WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 15

MICROSOFT IS GETTING ready to start the beta test for the next version of Office for Windows, code-named Office 10. The first round of testers received email invitations to the test yesterday, and Microsoft says that the beta will start in July. The company is planning on releasing the new Office late this year or in early 2001. I'll have more info, of course, as soon as the first beta is released.

TALK ABOUT BEATING a dead horse: Larry Ellison continued his tirade against the PC this week when he unveiled yet another Network Computer (NC) that he hopes will drive customers away from Microsoft. The device, called a NIC (New Internet Computer) this time around, costs only $200, runs on Linux, and offers a 266 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM, a 24X CDROM and a 56K modem. And the market for this box? Yup, you guessed it. Frank Stallone.

I SEEM TO be a magnet for potential Windows Me release dates all of a sudden. Though I base my published release dates on internal Microsoft documentation (see above), I got two wildly divergent emails this week from people who claim to have the inside scoop on the Windows Me release date. One said that it would happen on June 23, which is about a week after my own published date. But the other was saying August. I give up, I'm sending them to Woody.

MICROSOFT'S RECENT RELEASE of IE 5.0 for the Macintosh has been widely applauded as a great piece of Mac software, but the guys and gals that created the software have been shipped off to Microsoft's version of Siberia as a result: With future Mac versions of IE on the backburner, the team will now focus on creating the next Web browser for Microsoft's dying WebTV platform, which has fewer users than CPM these days.

DELL COMPUTER DID it again, beating analysts' estimates by a wide margin and reporting a 31 percent increase in revenues for the most recent quarter. This comes amid one of the bigger dry spells in recent PC history, causing competitors to cast a jealous eye toward Round Rock, Texas once again. The company made $525 million on sales of $7.28 billion.

FIRST, A WEB site called Slashdot posts specifications of Microsoft's dubious implementation of the Kerberos security technology, and then Microsoft threatens legal action. As far as I can see, it's just another day in the clash between open source irreverence and old-school technology. When will Microsoft learn that its EULAs (End User License Agreements) are indefensible? Probably when they lose this one in court. I hate to agree with Slashdot, but there you go: Viva la revolution!

MICROSOFT WILL FINALLY discuss plans for its Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS), which is either the name of a new progressive rock band or the company's upcoming distributed services vision. In either case, Microsoft will unveil ELP, er ABWH, er NGWS on June 1 at the Redmond campus. Here's to hoping they give this thing a more memorable name

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