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Perspectives: January 3

perspectivesI’ve decided to start a new series on this blog, which I’m calling Perspectives. I realize that I end a lot of posts with “we’ll see where this goes”, but we never get to see, since I’m not going to repeat the same stuff every day until a conclusion is reached. Blogs tend to be so obsessed with the “now”, that we never pay attention to what’s happened in the past, and we forget things that might be important. So, every day, unless I’m way too busy (or not around), I’ll post about whatever I was discussing a year ago, and, as time goes by, two years ago, and so on.

On January 3, 2005, there wasn’t much news, except that the Open Source blog was starting, and it was never posted on again (anyone want to give it a shot?). There was talk of Firefox, and how it was gaining on Microsoft. Firefox spent the last year gaining lots of market share, although it still has a long way to go to catch IE. The big test will be this year if IE7 can reverse or at least stall the trend, or if Microsoft has a real war on its hands.

This has been “Perspectives”, I’m Lionel Osbourne.

January 3rd, 2006 Posted by | Applications, Firefox, General, Internet Explorer, Perspectives | no comments

Microsoft/Yahoo Alliance Speculation Pushes Yahoo Stock

Reuters reports that rumors of an alliance or “tie-up” between Microsoft and Yahoo have spurred interest in Yahoo stock.

Investors have been piling into January Yahoo calls, mostly notably the contracts that give them the right to buy the stock at $40 and $42.50 a share within the next several weeks.

On Tuesday, a combined total of 103,673 Yahoo options traded in the U.S. options market — dominated by more than 81,000 calls, more than its normal volume of 35,449 contracts, according to market research firm Track Data.

Yahoo options also were busy last week as more than 40,000 of the January calls traded on Friday as traders positioned themselves for an expected move higher in the stock, according to Frederic Ruffy, an analyst at Optionetics, which provides investment education and analysis services.

While an alliance would no doubt help the two companies combat Google, I see several problems with it: Both are multi-billion dollar multinational entities, both are competitors, and both believe they can prevail in the end.

The one scenario I see working: Since MSN’s applications are going to the Windows Live unit, MSN is strictly a content company (or will be, when the restructuring is complete). I think Yahoo and Microsoft can combine their content into the fabled internet-based “fifth network“.

To explain: Yahoo, especially under Lloyd Braun, desires to be the fifth network, after NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. Yahoo wants to be the fifth major content provider, the massive brand and ad network that entertains the masses. With Microsoft abandoning many parts of MSN for Windows Live, including almost every part that competes with Yahoo, Y! can jump in and partner with MSN for very little, and gain so much content (and access within Microsoft technologies like Windows Media Center) to become the fifth network. Microsoft is hurting after losing AOL, and they might just give Yahoo the chance.

I think they should, and could.
(via Paid Content)

January 3rd, 2006 Posted by | General, Google, Media Center, MSN, Yahoo | one comment

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Microsoft Sends Creative Commons A $25,000 Christmas Present

Lawrence Lessig reports on his blog that on Friday afternoon, a check arrived at the offices of Creative Commons, which he is the chairman of, for $25,000. The sender: Microsoft.

Download Squad asks:

Though $25,000 is pocket change to Microsoft, it’s still an interesting move. Is it truly a gesture of good will, or is Redmond trying to gain influence with Creative Commons?

Whatever their motives, it sure is nice of them. My guess is that MS sends out a lot of these, and someone at Microsoft lobbied the bigwigs to add Creative Commons to the list.

January 3rd, 2006 Posted by | Corporate, General | one comment

Vista Media Center: Expired

Longhorn Blogs reports that, for some reason, the version of Windows Media Center included in the 5270 Vista build expired on Januaru 1, 2006. That means that developers who needed to work with it only had thirty days to do so, and are now plumb out of luck.

So, was this a mistake, or did Microsoft set it as a way to reveal something new entirely at CES? Perhaps MS has some sort of great leap forward for Media Center, and disabled the 5270 version so it could release something truly spectacular at CES, and then immediately distribute that new build.

Or, they just screwed up, and testers are pissed. Oops.
(via Microsoft Watch)

January 3rd, 2006 Posted by | General, Media Center, Vista, Windows | 2 comments