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More Of Dvorak’s Pointless Linkbait

John Dvorak must be an avid reader of ProBlogger (while ignoring that sentence in every post about writing good content) because he’s released another successful linkbait article. This one lists eight ways (numbered lists are great link-getters) that Microsoft is failing, and none of them make sense. For someone who has always been on the inside of the industry, how he makes broad claims that ignore reality is beyond me.

  • #1 - Vista is late and is barely better than XP. Really? Maybe it doesn’t meet your expectations, but you have to know there are other features in there besides Aero, right?
  • #2 - Office has nothing new, too many versions, and Groove must suck because Lotus sucks. I think Office’s user interface is a huge change, and the number of versions is easy to understand (and the prices make the decision pretty easily for most people). As for Groove, by that arguement, since some MP3 players suck, the iPod must suck. Awful arguement.
  • #3 - Microsoft should abandon MSN, because it is not a media company. Okay, they kind of already are, so I won’t argue with this one. If MSN makes money, fine, keep it around and see if you can do something with it. If it isn’t, move everything important to Windows Live and move on. Still, if Microsoft wants to be a media company and a software company, why not? GE has a huge media empire, and it started as an electric company. You get profits where you can.
  • #4 - I quote: “MSN Search Engine. Again more of the same and pointless. Selling ads Could be the dumbest thing I’ve read all year. Search engines make money. How is that pointless?
  • #5 - Xbox 360 stinks because they haven’t sold enough units to satisfy demand. Disagree. Reason: If there were enough, demand would have died down and people would have forgotten the console. Instead, 6 1/2 months after launch, the console is still sold out everywhere, and still has buzz. PS3 is still months away, and Microsoft needs the console to still have some edge when it arrives. And it’ll have a ten million unit lead, which is plenty.
  • #6 - Tablets suck because they aren’t the dominant form of computing. Yeah, because we all thought that within a few years Tablets would replace 50% of computers. Give the platform time. It is growing. It might fail, but it won’t be Microsoft’s fault.
  • #7 - .NET sucks. What year is this? Where’s the Microsoft Bob reference? Or Windows 3.0? Jeez.
  • #8 - Microsoft is too preoccupied with Google. Really? Look at the budgets and employees working on Windows and Office, vs. those on Windows Live. It’s clear the priorities are in the right place, and Live is doing great with smaller teams.

You know what? Every day I’ll pick a random target and write a “# reason that ____ is [adjective]”. Because I’d rather have links than respect.

May 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate, Vista, Tablet PC, Live, Xbox 360, Xbox, MSN, Windows, Google, General | no comments



Vista Beta 2: May 22; Vista Delay Story With Little Evidence

There’s been a lot of press on a Gartner Research report that predicts Windows Vista will be delayed three months. Frankly, it reads like the typical no-evidence linkbait that has been getting worse the last few months, but at least some good discussion is coming out of it.

Paul Thurott points out that Gartner’s main point, that Vista’s Beta 2-till-RTM period is more likely to be as long as Windows 2000’s, doesn’t work because 2000 had a major overhaul/shakeup. Vista had a pretty huge shakeup two years ago; another is almost completely impossible. More importantly, he says that Beta 2 should hit in 19 days, on May 22.

Aside from my internal Microsoft sources, my own experience covering Microsoft suggests that Gartner is off-base. According to Gartner, the reason for the delay is that Microsoft will soon ship Vista Beta 2, and it will need 9-12 months after Beta 2 to complete product. Windows XP, Gartner notes, took five months between Beta 2 and its final release, but Vista is more complex than XP. Gartner says that Vista is more comparable to Windows 2000, from a complexity standpoint, and Windows 2000 took 16 months between Beta 2 and the final version.

The comparison is ludicrous. When Microsoft shipped Windows 2000 Beta 2 in 1998, Windows 2000 was still called Windows NT 5.0, and the product was horribly off-track: Within months, the company assigned Brian Valentine to take over Windows 200 development, and he helped guide the project to its completion a year later. Windows Vista today is much further along than was Windows NT 5.0/2000 Beta 2. And it is much closer to the shipping version of the product than the Gartner report suggests.

(via Windows Vista Info)

Scoble and Memeorandum have more.

May 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | no comments

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Xbox 360 Full Case Replacements

Xbox 360 Fanboy points out that TeamXtender, makers of chrome Xbox 360 faceplates, now are making full case replacements. No word yet on price, but DecalGirl is taking pre-orders for $10 off.

May 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox 360, Xbox, General | no comments

Microsoft To Join With Yahoo?

The Wall Street Journal is running an article that says Microsoft is trying to work out some sort of deal with Yahoo. It suggests the idea of Microsoft buying a stake in Yahoo, but only in that way reporters do when they want to start a rumor that they know isn’t true. See what I mean:

Currently, talks of an equity stake in Yahoo don’t appear to be active, given that Microsoft is focusing on a reorganization that it hopes will re-energize its effort to compete with Google, the fast-growing provider of search services and advertising.

Still, but talking about it, they’ve gotten a lot of links. Good work, boys.

What might be going on is a partnership between the two. Microsoft wouldn’t abandon all the money it has poured into Windows Live, especially not after the Street objected and Microsoft responded by saying they’d spend even more.

However, there are a lot of areas the two companies don’t overlap, and some sort of agreement to promote the other’s services could be a good strategy to beat Google. If you integrate the two in interesting ways, you could entice users by showing that combined, Live and Yahoo have everything you could need, more so than Google.

One idea: Integration of Microsoft Gadgets into Konfabulator. Considering the Gadgets can run on Windows’ desktop via Windows Sidebar, letting them run in Konfabulator as well increases the reach. Microsoft could also integrate portions of Yahoo Music, like Launchcast, into Windows Media Player. The possibilities are endless, although not as likely as the speculation seems to suggest. Still, a Microsoft/Yahoo partnership has more promise than the Google/AOL one did.

May 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Yahoo, Live, Google, Windows, MSN, General | no comments

Xbox Live Update Details

Microsoft delivered a nice update to Xbox Live today, giving the online service messaging capabilities. Now, owners of 360 consoles with subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold can send and receive messages. You can send up to 200 messages a day to people on your friends list, and up to 25 to those who aren’t.

Xbox Live Silver users and Xbox.com users can receive messages as well. All users will be able to send, accept, decline and delete friends requests. There’s a handy chart to keep track of it all, if this confuses you.
(via Joystiq)

Also, Gamerscore lists the E3 goodies that will drop on Xbox Live next week:

  • Playable game demos and/or trailers from highly anticipated titles like:
    • Crackdown (Microsoft Game Studios)
    • Dead or Alive® : Xtreme 2 (Tecmo)
    • The Lord of the Rings ™, The Battle for Middle Earth™ II (EA Los Angeles)
    • Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Capcom)
    • Moto GP™ ’06 (THQ)
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)
    • Splinter Cell Double Agent ™ (Ubisoft)
    • Test Drive Unlimited (Atari)
    • Viva Piñata (Microsoft Game Studios) 
    • Plus a flood of HD trailers from games that have yet to be announced
  • Call of Duty®2 – New Multiplayer Map Packs (Activision)  
  • The release of UNO on Xbox Live Arcade
  • Game with Fame celebrity gaming sessions with stars like Jenny McCarthy, Method Man and Panic Channel (Featuring Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins, Chris Chaney and Steve Isaacs).
  • Play and Win contests with the latest Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade titles
  • Exclusive high-definition blockbuster movie trailer downloads
  • Limited edition E3 Gamerpics and Themes
  • A Backstage Pass to see developers preparing for E3
  • Only Lost Planet is a playable demo on that list of demos/trailers, so don’t get too excited. DO get excited about the line about “games that have yet to be announced”. Of course, so many gamers will be taking advantage of the free Xbox Live Gold for the week that they may not watch the videos till the following week.

    May 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Xbox, General | no comments

    Vista’s RSA SecurID Support Kicked Down A Notch

    ZDNet reports that Microsoft has canceled plans to include RSA SecurID tokens in Windows Vista, a two year old goal that never quite worked out.

    In February 2004, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced that Windows would be able to support easy integration with RSA Security’s ubiquitous SecurID tokens, which meant that enterprises would find it far easier to deploy a two-factor authentication system for logging on to networks and applications.

    RSA’s CEO Art Coviello says “with all the other issues they have had”, Microsoft could not get native support in the OS before it ships. Sales of SecurID have suffered because MS would not include native support in the OS. The plan was to implement that in Vista, but it isn’t ready, so RSA loses out.

    “It has gone slowly and it has gone slowly for a number of reasons,” said Coviello. “Microsoft has given us source code so we can replace the Microsoft logon screen. However it is not yet native to the operating system. So it still requires some work at the desktop, which slows down the adoption rate”.

    Hopefully, the support will be included in a future Vista update.
    (via Digg)

    May 3rd, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, Security, General | no comments