June 25, 2009
Windows 7 Pricing Announced
Microsoft announced pricing for Windows 7. It gets a bit complicated given the different versions and upgrade possibilities. Ars Technica has it all in a matrix that makes sense (compared to other published reports). Cost is a bit less expensive for comparable Vista SKUs. Good for Microsoft on that one. There will also be a pre-order program that allows for an almost 50% discount for copies of the OS. Microsoft will offer 7 Home Premium for around $49 for a limited time pre-offer, for example. The option starts Friday, June 26th and ends Saturday, July 11th. Details are in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online only edition here.
June 08, 2009
Free Upgrades to Windows 7 if Purchased at the Right Time
Consumers who purchase computer with the Vista operating system can get an upgrade to Windows 7 if purchased between June 26th and October 22nd of this year. This comes from a leaked Best Buy memo giving the retailer's understanding of the Microsoft upgrade program. Yep, just like XP, and Vista after that. More in Information Week.
June 05, 2009
Bing Day Three
Or is it day five? Bing has transcended expectations and has become (for now) the second most popular search engine in the United States and the world. PC World reports market share numbers for Bing and Yahoo as 16.28% and 10.22% respectively in the United States and 5.62% and 5.13% respectively worldwide. Speculation is the novelty factor driving traffic, with Microsoft hoping that users will stick around after trying out Bing. Rob Pegoraro tries some searches in Bing and compares them to similar searches in Google. The results are mixed. Bing may not be a Google-killer, but it might be a Yahoo-killer. Bing did have a minor stumble when its feature allowing video previews to run from search results allowed users to view, ahem, adult content without visiting the source web site. A user has to disable safe search to get to the content. Microsoft gave administrators a line of code that disables the disable, no matter what the user does. Porn sites are understandably upset that Bing can deliver content without the user going to the source. It is possible that this may actually drive traffic to Bing, though Microsoft can't be happy about why their numbers might be up, if that's it. In a final note, Reuters notes five features for which Bing should not get credit mostly because they were in earlier versions of Microsoft search in one form or another. If no one noticed then will a $100 million ad campaign make a difference in the long run. [MG]
June 03, 2009
Windows 7 Release Date Announced
It's official. Windows 7 gets to retail stores on October 22, right after back to school sales but well before the Christmas sales. There will be several versions targeted at consumers, businesses, and others. Pricing hasn't been announced but some news reports suggest those saddled with Vista may get an extra break on pricing for their upgrade packages.
May 26, 2009
SP2 for Vista and Server 2008 Available for Download
Microsoft has released a combined Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 as a stand alone download here. It's available in 5 languages and can be installed on 64 bit systems as well. The service pack will come through Windows Update some time in June. The download is about 384 megabytes. More information about the service pack from Microsoft is here.
May 21, 2009
More Thoughts on Kumo
Continuing in the trend of whether Microsoft is going to get any traction with Kumo, this article in CNET wonders whether Google and Yahoo have already beaten Microsoft to the punch with Kumo features. Every time Microsoft upgrades search they get a slight surge in their market share. Then it erodes. That seems to be the pattern. Is it going to be any different this time? PC World says much the same thing in this article, with the leading question, "Why does Microsoft do what everyone else does?" My observation of Microsoft's attempt at competing with Google is to try and be as Google-like as possible, until it figures out that the money it pours into those attempts aren't getting it anywhere. Book scanning is but one example. Microsoft abandoned their effort, leaving the field to Google. Can they really do search better, or more importantly, communicate that they can? Kumo's ultimate public availability will be accompanied by a $100 million ad campaign. How much money did the company spend promoting the Zune? The only dissenter is this article in ChannelWeb that suggests Microsoft may have a chance due to the two Google outages this past week. I understand the argument, but I don't thing it necessarily follows that two short outages make Microsoft attractive. Google doesn't scare anyone but competitors and the Justice Department. If anything, people want more of Google, not less, as their search share tends to increase with each successive month.
May 20, 2009
Microsoft Search Update Coming Soon?
Microsoft is likely going open up access to Kumo, its upgrade to Live Search, some time next week. At least that is the rumor. Most stories that speculate on this question whether Microsoft is going to get anywhere with it, having between 8 and 9% of the search market. The story in Time Magazine, for example, wonders whether Google is good enough for most people. If that's the case, no matter what Microsoft does is going to make a difference, no matter how much "better" it may be. I wonder what kinds of ads we'll see on the web and on TV to promote this thing. If Microsoft really wants to improve market share, they should find a way to get Oprah to use their search engine. [MG]