WinInfo Short Takes: Week of February 5

Windows XP Name Confirmed
Chris Pirillo of the Lockergnome wrote to tell me that he'd also heard about the Windows XP (eXPerience) name; he gave me a good-natured virtual elbow because he wrote the story up a day before I did (although he didn't know what XP stands for or that it will also be applied to Office 10). Expect the final name to be even more confusing, something like Windows XP 2001 or 2002, so that the full product names will be enormous: Windows Professional XP 2002, Windows Personal XP 2002, and the like. Microsoft probably will announce the name February 13 at a Whistler event to be held at the Seattle Experience Music Project (EMP) . . . Get it? eXPerience?

Microsoft Opens the Windows Source Code . . . Sort Of
This week, when I was at LinuxWorld in New York, I heard that Microsoft wanted a presence at the show but was shot down. So instead, Microsoft made an open-source pronouncement, of sorts, while the show was in progress. It seems that Microsoft has opened the Windows source code to hundreds of its biggest customers, as well as some universities and government agencies. But don't expect a sea change in the way Microsoft jealously guards its crown jewels. The company will only let these people work with the code, not change it. If they find a bug (unlikely, right?), they'll have to contact Microsoft for a fix.

Microsoft to Stop Whining and Put Up the Good Fight
During the course of the Microsoft antitrust trial, the company came under constant criticism for its lawyers' lousy legal advice. Well, it appears that Microsoft is finally doing one thing right. Instead of attacking Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson personally, as the company has been doing since the main phase of the trial ended last summer, the company will instead focus on the record--you know, something that actually affects whether Microsoft will be split in two as the judge ruled. Judge Jackson has been harshly critical of the company's behavior, and if Microsoft wishes to prove him wrong, dropping the personal attacks would be a good place to start.

Gates Gives $100 Million to Aids Research, $20 Million to Elephantiasis
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has turned up his charity donations lately with two high-profile gifts. Last weekend, Gates pledged $100 million to help develop an AIDS vaccine, which could be ready in as little as 5 years. And on Thursday, Gates announced a $20 million donation to help eradicate elephantiasis, a painful disease that disfigures body parts. Elephantiasis affects more than 100 million people worldwide.

Disney Says Go Is No Go
This week, Disney ran smack dab into the Internet's changing fortunes when the company announced that it will shut down its Web site, bringing its Web operations back into the parent company. Conceived as an industry-leading Web portal, never really went anywhere, trailing Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL in popularity. Disney started the site in 1998 when it bought Infoseek, and the company will probably end up selling the domain.

Intel Releases Two New Mobile Chips
Spurred on by Transmeta, Intel has pushed its low-power, low-voltage chips forward with a 1-volt 500MHz Pentium III and a 1.1-volt Celeron 500. Both chips are designed for ultra-light mobile computers and will ratchet back speed to 300MHz when the battery is used for power.

Napster Ensures Own Death By Starting Subscription Pricing
This summer, controversial online music service Napster will begin charging subscription fees to its customers, probably forever changing what had been a wildly successful run at providing people with illegal copies of copyrighted music. If Napster had just done this in the beginning, it's hard to say whether it would have been popular, but then you have to remember that the company was started in some kid's college dorm room.

Gateway: Hail to the Chief
This week, Gateway founder Ted Waitt returned to the job of CEO after the resignation of Jeffrey Weitzen, who presided over one of the worst quarters in the company's history. Waitt says he'll refocus the company on its direct-order roots (that is, fewer Gateway stores in Duluth), while laying off 140 people. This past holiday season was a tough one all around, and companies such as Amazon, AOL Time Warner, and Daimler Chrysler are all laying off significant portions of their workforces, apparently in a bid to resuscitate the economy.

Apple: G4 Cube a Bust, But G4 Powerbook Sort of Shipping
This week, Apple admitted that demand for its G4 Cube is far worse than previously expected, with the pricey tissue box-like computer selling at less than a third the rate the company had expected. Demand is so poor, says CEO Steve Jobs, that inventory of the Cube, which has been available since last fall, won't disappear until the end of March. But all is not lost for the company, which has seen better demand for its G4 PowerBook, a sleek, thin, and light portable Apple announced last month. Jobs says that the first G4 PowerBook shipments are finally starting, and the company hopes to catch up with its backlog of orders during the next several weeks.

Walking the Halls of . . . LinuxWorld?
I haven't felt like such an outcast since I played Dungeons & Dragons in high school. There's just something about wearing a "Windows 2000 Magazine" badge at a Linux show. People were sort of nudging each other and pointing at me, and some guy from IBM really gave me a (good natured, at least) hard time. But despite the apparent disconnect, there isn't much to say. LinuxWorld is a fairly small, tame show, with not much happening other than the expected back-slapping as yet another geek buys a "world domination" t-shirt. I did see Linus Torvalds, however, who was on hand with his wife and baby. I bet Bill Gates misses the days when he could walk around a tradeshow and just sort of blend in.

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