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WinInfo Daily UPDATE, November 9, 2004

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In the News

- Microsoft, Comcast in Major Cable TV Deal
- Mozilla Foundation Ships Firefox 1.0

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft, Comcast in Major Cable TV Deal

Microsoft and Comcast Cable announced yesterday that the two companies are partnering to deliver advanced dual-tuner cable set-top boxes to Comcast customers in Washington state. The deal is a huge win for Microsoft's TV business, which had yet to secure a major deal in the United States. With Comcast on board, however, the company's fortunes appear to have changed, and Microsoft now has a large-scale US deployment of its TV software from which to expand. Comcast also says this deal is only the beginning. As the nation's largest cable operator, the company is in a position to get Microsoft software into millions of US homes.
"This is going to fundamentally change people's perception of TV," said Moshe Lichtman, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV Division. "November 15 marks the date when Comcast customers in Washington state will begin receiving some of the best digital cable services available, powered by Microsoft TV software. Being a Puget Sound-based company, we're particularly honored that Washington was chosen as the launch market for these exciting new services and look forward to enjoying them in our own communities."
The new tuners, which are based on Microsoft TV Foundation Edition software, will let Comcast customers in Washington state record, pause, and rewind live TV, use other digital video recording (DVR) features, and even record High-Definition Television (HDTV) at native resolutions. The boxes also support Video on Demand (VoD), online games, and other interactive services. Comcast says that its beta customers have been surprised and pleased by the speed of the Microsoft interactive program guide and the clean interface.

Mozilla Foundation Ships Firefox 1.0

The Mozilla Foundation announced this morning that it has shipped Firefox 1.0, its long-awaited milestone release of the most popular Web browser alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Several million people already use the pre-1.0 version of Firefox, and this release is expected to garner millions more users to continue eating away at market-leader IE. Officials from the Mozilla Foundation say that Firefox's popularity is due to two factors: It's excellent software, and Microsoft has essentially stopped updating the buggy and insecure market leader, IE.
But Firefox isn't entirely a recent phenomenon. The genesis of this software began in 1998 when Netscape started (later renamed the Mozilla Foundation) to develop open-source versions of its browser technology. Initial releases of browsers were entire browser suites that included email, chat, and other applications, and indeed, the company still issues such a product. About 2 years ago, however, several members of the Mozilla Foundation began developing a standalone browser, originally named Phoenix, but later renamed to Firebird, then Firefox after the company discovered that other software products already used the first two names. Firefox has always impressed technical users, thanks to its advanced features, such as tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, inline searching, and better security. But lately, Firefox has also begun resonating with average users, many of whom are tired of IE being the primary conduit for malware on their PCs. This year, Firefox and other browsers have raised their market share to 6 percent, up from 3.5 percent in early 2004. Now, the Mozilla Foundation says its goal is to grab at least 10 percent of the market from IE, and with more than 8 million downloads of pre-release Firefox downloads under its belt, the organization might very well hit that target. For more information about Firefox 1.0 and the free download, visit the Mozilla Foundation Web site.

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