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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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December 4, 2008 7:46 AM

Microsoft news roundup: IBM's 'Microsoft-free' desktop; Microsoft tightens integration with RSA; Obama's Zune?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

IBM has created a "Microsoft-free" desktop, according to The Wall Street Journal, which is "a complete suite of applications that run on a backroom server and don't require Microsoft software or costly desktop hardware." The combo of a Linux OS and IBM thin-client office software will cost from $59 to $289 per seat, a savings of $500 to $800 over a Microsoft desktop with Vista, Office and collaboration tools, according to IBM estimates.

Microsoft is partnering with EMC's security division, RSA, on data loss prevention (DLP) technology. Microsoft plans to build RSA's DLP technology "into the Microsoft platform and future information protection products," the company said in a press release. (Note: This story is nearing its quota for three-letter acronyms.) Those efforts are a bit down the road. More immediately, RSA's DLP Suite 6.5 is being tuned to integrate with Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services (RMS) within Windows Server 2008. (Note: That's a fourth three-letter acronym. Please restart your press release.)

Was Obama using a Zune? That's what Neal Santos at the Philadelphia City Paper wrote Tuesday after the President elect worked out on a treadmill next to him at a Philly gym: "[H]e hopped on the machine next to me and broke a mean sweat while reading a copy of USA Today and listening to his Zune." Yesterday, Santos hedged a bit: He wrote that he doesn't know for sure if it was actually Obama's Zune. "It could belong to one of the many Secret Service dudes that were at the gym, Michelle, or even one of his daughters." But Santos is pretty sure it was a Zune: "I vividly remember Obama pulling out an MP3 player with his left hand while exercising on the machine. It had a dark case protecting it and from what I saw, he was using a Zune."

I've asked a Zune representative if they know anything about this. I'll update if I hear back.

(Update, 11:07 a.m.: Jason Reindorp at Zune told me via e-mail, "We're very happy to see he's a fan. We didn't send one to him, this is his choice." Zune's Adam Sohn added in e-mail, "you will have to call his folks in Chicago".

The Wall Street Journal's Business Technology blog quotes an Obama spokesman: "Not true, the President-elect uses an iPod.")

I recall another reference to Obama's music player in this May 27 article on his "body man" in The New York Times. Reggie Love, Obama's personal aide, "had uploaded [rapper Jay-Z's] music to the senator's iPod in the first place -- a silver Nano that [Love] bought the senator for his 46th birthday."

Hat tip to Joe Tartakoff who spotted the Philadelphia City Paper article.

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