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Ah the days of hanging in the Mall, with nothing to do but get free refills at the food court. Just you and your friend Brodie...Um wait no that was a movie. Ok never mind.
No matter the Mall will not be the same as now there will be opposing boutique stores. Microsoft has announced that they will open their answer to the Apple store starting this fall.
The announcement was made at the Worldwide Partner Conference (seems like a lot of interesting things are happening there) by Kevin Turner Microsoft Chief Operating Officer.
Tuner said that some stores would open this fall with more to open in 2010. Tuner is a former Wall Mart Exec and has more than a few years of retail experience under his belt.
Turner even made the statment "And stay tuned, because we're going to have some retail stores opened up that are opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall," he said. "Stay tuned, just stay tuned."
Them's fightin words I think
While checking the news tonight I found something both interesting and highly entertaining.
Despite running a very dirty and misleading ad campaign against Microsoft and the PC in general Apple may have quietly asked for the Laptop Hunters ads to be discontinued.
According to Ars Technia, Kevin Turner told the Wolrdwide Partner Conference that Apple's Lawyers called him and stated that Microsoft needed to stop running the Laptop Hunter Ads because Apple had reduced prices on the Mac Books.
Now bear in mind that this is coming from an MSFT exec at a "pep-rally" but if this is true it is one of the funnier stories I have heard.
I do think that the ad campaign has Apple a tad worried as their recent commercials are leaning pretty far over the credibility line as it is. Add to that the success of the netbook and nettop and things can get worrisome.
More information here.
In a surprising case of Anti-Microsoft FUD there are reports on a survey conducted by ScriptLogic that people are using to claim 60% of businesses will not be upgrading to Windows 7.
The Survey is interesting. Here are some of the facts behind it. ScriptLogic sent out 20,650 questionnaires. Out of this 20,650 they received 1,100 back. This represents about 5.3% of the sampling.
Out of this 5.3% 59.3% said they had no plans to migrate to Windows 7. Now this is a misleading result as the question was:
"Which below represents the most accurate statement about your plans to deploy Windows 7?"
Possible responses were:
We have no plans to deploy Windows 7
We will likely deploy Windows 7 by the end of 2010
We plan on deploying Windows 7 by the end of 2009
We have already deployed Windows 7
Looking at the responses, if you are undecided you get lumped into the "We have no Plans" category and are part of an inaccurate data sampling.
A portion of the 59% may change their minds in the next month, we cannot know. As such this survey gives a misleading impression that a majority do not want to move to the new OS.
The very next question asked what was the biggest barrier to deploying Windows 7 with 42.7% saying Time and Resources, while 39.1% said application compatibility.
Now I am sure you would think these are very telling, but if you asked the same question about ANY upgrade you would get the same answers. This is where the survey fails. To make it valid they would need to ask if the companies in question have any planned upgrades and what are the reasons for/ for not doing them. If they correspond to the same reasons for not upgrading to Windows 7 it is likely that the cause is not the OS but maybe the fact that many companies are on spending holds. In thin economic times it is usually the IT budget that is the first thing to get cut. This could account for more than a few companies not upgrading anything at all in the next few years.
In the final analysis, the ScriptLogic Survey is misleading to say the least and is being used by many websites to show a lack of desire to use Windows 7 in the business community. It is further being spun to show a lack of confidence in MS products in general. Yet these articles often fail to point out that 39.4% plan on upgrading to Windows 7 within the next two years and that pre-sales of Windows 7 were sold out in many areas the same day they were made available.
Check out the survey here
After the announcement of Chrome the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) began looking even harder at the relationship between Apple and Google.
As it stands it is possible that Google and Apple are in violation of Section 8 of the Sherman Anti Trust Act. This section covers shared directors and notes that it any companies that shares directors and have competing products that account for more than 2% or their revenue will be in violation of this section.
Apple and Google compete on many levels but most people do not realize it. They compete in the internet media market (YouTube and iTunes) the Phone OS market, the browser market and now the OS market.
This has sparked new concerns and has even opened up an investigation into whether or not they are in violation of Section 5 for unfair marketing practices.
Today Eric Schmidt has announced that he plans on talking to Apple's board about his role. This is a very timely announcement indeed because if Schmidt leaves the investigation gets dropped and no one gets in trouble.
There is a slight chance that the Section 5 investigation would continue but that is very doubtful.
First it was Norton now CA is having issues where their latest AV profiles are targeting Windows system files as malicious code.
It is simply not a good thing when your Anti-Virus starts listing off system files and says they are quarantined. It can really ruin your day.
According to posts at CA's Forum many people were receiving these false positives and causing systems to crash.
File infection: C:\WINDOWS\system32\net.exe is Win32/AMalum.ZZNPB infection. Quarantined
CA users we certainly upset and were told that a fix was on its way when they contacted technical support. Unfortunately the "fix seemed to make things worse.
CA has posted an official statement apologizing for the incident and says that they are working to fix the issue caused by an errant file.
CA's statement can be found here
During our visit to the Foxconn headquarters in Taipei today, besides looking at new products which the Taiwanese company has been busy developing in recent times, we had to ask a couple hard hitting questions.
We spoke with Andrew D. Ouyang and Sidney Tsai from the channel sales team - that's the folk who are responsible for marketing and selling its range of retail motherboards and othe products.
We asked Foxconn about the rumors floating around that Foxconn is going to quit the channel business of Foxconn branded and marketed products - and the question wasn't met with surprise. The answer we got that was that Foxconn are not quitting the channel business and that "we're still here", from Sidney Tsai.
And indeed they are still here - we had troubles believing the rumors when they first started a couple months ago or so. If Foxconn was quitting the channel business, why would they still be developing and selling new motherboards? Wouldn't they just fire all of their sales, marketing, product managers, engineers and so on, and be done with it?
The Foxconn channel sales group is purely focusing more on sales than marketing at this stage. More effort is being placed into direct sales, and as a result, it might appear as if Foxconn is going under from the outside. Foxconn had a surprisingly small presence at the large Computex Taipei trade show and according to Andrew and Sidney from Foxconn, it was because the head honchos decided to cut down on expenses and only personally invite its customers (distributors) to its private suite at the Grand Hyatt for a more targeted showing, while also keeping some of its upcoming technologies under its belt.
The channel sales group are also in the process of moving from their current office in Tucheng City to Nei Hu City in the next couple of weeks. And yes folks, they will keep making new products there. How about we rest these rumours?
Those seeking to make hi-def backups of their Blu-ray videos will have to wait a little while longer, but the option is in fact coming.
Last week the final specification for the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) for Blu-Ray was released, bringing provisions for making legal copies of Blu-ray content. While many have been waiting for the spec to be finalized, they are going to have to wait a little longer for the hardware that supports it.
In order for everything to work, three pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place. First is that the AACS center needs to get their authorization severs fully functional. Every copy that is made will have to receive authorization, making sure that only one copy of each individual Blu-ray is permitted.
Second, you will need the software to make this happen. Expect the big names like Ahead and Roxio to be on top of this ASAP and either make it available as a free update or include it with their next version of their software.
Finally you will need a BD play that supports Managed Copy. These aren't expected until mid-2010 and Managed-Copy enable hardware is not something the hardware industry will be forced to incorporate. It is optional for them to include the feature so expect some manufacturers to ignore it completely while others will more than likely only enable it on higher end hardware.
Gaming developer 3D Realms has closed up shop, following news that publisher Take-Two will no longer fund the development of Duke Nukem Forever.
Many remember 3D Reams for the FPS hits Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem, two games that can arguably be marked as laying the foundation of first-person shooters. In 1997, the company announced that it was working on a third installment for the Duke Nukem series.
Many have criticized the aptly named Duke Nukem Forever as its 12 year development left most skeptical that it would ever reach the market. As sad as it may be, it appears the skeptics were correct.
All hope hasn't been lost quite yet however. Take-Two says that while they have pulled funding for the game they still hold the rights to the title, leaving the possibility of another developer letting the title see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Apple just posted its financial results for the second quarter of 2009 and it appear Apple is one of the few companies that are beating the recession.
Apple posted revenue of $8.16 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion. That works out to be $1.33 per diluted share. Compared to last year, both revenue and profit were higher making this Apple's best March quarter in the history of the company.
Apple success can easily be attributed to its continued success with the iPod and iPhone. The iPod sold 11.01 million units during the quarter which is a 3% growth. However the big winner is the iPhone which sold 3.79 million units which represents a 123% growth over the same quarter last year.
"We are extremely pleased to report the best non-holiday quarter revenue and earnings in our history," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO. "Apple's financial condition remains very robust, with almost $29 billion in cash and marketable securities on our balance sheet. Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $7.7 billion to $7.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $.95 to $1.00."
It appears that things have come to an end for abit. Last year the company said that it would no longer manufacture motherboards, but would shift to the consumer electronics market. That seems to have changed now with the struggling global economy and parent company USI says abit will be no more.
The entire company is already in the process of liquidation and should be done in about a month. Marketing director Thore Welling emailed Hexus saying, "After 20 years in the market the abit brand now bids farewell, so it's also time for me now to lock the doors of the marketing department. That's it for good now."
We also rang abit's office in Holland and were told there was no marketing department. We did speak to someone in the finance department who didn't want to reveal her name. She confirmed that not only has abit not been selling mainboards since the start of the year, but has stopped selling any products whatsoever and the office is only being kept going to handle warranties.