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If Grand Theft Auto IV Were On The Wii

Saw this funny fake GTA IV trailer, imaging the trailer if the game were being released for the Nintendo Wii:

If you don’t get the point, it’s that the whole trailer consists of last-gen old GTA game graphics. It’s not just funny, it’s a really good point, and it illustrates why you won’t see many major 360/PS3 games on the Wii.
(via Digg)

April 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Nintendo, Xbox 360, Xbox, Humor | 3 comments

Microsoft Stops Filling Your Search Box

MSN UK was running an experiment where they pre-filled the search box with “of the day” popular terms, such as “Apprentice BBC” or “Cricket World Cup”, hoping it would prompt users to take advantage of the search box a little more. Well, after a few days, the experiment has been retired and dubbed a bad idea. Many users thought it was spam or an advertisement, few found it useful, and Microsoft actually saw click-through rates drop slightly.

So, is prepopulating the search box that bad? Well, it can be pretty annoying for users, especially when the text needs to be deleted before they can run a search (especially if the text is “search”), and confusing when the text is automatically deleted. What might not be a bad idea is to feature faded pre-filled text that dissapears on a click in the search box, but executes if the search button is clicked, and is properly edited so as not to look like spam. Something useful, likes tips and information, and less pop culture-filled, might jar users a little less.

I’d like to see them tr this experiment again, just a little smarter next time.

Something really cool Microsoft tried: If you run Firefox with the Google Toolbar installed, and visit Windows Live Search, you are prompted to install a custom button on the Google Toolbar to search Windows Live Search from Google’s toolbar! That is pretty smart, encouraging users of the competition to still install a button for your search engine, and streamlining the process. Still, the only reason they’re trying to get on Google’s toolbar is because they don’t have their own Firefox toolbar, which might be a mistake in and of itself.
(via ThreadWatch)

April 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, Search | one comment

Return Mega-Post

Been gone for two days (if you haven’t noticed), so, instead of letting news pile up and be out of date, here’s a lot of stuff that’s just kind of accumulated (like insects!):

Microsoft is looking at acquiring DoubleClick, reports InfoWorld. DoubleClick, a major internet advertising firm, could go for around $2 billion, all of it well spent, as Microsoft would acquire a big player in web ad sales, and boost its fortunes in taking on Google. DoubleClick’s as good an acquisition as you can make in this market, so I’m hoping they pull it off.

There’s a good lesson in here about investment as well. Take a look at the investors who bought DoubleClick two years ago:

Private equity investors Hellman and Friedman of San Francisco and JMI Equity of San Diego bought DoubleClick for $1.1 billion in 2005, and have since transformed the company, selling off some activities to focus on the core business of advertising.

Now Hellman & Friedman has put a price tag of around $2 billion on its stake in the company, and has retained investment bank Morgan Stanley to help it find a buyer, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

One company Microsoft did acquire is TeamPlain, makers of a web front end of Visual Studio Team System. Read more here.

The same day Microsoft announced the release of DeepFish, their groundbreaking Windows Mobile web browser, the Mozilla Foundation announced a new release of Minimo, their mobile browser. In all the hoopla around DeepFish, Minimo was kind of ignored, and maybe it should have been: Minimo has been in the “early stages of development” for four years, and has higher system requirements than many popular mobile phones.

Take a look at this: A Ribbon control for software developers to use in WPF applications. Nice!

Microsoft has announced international Gears of War tournament to be hosted on Xbox Live, starting in just four days (although registration runs through the end of the month. Prized include a trip to Prague, an Xbox 360 console, and other game and schwag prizes.

Office 2008 for Mac is now in private beta as it moves closer to release, hopefully at the end of the year. No word yet on a public beta, but Microsoft would do well to release one, as the Office 2007 beta convinced a lot of people of the effectiveness of the Ribbon interface.

Major music label EMI announced it will sell music on iTunes without DRM copy protection for $1.29, 30 cents more than protected music. They will be making similar offers with other music stores, none announced yet. This is a major game-changer, if it lasts, as it makes iTunes usable for non-iPods, forces other labels to make similar offers, forces other music stores to offer the same DRM-free tracks, and devalues subscription services significantly. Can’t wait to see some Windows Media-stores offering those DRM-free songs.

April 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Media, Developers, Windows Mobile, Gears of War, Corporate, Firefox, Applications, Office, Xbox 360, Apple, General | no comments