Posts Tagged ‘MicroSoft’
Posted by timothy on Sunday February 22, @06:50PM
Cybercriminals are exploiting a critical hole in Internet Explorer 7 that was patched a week ago by Microsoft, security firm Trend Micro warned on Tuesday.
from the sic-the-french-air-force-on-’em dept.
Posted on Tue Feb 3, 2009 5:13PM EST
– For many years now, Microsoft has offered a “starter edition” of Windows aimed at first-time PC buyers in emerging markets. Though low-cost, the starter version has limitations such as only working on low-end processors, smaller screen resolutions and a cap on the number of programs that can run at one time.
Similar restrictions will remain with Windows 7, but Microsoft will allow the operating system to be used in a new way–to power low-cost computers, particularly Netbooks, in developed countries.
Microsoft confirmed its plans for Windows 7 Starter on Tuesday, as part of its announcement that it will offer six different versions of the operating system. Although Windows Starter will be an option for Netbooks, its limitations mean that computer makers will probably also offer models that run Home Premium.
“For (computer makers) that build lower-cost small notebook PCs, Windows 7 Starter will now be available in developed markets,” Microsoft Vice President Brad Brooks said in an article posted on Microsoft’s Web site. “For the most enhanced, full-functioning Windows experience on small notebook PCs, however, consumers will want to go with Windows 7 Home Premium, which lets you get the most out of your digital media and easily connect with other PCs.”
In an interview this week, Senior Vice President Bill Veghte said that Microsoft will place restrictions on the kinds of processors and screen resolutions that will be supported by Windows 7 Starter, but declined to detail the limitations. Windows 7 Starter also won’t support features like multitouch or Media Center.
Just the three simultaneous application limit, though, could be enough to push many away from Starter. Three applications may sound like a decent number, until you remember those two instant messaging programs you like to run. Plus, there are all kinds of things that run in the background, such as antivirus software and other programs. Microsoft said that background services running in the system tray don’t automatically count against the three program limit, but do count if a user opens up the full program associated with the service.
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Apple hurled a legendary marketing sledgehammer at I.B.M. personal computers that ran Microsoft software. During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple ran a television ad that depicted those machines as instruments of Big Brotherish conformity. The ad was shown just once, but people still talk about it.
Today, Apple is still producing ads that hammer away at computers that run Microsoft’s software. But this time, Apple’s pounding is constant, even as Microsoft has been weakened by product stumbles and a series of ads that fell flat with the public.
While other technology companies curtail their ad budgets to ride out what appears to be an intense and protracted recession, Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., said in its most recent earnings report that it actually increased marketing and advertising during the last three months of 2008, compared with the same period a year ago.
That has made Apple the second-most prolific technology advertiser, behind only Microsoft. During the first nine months of 2008, Apple’s ad spending vaulted to $133 million, surpassing Hewlett-Packard and I.B.M. — companies with three times Apple’s annual sales — according to the tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence. During the same period, Microsoft spent $191 million.
There is good reason for Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, and its longtime ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, to be drawing these pointed contrasts: Microsoft, Apple’s longtime nemesis, is more vulnerable than it has been in years.
Microsoft’s current operating system, Windows Vista, is a well-known disappointment. And the replacement, Windows 7, will not be ready for regular users for at least six months, analysts say. Last month, Microsoft reported poor financial results and said it would lay off as many as 5,000 employees.
“Apple is trying to take as much advantage as they can during this period where there is a lot of confusion on the Windows side,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies and a longtime Apple watcher. “It wants to bring people into its retail stores and to contrast it to what they already know.”
Microsoft, for its part, said that Apple gave the attack ads a short rest late last year after Microsoft unveiled its counterattack. Microsoft’s campaign, devised by the agency Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, initially featured the comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Microsoft’s co-founder, Bill Gates, and then a diverse collection of normal people proudly proclaiming, “I am a PC.”
“I think we confused them a little bit by embracing the stigma they put on our brand and then taking it in a different direction,” said David Webster, a general manager at Microsoft.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment about either company’s advertising.
So far, Apple seems to be winning the fight. The Macintosh gained more than 2 percentage points of market share in the last year and now controls nearly 10 percent of the overall market for personal computers, according to the research firm Net Applications.
Apple’s ads have also fared better than Microsoft’s in the war for consumers’ hearts. In the last two months, Brand Keys, a market research company based in New York, queried 400 Apple and Microsoft users and measured their perceptions of Apple’s and Microsoft’s brand equity before and after seeing examples of the companies’ advertising.
Among the ads the firm showed were “Bean Counter,” an Apple spot that poked fun at Microsoft’s spending money on advertising instead of fixing product flaws. Brand Keys also surveyed responses to Microsoft’s first Seinfeld commercial, “Shoe Circus,” and the first “I am a PC” spot.
“Off the Air,” an ad that promised Apple stores would help customers switch from Windows to Apple’s Mac platform, was highly successful in lifting the brand equity that Apple users felt around the concept of “innovation, design and added value” — a factor that drives loyalty. The spot also improved PC users’ perception of Macs for their “trouble-free performance, service and support.”
On the other hand, Microsoft’s “Shoe Circus,” in which Mr. Seinfeld helped Mr. Gates buy shoes, failed miserably with consumers. After seeing the ad, both Apple and Microsoft users had a more negative perception of Microsoft in the areas of innovation, technology, trouble-free design, and warranty and pricing. “When you see an ad perform this poorly,” said Amy Shea, the executive vice president at Brand Keys who conducted the research, “you’ve got a real problem.”
The news was not all bad for Microsoft, though. “I am a PC” — the egalitarian response to Apple that Microsoft has settled on for its ongoing campaign — has worked well to lift PC users’ perception of the brand as technologically and environmentally advanced.
The message of the survey, Ms. Shea said, is that companies should play to their strengths, which in Microsoft’s case is the sheer ubiquity of its software around the world.
“Everyone who has a PC feels that they are very plugged in and that the world speaks almost one language,” she said. “Microsoft’s ability to tell that story visually by going around the world made that ad successful and positioned them as green and even cool.”
Apple, for its part, has played to its reputation as a hip, creative company, personified by Mr. Long’s straight-man performance as Mac Guy. The ads also fit with Apple’s 25-year history as a company willing to draw colorful juxtapositions against its larger, more powerful rivals.
Skype 4.0 for Windows Updates VOIP
By Roy Mark
The VOIP calling service releases Skype 4.0 for Windows. The latest version of Skype features full-screen video calling, a bandwidth manager, a new audio codec that improves call quality and easier setup, Skype says.
Skype released Feb. 3 its latest version for Microsoft Windows. Touting full-screen video calling and easier customer setup, Skype called the release the “most distinctive new release in the company’s five-year history.”
Skype 4.0 features a built-in bandwidth manager that the company claims will enhance video calling even on low-bandwidth connections. For customers with a fast connection (400K bps or higher), a dual-core processor PC and a Skype Webcam, Version 4.0 delivers up to 30 frames per second of high-quality video, Skype said.
A new “Conversations” tab is intended to make it easier to keep track of multiple conversations in one place. Usi