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Microsoft Pri0

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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February 5, 2009 1:43 PM

Microsoft news roundup: Windows Mobile chatter; 'Fix it' button; reactions to Wonderwall; 1 million Xbox Live members using Netflix;

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With Mobile World Congress right around the corner, what's up with Windows Mobile? The latest rumor, from a Broadpoint AmTech via CNET, has Microsoft working on its own smartphone, based on an Nvidia Tegra chip. "[I]t could turn out to be ... a reference design Microsoft has used," Broadpoint's Doug Freedman said. "... But we've also picked up that Microsoft is working on a phone themselves." [Added: WSJ runs down all the times Microsoft has said no, it's "not doing a phone," as it did in response to this latest go-round.]

Meanwhile, Mary Jo Foley has anonymous sources saying Windows Mobile 6.5 is due out to manufacturers in April with the first 6.5 devices coming in September. Todd Bishop reported on org changes in the Microsoft mobile group, including the departure of longtime exec Todd Warren. My colleague, Brier Dudley, has more detail on Warren and his departure.

Microsoft has quietly added a "Fix it" button to some of its online help documents, reports CNET's Ina Fried. They're scripts designed to execute all the steps described in the help pages, saving the user from doing them manually.

A range of reactions to Microsoft's just-launched online celebrity gossip site, Wonderwall. Kara Swisher at AllThingsD calls it "a laudable risk for Microsoft as the company seeks to continue to push itself into the online content business, despite a lackluster record." charliefoxtrot, commenting on my post about the new site, is less impressed:

"Just what the world needs: Another insipid celebrity website to keep track of Brangelina's incessant globe trotting, SamRo's love spats, and Scarlett Johnansen's shopping sprees...Herein lies a new form of 'waterboarding' for the massively unemployed public."

Worth noting: Wonderwall uses Adobe Flash, not Microsoft's online rich media competitor, Silverlight. (Via TechFlash.) Speaking of Silverlight, no 64-bit version is in the works for the next version, "mostly because other browser plug-ins (and most browsers) don't support 64-bit yet," Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's DevDiv honcho tells Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica.

One million Xbox Live members are streaming movies and television shows on-demand from Netflix, Microsoft announced this morning. To take advantage of the service, which was launched in November, Live members must pay for the Gold subscription (~$50 for 13 months) and also be subscribers to Netflix. Xbox Live has 17 million members.

Also, Microsoft picked a new boss for its Worldwide Public Sector business. Linda Zecher will lead more than 1,900 people selling and marketing to governments and public education and health-care institutions.

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