Microsoft has released version 1.0 of Security Essentials, the successor to Live OneCare. Originally known as Morro, Security Essentials retains the core features of OneCare, but abandons the additional heft of a firewall, performance tuning, and backup and restore options in exchange for making the program free. Rather than taking aim at full-featured security suites made by Symantec or Eset, the features available in Security Essentials indicate that Microsoft is aiming to compete with basic-but-free security apps.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent on Monday one of his periodic public e-mails, outlining the business realities of what he called "the new normal."
His e-mail comes just ahead of an event in San Francisco where he will talk about the lineup of products Microsoft is launching, namely Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Exchange Server 2010. I'll be covering that event live later Tuesday.
"Today, people borrow less, save more, and spend with much greater caution," Ballmer wrote in the e-mail, which is sent to anyone who subscribes to the notes. "This … Read more
Oh, those smart rascals at Microsoft are on a roll. I love their Courier tablet concept, and now they may have found the way to make on-screen multitouch keyboards actually work great--even for touch typists like me.
The problem with screen keyboards is that you actually have to look at the screen to hit the keys correctly. With real keyboards, touch typists have a physical reference to position their hands. That's why they type blind. With a flat screen keyboard, however, you lose the physical reference frame.
The patent for this screen keyboard, however, uses multitouch technology to automatically … Read more
Microsoft's launch party videos have proven to be entertaining to viewers even if not for the reasons for the marketing department had hoped for. There were a great many comments on my post that provided context to their release, but generally speaking most industry-watchers have been confused as to the goals behind the program, questioning the target audience not just for the videos, but for the launch parties as well.
I reached out to Microsoft for comment but they withheld at this time as the videos are apparently just one step in a much larger integrated marketing campaign.
I personally found the most recent video weird, but after thinking through things a bit I think this is a case of a good idea hampered by poor execution. The videos are well-done and professional and try to connect with consumers in a humanistic tone. The fact that it feels like you stumbled into a shiny-happy Windows world filled with sit-com throwaways is the problem. Even if this is a training video to show others how to throw a launch party, it's hard to connect with the vapid characterizations of party guests.
This is the crux of Microsoft's marketing problems. It's not that they aren't good at technical marketing issues, it's that the brand itself is so voluminous, it's very hard for people to connect to specific products like Windows. And the efforts to persuade consumers isolate the tech media and confuse IT shops. … Read more
There are those who believe Windows 7 doesn't need selling.
As long as reviewers continue to suggest that it is a fine, fine thing, then people will gravitate towards it as they buy their (much cheaper than Mac) PCs.
Microsoft is, however, taking no chances. It has released nine new ads designed for you to not be ashamed of being seen in public using the new operating system.
And what's the best way of encouraging people to not feel ashamed? Why, you try to make your product cool.
It is not cool to ever tell people you are … Read more
Could Intel's new Moblin 2.1 OS make a dent against Windows in the mobile and desktop markets?
At this week's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the chipmaker debuted a beta version of its Moblin 2.1 open-source operating system targeted to run on a variety of devices, including smartphones, Netbooks, nettops, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), and in-car systems.
Moblin 2.1 will compete with other open-source operating systems like Google's Android and bump up against Microsoft in the burgeoning nettop arena.
Originally developed for Netbooks, Moblin 2.1 (short for mobile Linux) will come in three flavors--one for handhelds, another for Netbooks, and a third for nettops.
In the market for handheld gadgets such as smartphones and MIDs, Moblin 2.1 will run on Atom chip-based devices. The beta demoed by Intel at IDF showed off capabilities for touch-screen and gesture input. The new interface will also let users switch among different open applications and will provide shortcuts to social-networking apps.
The Moblin 2.1 Web browser will also support Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight 3 technology to run interactive Web-based apps.… Read more
Like many who spend their days trapped inside a cubicle, Microsoft Office probably dreams of living a more exciting life. Perhaps, when it was just a beta, it thought maybe it would grow up to be a policeman.
Well, in "Crush," a new crime novel, the mundane piece of software gets its chance. Office, or at least one key Office document, ends up playing a central role in the pursuit of a serial killer.
Without giving away too much of the plot, it's fair to say that a certain PowerPoint file becomes a key piece of evidence, … Read more
Microsoft on Thursday lashed out against Google Chrome Frame--an Internet Explorer plug-in that supplants IE's rendering engine with Google's.
The software maker, in a statement, said users are better off moving to a later version of Internet Explorer if they want the latest technology as opposed to using Chrome Frame.
"With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers," Microsoft said. "Given the security issues with plug-ins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plug-in has doubled the attach … Read more
However, a lot has been going on behind the scenes, particularly in getting developers to build games that can take advantage of the technology, which lets a player control a game with their body as opposed to a joystick. In an announcement at the Tokyo Game Show on Thursday, Microsoft noted that nearly all of the big names in video games are working on Natal titles. … Read more
Microsoft dreams of conquering the phone business, but it knows that 'pink' is just one hue in a very broad palette.
The leaked photos that emerged on Gizmodo on Wednesday, while genuine, paint just one part of the picture of how Microsoft hopes to get back into the phone game.
According to sources familiar with the company's plans, the designs shown on Gizmodo are are more the evolution of the Sidekick than they are an effort to take on the mass market or even Apple's iPhone. The devices themselves won't be built by Microsoft itself and are … Read more