The console wars just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Earlier today at E3, Microsoft and Netflix announced an exclusive partnership that will give Xbox 360 owners the ability to stream movies and TV episodes included with their Netflix subscription to their living room TV set. The new service will launch in late fall and be available to LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers at no additional cost.
The partnership with Microsoft not only comes as a bonus to existing Xbox 360 owners, who prior to the update had to either buy a $99 set-top player through Roku or deal with unofficial (and buggy) workarounds, but also presents potential console owners a compelling incentive to pick up an Xbox 360 over the Blu-ray capable Playstation 3.
Microsoft has long offered hardware compatibility information for different versions of Windows, including Windows Vista. Remember the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)? Until now, though, Microsoft has dropped the ball on making software compatibility easy to determine. With a renewed emphasis on marketing and customer satisfaction this summer, Microsoft has now created an easy-to-use one-stop shop for determining which hardware and software products will work with Windows Vista, the Windows Vista Compatibility Center.
For a quick tour of the WVCC, and to learn how you can make it even better, see us after the jump.
During a keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008, Microsoft CEO Kevin Turner went on record claiming Vista "is more secure today than Apple Leopard, or XP, or Linux, or open source." Surprisingly, Turner's right, at least when looking over a report (PDF) from Microsoft's own security division comparing the number of fixed and unfixed vulnerabilities of several operating systems. So is Vista (and by association, Microsoft) getting a bad rap?
Arstechnica says no, and points out "exploited vulnerabilities are something that needs a little bit more emphasis, and so do infection numbers." Security company PC Tools (makers of ThreatFire, reviewed in the February 2008 issue of Maximum PC, page 26) found that up to 70 percent of Vista home PCs are infected with malware, and while Microsoft might not agree with PC Tools' findings, its no secret that Mac OS X and Linux systems are targeted less frequently than Windows. Microsoft evangelist Michael Kleef claims end users are ultimately to blame for the higher infection rate, and not the OS, but when it comes out that one of Vista's main security features was designed to annoy, does the fault really lie with the end user?
I just read a report from Eweek.com claiming that Windows Mobile was beating out the iPhone. The article quotes a top Windows Mobile executive that they shipped some 4.5 million Windows Mobile devices during the first quarter of 2008, up 1.8 million units.
They cite IDG figures showing that Apple sold only 1.8 million iPhones during the same quarter.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Windows Mobile was outselling the iPhone, after all it has been more useful as a business tool. I wonder how those numbers will look next quarter now that Apple has released the newer version of the iPhone with more business tools becoming available. Its popularity is akin to the iPod and its becoming almost a fashion statement for the well dressed geek. Even Norman stood in line to get one!
State your preference! Are you an iPhone lover or Windows Mobile driver?
Yahoo rejected the proposal in a press statement citing several grounds for the decision. It believes that the terms of the proposed search-operation buyout are unfavorable for the company’s stockholders. However, it has softened its earlier stance a bit and now appears to favor a full sellout at $33/share, as originally proposed by Microsoft but rejected by it. The fate of the reigning Yahoo Board of Directors, and consequently, the deal will now be decided on August 1 – board election Day.
There was much hype surrounding Microsoft's DirectX 10 API before its release, and since its debut, we've seen a handful of games take advantage of the new instruction sets. But there still lacks that killer game that blows every DX9 title out of the water and many gamers still resent the decision to tie DX10 exclusively with Vista, leaving the XP faithful out in the cold. And for those that made the upgrade? Microsoft's incremental DX10.1 update came as a slap in the face to anyone who upgraded both their OS and videocard in the hopes of future-proofing their system. Only ATI's 3xxx and 4xxx series support the minor update, which might not be so minor after all.
Soon making the DX10 and DX10.1 controversies old news, TGDaily reports Microsoft will unveil the next major update -- DirectX 11 -- at this year's annual XNA Gamefest scheduled to take place on July 22 and 23 in Seattle. Little is known about DX11, except that Microsoft plans to make it available for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
With the dust yet to settle on DX10, are gamers looking forward to DX11?
The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft will lower the price of its 20GB Pro Xbox 360 from $349 to $299 as early as July 13th. It might be announced as part of Microsoft's presentation at the E3 on July 14th.
Microsoft has lost ground to the Playstation 3 in the past year, possible because of the defeat of Microsoft backed HD-DVD which the Xbox came with versus Sony’s Blu-Ray and the 40Gigs of space versus the Xbox 360’s 20Gigs at a roughly $50 price difference. Best guess is that this might lead to Sony cutting prices on the Playstation 3 as well.
So if you absolutely must get a console, hold off for the coming price adjustment. We’ll miss you in Team Fortress 2.
Microsoft is going to extraordinary lengths this summer to make some of its customers satisfied with Windows Vista - or else. If they don't love Vista, Microsoft will help them downgrade to Windows XP. How much does this new customer-satisfaction blitz cost? For you, special price: nothing!
However, not everybody gets the special Microsoft Vista schmooze. To find out who gets the special love from Redmond, and how long they get primo treatment, you know what to do. We'll see you after the break.
Cut off the supply for a product that people still want, and the demand skyrockets. Windows XP is the product, and Amazon.com's Software Bestseller list proves that Windows XP is still a hot item. CNet reports that Windows XP ranks high on the Amazon.com best-selling software list. So, how popular is Windows XP? How does Windows Vista compare? And, where else can you buy Windows XP in the wake of its retail discontinuance by Microsoft?
Microsoft seems poised to finally fight back against Apple’s Mac Guy vs PC Guy ads. The trendy, cool young ‘Mac’ guy versus the older staid business “PC” guy in a suit, have become pop culture icons. Every Mac user I ever knew was into granola, watching tree’s grow, and communing with nature, not trendy and cool. Microsoft’s position until now has been to sit back and let them play out. This may have been a bad move on Microsoft’s part. Mac Guy has been thoroughly ingrained into the national psyche.
Brad Brooks, the Corporate Vice President of Windows Consumer Product announced during his keynote address July 8 at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference that Microsoft is launching a 300 million dollar advertising counteroffensive against certain “unnamed competitors”. Dailytech.com quoted him as saying , "We know our story is very different from what our competitors want us to think. Today we are drawing a line and are going to start telling the real story (about Vista)."