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February 18, 2003--In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Windows XP 64-bit Edition 2003 Misnaming Causes Confusion
- Microsoft Baby Boomers Go After Teen Market
- Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show!
- Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Real-World Technical Tips Here for You
3. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
* WINDOWS XP 64-BIT EDITION 2003 MISNAMING CAUSES CONFUSION
On Friday, various Knowledge Base articles on the Microsoft Web site included references to an oddly named Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for the Workstation. The references made the rumor mills buzz with talk of a new Windows client release that would fill the gap between Windows XP and Longhorn, the next Windows release that's now due in late 2004. As first reported on Neowin.net, several Microsoft articles mentioned the edition before the company pulled them late in the day. Microsoft isn't releasing a new server edition, however. Microsoft told me late Friday that the name was a misprint and that the product it refers to is XP 64-Bit Edition 2003, which the company announced last July. The product will ship with the various Windows 2003 editions in late April.
"Microsoft identified some naming inaccuracies in \[Knowledge Base\] articles that refer to a product listed as 'Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Workstation,'" a Microsoft representative told me. "These references are being corrected to refer to the actual product in question--which is Windows XP 64-Bit Edition 2003. Basically, this is the 64-bit desktop product that will add support for Itanium 2 and be available \[only\] through OEMs."
Microsoft says that XP 64-Bit Edition 2003 is a high-performance platform that enables the next generation of powerful Windows-based workstation applications for Itanium 2. The company designed the platform for business customers who solve complex scientific problems, create high-performance design and engineering applications, or create 3-D animations.
* MICROSOFT BABY BOOMERS GO AFTER TEEN MARKET
Next week, Microsoft will release new teenager-oriented communications software that the company hopes will make it more hip and relevant to the "NetGen," people 13 to 24 years old. The software, dubbed 3 Degrees, isn't a boy band, although it sounds like one, and it certainly isn't focused on productivity, although the author of the "Newsweek" article that first reported on the software seems to think it's Microsoft's first attempt at nonproductive software (I guess the author has never heard of Microsoft Games, the Xbox, or the company's vast digital-media lineup). Instead, Microsoft designed 3 Degrees for people who treat the Internet like oxygen--they're online as long as possible each day and want to interact with their friends constantly in a seamless manner.
The 3 Degrees software displays a desktop image that represents your group of friends (or "posse" if you're the cool and hip "Newsweek"). To send a digital photo to all your friends in the group, just drag the file onto the desktop image. Want to send a virtual wink or a quick instant-message-like note? Simply click the image and select the appropriate choice. You can also contribute songs to a shared music playlist, set up multiple groups, and customize everything with a variety of skins. Who needs to meet with friends physically when you have 3 Degrees?
But the most interesting aspect of 3 Degrees isn't its technology, which is obviously based on Windows Messenger, but Microsoft's attempt to market how hip the software can be. In the breathless "Newsweek" article (which, curiously, Macintosh enthusiast Steven Levy wrote), we learn that the company recruited recent graduates of Harvard, Princeton, and other schools to develop 3 Degrees because, well, who knows teenagers better than Ivy Leaguers? Levy wonders why the company would trust such an important project to such young people, apparently forgetting that 25 was the average age of a Microsoft developer a decade ago when the company marched to market domination. Still, aging Microsoft executives had to be convinced that 3 Degrees made sense for the company, because Microsoft won't charge for the software or service. In the end, I'm sure the same strategy that made Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) popular will work for 3 Degrees, too. After all, free sells.
Incidentally, Microsoft employees hatched 3 Degrees during a 3-day mountain retreat. I don't pretend to understand teenagers (I'm closer to having kids that age than being a teenager myself), but maybe I'd feel better about this software if Microsoft had developed it with the cooperation of the kids who'll actually use it. Time will tell. A beta version of 3 Degrees will ship the week of February 24, Microsoft tells me.
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