WinInfo Daily UPDATE, November 20, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Aelita Software


1. In the News
- Microsoft Sees Tablet PC as Future of the Notebook Computer
- Microsoft Settles Class-Action Lawsuits in North Dakota and South Dakota

2. Announcements
- Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!
- Have You Seen Connected Home Media Online Lately?

3. Event
- Have You Checked Out Windows & .NET Magazine's Archived Web Seminars Lately?

4. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Sees Tablet PC as Future of the Notebook Computer
Despite slow sales for the first generation of Tablet PCs (Microsoft says the hardware market has sold just 500,000 of the devices since November 2002), the company is upbeat about the future of what's perhaps its most innovative product. And Microsoft has a right to be excited: Thanks to an improved mobile platform, daring new designs from hardware makers, and a revamped version of the OS that drives Tablet PCs, enterprise customers who avoided the first generation are finally starting to take notice. In meetings with Microsoft and several of its Tablet PC-making hardware partners at the COMDEX 2003 trade show this week in Las Vegas, Nevada, I evaluated the second-generation Tablet PC, and the outlook is strong.
First, second-generation devices are based on Intel's powerful and mobile-friendly Centrino platform, which features the Pentium-M microprocessor and about twice as much battery life as the first-generation machines, which were saddled with the lowly Pentium III-M or--worse--Transmeta's anemic Crusoe chip. For customers, this change means that new Tablet PCs will achieve both better performance and battery life, whereas most original designs typically achieve one at the expense of the other. Second, the new Tablet PCs are benefiting from a year of customer experience, and hardware makers have responded with innovative new designs, most of which are based on the convertible notebook form factor instead of the slate designs that dominated the first generation. Microsoft sees the convertible notebook Tablet PC as the future of notebook computers, and the OEMs I spoke with at COMDEX agree. Gateway is even offering a Tablet PC version of its mainstream notebook line that costs just $100 more than the typical notebook version; at those prices, the Tablet PC is no longer an expensive proposition but an economical value-added product. And in the coming months, you'll be able to buy a variety of hardware devices, including those with screens that range from 7" to 15", satisfying virtually any need.
Third, early next year, Microsoft will ship a minor update to the Tablet PC OS, dubbed Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004. The company showed me the new features of this OS version, including an improved Input Panel that makes it easier to input text into forms by using Digital Ink and the Tablet PC's stylus. In a bold move, Microsoft will offer this OS update for free to all Tablet PC customers, and I'll review it soon on the SuperSite for Windows, so stay tuned for more information.
Fourth, the Tablet PC platform is finally experiencing a groundswell of software support, led by Microsoft Office 2003, which features integrated Digital Ink capabilities. In the Tablet PC's first generation, companies with special requirements created in-house most of the software titles developed for the platform. But as the Tablet PC matures and Microsoft makes it easier for developers to automatically add Digital Ink features to applications, more and more mainstream applications are coming on board. By the time Longhorn ships in late 2005, the company tells me, Digital Ink capabilities will be a core feature of the base OS.

Microsoft Settles Class-Action Lawsuits in North Dakota and South Dakota
Microsoft revealed today that it will settle separate class-action lawsuits in North Dakota and South Dakota for a total of $18.3 million, ending arguments that the software giant abused its monopoly power in those states. Microsoft made the deals a month ago as part of a six-state, $200 million agreement, although the company didn't reveal details of the North Dakota and South Dakota settlements until today. Microsoft says that under terms of the deal, North Dakota will receive $9.33 million; South Dakota will receive $9 million. The payouts raise Microsoft's total antitrust-related payout to more than $1.5 billion.
"\[These settlements\] not only provide remedy for ... consumers and businesses, but also benefit schools within the \[states\] by giving them the means to upgrade their existing computer systems and become more technologically advanced," Mark A. Moreno, Microsoft settlement class counsel, said. As with previous settlements, Microsoft will provide vouchers to consumers in both states so that they can purchase computer hardware or software. Microsoft will then pay the value of half of any unclaimed vouchers to the poorest schools in each state.
So far, Microsoft has settled class-action antitrust suits in 10 US states. The company still has 5 similar cases pending; 17 other lawsuits were dismissed.

==== 2. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!
What's better than Windows & .NET Magazine? Try Windows & .NET Magazine and the Windows & .NET Magazine Article Archive CD at one super low rate. Read Windows & .NET Magazine in the office. Take the Article Archive CD with you on the road. Subscribe now!

Have You Seen Connected Home Media Online Lately?
If you haven't visited the Connected Home Media Web site recently, you'll want to check out our new look today. Connected Home online features how-to articles to help you connect, install, and optimize all the equipment, gadgets, and components in your life. Check it out!

==== 3. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

Have You Checked Out Windows & .NET Magazine's Archived Web Seminars Lately?
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==== 4. Contact Us ==== >

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