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Microsoft is moving forward with plans to launch Windows 7 this year, although the company still refuses to publicly commit to that goal.PC industry sources in Asia told that they have heard things are on track to launch by this year’s holiday shopping season, which has been Microsoft’s internal target for some time. Microsoft is also putting the finishing touches on a program to offer Vista buyers a free or low-cost update to Windows 7. The company has run such “technology guarantee” programs in the past, typically allowing each PC maker to set the exact rules, but essentially offering buyers after a certain time to get a free upgrade to the next version. In an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Microsoft senior VP Bill Veghte cautioned that the release still could be pushed into 2010, depending on customer feedback.

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If you feel that Windows starts too slowly most days, Microsoft is considering an option that could help.

The company is surveying select users on whether an “instant on” feature, which would rush a usable desktop to your screen in just seconds, is something they’d like included with Windows.

“The concept is called ‘Instant On.’ Instant On takes your computer from being completely powered down or turned off to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time,”

“The Instant On experience is different from “Full Windows” because it limits what activities you can do and what applications you can have access to,” the survey states.

Faster boot times are clearly a priority for Microsoft and could be included in Windows 7, the next planned release of the operating system.

“For Windows 7, a top goal is to significantly increase the number of systems that experience very good boot times. In the lab, a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds,” engineer Michael Fortin said

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Microsoft is leading Google with a gap of a  decade. It is said that the place at which Google is today was acquired by Microsoft 10 years before. “Google’s a great company, got some great products, but you know in some respects I think Google is where Microsoft was 7 or 10 years ago”, Peter Cullen, Microsoft’s chief privacy strategist.

“Google had not invested enough to build privacy into its products. Microsoft has over 40 full-time people invested in privacy and over 400 part-time people. Google hasn’t–at least from what I read about them–evolved to that.”

“We think about privacy as part of the core design…We have thought about how to design privacy into the product, as opposed to how to react to the negative impressions,” he commented.

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Microsoft must be ticked.  It didn’t get to buy Yahoo, or even just a slice of it.  Instead, all its efforts only served to drive Yahoo into Google’s waiting arms.
The Google/Yahoo deal, announced yesterday, doesn’t make a Goohoo (or would it be Yagle?) by any means.  According to BusinessWeek, Yahoo will display some Google text ads for Yahoo search results. Yahoo will control when and how the ads show up, and says it stands to make up to $800 million from the deal.
It seems clear Yahoo will need to take further steps to get its house in order, but just what those steps might be is still up in the air.  Also in question is what Carl Icahn will do now that Microsoft appears finished (again) with its attempts to bolster its own lackluster online offerings with a Yahoo purchase. 
Icahn may still try to replace Yahoo’s board come August, but as his primary goal for the proxy battle was to push a Microsoft deal, it’s unclear if there would still be any point to such a move.  The Wall Street Journal has him “studying the situation” but not giving any clues about where he’ll go.
Don’t assume anything is a done deal in this saga, though.  According to the Silicon Alley Insider, there’s an escape clause in the search deal that allows Google to walk away if there’s a ‘change in control’ for Yahoo.  Per the piece, that could mean Microsoft, News Corp., or Time Warner buying 35 percent of Yahoo’s voting stock, Microsoft picking up 5 percent of total equity, or other triggers.  Looks like Google would get a $250 million parting gift from the purchasing company if that happens.
And then there’s the potential for government regulators to put the kibosh on the plan.  BusinessWeek has Eric Schmidt arguing that the deal doesn’t require regulatory approval but guesses that Microsoft will still push for close scrutiny.

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Windows XP is dead … long live Windows XP. You may have heard that as of June 30, you’re no longer able to buy the operating system or obtain support for it. But that isn’t quite the case. In fact, you’ll be able to buy XP on certain mainstream PCs at least until January 31, 2009, and possibly beyond. The cutoff date is even later for some ultra-low-cost notebooks, as well as low-cost desktop PCs commonly called nettops, such as those made by Asus, Dell, and other manufacturers: They’ll sell with XP until June 2010. As for technical support, that has a lot of life left as well–officially, Microsoft will provide at least some forms of support until 2014.

Given the confusion about XP’s future, we decided to lay out your options for buying XP and getting support for it beyond the official sunset date for the OS.

 

NOT DEAD YET

Microsoft’s public statement seems to leave no wiggle room. It reads, “Windows XP will no longer be available for purchase from Microsoft for general retail and OEM partners as of June 30, 2008.”
But that simple statement hides plenty of loopholes. First, retailers and PC makers can still sell the Windows XP software, and Windows XP PCs, after that date, as long as they purchased the products before June 30. If a retailer stocked up on copies of XP before June 30, it can sell XP for as long as those supplies hold out. The same holds true for PC manufacturers.
An even bigger loophole–something called downgrade rights–will allow people to get Windows XP on new PCs, even after computer makers’ stock of Windows XP licenses runs out. An OEM such as Dell can sell you a PC that starts out with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate on it, and then downgrade the operating system to Windows XP Professional before shipping the machine out to you. In the box, you will receive discs for Vista, XP, Vista drivers, and XP drivers. That way, if you decide you’d prefer Vista, you can use the installation disc and drivers to upgrade to that OS.
You can do this only with Vista PCs for which the OEM has decided to offer downgrade rights, however. A Dell spokesperson says that Dell will provide the option for its XPS line of gaming PCs (the XPS M1730 laptop, XPS 630 gaming desktop, and XPS 730 gaming desktop), for its line of Vostro small-business PCs, and for enterprise customers. Dell won’t offer the choice indefinitely, though–only through January 31, 2009.
HP also offers a downgrade option on its business desktops, notebooks, and workstations, and will continue to do so until at least July 30, 2009, says a company spokesperson. As with Dell PCs, when someone buys a system, it will have XP Pro installed, and will come with discs for both XP and Vista.
January 31 of next year is also the last date you’ll be able to buy XP on a machine from a “system builder”–a company that builds no-brand custom PCs from components and purchases Microsoft software from a distributor rather than directly from Microsoft itself.
If you buy an ultra-low-cost PC–which Microsoft describes as a notebook with “limited hardware capabilities” intended for entry-level buyers or people seeking an inexpensive second system–you’re in luck. Such laptops, including the popular Asus Eee PC, can be sold with Windows XP until June 2010. The notebooks must have small screens and low-powered CPUs to qualify. In addition, very low-cost computers–so-called nettops–that do not have high-end processors, a great deal of RAM, or separate graphics processors can also be sold with Windows XP Home Edition until June 2010. Various vendors–including Acer, Asus, and Dell–are likely to sell nettops.

 

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