Microsoft's fourth attempt at an ad campaign may finally deliver a worthwhile message to consumers. The latest has nothing to do with Jerry Seinfeld and chewy computers (attempt one) or unattended 8-year-olds hooking up digital cameras to a notebook and declaring "I'm a PC" (attempt two), and then there's the Mojave Experiment (attempt three). Instead, Microsoft's newest ad takes aim at Apple by pointing out the gross pricing disparity between a Mac and a Windows-based PC.
In the ad, a young woman named Lauren says she's looking for a laptop with "speed, a comfortable keyboard, and a 17-inch screen" for under $1,000. Microsoft tells her if she can find it, she can keep it. Lauren's first stop? An Apple Store:
"For $1,000 they only have one computer available and that's a 13-inch screen," Lauren says. "I would have to double my budget, which isn't feasible. I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person."
After later finding an HP Pavilion that "has all of my qualifications" for $700, the ad flashes "Congrats, Lauren. It's a PC."
Well played, Microsoft. And also well timed.
View the video here then hit the jump and tell us if you like Microsoft's new ad campaign.
Pirates of all ilks are locked in a game of cat and mouse with regulators and content proprietors. Throughout their endless war, both have tightly clung to Newton’s third law: every regulation (action) has an equal and opposite ruse (action). Microsoft has come up with a fresh way to stymie videogame piracy. Its newfangled anti-piracy measure will prevent gamers from enjoying illicit copies of games before the street date.
"We have zero-day piracy protection—this helps reduce the leakage of IP before release. The bits are encrypted, and there is a one-time activation that checks to see if the game has been released or not, and we'll send out a decrypt code so the game can be played." Drew Johnston, the product unit manager for the Windows Gaming Platform, told Ars Technica. How will pirates respond?
Microsoft's latest browser, Internet Explorer 8, has gotten mixed reviews from MaximumPC.com readers (see comments here and here), but one question that's hard for any individual user to answer about any browser is "how secure is it?"
To find out, Microsoft asked NSS Labs to pit IE8 RC1 against its predecessor, IE7, as well as the following third-party browsers: Firefox 3.0.7, Safari 3.2, Chrome 1.0.154, and Opera 9.64. The objective: find out which browser did the best job at handling so-called social-engineering malware sites - the ones that try to con you into downloading malware disguised as something else ("Adobe Flash update," anyone?).
ComputerWorldreports that IE8 did the best job of fending off attacks from 492 malware-distributing websites, blocking 69% of attacks (details here [PDF link]). If you're not using IE8, join us after the jump to learn how your favorite browser fared.
Vista might not have lived up to the pre-release hype on the day of its release, but at least as time went on, the initial bugs and hiccups have been mostly ironed out. What started off as a problematic OS has evolved into a respectable replacement for XP, no matter what the haters might tell you. If only the same could be said for former Microsoft Windows executive Jim Allchin's first foray into the solo music scene.
Allchin, who left Microsoft in 2007, recently released a solo guitar-and-vocals album titled "Enigma" (we would have gone with "Enema"), which made its way onto iTunes earlier this week. But unlike Vista, which got off to a rocky start but held promise, "Enigma" might have more in common with Windows ME, another utterly forgettable release.
"This is literally one of the, if not THE, worst albums I've heard," a listener wrote. "I'd say it's the 'Istar' of music, but that would be doing a grave disservice to 'Istar.' I cringe when I hear this ,and I'm at a loss for words to describe why it's so bad."
So are we, but maybe you'll have better luck than us. Give it a listen here, then hit the jump and offer up your critique.
While Google continues to pull ahead with a healthy share of planetary images, Microsoft announced this week that they signed a deal that gives them access to 100TB worth of NASA’s images, that will ultimately find their way onto the WorldWide Telescope website.
Microsoft has announced that they plan on working with NASA in order to develop “the technology and infrastructure necessary to make the most interesting NASA content.” The content, which will be available on Microsoft’s virtual telescope for exploring the universe, WorldWide Telescope, should be available later this year.
And, for those keeping tabs on just how big 100TB of data is, that’s enough to fill 20,000 DVDs.
Microsoft's recently released Internet Explorer 8 runs faster than previous versions, boasts better standards compliance, and serves up some nifty features like Tab Grouping, Web Accelerators, and Web Slices. And without any major UI changes to pull end-users out of their comfort zone, Microsoft likely expected a mad rush to upgrade. As it turns out, those who are upgrading appear to be running back to IE7, according to data by Net Applications.
After being released on Thursday of last week, IE8's market share ramped up to 2.59 percent on Sunday. By Monday, that number dropped to 1.86 percent and today sits at 1.17 percent. Going by Net Applications' numbers alone, this would seem to indicate early adopters aren't all that impressed with IE8.
Because of the improvements made to web standards compliance, Microsoft had to implement a Compatibility Mode to prevent itself from essentially 'breaking the web.' Major sites known to render improperly in IE8 automatically run in compatibility mode, while others require end-users to manually switch modes. Complaints have surfaced from not being able to print from greeting card sites to missing images on pages built with Microsoft Publisher.
Are you having issues with IE8? Hit the jump and sound off.
By now you've probably had a chance to either play with the Windows 7 beta, or have at least read up on Microsoft's upcoming operating system and have had your share of screenshots. But what you might not know is that the Windows 7 interface was close to being decidedly different than what it is.
Steven Sinofsky, senior VP for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, said that kept a gallery of designs for the Office Assistant on his office wall to help inspire the Windows 7 team. His gallery contained over 400 sketches of the desktop UI, including a taskbar with thumbnails of open windows instead of icons.
Other interface considerations include a Bat Signal, so that when you hovered your mouse over an icon, a window pop-up would appear highlighted by beams of light. This would later evolve into Aero Peek in Windows 7. Aero Shake, on the other hand, came from an experiment called Aladdin. So long as a user kept 'rubbing' a window in the background, it would stay on top.
Check out what other wacky ideas the Windows 7 team considered and view more sketches here.
Step one on the long road to retiring 32-bit computers to the PC graveyard was the development of 64-bit processors (check). Step two was the development of 64-bit operating systems (check). Step three was the development of 64-bit drivers (check). And now, it's almost time for step four: major 64-bit applications.
ZDNet's Ed Bott has done some digging around in Windows 7's MigWiz.xml file (it's used to configure the Migration Wizard in Windows 7) and discovered that the upcoming Microsoft Office 14 will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. In the Office 14 section of MigWiz.xml in post-beta builds of Windows 7, Bott found references to both standard and x64 programs in Office 14, as well as references to upgrade options from Office 2003 to either Office 14 or Office 14 x64 (note that the public Windows 7 beta doesn't include these settings). What does this mean to Office 14's expected release date? Bott says:
The fact that this code is being baked into Windows 7 now suggests that the rumors of an early 2010 ship date for Office 14 are accurate. Having native 64-bit support for all members of the Office family is an extra bonus and welcome news.
If you're currently using some version of Microsoft Office, does the advent of a native 64-bit version make you more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 14? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Microsoft used last week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, but without the fanfare Mozilla's Firefox 3 received when the open-source browser set a Guinness World Record for most downloads in a 24-hour period following its release.
But while IE8 didn't manage to set any new records, it did boost the browser's market share a tad. Nothing to get excited over, IE8's average market share increased from 1.34 percent from the day before its official launch to 1.45 percent on the day of release. To be fair, market share peaked slightly higher at 1.86 percent and now stands at 1.7 percent.
For the sake of comparison, Google Chrome 1.0 only gained about 0.1 percentage points next to IE8's .52 percentage points gain on day of release. Firefox 3, meanwhile, gained .66 points on the first day and 3.51 points over a two-day period.
Are you planning to download IE8? Hit the jump and let us know.
As expected, Microsoft used this week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, Cnet's Ina Fried reports. To make it easy to get your hands on IE8, links to the previous IE8 beta version website now automatically point to the official IE8 page. So, what's new in IE8? We've discussed a lot of the new features in previous articles, but if you need to get up to speed, here are some of the high points:
Compatibility mode, designed to enable IE8 (built, at long last, to comply with official standards) to properly render pages on sites designed to match previous IE versions' Microsoft-only features
Web accelerators, which provide one-click blog, define, email, find, map, and search for content in any web page
SmartScreen filter and other built-in features to help provide a more secure search environment
InPrivate browsing that automatically blocks history and other traces of where you've been online