InsideMicrosoft

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InsideMicrosoft Video Blog: May 30, 2007

Here’s my second video blog post since tearing up my hand, the first for InsideMicrosoft. The highlight is definitely the demo of the new New York buildings in Windows Live Maps 3D, so I think you are really going to enjoy it.

YouTube:

Google Video

Windows Live Maps adds 3D New York
Microsoft’s Fancy New 3D Map Imagery - Unofficial SEO Blog
Microsoft Live Takes New York 3D - TechCrunch
New York, New York in VE3D - Virtual Earth blog
Map Wars: Attack of the Killer Maps @ Where 2.0 - Peter Laudati
Map (Battle) of the Day:
Google Street View Vs. Microsoft Live 3-D
- Gothamist

Live Messenger 8.5 leaked
Windows Live Messenger 8.5 - Jordan Green

Foldershare
Leaked Windows Live Messenger 8.5 turns up more surprises - LiveSide
Windows Live FolderShare Beta - there is still hope - LiveSide

Windows Live Suite
Windows Live Suite on its way? - Neowin

Nudity delays Halo 2 Vista
Nudity the Cause for Halo 2 Vista Delay - Next Generation
ESRB Comments on Halo 2’s Naked Ass - Kotaku

Million Zunes sold, but not
A Million Zunes Sold - Slashdot
Update: Microsoft Hasn’t Sold 1 Million Zunes - BetaNews
Microsoft sold not 1 million Zune Players [Update] - I4U
One Million Zunes Sold, 99 Million to go - Gizmodo
Zune Has NOT Sold 1 Million Units - Gizmodo

Zune Marketplace gets McCartney
McCartney: Zune Scores, iTunes Misses? - Microsoft Watch

Also, if you missed the InsideGoogle video blog from Tuesday, check it out:

UPDATE: Since I filmed this, a new version of Windows Live Messenger has been released. I’ll be talking about that in my next video, which I will film today.

May 31st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Halo, Maps, Mail, Live, Messenger, Vista, Windows Media, Windows | no comments



Frankenstein’s Hand

So after I wrote that last post on Friday, explaining why I haven’t been blogging much the last few days, and would not be back until Monday, I decided that the smartest thing to do would be to put my hand through a window. Now, I’ve got four hideous stitches in my Frankenstein monster of a hand, totally screwing me on typing for at least a week (and forcing my wife to type this up for me [hello, this is Nathan’s wife, Raquel, happily typing this while Nathan dictates]), I’m left with one all important question that I’m sure everyone is asking:

Should I post pictures?

Anyway, expect a weird week up ahead, as I am going to attempt to do all of my blogging by video (and not drive my wife to murder me in my sleep). If it doesn’t work, well, you’ll know pretty quickly. Enjoy the brief break from the norm.

May 27th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | 5 comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

Back Monday

I’ve been extraordinarily busy the last few days, and have only ran a small number of previously-written posts. I’m gonna call it a week, finish the unrelated project I’ve been working on, and return Monday flying full steam.

Just thought I owed an explanation for the blog lurching to a halt. See ya Monday.

May 25th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | no comments

Previews For Outlook 2007 In Windows XP

Gil Azar has written a Preview Handler wrapper for Outlook 2007 under Windows XP that gives it the ability to preview all sorts of types of files. Specifically, you’ll be able to run all these filetypes right within an Outlook 2007 preview pane or message window:

  • PDF
  • SWF
  • HTML
  • HTM
  • XML
  • ASF
  • WMV
  • WMA
  • AVI
  • WAV
  • MPG
  • MPEG
  • MP3
  • MIDI
  • AIFF
  • AU
  • ZIP
  • GADGET
  • MSI
  • RESX
  • SNK
  • KEYS
  • CS
  • VB
  • SQL
  • JS

The last group, in italics, is made possible through wrappers that sometimes require the installation of seperate preview handlers.

Outlook 2007 in Windows XP can’t handle the preview handlers currently available due to security differences between Windows Vista and Windows XP regarding managed code. Read more about it here.

May 24th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Outlook, Vista, Windows, Applications, General | no comments

Check Out The iPod Amnesty Bin

Spotted at Microsoft Zune headquarters, a bin for you to drop off your iPod and join the social.

Uh, think any of them still work?
(via Digg)

May 23rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, Apple, Humor | 3 comments

Microsoft Doing Mashup Tools

Microsoft has announced Popfly, a simple way for developers and users to create mashups, gadgets, web pages and other things. Popfly enables taking sources like photos from Windows Live Spaces and Flickr and design nice Silverlight widgets displaying them, complete with tutorials, full HTML code access and editing, a web page creator, and a community for sharing ideas and code, and finding, rating and sharing the best stuff.

Popfly supports JavaScript, AJAX libraries, HTML, XHTML, CSS, WMV, WMA, MP3, Visual Studio Express projects, JPG, PNG, GIF, and EXE on both Internet Explorer and Firefox. More coverage and screenshots at TechCrunch, Mary Jo Foley and the new Popfly blog.

May 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Silverlight, Developers | no comments



PhotoSync Add-in For Windows Home Server

Windows Home Server isn’t available yet (and won’t be for months), but thanks to Microsoft’s Code2Fame challenge, people are already designing add-ins for it, extra features that give you an idea of how many cool things can be done with a Home Server in your possession.

One, highlighted by Charlie Kindel, is PhotoSync, which syncronizes all the photos on your Home Server (under a folder you specify) with your Flickr account. All you have to do is save the photos from your camera on the server, and not only will they be backed up and stored on your network, they’ll also be available on Flickr for you to share with whomever you chose. It also means you never have to go through the effort of uploading hundreds of photos to Flickr, just dumb them in the right location and Home Server does it all for you.

That’s just one of a million new scenarios a Home Server opens up, and it integrates completely with the Home Server console (which you can access from anywhere in the world). I want a Home Server so badly I can taste it. Whatever that means.

May 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Home Server, Server, Windows | no comments

Microsoft Backs Competing Open Document Format

Microsoft announced last week it was supporting ODF, the competing document format used by OpenOffice, backing adding it to the ANSI’s list of business standards. Microsoft is looking to get its own, competing, Open XML format supported by ANSI, so it may think that by supporting its competitor’s bid, it improves its own.

In an einterview on Thursday, Updegrove said that by supporting ODF as an ANSI standard, Microsoft is “making it appear it is rising above the squabble to do the right thing.” Instead, he thinks the move serves as a challenge to vocal ODF supporters to support approval of Open XML as a global standard when a final vote for the draft specification comes before the ISO.

To its credit, Microsoft voted for ODF when it came before the ISO (International Organization for Standards), while IBM cast the only negative vote for Open XML when it was up for approval by standards organization Ecma International, Updegrove added.

People talk about Microsoft being all evil and anticompetitive, especially against loved open source movements like ODF, but beneath everything I see the hulking machine that is IBM, trying to cut off Microsoft. Being evil and convincing everyone you’re a happy little open open source movement, that’s true evil. After all, what did we say about the devil’s greatest trick?

May 21st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Developers, Office, Open Source, Applications | no comments

Sometimes Microsoft Marketing Gets It, Sometimes They’re Dopes

Here are two Microsoft marketing videos posted recently by Long Zheng:

The first, Coach, is great:

The second, The Wow Starts Now, was clearly designed by the guys at Homestar Runner and their band “Limozeen“, a parody of truly awful heavy metal cliches:

The second one fails because it is loud and has no useful message. Sure, the coach in the first one speaks loud, but he’s funny, he’s talking about something of substance, and most importantly: He’s funny! There’s a lot of stupid, loud marketing out there, all of it created by people who really don’t understand or care to understand what the target audience thinks of their crap.

Here’s an idea: As a marketer, you need to assume from the get-go that everything you’ve done till now is crap, and use that as a starting point.

Speaking of stuff that does work, AdRants has good stuff to say about Microsoft’s The Break Up, and they also point out another great video in a similar vein, Truth In Advertising:

May 21st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Marketing | one comment

Microsoft Spends $6 Billion To Counter Google

Microsoft announced Friday it was spending six billion dollars to buy advertising company aQuantive, in an effort to stay in the game after Google $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick. Microsoft agreed to pay $66.50 per share of the publicly traded company (ticker symbol: AQNT), a siginificant premium over Thursday’s share price of $35.87, but as soon as MS announced the deal, shares shot up to $63.79.

Microsoft paid ten times aQuantive’s estimated 2007 revenues of $616 million, and 87 times their estimated earnings per share of 77 cents. No doubt the bidding war on aQuantive hit feeding frenzy levels earlier this month, when they released quarterly earnings that blew away the Street’s expectations. This is Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever.

Microsoft gets a lot in the all-cash deal, no doubt, including the Atlas Media Console, a set of advanced tools for advertisers and publishers, DRIVEpm, a service which matches advertisers with the right publishers, and Avenue A | Razorfish, one of the largest interactive ad agencies in the world. Still, it’s a collossal amount of money, likely the endgame in a $10 billion spending spree (Google’s $3.1 billion for DoubleClick, Yahoo’s $680 million for RIghtMedia, WPP’s $649 million for Real Media), leaving few left in the market in a giant wave of consolidation.

This is the new internet economy. So much money, so much competition. Google proved that advertising is the key to the bank, and all of a sudden, Microsoft became an advertising agency.

Microsoft has seemingly shot in the foot any antitrust claims against Google with this acquisition. By spending more than Google did, they are showing that they are not looking to litigate a win, they are going to fight this one out, and if they did try to pursue those antitrust claims, Google can point to aQuantive as proof that Microsoft has the money to compete. Microsoft has put all its chips down and has to win this one.

However, Microsoft is still arguing that Google is violating antitrust standards. The reason? Google is an advertising company, and buying another ad company is anti-competitive. Microsoft is a software company, and it bought an ad company to add to its business. That’s a good argument, but I on’t know if it’s good enough.

Kevin Kersten appears to have dug up some illegal insider trading on this deal. The day before the deal was announced, some 3,009 option contracts were bought for AQNT. For comparison, the day before that 28 contracts were bought, and averaged 96 per day for the previous 20 days. Someone knew about this deal, or more than one someones, and spent $180,540 on Thursday to make $6.74 million of Friday. That is some dirty trading, and I hope they get caught and go to jail.

Ashkan Karbasfrooshan says aQuantive is absolutely worth twice what DoubleClick was worth, because DoubleClick only provides software for advertising, while aQuantive is a diversified company with technology, services and media assets. By buying aQuantive, Microsoft is now an advertising company, while if it had bought DoubleClick, it would still be a software company. See the difference?

The Wall Street Journal points out that for $6 billion, Microsoft valued aQuantive at 45 times cash flow, and if you valued Microsoft at 45 times cash flow, it would be worth: $1 trillion. Yoiks.

May 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Advertising, Corporate, Google | one comment

Microsoft Makes Madonna Song Available As Free Download

As a promotion for the Live Earth concert, of which Microsoft is a major sponsor, MSN is giving away a new song by Madonna, written for the concert, as a completely free download. The song, “Hey You”, is available at liveearth.msn.com as a free download, but you can save the effort be a heartless bastard and get it by clicking on either of these links:

Hey You (mp3) | Hey You (wma)

May 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | MSN, General | 3 comments



Red Cross Honors Microsoft For Katrina Assistance

The American Red Cross honored Microsoft with its Ernest Percy Bicknell Award at its Heritage of Service dinner Wednesday night. Microsoft received the honor for helping the Red Cross with major improvements in disaster response in the wake of Katrina.

Red Cross chairman Bonnie McElveen-Cross said, “We would like to take this opportunity at the Heritage of Service Dinner to thank Microsoft for helping to reunite thousands of families across the country through its innovative development of www.Katrinasafe.org”. The Microsoft-developed site linked families with more than 250,000 important records needed to reconnect and resume their lives. Microsoft and employees also donated more than $10 million to help out.

May 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate | one comment

Microsoft Trying Multiple Searches On One Page

Windows Live Search is redirecting a small number of random users to a page at search.imagine-live.com, a search engine that puts results from a number of Live searches on a single page. Searchers who wind up there will see regular web results, plus related searches, image results, local search results (with an embedded Live Maps map), news results, and links to movie listings, weather, and other things. Users beign sent there are typically those that click on banner ads and the such, as the page is designed to show off all the things Live Search can do, and contains a Flash tour of features.

May 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 4 comments

New Vista Battery Saver Application

If you didn’t like the old Vista Battery Saver program, since it didn’t follow Windows UI guidelines, or if you just want something more powerful, check out Tamir Khason’s Vista Battery Saver application. Not only does it shut off Aero on battery, it can also shut off the Sidebar on battery, and you can tell it to only shut off those functions if the battery goes below a certain level. It even can set itself to run on Windows startup, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

A must-have, and something that really should be built into the next Windows update. Download it here.
(via jkOnTheRun)

May 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Sidebar, Vista, Windows | no comments

Windows Server 2008: Last 32-bit Server Operating System

Microsoft’s Bill Laing, GM for Windows Server, said this morning at WinHEC that Windows Server 2008, to be released later this year, will be Microsoft’s last 32-bit server operating system. Following this, it’ll be all 64-bit, all the time, in future releases (expect the next one in 2-4 years).
(via Digg)

It makes sense for Microsoft to push heavily for 64-bit systems, since better hardware makes their jobs easier with better operating system, and frees them from having to develop two versions of the same Windows at the same time. Still, Microsoft is probably going to keep making 32-bit versions of the regular Windows client OS, despite what some websites are mistakenly reporting.

More at Neowin and here.

May 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Server, Windows | one comment

Sony Games Loses Almost Two Billion Dollars

Sony posted in their financial results for the first quarter of this year, and the numbers were bad, just plain bad. Sony’s profits dropped 68%, from $1.88 billion to $596 million, almost entirely due to the poorly performing games division, which produces the PlayStation 3. Their games business lost $1.9 billion, being singularly responsible for Sony’s misfortunes, and Sony sold 3.6 million PS3 consoles. Sony produced 5.5 million PS3s, which means 1.9 million are sitting around unsold, most likely due to their extremely high price.

I’m still convinced Sony will turn it around, but results like these leave me with no idea how. Sony’s in an awful situation, and they need smart management to fix it, and I’m not convinced they have it.

Amazingly, Sony stock shot up to a five year high, as they countered these forecasts with claims that they will cut PS3 costs by 80% this year and have record profits. This from the same company that lied and said it was selling every single PS3 shipped, a company that issues bald-faced lies to make it look better in the media. I’m not convinced Sony is doomed, but the shareholders are dopes for buying into this crap.

May 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Sony | one comment

Free Xbox Live Game: Aegis Wing

Microsoft has released a completely free Xbox Live Arcade game, called Aegis Wing. The game was designed by the Xbox Live Arcade Intern Team, and it appears it will remain free. Very cool idea, showing how game development on Live Arcade is so easy, a three person intern team could do it.

I just played the game, and it is a classic side-scrolling space shooter, but with HD graphics and 3D models. The 3D models are good enough to almost shock you, as they almost seem out of place in such an old style of game. If there’s one thing this game does extremely well, its show off the power of the Xbox 360 gamepad, which is so easy to control that I found it easier to move around obstacles than in any of the side scrollers I’ve played before.

Aegis Wing is a free 46 MB download for all Xbox Live Silver and Gold members. Gold members will be able to play the multiplayer mode in addition to the standard single player mode. The game even comes with 12 Achievements for you to earn, so it’s probably worth downloading just for Achievement junkies.
(via SlickDeals)



May 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Xbox, General | no comments

Live Search Club: No Girlz Allowd!

live-search-clubhouse.jpg

Uh, so Windows Live has this Live Search Club. It looks like you can win prizes for playing games with names like “Clink”, “Flexicon”, and “Dingbats”. LiveSide says they’re pretty easy. It’s a promo site, with prizes, like any other, so why can’t I get the picture of a Live Search clubhouse out of my head?

They just had to call it Live Search Club, didn’t they? Where’s my decoder ring?!

UPDATE: These games are getting very popular, so I’ve decided to post about each of the games. Check out the links below, and read how Live Search Club is saving the Windows Live division:

Chicktionary

May 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows | 56 comments