WinInfo Daily UPDATE, October 20, 2006: Short Takes

There was a lot of silliness online about Windows Vista licensing this past week with one of my more vocal colleagues, Ed Bott, taking me to task for publishing an article that relayed Microsoft's official position on the Vista End User License Agreement (EULA). After saying that by contacting Microsoft I was avoiding the truth and was simply parroting Microsoft's stance and claiming he had all the facts Bott published an email Q & A he had had with Microsoft a few days later because he was still trying to understand the confusing new licensing terms. Memo to Mr. Bott: It's OK to admit when you don't have all the answers. Just don't complain when someone else has the answer a week earlier. But maybe Bott should have read the content of my original licensing article more closely and not read some nonexistent personal attack into it. None of the questions he asked Microsoft are particularly difficult to answer given what I wrote last week about the new licensing terms.

One thing that I could have communicated better, however, is that I'm no fan of the Windows EULA. You don't own the software you buy I can't believe the Windows EULA hasn't been challenged in court yet. My guess is this EULA will be and it can't happen quickly enough.

While I'm on the subject, one of the more ironic aspects of my day job is that I can write an article such as my EULA piece or a positive review of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 and then receive an email from someone accusing me of being the Mouth of Sauron. What's it like to be in Microsoft's back pocket one guy asked after reading my IE 7.0 review. The fact that I've been a Mozilla Firefox user for years and have repeatedly exhorted readers to choose Firefox over IE was apparently lost on this drive-by reader. Maybe he should start blogging. 

But seriously folks it's the weekend. Lighten up and enjoy it.

McAfee Continues Microsoft Bashing 

I haven't seen insane Microsoft bashing like this since the last time I stood in line at an Apple Store on the day a new version of Mac OS X was released. This week security firm McAfee said in a statement on its Web site that it was greatly disappointed by the lack of action Microsoft had taken to respond to its complaints about Windows Vista. The community of independent security companies that consumers rely on for computer protection has seen little indication that Microsoft intends to live up to the promises it made last week a McAfree spokesperson said just days after Microsoft issued APIs to security companies to help them better integrate their products into Windows Vista.

Microsoft Lashes Out in Response

But two can play that game. This morning Microsoft issued a statement in which it said McAfee's complaint was inaccurate and inflammatory. And Microsoft has the facts to support that claim. Check out this timetable.

"We've already taken a number of steps to provide McAfee and our other security partners with the information they need," said Ben Fathi corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Technology Unit.

On the short term issue of allowing third party security alerts to replace our Windows Security Center alerts we made the documentation and sample code available to our security partners at 6:05 A.M. Monday October 16th. At McAfee's request we emailed a copy of all materials to a senior McAfee executive at 9:48 A.M. Monday October 16th. At McAfee's request we also emailed a second copy of the materials to a senior McAfee engineer at 2:07 P.M. Tuesday October 17th. We followed up by providing the new builds of Vista with this functionality on Wednesday October 18th and we held a conference call with McAfee personnel at noon on Thursday October 19th to answer any remaining questions. We believe McAfee and all our other security partners have the information they need to replace our alerts with their alerts and we are completely available to answer any questions. I have a question: What the heck is up with McAfee?

First IE 7 0 Vulnerability Appears Or Does it?

This would be huge news if it were just true. On Thursday, less than a day after Microsoft released IE 7.0 its first new Web browser in six years reports surfaced of the first IE 7.0 security vulnerability. These reports are technically inaccurate. Christopher Budd, a security program manager with Microsoft, argued in a posting to the Microsoft Security Response Center Blog. The issue concerned in these reports is not in IE 7 or any other IE version at all. Instead the flaw is a previously disclosed vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook Express and it hasn't resulted in any attacks. Once again although controversy can be fun it's usually just silly.

Windows XP SP3 Delayed Till 2008 

Thanks to Neowin net for first reporting this astonishing news Microsoft for some reason this week changed the estimated time of arrival for Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to the first half of 2008. SP3 had been expected in the second half of 2007. What I don't understand is that XP SP3 will be only a collection of hotfixes. Why can't they just release it now. In fact why can't Microsoft bundle XP hotfixes as a new service pack every six months or so. This is ridiculous. Oh wait, I'm supposed to be a Microsoft shill. Let's see, I'm sure this is part of a concentrated effort at Microsoft to ensure that it releases the highest quality service pack possible.

Sony 21 PS3 Games at Launch Free Online Service

A month from now Sony will finally join Microsoft in the next generation video game arena with the launch of its PlayStation 3 PS3 console. And this week Sony revealed that it will have 21 games for the PS3 console at launch. That's not too shabby. Microsoft's Xbox 360 launched with 18 titles though the 360 will have more than 160 games available by this holiday season. Sony also verified that it will offer PS3 users an online service for free compared to Microsoft's Xbox Live which is 50 a year for the high end version. A version with no online multiplayer support is free Sony also said that the first 500,000 PS3 units sold in North America will include a Blu-ray version of the comedy movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Well let me just get in line for that one.

Sony Confirms PS3 Production Problems

On a darker note, Sony also admitted this week that it probably won't meet its PS3 shipment target for the year despite already having lowered that target. Sony blames a Blu-ray parts shortage this expensive new technology is now responsible for at least two product delays and two shipment target delays. Hey, I'm sure it's ready for prime time.

"The honest answer is that Sony's 2 million unit goal is more of a shipment target," says Jack Tretton co-chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

You know kind of like how the Pirate Code in Pirates of the Caribbean is more a set of guidelines than requirements. 

Google Financial Success Continues 

Google continues to confound financial analysts raking in $733 million on revenues of 1.6 billion in the quarter ending September 30. That means its sales have doubled while its revenues are up 70 percent.

"We had an excellent quarter in all respects, especially including international," said CEO Eric Schmidt. "Sixty percent of Google's revenues come from ad sales on its search engine."

HP Surpasses Dell in Quarterly PC Sales 

In a stunning turnaround, HP has wrested the PC maker crown from Dell selling more PCs in third quarter 2006. Although the figures are slightly different, both Gartner and IDC agree that HP is now the top PC maker in the world. Following HP and Dell are Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba. Averaging the Gartner and IDC figures PC makers sold a total of $58.05 million PCs in the third quarter with HP selling about 9.75 million units compared with 9.67 million for Dell.

Apple Roars to Strongest Quarterly Mac Sales Ever 

Apple might be an also ran in the PC market with just 2.7 percent of worldwide PC sales but its market share is up its Macintosh and iPod sales are up and its financial picture is decidedly rosy. So if you're still writing off Apple, maybe it's time to start reevaluating things. For the quarter ending September 30, Apple sold 1.6 million Macs, the most ever and 8.7 million iPods. Although Apple's desktop Macs barely moved, the company couldn't keep up with the demand for portable machines, no doubt because of the back to school selling season. And despite analysts fears that iPod sales were peaking that obviously isn't happening either. It's amazing that this company was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and abject failure just a decade ago. Today, it's showing the rest of the tech industry how to be cool and profitable and yes a bit arrogant at the same time.

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