Short Takes: April 12, 2013

Short Takes: April 12, 2013

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

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

North Korea Missile Test Delayed by Windows 8!

I’m not sure what’s funnier, this amazingly humorous Onion-style New Yorker column, or the fact that some people on Twitter thought it was real. The best bit is the final sentence: “A source close to the North Korean regime reported that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is furious about the Windows 8 problems and is considering a number of options, including declaring war on Microsoft.” But heads up, truth-seekers: Kim Jong-un, like any Bond-style villain worth his salt, uses an iMac, just as you’d expect.

Related: "Microsoft's Secret Plan to Make You Hate Windows 8 Less"

A Smaller Surface?

I was amused to see that virtually every tech blog on Earth was quoting a Wall Street Journal report claiming that Microsoft would release a smaller, 7" version of the Surface tablet this year. Why? Because as WinInfo readers already know, I exclusively revealed this plan a few weeks ago, although I reported that it will be an 8" device. I guess we’ll see what happens.

And You Thought Windows Phone Had It Tough

So much for BlackBerry’s resurgence. Different polls suggest that US consumers don’t just not care about BlackBerry’s new handset, the Z10—they don’t even know it exists. Despite a high-profile launch in recent weeks, consumer awareness of BlackBerry and its Z10 is almost non-existent, with only one in every six Americans even aware that the firm is trying to stage a comeback. By comparison, one in three American consumers is apparently “aware of” or “interested in” Windows Phone. Looking to next purchases, 20 percent said they will buy a Samsung, 18 percent an iPhone, and 5.9 percent a BlackBerry. The message? When you’re coming from way behind, it’s hard to catch up. In BlackBerry’s case, one might argue, as I have, that it’s impossible.

Xbox Exec Leaves After Being Cyber-Bullied

Last weekend, I wrote about the crazy uproar that occurred in the wake of an Xbox executive, Adam Orth, indirectly confirming that the next Xbox would require an “always on” Internet connection. My take on this event was significantly different than most of the opinions I’ve seen online, and I’d argue that Orth’s comments, while a bit tactless, certainly didn’t necessitate the bizarre cyber-bullying the guy subsequently received. What this comes down to is simple: People are jumping to all kinds of crazy conclusions about the next Xbox based on his fairly innocuous comments and are using those misguided conclusions to lash out at both Orth and Xbox/Microsoft for their imaginary sins. Anyway, now Orth has apparently left Microsoft, and although it’s not yet clear whether he was fired or just left voluntarily, I think it’s fair to say that the outrage over his comments was the trigger. And you know what? That’s your fault, not his. Screw you, Internet.

Next Xbox Might Not Require Always-On Connection After All

Speaking of the crazy aftershocks of the Orth incident, new rumors suggest that the next Xbox might not require an always-on Internet connection after all. In fact, that always-on stuff is about another video game machine, perhaps the fabled and disc-less Xbox Surface. I’m calling BS on this one. A very trusted source at Microsoft told me in January that an “always-on Internet connection is required” for this device. And this new rumor ties neatly into one of the crazy assumptions about the always-on connection, that it is somehow tied to DRM concerns. But here’s the real kicker: Some people are even tying this rumor to me, because I supposedly reported that there will be two versions of the next Xbox and, you know, maybe one of them will be disc-less. Sorry, but I never said that. And it’s time to just stop speculating and wait for Microsoft’s official revelations about the next Xbox. You won’t have long to wait.

Google Offers Key Concession to EU Antitrust Regulators

Seeking to settle antitrust charges in Europe that we all know to be a lot more toothful than the weak efforts seen here in the United States, Google is offering a major concession: It has offered to label search results that point to its own services, visually separating them from actual (i.e., non-modified) search results. This concession answers one of the charges against Google, but doesn't address a key part of the complaint, that Google artificially boosts its own services in search results. So we’ll see how that goes. Frankly, I’m at the point with Google where I think this company’s aggressive behavior needs to be immediately curbed by regulators around the globe. It is simply too powerful and has too many far-reaching inroads into user data. People always bring up Facebook when it comes to privacy, but Google makes Facebook look like Hello, Kitty by comparison.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on TwitterFriendfeed, and the Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. And check out my free new books-in-the-making, Paul Thurrott’s Guide to Windows Phone 8 (formerly Windows Phone Book) and Paul Thurrott’s Guide to Xbox Music (formerly Xbox Music Book).

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