MediaFile

Windows L8?

Microsoft’s next operating system — provisionally known as Windows 8 — may not hit the shelves until early 2013, one respected company-watcher thinks, giving Apple, Google and Amazon more time to fine-tune their tablet offerings.

That’s later than most people expect for the new OS, which represents Microsoft’s first real foray into the touch-friendly, tablet-optimized world. The feeling is that Microsoft really needs to make its move before Apple’s iPad and tablets running Google’s Android march off with the whole market.

“I think it’s about a year away,” said Michael Cherry at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft, asked when Windows 8 code would be completed.

Then you have to factor in the delay between releasing the code to PC manufacturers to install on new machines — known as RTM — and general availability, said Cherry, a former Windows program manager.

“I believe there will be a RTM somewhere in the last quarter of 2012. Traditionally there’s been a 90-day gap between RTM and general availability,” he said. “To me, that means machine availability in 2013.”

HP’s Slate tablet: The early reviews

Hewlett-Packard, at long last, has released the tablet computer first glimpsed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January, and it is a decidedly different take than what we’ve seen so far in the tablet space. Basically a business netbook sans a keyboard. That’s a far cry from Apple’s iPad — and maybe that’s the point.

The initial reviews of the HP Slatslate2e 500 are starting to trickle in and they are something of a mixed bag. There is plenty to debate, to be sure. The device sports Windows 7, Wi-Fi but no 3G, and has no app store link-up. But it features a digital stylus pen, has a relatively fast processor and plenty of room for storage. And then there is the little matter of that hefty $799 price tag, which has surprised more than a few people, given that the iPad starts at $499.

HP is not even pretending to be targeting the same buyers as the iPad. And a more interesting HP vs Apple showdown is likely to come next year, when HP releases the webOS tablet that everyone is curious to get a peek at.

Microsoft shows off Windows 7 touch-screen features

Microsoft highlighted new multi-touch features on the range of new PCs as it launched Windows 7 in New York on Thursday.

Here’s a clip of a photo managing program, which allows you to sort through snaps and manipulate them manually, and a shot of the new Kindle application from Amazon, which lets people read a book onscreen, if that’s what they want to do.

The Windows 7 launch event was quieter than previous versions, focusing on slick new hardware and consumer-oriented features such as watching TV on the PC, creating home networks, making videos and playing music.

from The Great Debate UK:

Microsoft bets on Windows 7 heaven

Matthew Bath

-Matthew Bath is technology editor at Which? The opinions expressed are his own.-

Microsoft’s Windows operating system has been frustrating and delighting computer users in almost equal measure since it was first debuted by the software giant first in 1985. Fast forward through nearly a quarter of a century of powering the majority of the world’s personal computers, and Windows is about to hit another milestone.

Windows 7 launches on October 22, worldwide, and it’s safe to say that, as a firm, Microsoft will be collectively crossing fingers and toes that shoppers flock to the new version.

Apple’s new OS off to strong start

Apple’s new Snow Leopard operating system has hit the ground running, according to research data released Thursday

Sales during the first two weeks of Snow Leopard’s release “far exceed those of the last two Apple operating systems,” market research company NPD said. The group tracks U.S. retail sales. Snow Leopard launched Aug. 28, available as an upgrade at an affordable price of $29.

According to NPD, Snow Leopard sales were more than two times higher than those for the initial release of Leopard back in 2007, and almost four times higher than the Tiger OS in 2005.

Here comes Windows Unicorn

Thousands of Microsofties yucked it up at the expense of rival Apple at their annual get-together at Seattle’s Safeco field on Thursday.

Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers set about the old foe, which had its own festival of self-congratulation yesterday.

“Who at Apple let an 8-year-old girl name their new operating system Snow Leopard?,” Meyers asked, according to one employee spreading the good word on Facebook. “What, was Unicorn taken? Was Pony not available?”

from Commentaries:

I am thinking of rebranding myself as Zing

Some tech links to start the week:

I am seriously considering changing my byline to Zing, what with all the media attention a certain search engine is getting.

Bing search for Eric Auchard

The New York Times looks at the ups and downs of turning brands into verbs. The jumping off point is Bing, Microsoft's effort at verbal one-upsmanship over Google, Twitter and over generic daily activities. The software giant must alter deeply ingrained computer habits to succeed. In the meantime, my original questions about Bing remain.

The more substantial news this week would be if Microsoft finally inks a search and advertising partnership with Yahoo Inc. It's not easy to overcome deal speculation fatigue -- it's been a year-and-a-half since Microsoft sought to acquire Yahoo outright, and a year since it dropped back to Plan B and sought out a more limited partnership deal. Boomtown reported Friday that Microsoft is down to a few short strokes away from signing.  Henry Blodget makes the point that Microsoft may have to pay up far more than the $1 billion it was offering a year back for such a deal.  Closing a deal now suggests renewed desperation on Microsoft's part after the paltry gain it received from Bing in June market share statistics for U.S. web search.

Monday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s top stories in the media industry:

Microsoft takes on Google as Office moves to Web (Reuters)
Jim Finkle reports: “Microsoft will offer for free to consumers Web-based versions of its Office suite of programs, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program. Microsoft will also host one Internet business version of Office at its own data centers, charging companies a yet-to- be-announced fee.”

Six in 10 companies plan to skip Windows 7 (Reuters)
“Many of the more than 1,000 companies that responded to a survey by ScriptLogic Corp say they have economized by cutting back on software updates and lack the resources to deploy Microsoft’s latest offering.”

MySpace to Take Entertainment Tack (WSJ)
“In a brief interview, News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said MySpace needs to be refocused ‘as an entertainment portal.’ Mr. Murdoch described his vision for MySpace as a place where ‘people are looking for common interests,’” writes Julia Angwin.

Whither Windows 7 and its (expected) wake?

A lot may be riding on the release of Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 7, which is due in October, not the least of which is an expected rush of advertising to support everything from the software itself, to the computers it will run on to the rival computers it will not run on.

This surge of business is seen coming just as the holiday shopping session gets under way and could help spark the economic turnaround that some suggest will come later this year.

Or maybe not.

According to a survey by ScriptLogic, six in 10 companies plan to skip buying Windows 7. Some will pass on the added cost of the upgrade, while others are concerned about compatibility with existing applications.

PC giants weigh in on Windows 7

Hewlett-Packard and Dell, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 PC makers, weighed in Thursday on Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, which is expected early next year.******Michael Dell, on a conference call following the company’s quarterly earnings report, was asked whether Dell is seeing any changes from enterprise customers related to Windows 7. He said:***

We’re starting to get pretty excited about Windows 7 and believe it’s going to be an important catalyst for growth. Having said that, it will also push purchases until Windows 7 comes out.

******Microsoft sounded a similar note at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. CFO Christopher Liddell said Windows 7 could help PC sales bounce back next year. He also expects some users to delay buying a new computer to wait for Windows 7:***

We might see a bump (in PC sales) next year, just as a result of lower demand this year. It will be helpful, but it will not outweigh the general macro-economics.

******Earlier in the day at the Goldman conference, HP CFO Cathie Lesjak was also asked about the impact of Windows 7 on consumer and corporate demand:***

We didn’t think there was going to be a Vista moment. We don’t think there’s going to be a Windows 7 moment either… We are not expecting that there’s going to be this huge hockey stick effect when Windows 7 comes out. The good news is we’re hearing positive things about Windows 7.