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WinInfo Daily UPDATE, November 16, 2004

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In the News

- Microsoft Responds to MSN Desktop Search Leak
- Microsoft Uses Halo 2 to Catch Xbox Pirates

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Responds to MSN Desktop Search Leak

Responding to the leak of screenshots and information about its forthcoming MSN desktop search tool, a Microsoft representative contacted me yesterday. He noted that although the leaked screenshots are real, Microsoft had already revealed the existence of this tool and said it would release such a tool by the end of 2004.
"We have publicly stated for some time that it is our intention to release a beta of our new desktop search technology by the end of the calendar year in the US," Justin Osmer, product manager for MSN Search, said. "We have already demonstrated our efforts with some early prototypes. The timeline for the project is being driven by the quality of the service we can provide. It still is our intention to release a beta of our new desktop search technology by the end of the calendar year in the \[United States?\], as we continue to gather feedback from our beta users."
Coincidentally, the MSN desktop search developers also issued a public blog recently, and one post reiterates some of the comments noted above, while adding, "As you may have heard, some screenshots from an internal prerelease build of MSN's desktop search product were recently posted on the Neowin site. While we're flattered by the attention and interest, this was an unauthorized disclosure." The blog makes for interesting reading, although it's still young and has only a few posts. You can find the blog on the MSDN Web site.

Microsoft Uses Halo 2 to Catch Xbox Pirates

With Halo 2 racking up record sales and eager fans rushing to Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service to compete with other gamers from around the world, it should be an exciting time for Xbox enthusiasts. However, for the thousands of Xbox users who have chosen to modify, or "mod," their Xboxes with hardware devices that bypass the machine's copy-protection features and let them pirate games, Halo 2 has another surprise in store: Those users are being summarily kicked off Xbox Live without any warning.
The timing couldn't have been better from Microsoft's perspective. The company knew that it had a hit on its hands with Halo 2, and because it can use the Xbox Live service to detect the presence of mod chips, Microsoft figured it would use the unprecedented surge of customers to the service as a chance to weed out unsuspecting evil-doers. Cameron Ferroni, general manager of the Xbox software platform, told the Associated Press (AP) that the software giant isn't interested in users of modded Xboxes, but it does reserve the right to banish such people from its online service. For legitimate users of Xbox Live--and Microsoft counts more than 1 million of them--the removal of modded Xboxes means that there will be less chance of cheating because users of modded Xboxes can use those chips to provide unfair advantages, such as making their onscreen characters invulnerable or in possession of all the in-game power-ups.

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