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OneNote and Stupid People

Yes, OneNote, the excellent notetaking program part of Microsoft Office, does indeed increase your IQ:


This from Office Online, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite online comics.

October 24th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | OneNote, Office, Humor, Applications | no comments

Halo Killed Movies, Or The Other Way Around?

There have been reports recently that October movie theater revenue is down 27%, and the movie industry is blaming Halo 3, Microsoft’s mega successful Xbox 360 title. On the other hand, BBSpot, a parody news website, has Microsoft “blaming” the movie industry for Halo’s high sales, saying higher ticket prices and a lack of originality forced consumers to put their money into the end of the Halo trilogy.

What’s the likely reason people are choosing Halo over films? Besides the fact that Halo has a huge fanbase, Hollywood most certainly is at fault. The fall season is always the dumping ground for bad films, with September starting the parade of crap, all the way through December, when a few Oscar-worthy films that no one wants to see are dropped into a small number of theatres.

While the entire world is loading up the fall season with their new products, new TV shows, new video games, new gadgets and such, the movie industry isn’t even trying to compete. When the biggest buzz is built, Hollywood stays on the sidelines, and they wonder why their customers become someone else’s customers. The holiday video game season is going to eat the movie industry for lunch in the coming years, and erode their customer base in ways that are going to ravage the bottom line.

The average movie ticket price is 50% higher than it was 12 years ago, while video games have cost $50 through most of that period. Some games are now $60, but used games are available, game prices plummet over time, you don’t have to buy a new game for every player and you get to keep the game, all things the movie industry lacks.

Transformers, the top DVD of the year, made in its first day on sale close to $100 million in sales, forty million dollars more than the top single day for any movie in theatres, despite costing more. People want to own movies, not pay to see them once in an uncomfortable seat in a dirty room with loud idiots sitting around them. If movies were sold more like video games, and targetted the holiday season better, they might actually have a shot, but for now, Halo deserved to win, and that’s fine with me.

October 24th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Halo 3, Halo, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

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Microsoft Wins, Gets Facebook Investment

Microsoft has won the fight to be Facebook’s new investor and advertising partner, beating Google in some heated negotiations and getting a stake in the company. Microsoft has not bought Facebook, but it now owns 1.6% of the fastest rising social network, paying $240 million for the stake and setting Facebook’s value at $15 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, besides owning a portion of the company (and thus receiving stock in an IPO or payment if the company is sold), Microsoft will now sell Facebook’s international advertising, in addition to the U.S. advertising it already handles. Microsoft does not lose Facebook’s ad sales to Google, which it likely would have if it had lost to Google.

The relatively small size of the buy (considering numbers like $750 million were being tossed around) could mean that Facebook did not like the terms Google was looking to get out of the deal, and decided to instead go with Microsoft for less. Alternatively, if could mean Google was looking to value the company at far less than Microsoft did, and Facebook did not want to give away too much of the company, and instead went with Microsoft’s higher valuation but lower percentage.

TechCrunch thinks that the cost to buyout Microsoft’s U.S. ad deal, which runs through 2011, would have been too high, making the Microsoft money more profitable than Google’s money. However, we know that Microsoft’s deal with Facebook would earn the company less than $10 million if Facebook was sold to someone else. On the other hand, that payout was for the original deal, which ran through 2009, while a newer deal signed earlier this year runs through 2011, and may have pushed that number higher.

Under the $15 billion valuation, other investors in Facebook now have some idea how much their stakes are worth. The New York Times explains:

The Microsoft investment throws the value of the holdings of Facebook investors into the stratosphere. Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year-old Facebook founder who dropped out of Harvard to build the company, owns a 20 percent share which is now valued at $3 billion. Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that invested $12.7 million in May 2005 and owns 11 percent of Facebook, now holds stock worth $1.65 billion.

October 24th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Advertising | 2 comments

Xbox 360 Gets Price Cut in Japan

Microsoft has cut the price of the Premium Xbox 360 and the Core pack in Japan, knocking the price down to hopefully get at all competitive in that country. The Core 360 (presumably to be replaced by the Arcade, at the new price, any day now) will cost 27,800 yen, or $243, down from 29,800 yen, or $261, but still more than the Wii’s 25,000 yen/$219. The Premium is now 34,800 yen/$304, down from 39,795 yen/$348.

For the first half of 2007, Microsoft sold 122,565 units of the Xbox 360 in Japan. The PlayStation 3, which has gotten off to a slow start, still sold nearly five times as many with 503,554 units. Nintendo’s Wii meanwhile sold 1.78 million.

The price cut will certainly help the 360 compete, though it will not be enough to win. Microsoft isn’t going to win Japan this console generation, but if it wins worldwide, and handily, it could leave Sony so weak that the Japanese will buy the next Xbox.

October 24th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Nintendo, Sony, Xbox 360, Xbox, General | no comments

Pregnancy Calendar Vista Sidebar Gadget

Continuing my quest to bring you the most unique and useful Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, today’s Gadget is a Pregnancy Calendar. Colored in the brightest of bright pinks, this Gadget lets you select a due date or the end of your last period and tells you how far in you are, and how much time is left before you have a baby. Not only that, but if you click it, it has fun facts about what’s going on right now with your fetus.

October 24th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Sidebar, Vista, Windows | one comment