WinInfo Daily Update, May 8, 2006: Microsoft Ships Vista Beta 2 Preview to Testers

Microsoft Ships Vista Beta 2 Preview to Testers

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In the News

- Microsoft Ships Vista Beta 2 Preview to Testers

- Microsoft: Xbox 360 Now on Track

- Apple Computer Wins Legal Battle with Apple Corps

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Ships Vista Beta 2 Preview to Testers

Several beta testers reported to me early Saturday morning that Microsoft had issued 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista build 5381.1, which is a preview of the Beta 2 version of Vista the company intends to ship later this month to millions of testers. I first reported that Microsoft would ship a variant of build 5381 as Beta 2 earlier this week when rumors surfaced that the software giant would delay Vista further into 2007.

Windows users who are eager to test Vista won't have much longer to wait: Currently, the company still plans to ship Beta 2 on May 22, and the company will eventually allow millions of consumers to obtain this release at little or no cost. You can find a screenshot gallery on the SuperSite for Windows. My next Vista review will coincide with the Beta 2 release.

Microsoft: Xbox 360 Now on Track

On the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video gaming conference this week, Microsoft confirmed that it has sold over 3.3 million Xbox 360 consoles so far and is on track to ship 10 million units by the end of 2006. The 3.3 million figure was first reported by Dean Takahashi of "The San Jose Mercury News," who was recently given unprecedented access to Microsoft's Xbox 360 business. Microsoft later confirmed the figure.

According to Takahashi, the 3.3 million figure represents the number of Xbox 360 units sold, not shipped, though Xbox 360s are still "flying off the shelves." Now, Microsoft expects to ship 4.5 million to 5 million Xbox 360 units by the end of June--which is the end of Microsoft's fiscal year--and 10 million by the end of 2006.

The 10 million figure is important because Sony plans to ship its PlayStation 3 (PS3) in November and the company has vowed to sell 6 million PS3s by the end of March 2007. If Sony is able to overcome the manufacturing problems that plagued Microsoft's Xbox 360 rollout late last year, the PS3 should overtake Xbox 360 in the market by mid-2007. That would be a terrible defeat for Microsoft, which had hoped to use its yearlong head start over the PS3 to pad its market share.

Apple Computer Wins Legal Battle with Apple Corps

Monday morning, London High Court Judge Edward Mann ruled that Apple Computer is entitled to use its apple-shaped logo on its iTunes Music Store, rejecting a lawsuit filed by Apple Corps, the company representing The Beatles. Apple Corps had argued that Apple Computer violated a 1991 agreement between the two companies when Apple Computer entered the music business.

"The use of the apple logo ... does not suggest a relevant connection with the creative work," Judge Mann wrote in his ruling. "I think that the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service, which does not go further and unfairly or unreasonably suggest an additional association with the creative works themselves."

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs noted that he was happy to put this matter to rest, but Apple Corps has already said that it will immediately appeal the verdict. "We felt that during the course of the trial we clearly demonstrated just how extensively Apple Computer has broken the agreement," said Apple Corps Manager Neil Aspinall. Apple Corps is owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono (John Lennon's widow), and the estate of George Harrison.

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