HISTORY LESSON

Mark Minasi occasionally writes a column for a newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine. Today he makes an interesting point to support his contention that Windows NT 4.0 should not be considered obsolete. Minasi notes that the hardware in personal computers has changed less in the last ten years than in the ten preceding years. […] continued

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MICROSOFT TO PAY AOL $750 MILLION

You might have seen the news that Microsoft will pay AOL $750 million to settle AOL’s antitrust lawsuit. AOL acquired Netscape in 1998 and sued Microsoft in early 2002 for playing dirty to obtain market dominance.

The deal makes sense from an economic perspective for obvious reasons. AOL’s fortunes are sinking, it has a mountain of debt, and the payoff is pocket change for Microsoft, which has $46 billion in the bank. […] continued

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WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER 9

Microsoft introduced Windows Media Player 9 a few months ago. It’s got a better interface and much improved technology for streaming audio and video – far better than RealPlayer and QuickTime. It runs best on Windows XP, of course – I’ve seen problem reports on Windows 98/ME.

And it also introduces strong digital rights management, which has kept me from installing it up to now. […] continued

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MICROSOFT OFFICE 2003

Microsoft has quietly set the stage for a revolutionary change in pricing for Microsoft Office for individuals and small businesses.

Office (Word, Excel, Outlook) has traditionally been so expensive that most people used the version that shipped with their new computer, and never upgraded it. Many of you have never seen Office XP/2002, the current version – which has many nice improvements, especially in Outlook, but which isn’t worth the upgrade cost for most people. […] continued

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WINDOWS MESSENGER vs. MSN MESSENGER

Microsoft has completely mucked up the marketing of its Passport service and its instant messenger products. I follow this industry pretty closely, but I’ve frequently been baffled about how the various pieces fit together.

I get an e-mail newsletter from WinXP News (not overly technical, not completely flattering to Microsoft, and frequently filled with useful tips and tricks – recommended!) Here’s an easy guide to Microsoft’s instant messenger products from this week’s newsletter. […] continued

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MICROSOFT XMAS GOODIES

If you’re running Windows XP and you want to kill a little time, drop by www.microsoft.com/holiday for some Christmas-themed computer toys – screensavers, skins for Media Player, digital photo greeting card templates, and the like. (Be warned – the screensavers are extraordinarily dull. Don’t bother.)

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MICROSOFT DECISION LEAKED EARLY

An interesting technical sidelight on Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s approval of the Microsoft-DOJ settlement. The release of her decision was carefully scheduled for 4:30pm US Eastern time, after the markets had closed. The folks running the Court’s web site apparently didn’t realize anybody would find it, so the decision appeared on the Court’s web site two hours early. […] continued

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MICROSOFT SETTLEMENT APPROVED

The coverage of Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s approval of the Microsoft-DOJ settlement in the mainstream press is likely to be a bit short on details and context. Here’s CNET’s collection of articles about the settlement, with links to the full opinion and judgment.

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MICROSOFT BUTTERFLIES

The press lovingly covered the spanking delivered to Microsoft by the city of New York for plastering butterfly decals all over to promote the launch of MSN 8. “Illegal, irresponsible and dangerous defacing of public property,” according to the letter from the city.

When you read the articles, did you realize the decals were the plastic kind that stick to glass without adhesive – the ones you can peel right off? […] continued

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NEW MICROSOFT HARDWARE

Microsoft is rolling out a completely new lineup of mice and keyboards. Here’s the Microsoft press release. The lineup includes new wireless equipment, plus a smaller mouse sized specifically for notebooks.

Later this fall Microsoft will add a keyboard and mouse designed to use Bluetooth, the short-range wireless technology. Only Microsoft would decide that its conventional mice and keyboards should be blue, while its Bluetooth mouse and keyboard would be grey. […] continued

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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PALLADIUM AND “TRUSTED COMPUTING”

Here’s an extensive discussion of the “Palladium” software that Microsoft is developing for future versions of Windows, to work with hardware designed by the “Trusted Computing Platform Alliance” led by Intel. It is promoted for its “security,” but that has deep meanings you don’t suspect. And its digital rights management features will complete the transfer of control from consumers to copyright owners in ways that will leave us pining for the good old days. […] continued

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MICROSOFT RESERVES RIGHT TO HACK YOUR COMPUTER

Here’s one of those things that might be trivial, or it might be enormously significant. There’s no way to be sure – but this is not a time when I have a very high opinion of the decisions made for us by big businesses.

Microsoft included language in the license agreement for Windows Media Player 7.1 that was very very scary. […] continued

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THE NEXT STEP IN PERSONAL COMPUTING

Here’s an important one. My mind is buzzing trying to guess the implications of this.

This comes from an e-mail newsletter put out by Windows & .NET magazine, summarizing an exclusive account in Newsweek. It’s your first look at ideas that will profoundly change our computing experience. Many of the concepts here will undoubtedly become part of personal computing, regardless of whether Microsoft is the moving force or not. […] continued

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STATES BAIL OUT ON MODULAR WINDOWS DEMO

The states in the Microsoft trial screwed up in a big way yesterday. The lawyers blew it, and the states may have blown a hole in their case.

The states have been insisting that Microsoft be ordered to produce a stripped-down “modular” version of Windows XP in which various “add-ons” (media player, Internet browser, etc.) can be snapped in and out. […] continued

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MICROSOFT AND MONEY

Microsoft acknowledges what analysts have also been pointing out – that its growth will start to slow over the next few years. But Microsoft’s cash on hand is starting to raise some eyebrows. Cash and short-term investments are currently above forty billion dollars, and increasing by a billion dollars a month. […] continued

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