WinInfo Daily UPDATE, August 4, 2004

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In the News

- XP SP2 Has the Pole Position as Microsoft Races to Complete Major Security Update
- Microsoft Settles New Mexico Class-Action Suit - Microsoft Cuts Price of OneNote, Releases OneNote PowerToys

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

XP SP2 Has the Pole Position as Microsoft Races to Complete Major Security Update

As Windows users who are plagued by security problems eagerly await Microsoft's oft-delayed Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) release, signs have finally started to indicate that the wait, at long last, is coming to an end. First, Microsoft Australia mistakenly reported that the company had released SP2 to manufacturing, then quickly retracted the announcement. Then, this morning, sources told me that Microsoft Windows Update V5, the next-generation version of Microsoft's software-updating service on which SP2's software-updating features are based, has been completed. Taken together, these two events suggest that we'll see the Web release of XP SP2 within a week. As with earlier service packs, Microsoft will release SP2 in stages. The product will first be available for download to premier customers, then to the general public on the company's Web site (the so-called release to Web--RTW), at which time Microsoft will also begin taking orders for the free CD-ROM-based version of the product. Then, 2 weeks later, SP2 will be available through Automatic Updates and Windows Update. By early September, PC makers will begin shipping new PCs with the software installed.
Although XP SP2 offers much-needed security improvements over the currently shipping versions of the OS, you shouldn't take the release lightly. Some of the upgrade's new security features will break existing Web sites, intranet sites, and custom applications. Customers, particularly corporate customers, should evaluate SP2 carefully before deploying it. Nevertheless, my advice is to install SP2 as soon as possible. Regardless of potential incompatibilities, simply installing this release will result in a more secure environment.
I've been fine-tuning my final XP SP2 review on the SuperSite for Windows. As soon as the final code is available, I'll update the review again to reflect the final product.

Microsoft Settles New Mexico Class-Action Suit

Microsoft announced yesterday that it has settled yet another antitrust-related class-action lawsuit, this time with consumers in the state of New Mexico. The settlement, which is worth as much as $31.5 million, received preliminary approval July 29 from the First Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico. As with most other Microsoft class-action settlements, New Mexico class members will receive computer hardware and software vouchers.
"We're pleased by the opportunity to help schools all across New Mexico get the computers and software they need," Microsoft Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary Brad Smith said. "This settlement allows us to focus on the future and building great software and avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation."
Under terms of the settlement, Microsoft will provide to New Mexico's poorest public schools a sum that's one-half of the difference between $31.5 million and the final value of the vouchers that are issued to class members. The money will be delivered in the form of vouchers, which the schools can use to purchase computer hardware, software, and services. Consumers and businesses in New Mexico who purchased Windows, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Excel, or Microsoft Office Word between December 8, 1995, and December 31, 2002, are eligible to participate in the class-action settlement.
To date, Microsoft has settled class-action lawsuits in the District of Columbia and more than a dozen states. The total value of the settlements so far exceeds $1.5 billion. Microsoft still has pending cases in Iowa, Nebraska, New York, and Wisconsin.

Microsoft Cuts OneNote's Price, Releases OneNote PowerToys

This week, Microsoft reduced the worldwide price of Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 from $199 to $99, significantly enhancing the value of this note-taking and -management application. Earlier, the company had offered customers in the United States and Canada a $100 rebate on the purchase of OneNote, but customers had to pay full price up front, then fill out some paperwork to get the rebate.
"We're going to unify pricing worldwide," Microsoft Group Program Manager Chris Pratley told me. "We had launched OneNote in Japan at the $99 price point but it was $199 elsewhere, with a $100 rebate. As we worked toward OneNote Service Pack 1 \[SP1\], we were looking to see where customers wanted us to go. And we got a good response to the $99 price point." OneNote is still available for $49 to education customers, and businesses that buy 5 or more copies of the product also qualify for discounts.
OneNote SP1, which Microsoft released last week as part of the Office 2003 SP1 release, offers several enhancements over what was already an excellent application. I'll review OneNote 2003 SP1 on the SuperSite for Windows soon (see the first URL below).
In related news, Microsoft also recently released two PowerToys for OneNote 2003 SP1 that add interesting functionality. The first, Send to OneNote from Internet Explorer PowerToy, adds a button to the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) toolbar that lets you send any Web page or portion of a Web page to OneNote. The second PowerToy, Send to OneNote from Outlook PowerToy, provides similar functionality for Microsoft Office Outlook-based email messages. The free downloads are available from the URLs below.

SuperSite for Windows

OneNote 2003 SP1 Add-in: Send to OneNote from Internet Explorer PowerToy

OneNote 2003 SP1 Add-in: Send to OneNote from Outlook PowerToy

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