Russia’s state run anti-monopoly service has launched a formal investigation into Microsoft over cutbacks in the supply of Windows XP. The agency believes that Microsoft has violated antimonopoly legislation by intentionally limiting the stock of Windows XP to Russia in both retail, and OEM editions which come preinstalled on new PC’s. Analysts claim that Windows Vista continues to be available, while the ongoing demand for XP both by the public, and the government, remains unsatisfied.
Microsoft has yet to formally address the issue, but according to the Moscow regional office, nobody from the anti-monopoly service has tried to contact them. "We (have) always answered antimonopoly service questions in full and intend to continue this practice in future," Microsoft spokeswoman Marina Levina said by telephone. Full scale investigations by the antimonopoly service in Russia are rare, and Microsoft will be given more details by July 24th.
The accusations being made in Russia are drastically different than previous antitrust cases leveled by the EU and USA. In both these cases, the complaints were focused on software bundling for which it was fined $708 million in 2004 by the EU.
Could Microsoft be intentionally limiting Windows XP supply in Russia to help push Vista?
Earlier this week, Acer pulled a 180 and announced plans to ship an Android-based netbook after previously saying the open-source OS wasn't ready for netbooks. For the company's next trick, Acer now plans to dual-boot Android with Windows XP.
According to Acer chairman JT Wang, the dual-boot strategy carries less risk than shipping a netbook with Android alone, as consumer response has yet to be determined for the latter. But the company isn't ruling out a standalone Android netbook either. Acer plans to target telecom providers to sell the new netbook, and if there's enough demand, an Android-only model could be in the works.
Not everyone is happy about the decision, however, particularly open-source enthusiasts. It also remains to be seen what kind of consumer reaction there will be, considering the major selling point of an open-source platform is the reduced cost, but that won't be the case with XP tagging along for the ride.
What are your thoughts on a dual-booting netbook? Hit the jump and let us know!
As if Microsoft didn’t have enough on its plate in advance of the October 22 launch date for its latest operating system, Windows 7, an old, familiar friend is entering the fray. Like a second player that adds a quarter and interrupts your progression in an arcade fighting game, Google is bringing its open-source Android operating system out of the handheld market and into the PC world.
Acer netbooks are the target for Android’s first foray beyond the mobile market. The company has announced that it will begin offering both Microsoft-based operating systems and Google’s Android platform for a majority of its netbooks—or “mini-notebooks,” as Microsoft now prefers to call them. Acer’s latest Aspire One netbook will be the first of its kind to offer Android as an alternative platform, and you’ll be able to pick one up in the third quarter of this year.
The move is a boon for the open-source world… sort-of. For Android is as open as it is Linux, which is to say that it might be based on the Linux kernel, but it’s not a Linux operating system. Similarly, although Android comes close to fulfilling the philosophy and licensing requirements to deem it a full, open-source product, a few qualifiers exist that give cause for concern. Together, these two issues combine to create a troubled picture for Android’s future outside of the mobile market.
The wait is almost over for staunch XP users who have decided to skip Windows Vista altogether and wait for what's next. That would be Windows 7, and Microsoft this week announced plans to launch its upcoming OS on October 22, a little over five months from now.
"The feedback from the release candidate has been good," said Bill Veghte, Microsoft Senior Vice President, during an interview with CNet.
Windows 7, now in Release Candidate form, has generally been well received by the public who have had a chance to play with the beta versions and now the RC. Those looking to put off buying a copy of Windows 7 will still be able to rock the RC until March 1, 2010, at which point the PC will begin shutting down every two hours. On June 1, 2010, the RC will officially expire.
Getting back to the retail version, Microsoft confirmed it will offer a "technology guarantee," which will give those who buy a Vista-based machined near the launch date a free or discounted version of Windows 7. Microsoft was short on details, but did say that pricing will be up to the OEMs to decide, and that the upgrade program will apply to Vista Home Premium and up.
Microsoft today let loose its new 'Bing' search engine in beta preview form, which is a few days earlier than we thought they would. For those that might have missed our previous coverage, Bing is the product of Microsoft's Kumo project, a new search engine with revamped algorithms. Microsoft is expected to spend anywhere between $80-$100 million marketing Bing, which is about 6-8 times the amount Google spent marketing its search engine in 2008.
We kicked the tires on the new search engine and our initial impression is that it has the speed to compete with Google and sports a few nifty tricks, such as the ability to customize the layout and fine tune search results. But the real tests will be how relevant Bing can kick back search results, and whether or not the general public is willing to look beyond Google, which has become so prominent as to achieve verb status.
Check it out for yourself then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
You've seen the demos of multitouch, and you might even have a PC that supports Windows 7's multitouch, but what can you do with it? If you're in the market for a PC that supports multi-touch, Microsoft is making a multitouch PC even more appealing by announcing its Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7.
Microsoft Touch Pack is a product of the collaboration between the Windows and Surface development teams, and as a result, Microsoft Touch Pack includes three Microsoft Surface applications and three casual games. Here's what you get:
Microsoft Surface Globe enables you to navigate the Virtual Earth 3D version of the world by touch, and lets you get local information as you "fly" by particular places.
Microsoft Surface Collage brings one of the original Microsoft Surface "touch and move the photos" demos to life, adding the ability to convert a collage into a desktop background.
Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a multi-touch enabled screensaver - watch fish gather around your "submerged" finger.
Casual gamers can enjoy the Rube Goldbergesque Microsoft Blackboard, a mashup of death rays and air hockey in Microsoft Rebound, and float origami on the water in Microsoft Garden Pond.
To find out who gets their hands on Microsoft Touch Pack first, join us after the jump.
Rules, rules, rules. It's one of the few things the open-source world has in common with its closed alternative. There are rules for downloading open-source projects. Rules for using open-source projects. Rules for distributing open-source projects. Rules for modify... ok. You get the idea.
It's one thing for open-source developers to define the legal parameters associated with the tinkering of their pet projects. That's the pill you swallow when you agree to download these bits of community-driven software. But that's also where the control factor ends. You can run open-source software on any platform you like. Depending on the parameters of the license, you can even populate your favorite open-source software applications to a new platform of your choosing--like a little bee in a digital garden, if you will.
Flying over the friendly skies of the closed-source world tells a different tale. Microsoft makes the rules here. Or, at least, as many rules as it can get away with making in relation to which of its operating systems you can use and how you can go about using them. Want to run a ton of programs at once? That's a license issue. Want access to additional functionality? Buy a better license. The list goes on, but it doesn't just end at the software level. A recent report has revealed Microsoft's intentions for Windows 7 in the netbook space, but this isn't the first time Microsoft has demanded that hardware manufacturers bow to a certain specification in order to bundle its operating systems along for the ride.
Check out Microsoft's full restrictions after the jump!
Going toe to toe with Apple's crazy popular iPod Touch is no easy task, but that's exactly what Microsoft will do with its new Zune player, and it isn't shy about saying so. The software giant this week confirmed plans to release the Zune HD this fall, which will be made available only in the U.S. at launch.
"This device is created to go head to head with the iPod Touch," Chris Stephenson, general manger of global marketing for Microsoft Zune, said in a telephone interview with CNet.
Helping it do that will be an OLED touchscreen and HD Radio tuner. The Zune HD will be based on Windows CE with a version of Internet Explorer customized for its touchscreen, Microsoft said. The company also indicated that Zune owners will be able to play HD content on their televisions with a dock.
Expect to see the Zune HD become the definitive Zune product going forward," Stephenson said. "You will continue to see the hard drive product in the market. (The Zune HD) will take over from existing flash devices."
For those of you that are rocking Windows Vista, don’t you know what the Windows 7 release candidate is out? Well, at any rate, Microsoft released Service Pack 2 for Vista to the public today.
SP2 will include Windows Search 4.0, the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack, the ability to record data on Blu-ray media natively, Windows Connect Now (to simplify Wi-Fi configuration), and other security and optimization-minded upgrades.
If you’re looking to download Vista SP2, you can get it here (for 32-bit users) and here (for 64-bit users).
Ready, aim, SPEND! That's the approach Microsoft is planning for Bing, its new search engine, Advertising Agereports. How much coin is Redmond prepared to spend to market Bing (previously code-named Kumo)? Somewhere is the $80-100 million range, Ad Age says, compared to Google's non-recruitment ad spending in 2008 of around $13 million. But, can spending 6-8 times as much as Google give Bing the jump it needs?
Microsoft's ad push (helmed by ad-agency powerhouse JWT) will not, unlike the recent anti-Apple campaign, mention Microsoft's search rivals - instead, the planned ads will ask consumers if search works as well as they'd like.
How about the product itself?
People who've seen the Microsoft product suggest it's useful and has some nifty filtering tools, even though it's not a markedly different-looking interface, at least for text search (some of the multimedia search results, however, do look quite different from how Google currently displays them).
When will Bing shove aside Live Search? The Register says "June," and also suggests keeping an eye on the D: All Things Digital conference this week for more details.