WinInfo Short Takes: Week of June 29

An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news ...

WinInfo Blog

Leo and I recorded a new episode of the Windows Weekly podcast Thursday. It should be available by the end of the weekend, as always. We're also recording another episode Monday to fill in the three-week period when Leo will be in China. (His trip starts late next week.)

But wait, there's more. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter, Friendfeed, and the SuperSite Blog.

Short Takes

Microsoft Goes "Crazy Eddie" with Windows 7 Pricing ... Get It While You Can
If you're among the approximate 5 percent of Windows users who actually buy retail copies of Windows 7, now is the time to jump: For a limited time, Microsoft is offering the Upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional at significant cost savings: In the United States, you're looking at $50 for Home Premium and $100 for Professional. The deals are available through a variety of online retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Microsoft, and many others. In the United States, these deals are available through July 11, 2009, or until supplies run out—whatever that means. For more information, please refer to the SuperSite Blog.

Rumor: Microsoft Might Sell Windows 7 on USB Thumb Drives
And after that, they'll come in cereal boxes, too. What the heck! CNET is reporting that Microsoft is considering selling Windows 7 on USB thumb drives so that DVD-drive-less netbook users can more easily upgrade. If I understand how the NDA shuffle works at CNET—and I think I do—this rumor is probably true. That doesn't mean it will happen, only that Microsoft is considering it. What I'd rather see happen is multi-PC licensing. Come on Microsoft, do the right thing.

Microsoft vs. the Crazies, Part 29: Outlook 2010
There's a weird battle brewing between email marketers and Microsoft. It turns out that the next version of Microsoft Outlook, which will ship as part of the Office 2010 series of products next year, will utilize Microsoft Word instead of Internet Explorer (IE) for rendering HTML-based email messages. The marketers complain that Word doesn't render their marketing messages properly. But Microsoft argues back that this is by design; they're using Word explicitly because Word offers rich editing capabilities and is more secure than the browser and, thus, safer for its users. What's hilarious about all this news is that a blogging goon squad has actually rallied around the email marketers—you know, those losers who spam people with unnecessary and usually unwanted HTML email. From what I can tell, people who don't want to be bombarded with potentially dangerous HTML email should simply adopt Outlook. Sounds like the makings of a marketing campaign to me.

Extra, Extra! Read All About It! Ballmer Says Offline Media Is Dead!
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said this week that offline media was spiraling into the toilet. Or, in his words, "there won't be newspapers, magazines, and TV programs. There won't be personal, social communications offline and separate." Hey, while we're prophesizing, let's consider what the future is like for 1980s-era desktop software as well. Or we could just Google it. And before moving on, consider this one: Ballmer was inexplicably voted Media Person of the Year by Cannes Lions. Yes, really.

Microsoft: Hohm Is Where the Heart Is
Microsoft this week released an online power-management application that tracks home energy consumption. Cheekily dubbed Hohm, the web app provides energy-saving recommendations about removing air leaks, installing a programmable thermostat, and, presumably, using those unnecessary print magazines and newspapers as an alternative heating source. (Hey, it's safer than burning a PC.) And while I'm being snarky, I should point out that Google already offers a similar and more full-featured web app called PowerMeter. Just in case you thought Microsoft had innovated or something.

Kayak Complains that Bing Travel Looks a Bit Too Familiar
When I first heard about this one, I assumed Kayak had some graphically rich website and that it was claiming that Microsoft's Bing was somehow copying it. But then I visited Kayak and realized that this site looks as if it was designed in 1998. And it turns out that what Kayak is complaining about is that the pretty barebones-looking Bing Travel subsite offers a similar layout to the barebones-looking Kayak website. And then I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. Spare me. This is the dumbest tech-oriented legal complaint since Opera tipped off the European Union (EU) that Microsoft had been bundling a browser in Windows for over a decade. Heads up to Kayak: All travel sites offer very similar airline reservation interfaces—for a reason. There are only so many ways to present this kind of information. And guess what? You didn't invent it.

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