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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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June 11, 2009 10:58 AM

Windows 7 will ship in Europe without Internet Explorer browser

Posted by Sharon Chan

Microsoft confirmed reports from CNET and Bloomberg today that the company will be shipping Windows 7 in Europe without the Internet Explorer browser in it.

CNET's report cites a memo that was sent to computer makers saying the changes were being made to comply with European Union law.

Earlier this year, the European Commission notified Microsoft that the inclusion of its browser in Windows since 1996 violated European competition law. Check out our earlier coverage here. Microsoft was due to present its defense June 3 to 5, but canceled because senior regulators would not be able to attend. Here is the story on that development.

Comments | Category: Internet Explorer , Microsoft , Windows , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

April 20, 2009 8:30 AM

Morning Microsoft news roundup: Windows for netbooks $15, Oracle buys Sun Microsystems, Steve Ballmer is on the road

Posted by Sharon Chan

  • WSJ by way of Electronista: It's reporting that Microsoft is charging PC makers only $15 per copy of Windows for netbooks, low-cost laptops that cost around $300, about a third of the cost of a PC version of Windows.
  • Ballmer Watch: Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer, is hitting the road. He is traveling to Europe, Middle East and Africa this week. According to the company, he is holding meetings with high-level government officials, customers and partners to discuss how technology can help during an economic downturn and will appear in several public engagements. The company did not give any more details about whom he was meeting with.
  • Oracle wants to buy Sun Microsystems for more than $7 billion. Ballmer told Reuters he's "very surprised."

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Steve Ballmer , Windows |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

April 13, 2009 2:37 PM

Witness the resurrection of the Microsoft Pri0 blog; what do you want to see here?

Posted by Sharon Chan

Happy day-after Easter. Witness the resurrection of the Microsoft blog. Our former Microsoft reporter Benjamin J. Romano departed The Seattle Times two weeks ago for another opportunity, and I will be blogging to you from here on out.

I've been reporting for The Seattle Times for more than a decade, and I've covered everything from the failure of Seattle's high-tech toilets to Christina Aguilera's concerts. I wrote about personal technology, wireless and telecom and video games several years ago here. My last job writing about business ended with an investigation of accounting tricks and dubious deals at InfoSpace.

My dad was an early adopter. We had a Commodore VIC 20 we connected to our television set in the living room, and I wrote junior high science papers using Wordstar. It once dumped my entire junior-high science paper at 9 p.m. because I forgot to save to the floppy drive. In the interest of full disclosure, I currently use Microsoft software on my Seattle Times laptop and my home PC; but my cellphone runs on BlackBerry, my iPod runs on Apple, my Sansa runs on Napster and my Wii runs on Nintendo.

That could all change in six months. The technology landscape is constantly shifting. Microsoft's challenge is to maintain its business with Windows and the PC while expanding on the frontiers of computing -- mobile, television, netbooks, search, social networking. Our challenge is to help you make sense of it.

What you can expect from me in our paper: fair and accurate, local and global coverage of our region's most important tech company, and why it matters to you.

What you can expect here at Pri0: the latest news, multimedia, polls, live blogs, an active dialogue with you.

Let's start with you: What do you want to see on this blog?

Comments | Category: Coming and going , Microsoft , Mobile , Wii , Windows , Wireless & telecom |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 26, 2009 3:28 PM

New Microsoft ad swipes at Apple

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is rolling out a new Windows commercial today that takes the most direct swipe yet at rival Apple.

The commercial, which feels tuned for these tough economic times, follows a woman on a quest to find a laptop with "speed, comfortable keyboard and a 17-inch screen" for $1,000 or less. "Lauren" walks into an Apple store -- she calls it "the Mac store" -- and then walks out and tells the camera, "For $1,000 they only have one computer available and that's a 13-inch screen." She ends up buying an HP for about $700. Here's the spot, set to air during March Madness:

<br/><a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=0bb6a07c-c829-4562-8375-49e6693810c7" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1000 - Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion">Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 - Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Branding , Windows |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 24, 2009 6:15 AM

Microsoft Strategic Update: Ballmer tells Wall Street more dramatic cost cutting would be 'imprudent'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With Microsoft's Redmond campus largely emptied out for the winter holidays, CEO Steve Ballmer crunched the numbers on the proper level of spending for his company against the current economic climate, which he has repeatedly referred to as a "reset" rather than just a recession. Ballmer said his own estimates for the weakness and duration of the downturn tend to be more severe than those of other business leaders he meets.

With that in mind, he settled on $27.5 billion of operating expenses -- a level the company aims to hold relatively steady through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and during its 2010 fiscal year. Ballmer made clear to financial analysts meeting in New York this morning for the company's annual strategic update that cutting back even more significantly -- say to $20 billion -- would be "imprudent."

"I think this is right," Ballmer said.

That should give some comfort to those wondering if the modest layoffs Microsoft announced last month were the beginning of a more significant reduction. Wall Street analysts and investors are pressuring companies in every industry to continue cutting costs as sales and profits slow dramatically.

The strategic update call just came to an end. Ballmer gave a detailed look at seven major business areas for the company. Check back here later this morning for more details.

Update, 7:50 a.m.: As he told Congressional Democrats earlier this month, Ballmer said Microsoft's corporate strategists have been evaluating past downturns -- particularly those driven by "deleveraging." The team read company annual reports from 1927 to 1938 to determine who did a good job managing through the Great Depression. "RCA, God rest them in peace, became our role model," Ballmer said. The company was able to dominate the television business because it continued to invest during bad times, he said.

Then he broke down how Microsoft plans to invest.

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Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Enterprise , Financial , Games & entertainment , Google , Microsoft layoffs , Mobile , Office , Online services , Open source , Search , Server and tools , Steve Ballmer , Strategy , Tech Economy , Windows , Windows 7 , Windows Azure , Windows Mobile , Xbox 360 , Yahoo acquisition , Zune |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 13, 2009 6:51 AM

Microsoft sued over charge to downgrade Vista to XP

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With one major case challenging Microsoft's Windows marketing practices nearing a make-or-break juncture, another one was filed. A woman sued Microsoft in federal court in Seattle this week claiming that the company abused its monopoly power to force her to pay extra for a downgrade from Windows Vista to its predecessor, Windows XP.

Emma Alvarado bought a laptop from Lenovo on June 20, 2008, with Windows Vista Business preinstalled. She paid Lenovo "an additional $59.25 in order to 'downgrade' her operating system to Windows XP Professional." Alvarado is seeking class-action status. Here's a copy of her complaint, filed Wednesday: 13-page PDF.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Legal issues , Windows , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 11, 2009 2:12 PM

Microsoft pushing businesses to dump XP now, not wait for Windows 7

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft today urged its business customers currently using Windows XP -- and there are a lot of them -- to consider "the risk of skipping Windows Vista." Deploying Vista now "will make the future transition to Windows 7 easier," Gavriella Schuster, a Microsoft senior director, wrote on a new Windows for your Business Blog.

Of course, with Windows sales in the tank last quarter, Microsoft has every incentive to push Vista, the operating system it has in the market now, rather than Windows 7, due out sometime in the next 12 months.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 4, 2009 1:19 PM

Get ready for more Microsoft commercials, new spot to air during Grammys

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The next wave of Microsoft's big Windows marketing campaign is set to debut this weekend with a spot during the Grammy Awards. A Microsoft spokeswoman says in e-mail the next part of the campaign is called "Rookies" and Sunday's spot will feature a 4-year-old girl using Windows Live Photo Gallery. More details to come tomorrow.

Comments | Category: Advertising , Windows , Windows Live |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 6, 2009 9:36 PM

CES: Netbook maker Asus partnering closely with Microsoft on Windows 7, but showing new Eee PCs with XP

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LAS VEGAS -- The netbook market exploded in 2008 with significant implications for Microsoft's flagship Windows business. The Consumer Electronics Association says in 2008 manufacturers shipped 10 million of these low-cost, lightweight computers meant for Web surfing, e-mail and other light-weight, connected activities.

One of the leaders in the market is ASUSTeK Computer, the Taiwan-based global computer hardware giant, whose Eee PC line helped kick-start the trend. Today the company rolled out the latest in that line, as well as several other new hardware devices, and highlighted its relationship with Microsoft.

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Comments | Category: Consumer Electronics Show , Hardware , Windows , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 12, 2008 2:38 PM

Steam Hardware Survey: More than 68 percent of PC gamers running Windows XP

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

What do hard-core PC gamers have under the hood? Bellevue game maker Valve collects lots of data to answer that question through Steam, the game company's online PC games distribution platform, which boasts 15 million+ accounts globally. Today, the company relaunched a public results report from the Steam Hardware Survey and the top operating system is Windows XP 32 bit, which was running 68.7 percent of the computers surveyed in November.

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Comments | Category: Games & entertainment , Hardware , Windows , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 2, 2008 9:43 AM

Web tracking site detects drop in Windows market share to below 90 percent (barely)

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Net Applications OS market share.JPG Tech market share tracker Net Applications measured Microsoft Windows' share of the operating system market at 89.6 percent in November, which TG Daily called the lowest level since Windows 3.11. That figure is down more than 2 percentage points from a year ago. Meanwhile, as the charts show, Apple's operating system market share has increased in that period.


(Data and graphics provided by Net Applications.)

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Apple , Windows |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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