Far be it for Microsoft to shy away from hiring known celebrities to pitch its products, as was the case with hiring Jerry Seinfeld as its OS pitchman. But now the software maker is looking to push Internet Explorer 8 in the cutthroat browser wars, and it's getting a bit of help from TV Superman Dean Cain. Oh, and there's puking too.
So far there are a total of four adverts, each one starring Dean Cain as the on-screen narrator. But it's the fourth video in the series that will get all the attention for its vivid portrayal of a woman puking after viewing something apparently offensive online - or maybe she's a Houston Rockets fan and just read up on Yao Ming's foot.
While for some of us, the pricing for Windows 7 is easy on the wallet thanks to the OEM solution, there are others that aren’t too happy due to the retail prices.
According to a recent study by The NPD Group’s VP of industry analysis Stephen Baker, the mostly free upgrade program for PCs bought on or after June 26, 2009 is extremely commendable, but the retail pricing is a bad idea, especially in today’s economy. “Besides the fact that $119 is a price point that fits nowhere in these economic times, it is still way too much for the software,” stated Baker. “… It is in Microsoft’s best interests to erase all vestiges of Vista from consumers’ homes, and by making the upgrade expensive … Microsoft is creating a large disincentive for consumers to move to a far superior platform with a better user experience.”
So what do you think? Is the pricing for Windows 7 too rough on the pocketbook, or is the pricing just fine the way it is?
While Windows 7, unlike Vista, runs well on netbooks, there are two big problems that must be overcome to make Windows 7 easy to install on netbooks:
Most netbooks lack CD or DVD drives
Netbooks run Windows XP or Linux, neither of which are supported for upgrade installations of Windows 7
As far as problem number one is concerned, there may be a solution: Cnet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft is mulling over the idea of providing Windows 7 on USB thumbdrives to make upgrading netbooks easier without connecting an external CD or DVD drive. As we demonstrated earlier this year, you can install Windows 7 from a USB key after a bit of finagling. Creating a version of Windows 7 that's USB key-friendly would make the process a lot easier for clean installs.
However, what about Windows XP netbook users who want an easy upgrade? Fried reports that Best Buy's Geek Squad is looking at developing Windows 7 upgrade services.
Windows 7 does include Windows Easy Transfer to move user accounts, email, and data files from Windows Vista or XP systems, but is there a better solution that also works with programs? How about Linux netbook users? Any apps or scripts that can at least get the data over to Windowsland safely? We're looking for better suggestions for making the move from Windows XP or Linux on a netbook or other PC to Windows 7 as painless as possible for non-technical users. Think simple, think reliable, and join us after the jump to pass them along.
If you were frustrated by trying to figure out which edition of Windows Vista was the right choice ("hmm...If I use Vista Business, I don't get Windows Media Center, but if I use Vista Home Premium, I don't get image backup..."), Microsoft has done us all a favor by rethinking the feature sets for Windows 7.
Yes, there are still multiple SKUs to consider, but this time, you no longer need to worry about what's left out if you move up from one edition to another. To find out how the different US editions of Windows 7 compare in features, what Microsoft is doing to satisfy EU regulators, and what it will cost you to pre-order a Windows 7 upgrade now compared to waiting until it ships, join us after the jump.
Microsoft's pre-order pricing for Windows 7, in which prices have been temporarily reduced by up to 58 percent, went into effect last Friday and the response has been phenomenal. Perhaps proving that potential customers would rather pay for software when priced the price is right rather than pirate, Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, discounted to $50, wasted no time in jumping to the top of Amazon.com's bestseller list. Windows 7 Professional Upgrade, discounted to $100, claimed the No. 2 spot.
The surprise pricing was announced last Thursday and stays in effect in the U.S. until July 11, 2009, or "until supplies last." Consumers living in Japan will have until July 5th to take advantage of the reduced pricing, and those in the U.K., France, and Germany will be offered similar pre-order discounts starting on July 15th.
It remains to be seen how consumers will react to normal upgrade pricing once the promotion runs its course.
"The $49 initial price is a nice reward for loyal customers," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Interpret. "But the 'real' upgrade pricing is way off for what the market will likely bear, especially during these economic times."
Participating retailers include (thanks to reader u217946 for the handy list):
For those of you who found yourselves breathless with anticipation after watching the Office 2010 Movie Trailers, you might just be the perfect candidate for the technical preview. Currently Microsoft is looking beta testers who fall into the home, or student category, and are willing to fill out a short survey via the connect website. The survey will ask for basic information about your PC, your OS, and what you currently use for an office suite, nothing overly personal. You will need a free Windows Live account (or Hotmail), and it sounds like they are looking for plenty of volunteers.
People with Office 2007 probably won’t notice much of a difference, but I highly encourage curious users with older versions of Office, as well as Open Office, to give the new ribbon UI a try. It takes some getting used to, but does a pretty good job of exposing functionality that was previously hidden to novice or casual users.
Hit the jump to watch one of the official Office 2010 Movie Teasers.
If you’ll direct your attention to a picture here, you’ll notice that they’ve got a pretty good hunch, too. Given that just about everything in the picture (with the exception of the brand in the upper-left hand corner) is about the same.
Kayak’s Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge has stated, “We have contacted them [Bing] through official channels about concerns about the similarities between Bing and Kayak. From the look and feel of their travel product, they seem to agree with our approach to the market.”
In a response, Bing’s Whitney Burke has said, “We are discussing the matter with Kayak. Bing Travel is based on independent development by Microsoft and Farecast.com, which Microsoft acquired in 2008. Any contrary allegations are without merit.”
With the influx of Open Source applications flooding the web, it’s no wonder that people are scoping out alternatives to paying for word processing software. However, what those people don’t realize is the truth behind the phrase “More bang for your buck.” Paying for software means it comes with a multitude of features not included with a free clone, and in the case with popular programs like Microsoft Office, this is entirely true.
We’ve been using Office for years, whether it came bundled with our new machine or purchased at a brick and mortar store, only to take for granted the fact that it comes with a multitude of fully fledged features that makes, well, getting through life much easier. Whether it’s a school assignment, a dissertation, an expense report or a presentation on that idea you’re looking to pitch to your department, Microsoft Office has made our lives much more organized in the ways of word processing and delivering information.
So we took a bit of time to play around with the latest version of Microsoft Word to see if we could rekindle our relationship one more time. Needless to say, we’re still committed. For that reason, we’ve brought you five useful Microsoft Word tips you probably weren’t aware of before or didn’t know how to enable.
After a brief moment of availability this week, Microsoft’s free Security Essentials application has been pulled from the virtual shelves.
Microsoft claims that it now has enough users for the beta, stating on their website, “Thank you for your interest in joining the Microsoft Security Essentials Beta. We are not accepting additional participants at this time. Please check back at later a date for possible additional availability.”
So, if you were hoping to get in but weren’t among the fleets of people that did so yesterday, you’re out of luck! You’ll just have to wait for the full version, like everyone else (that is, unless you got actually in).
Microsoft’s main aim with Windows 7 is to make it much easier to use than its predecessor, Vista. Apparently, this also includes the packaging that it comes in.
While the old packaging did take a brief moment to figure out, the new box will work in a way that most of us are very familiar with, and open just like a DVD case. However, the shape of the package will remain the same. It’ll include just the disc and a getting started guide.
Overall, Microsoft reports that they’ve been able to lighten up the package weight by 37 percent with these changes.