You may not have been aware, but the universe had been out of whack for a short period. But now order is fully restored with Bill Gates regaining his position as the world's wealthiest man according to Forbes, a designation he lost briefly to Warren Buffet. And with an estimated fortune worth around $57 billion, Gates now enjoys a comfortable lead over No. 2 Buffet, who after a 15 percent decrease since February of this year now sits at $50 billion.
But Gates isn't the only Microsoft elite doing superbly well. Co-founder Paul Allen is ranked 12th with a net worth of $16 billion, while Ballmer claims the 16th spot with $15 billion. Between the three, that comes to $88 billion, enough to buy more than 317 million retail boxed copies of Windows Vista Ultimate.
Don't feel bad if you didn't make the list. Forbes says you "only" need $1.3 billion to qualify, so if you weren't among the 32 new entrants, it just means you're not trying hard enough.
We've all heard that what goes up must certainly come down (that Sir Isaac Newton was a smart cookie), but what happens when something keeps going up? In this case, you name it Google and ride the financial wave hoping the 'Midas touch' never wears off.
To call Google a search giant is no longer accurate, as it neglects to mention everything else the company has going for it. Now Google can add to its resume as owning the 10th highest brand name value, according to a study by BusinessWeek and Interbrand.
The ranking reflects a big jump from 20th place where Google sat last year. But with a value that has increased 43 percent to $25.6 billion, the company moved way up the chart and now trails just four other technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, and Intel). Meanwhile, IBM overtook the second spot on the chart, knocking Microsoft down to third.
Coca-Cola remains in the top spot, but could it be long before Google starts nipping at its heels?
Perhaps the price war with a recently competitive ATI has taken a toll on Nvidia, or maybe the ongoing mobile GPU fiasco is to blame, but whatever the reason, it will come as little consolation to the 360 employees soon to receive a pink slip. The graphics chip maker said the job cuts will take place by the end of October, which will represent a work force reduction of more than 6 percent.
"Our action today is difficult, but necessary considering current business realities," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. "Despite our reduction, we will continue to invest in selective high-growth opportunities like our revolutionary CUDA parallel computing technology and our Tegra mobile single-chip computer"
Huang went on to say the company will take "fast action" to restore its financial performance. In the meantime, Nvidia is expected to record $7 to $10 million in restructuring related chargers, comprised of severance and other expenses.
Arguably no other company is doing more to push SSDs into the mainstream than OCZ, who earlier this year released its Core Series SATA II SSD drives, undercutting the competition in price and hurdling past in performance. Now the company is at it again, slashing prices one more time.
It was just a week ago that OCZ's 32GB Core SSD dropped down to just $99 after mail-in-rebate, and now the company's 64GB model is receiving similar treatment. Newegg is now selling the bigger model for the same price after a $70 mail-in-rebate, which means you can now get double the storage space for a single C-note than what you could have received last week.
It's not all peaches and cream, though, as the price cuts come on the heels of heavy criticism by Anandtech, who faulted the drives for random write issues resulting in "horrible stuttering/pausing/lagging."
Is the new low price per gigabyte enough to make up for SSD technology's shortcomings?
We remember it like it was roughly five years ago. Our wave goodbye. Their shocked silence. Our shoulders gloomily slumped as we trudged out their door. Their faces pressed against the cold glass, rain-like water pouring dramatically, but mostly because the fire alarm was malfunctioning. It was the day we discovered Steam -- our final farewell to a helpful cadre of GameStop employees. And today, it looks like our departure -- along with that of most other PC gamers -- is finally hitting GameStop right in the pocketbook.
However, that doesn't mean GameStop plans to drop PC games without a fight.
"[GameStop's PC game sales] are down probably more than I had anticipated," GameStop SVP Bob McKenzie told Gamasutra. "...We had planned for it to be down. Again, the number of new titles we have on PC is down probably more than what I had anticipated it would be down -- but I don't see that as a threat or a signaling, we're not backing away from it at all."
"A year ago we had 350 stores that didn't carry PC merchandise and today, that number hasn't grown any... [bit] the PC market is definitely still very alive, and a portion of our business that we're hanging onto."
Speaking of the digitally distributed elephant in the room -- the straw currently slurping up his company's PC sales -- McKenzie noted:
"Our position with our publishers is that we're not afraid to compete with them -- against that digital distribution model. We can offer it. It's really another choice for the consumer, as long as they're not making that choice an unfair advantage for them, where they're able to sell it earlier or they add something into the game that we can't get our hands on for our consumer."
McKenzie, you so just lost your place on Dan DeMatteo's Facebook friends list.
And so it has begun, or at least it soon will. We're referring to the inevitable battle between Google's Android platform and the Apple iPhone, the latter of which is arguably the hottest cellular gadget currently available.
Nothing is official yet, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the HTC Dream will be the first Google Android smartphone out of the gates. If the report holds true, you'll be able to own one for $199 with a 2-year service agreement tied to T-Mobile. This would put the smartphone on the same pricing tier as Apple's iPhone, leaving the Android platform little wiggle room to falter.
Based on earlier reports, the HTC Dream will sport a 3-inch screen, integrated Wi-Fi, 3G compatibility, and GPS functionality. But potentially putting the Dream at a disadvantage next to the iPhone are several reported missing features, such as no motion sensor chip that can switch the screen layout between portrait and landscape mode, no multi-touch capability, and lack of Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Despite what's missing, HTC seems to think it can sell between 600,000 to 700,000 devices by the end of the year, which would give it momentum moving into 2009.
Is HTC overly confident in Google's brand recognition, or is Apple's one-man show in the high end touchscreen cellular market about to become a two-man tango?
That's the last time we press an ear up against this grapevine; sometimes, we'd rather a rumor soothe us with sweet, sweet lies than bludgeon us with a harsh truth -- that truth being, of course, a nebulous delay for the PC edition of Mirror's Edge.
Today, EA sent out a press release that trumpeted the hotly anticipated first-person free-runner's upcoming console release. For those fortunate fuc-- fellows, the game will be bouncing onto shelves November 11. And, as a spot of Mrs. Dash for you wounds, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can also look forward to a demo of Mirror's Edge featuring "the prologue of the game including the tutorial and a segment of the single-player story mode."
We'd also parrot back the bit about how players who pre-order a console version of Mirror's Edge will break the chains off of exclusive demo content in the form of a ridiculously awesome time trial, but we don't want to upset you any further.
The PC version of Mirror's Edge, meanwhile, will launch "later this winter." Why? EA wouldn't say. However, we prefer to think it's because EA loves us, and people only hurt the ones they love.
Speaking of which, does anyone know where we could find a nice, sturdy tire iron, a plane ticket, and meticulously detailed directions to EA's offices? We want to tell EA how much we love them, and coincidentally, a tire iron is the perfect "thiiiis much" measuring tool.
If you ever wondered what constitutes an epic fail as opposed to a regular fail, here it is. According to UK based news and reviews site PC Pro, one of its readers claims to have received a recovery DVD with his Asus notebook purchase filled with various software cracks and several confidential documents. Oops!
The reader says his antivirus software discovered a key crack for the WinRAR compression software, and upon further investigation, he uncovered a folder labeled 'Crack,' inside which are what he claims are serial numbers for other software. But that's not all that was included. Another directory is said to contain confidential Microsoft documents for PC manufacturers, complete with program files and key codes. PC Pro says that yet another directory contains internal Asus documents along with source code for some of the company's software.
Apparently this isn't an isolated incident, prompting an Asus spokesman to issue an apology to affected customers, saying "We will be investigating this at quite a high level. Once the investigation is complete, we will ensure it doesn't happen again."
Buffalo Technology, makers of high-end storage and networking peripherals (their products are apparently very popular in Japan), today announced several new products which they hope will bolster their market share in the US. One of the more exciting products they showed us is the Mini-Station portable hard drive, which is easily the smallest hard drive we’ve seen, period. The 60GB storage device is a mere 5 millimeters thick (.2 inches), and measures 3.4 by 2.2 inches. Inside the tiny frame is the smallest external spinning hard drive on the market, a single platter 1.8” drive.
It's not a sports score, but it might be even more important to tech fans: Windows 7, Milestone 3 is the current progress "score" for Windows 7, the next generation of Windows (milestones are internal test builds used to develop and debug features before beta testing begins).
So, what's inside W7M3 (also known as Build 6780)?
Castles, a simplified version of domain control designed for home networks but pulled from Windows Vista before it went out the door, is in Windows 7 but is now called Home Groups.
PowerShell v2, aka Graphical Console, is also in the mix for scripting fans (a preview for XP and Vista users is available now).
WordPad and Paint no longer look like leftovers from Windows 3.1 - they're getting a cleaned-up version of the ribbon UI introduced in Office 2007. Here's more about what's new and different. What's the big deal? According to Softpedia, the so-called Fluent/Ribbon interface is the future of Windows and Windows apps.
It looks as if the first formal beta of Windows 7 will be launched before the end of the year, with some observers speculating that Windows 7 might be available sometime between June and September 2009. So, what do you think?
Do you like the foretaste of W7's user interface? Are you looking forward to Windows 7, or do you suspect, as InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy opines, that "it's doomed to failure?" Hit the jump for your chance to comment.