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Microsoft

Ballmer Admits Google Apps Are Biting Into MS Office 293

twitter points out coverage of a discussion between Steve Ballmer and two Gartner analysts in which the Microsoft CEO admits that Google Apps is enjoying an advantage over Office by users who want to share their documents. He points to Office Live as their response to Google, and adds, "Google has the lead, but, if we're good at advertising, we'll compete with them in the consumer business." Whether or not they're good at advertising is still in question, if their recent attempts are any indication. Ballmer also made statements indicating some sort of arrangement with Yahoo! could still be in the works, but Microsoft was quick to step on that idea. Regarding Windows Vista, he said Microsoft was prepared for people to skip it altogether, and that Microsoft would be "ready" when it was time to deploy Windows 7.
Intel

Submission + - Asus Unveils Eee Box Atom-Powered Desktop (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "Asus has released details at Computex today, regarding their upcoming Eee Box mini-desktop follow-on to the Eee PC. The Eee Box is based on a low-power Intel Atom processor and configurations with 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB of RAM will be available. Although the actual dimensions are listed, it's the image from ASUS' booth that really gives a sense of scale. In the picture, the Eee Box is standing next to a paperback book. These systems will feature Linux and Windows operating system installations that are very similar to the Eee PC mini-notebooks. Pricing is said to be in-line with the Eee PC cost model as well. A 2GB model with a 160GB hard drive, for example, will cost only $299."
Microsoft

Denmark Becomes Fourth Nation To Protest OOXML 171

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The rumors of a fourth OOXML complaint turned out to be true. Denmark has become the fourth nation to protest the ISO's acceptance of OOXML, and Groklaw has a translation of their complaint. They now join India, Brazil, and South Africa. There are going to be plenty of questions about deadlines, because people have been given two different deadlines for appeals, and the final DIS of OOXML was late in being distributed and not widely available. In fact, that seems to be one of Denmark's complaints, along with missing XML schemas, contradictory wording, lack of interoperability, and troubles with the maintenance of DIS29500. In other words, we should expect a lot of wrangling over untested rules from here on out, and Microsoft knows how to deal with that."
Security

Half a Million Microsoft-Powered Sites Hit With SQL Injection 222

Titus Germanicus writes to tell us that a recent attack has compromised somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 pages with a SQL injection attack. The vulnerability seems to be limited to Microsoft's IIS webserver and is easily defeated by the end user with Firefox and "NoScript." "The automated attack takes advantage to the fact that Microsoft's IIS servers allow generic commands that don't require specific table-level arguments. However, the vulnerability is the result of poor data handling by the sites' creators, rather than a specific Microsoft flaw. In other words, there's no patch that's going to fix the issue, the problem is with the developers who failed follow well-established security practices for handling database input. The attack itself injects some malicious JavaScript code into every text field in your database, the Javascript then loads an external script that can compromise a user's PC." Ignoring corporate spin-doctoring, there seems to be plenty of blame to go around.
Microsoft

Microsoft is the Industry's Most Innovative Company? 421

mjasay writes "According to a recent analysis by IEEE, Microsoft's patent portfolio tops the industry in terms of overall quality of its patents. And while Microsoft came in second to IBM in The Patent Board's 2006 survey, its upcoming 2007 report has Microsoft besting IBM (and even its 2006 report had Microsoft #1 in terms of the "scientific strength" of its patent portfolio). All of which begs the question: Just where is all this innovation going? To Clippy? Consumers and business users don't buy patents. They buy products that make their lives easier or more productive, yet Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to turn its patent portfolio into much more than life support for its existing Office and Windows monopolies. In sum, if Microsoft is so innovative, why can't we get something better than the Zune?"
Windows

Vista Sales Rate Fell Last Quarter 449

Microsoft is not directly mentioning Vista demand while they brag about how much money they made last quarter, because sales fell. "[Microsoft] shipped approximately 28 million copies of Vista in the latest quarter ended September, or 9.3 million copies per month. Though the Windows developer pointed to 27 percent growth in business licenses and noted that many home users were buying the more lucrative Vista Home Premium or Ultimate editions, the rate represents a decline from the 10 million per month reported early in summer."
United States

Airlines Have to Ask Permission to Fly 72 Hours Early 596

twitter wrote to mention that the TSA (Transport Security Administration) has released a new set of proposed rules that is raising quite a stir among groups ranging from the ACLU to the American Society of Travel Agents. Under the new rules airlines would be required to submit a passenger manifest (including full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number) for all flights departing, arriving, or flying over the United States at least 72 hours prior to departure. Boarding passes will only be issued to those passengers that have been cleared. "Hasbrouck submitted that requiring clearance in order to travel violates the US First Amendment right of assembly, the central claim in John Gilmore's case against the US government over the requirement to show photo ID for domestic travel. [...] ACLU's Barry Steinhardt quoted press reports of 500,000 to 750,000 people on the watch list (of which the no-fly list is a subset). 'If there are that many terrorists in the US, we'd all be dead.' TSA representative Kip Hawley noted that the list has been carefully investigated and halved over the last year. 'Half of grossly bloated is still bloated,' Steinhardt replied."
Microsoft

MS Awarded "Best Campaigner Against OOXML" 190

HansF writes "Microsoft itself is the surprise winner of the FFII's Kayak Prize 2007, offered by the FFII in its call for rejection of Microsoft's OOXML standards proposal. The software monopolist is honored as 'Best Campaigner against OOXML Standardization.' FFII president Pieter Hintjens explains, 'We could never have done this by ourselves. By pushing so hard to get OOXML endorsed, even to the point of loading the standards boards in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, and beyond, Microsoft showed to the world how poor their format is. Good standards just don't need that kind of pressure. All together, countries made over ten thousands technical comments, a new world record for an ISO vote. Microsoft made a heroic — and costly — effort to discredit their own proposal, and we're sincerely grateful to them.'" If Microsoft doesn't send a representative to claim their 2500-Euro prize at the FFII General Assembly in November, FFII will give the money to Peruvian earthquake relief.
Portables

PC Superstore Admits Linux Hinge Repair Mistake 193

Erris writes "PC Superstore says their store manager was wrong to turn away a client with a broken hinge whose machine should have been repaired. 'El Reg put a call in to the DSGi-owned retail giant to get some clarification on PC World's Linux support policy. A spokesman told us that there had simply been a misunderstanding at the store and that, in fact, the normal procedure would be for the Tech Guys to provide a fix. [PC World] will provide a full repair once the firm has made contact with Tikka.'

Mindbridge Saves "Bunches of Money" In Switch To Linux 177

While Mindbridge didn't start out as an open source company, it has since managed to save what they can only describe as "bunches of money" by switching to Linux. "Today, Mindbridge has repurposed itself as an open-source-friendly company, and revamped its infrastructure to run completely on Linux and other open source software. 'Having deployed [Linux servers] to our customers, we turned around and said, we can do the same thing internally and save bunches of money. We began a systematic but slow flipping of servers from the Microsoft world over to predominantly Linux — although there are a few BSD boxes around as well,' Christian says. 'It's to the point that today I only have two production Windows servers left, out of 15 or so.'"
Windows

WGA Meltdown Blamed On Human Error 250

Erris writes "As commentators like Ars Technica slam WGA as deeply flawed, Microsoft is blaming human error and swears it won't happen again. 'Alex Kochis, Microsofts senior WGA product manager, wrote in a blog posting that the troubles began after preproduction code was installed on live servers. ... rollback fixed the problem on the product-activation servers within 30 minutes ... but it didnt reset the validation servers. ... "we didnt have the right monitoring in place to be sure the fixes had the intended effect"' Critics were not impressed. 'A system thats not totally reliable really should not be so punitive, said Gartner Inc. analyst Michael Silver. Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash., said he was surprised that it was even possible to accidentally load the wrong code onto live servers ... [and asks], "what other things have they not done?' This is not the first time this has happened, either."
Education

French Kids Get OSS on USB Sticks 313

daria42 writes "To help make kids aware of alternatives to proprietary software the Ile-de-France, the political district of greater Paris, will give 175,000 school children and apprentices USB keys loaded with open-source software. With a word-processing program, audio and video playback capabilities, an email client and an IM client, these are essentially computers on a stick. The council touts this as 'represent[ing] for students a tool of freedom and mobility between their school, cybercafes and their home or friends' PCs'." With the prevalence of internet cafes in Europe, that might work better than in the US ... but do you think such a project would work here as well? If so, what software would you want to see loaded up?

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