Appstore for Android" for its own store). Would Microsoft really use this exact name? I don't think so, actually. But of course we really don't have that much longer to wait: Microsoft will reveal all at the aforementioned BUILD conference next month.

Microsoft, Apple Among Those Bidding for 15 Million Unit Tablet Contract

Microsoft is among the companies bidding for a Turkish government contract that would supply 15 million tablet computing devices to school children over 4 years. Apple is also bidding, which makes sense, since Apple currently sells the very popular iPad device. But Microsoft doesn't sell tablets and probably won't ever do such a thing. So the theory is that Microsoft is bidding on a Windows 8-based tablet with the PC maker to be specified later. Either way, it should be an interesting battle, and you can rest assured that whoever wins will be chortling about this publicly for some time to come.

Office 365 Suffers First Major Outage

The cloud computing Chicken Littles will love this one: Microsoft's fledgling Office 365 service suffered its first outage this week when its Outlook Web App component was unavailable for thousands of US-based users for about two hours on Wednesday. (SharePoint and Lync Online remained available during this time, and it seemed to affect only certain areas.) Microsoft blamed a "networking issue" that affected one of its North America data centers and is still investigating the root cause of the issue. But whatever. Two hours is ... well, it's not horrible, actually. And in some ways, this is really just the cloud computing version of a hazing. The big question is how often it happens over time.

Unintentionally Comic Headline of the Week

What's the saying about comedy? Ah, right: It's tragedy plus time. With that in mind, check out this headline from MarketWatch, which appeared right before HP announced its blockbuster decision to kill off both its webOS and PC lines: HP's Poor Tablet Debut Could Color Results. Color results? LOL. It just sent a seismic shock throughout the PC industry. Nice prediction.

Apple Trying to Convince Europe to Ban All Samsung Galaxy Smartphones and Tablets

There's competition and then there's outright thuggery. Apple this week is demanding that a European Union (EU) district court ban all of Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets on the continent because of their extensive (in Apple's words) patent infringements. And, well, because Apple has got a real bee in its bonnet over the Galaxy products, which it thinks are blatant rip-offs of its iPhone and iPad devices. How big a bully is Apple? Well, it owns about 70 percent of the tablet market in the EU, compared with about 9 percent for Samsung. A ruling is expected in mid-September.

Xbox 360 Is a Huge Success ... Just Not in Japan

Japanese consumers just can't seem to embrace the Xbox 360, and with slow sales entering their umpteenth years, retailers in that country are allegedly planning to stop selling the console. Someone should tell Microsoft. The software giant said this week that it remained committed to Japan. "It's a challenging market," Microsoft EMEA Vice President Chris Lewis said this week. "We are up against very strong competition there. All of our competition is strong. We're very respectful of what Sony and Nintendo do and where they've come from and what they bring." What they bring, of course, is products and services that are designed and developed in Japan, which, let's face it, has its own curious views about how things work. I don't think anything Microsoft does with the Xbox 360 is ever going to change that.

This Week, on the Windows Weekly Podcast

Leo, Mary Jo, and I recorded the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast on Thursday as usual, and the new episode should be available for download by the end of the weekend on iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found, in both audio and video formats. Note that I'll be appearing on the TWiT podcast, live from Petaluma, California, on Sunday.

But Wait, There's More

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

TAGS: Windows 8
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