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Preview: TameBear: Microsoft Watch

TameBear: Microsoft Watch

Keeping an eye on monopoly power in the software industry. A TameBear weblog.

Last Build Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2009 17:17:59 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2009 TameBear

Fri, 09 Jan 2009 17:05:25 GMT

Windows 7 Beta Unveiled at CES Keynote: Microsoft CEO Steve "The Embalmer" Ballmer shows off the Service Pack 2 answer to their loser OS, Vista. Wired News has a slick video of the keynote event, which opens with a Zune commercial. Top feature of Windows 7: a very Mac-like task bar where you can store your most frequently used apps. (Gee, where do they come up with such neat ideas?) [Wired Top Stories]

Sun, 24 Feb 2008 01:16:55 GMT

Judge OKs suit over 'Vista Capable': A consumer class-action suit claims labeling computers as "Vista Capable" in late 2006 was misleading because many of the machines could run only the most basic version of Vista. People bought the machines hoping to enjoy the glassy transparencies of Vista's "Aero" graphical user interface. Many were only capable of running the stripped down "Home Basic" version of Vista. [CNET]

Mon, 17 Sep 2007 17:30:22 GMT

Microsoft's Bad Eurotrip: An evenhanded commentary on the European Union's highest court of commercial law puts the smack-down in perspective. Microsoft was (again) found guilty of using it's monopoly operating system to leverage a further monopoly in media players. The European Court of First Instance (ECI) upholds the previous penalty of $600 million agains Microsoft, and requires the company to offer a version of Windows OS without Windows Media Player. So far several thousand consumers have opted for the unencumbered version. [Motley Fool via TameBear Radio]

Tue, 15 May 2007 12:25:49 GMT

Vulnerabilities Don't Equal Attacks: Security pros say Apple's Mac OS X is not a high-risk operating system and is more secure than Microsoft's Windows XP. [Information Week via MyAppleMenu]

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 12:00:19 GMT

Apple of Our Eye - Macs Save Money: According to this viewpoint, there's been a distinct sea change in the way people think about Apple Inc. in the last few weeks. People have been saying the strangest things about Apple and Macintosh computers; everything is topsy-turvy. Pundits aren't trotting out the old conventional wisdoms any more. They're saying odd stuff, like Macs are good for business; Macs can save money; and that Apple's stock -- at $90 a share -- is a bargain. As a long-time Mac user, The Bear was convinced many years ago of the benefits of Macintosh computers -- especially regarding price. You see, my time is valuable. Therefore when I pay a bit more for a Mac (and mind you it's never been a lot more), the time I save in wasted days not spent in useless troubleshooting has always been a huge benefit. Macs just work, period. My current laptop has been in service for over six years, and it just works. And as for Apple's stock price, well, as an Apple shareholder I can tell you the increase in share price over the past several years has more than paid for all the Apple toys I care to buy. [Wired News]

Fri, 23 Mar 2007 12:46:00 GMT

Apple and Microsoft Users Differ in Age and Outlook: A new report by internet metrics firm Hitwise sharply contradicts an earlier market research survey from MetaFacts regarding the demographics of the two titan's customer base... "The majority of traffic to the Apple web site came from users under 45, while the majority of traffic to the Microsoft web site came from users over 35." And 22% of Microsoft traffic is in the 55-and-over age bracket. Microsoft's new Vista ad personality is 73-year-old actor Tom Skerrit. "It's tempting to say that Microsoft is promoting Vista with the tagline 'The Wow Starts Now' because most of its customers don't have much time left." [Information Week]

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 13:01:38 GMT

Microsoft's OneCare Antivirus Fails Test: Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare security suite has been rated at the bottom of the league in the latest industry antivirus tests. [CNET News]

Wed, 28 Feb 2007 12:48:10 GMT

Time To Get A Mac: When the Windows diehards like Chris Pirillo all begin "upgrading" from Windows Vista to Windows XP, the writing is on the wall. Thomas Hawk advises all his Windows power users to make the switch, and admits that he "should have done it years ago". Now a satisfied Mac user, Hawk has no regrets. [Digital Connection via MyAppleMenu]

Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:44:05 GMT

75 Percent of Vista Reviewers Compare Mac OS X: Sample quotes from a dozen different reviews demonstrate how favorable comparisons with the more mature Mac OS X operating system are irresistable. More reviewers are acknowleging features of Vista have been in Mac OS X for years. [Ars Technica via MyAppleMenu]

Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:30:59 GMT

Windows Defections: Scott Lowe speculates about why, when Vista is now available, the Windows power users -- experts who have championed the Windows platform for years --are switching to Mac OS X. [Scott Lowe via MyAppleMenu]

Thu, 15 Feb 2007 11:34:40 GMT

Why Vista's DRM is Bad: Computer security expert Bruce Schneier explains why Microsoft pandering to the entertainment industry has made their new Vista operating system less secure. "Windows Vista includes an array of 'features' that you don't want. These features will make your computer less reliable and less secure. They'll make your computer less stable and run slower. They will cause technical support problems. They may even require you to upgrade some of your peripheral hardware and existing software. And these features won't do anything useful. In fact, they're working against you." [Forbes Magazine via Futurismic]

Mon, 05 Feb 2007 13:27:00 GMT

Uninspiring Vista: From the highly astute MIT Technology Review comes this story about how Microsoft's long-awaited operating system disappointed a stubborn fan. [MIT Technology Review via MyAppleMenu]

Mon, 05 Feb 2007 13:13:03 GMT

Jim Allchin to Microsoft: I Would Buy a Mac Today: The top Operating Systems exec at Microsoft retired a week ago, the day after Windows Vista was officially launched. Presumably now he can buy a Mac. An email Allchin addressed to his bosses Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer nearly three years ago suggests Windows users have a better option in Apple Macintosh computers, because "in my view we lost our way." Read the whole email (PDF) for insight into a very troubled Microsoft. [MyAppleMenu]

Fri, 02 Feb 2007 13:05:25 GMT

How Soon are You Moving to Vista?: The results of a Cnet poll of over 13,000 readers provides this telling statistic... slightly more than half of the respondents indicate they are "Sticking with the Mac -- or moving there soon". [Cnet Polls]

Fri, 02 Feb 2007 12:44:27 GMT

Yawn... After Five Years of Development, a Windows Vista Launch: In spite of the Microsoft spin and fanfare, customers were not pounding down the doors to get their hands on the latest Windows operating system. After years of delays and feature cuts, the new OS is now available. Do you care? [KOLO TV News]

Sat, 19 Aug 2006 11:25:56 GMT

Mac Hack Demo Rigged: All laptop owners were put on notice recently when presenters at the Black Hat security conference used a new MacBook Pro to demo a WiFi-related vulnerability. The presenters said the vulnerability was present on Windows OS computers, but that they demonstrated it on a Mac because of the broad perception that "Macs are more secure." Well, Mac users get the last laugh this time, as the presenters are now admitting they modified the MacBook Pro prior to the demo because the driver the computer comes with isn't actually vulnerable to the attack. [VAR Business via Techdirt]

Fri, 11 Aug 2006 22:19:38 GMT

Homeland Security Warns of Windows Vulnerability: This week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took notice when Microsoft released this month's batch of "Patch Tuesday" security patches for a variety of it's OS and applications products, including Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. The DHS "warned Wednesday that the Microsoft Windows Server flaw could put the nation's critical infrastructure at risk." [Tech News World via Google News]

Fri, 11 Aug 2006 19:31:08 GMT

Apple Thrashes Dell on Mac Pro Pricing: Apple is clearly bent on busting the long-standing myth that Macs cost more than Windows boxes. A well-reasoned price shopping comparison conducted just days after the release of the new high-end Intel-based Mac Pro demonstrates how some configurations can save buyers as much as $462 over an equivalent Windows system from Dell. (And while the Mac can also run the Windows OS and any Windows apps, the Dell will never be able to run Mac OS X!) [The Inquirer via Insanely Great]

Sun, 06 Aug 2006 12:37:39 GMT

Adding a Dimension: Microsoft will be presenting some new research and software next week at Siggraph. They're calling it "Photosynth", and essentially it's a tool for stitching together a bunch of photos to generate a 3D environment for a virtual walk-through. [EE Times via The Speculist]

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 18:00:52 GMT

Five "Arghs" from a Switcher: Robyn Peterson of PC Magazine describes his first few weeks with a new MacBook, and the things that a typical Windows user is bound to find different about using a Mac. In a follow-up article Robyn promised to tell about editing his old wedding videos using iMovie. [PC Magazine]

Mon, 10 Jul 2006 11:11:39 GMT

Microsoft vs Rival OpenOffice Format: Microsoft says it will sponsor an open-source project to create tools for translating files between the's "OpenDocument" format, and Microsoft's proprietary "Office Open XML" format the company is intending to use in an upcoming version of Microsoft Office. This looks like an attempt to appease the State of Massachusetts, which is planning a move to all-open file formats for software in use by government business. This means no Microsoft Office, unless the monopoly OS/software company can offer open-format versions of their products. But are translation tools adequate to keep Microsoft's foot in the door? [Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog, Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Sun, 09 Jul 2006 12:26:33 GMT

Windows Genuine Disadvantage: "What would you call a computer program that surreptitiously installed itself onto your computer, collected personal information about you without your knowledge or effective consent, was difficult or impossible to remove, installed pop-up banners that constantly harassed you, and presented significant security vulnerabilities?" Welcome to Microsoft's "Windows Genuine Advantage" program. A recent lawsuit filed against Microsoft over the intrusive WGA examines their privacy policies to determine what information they are collecting from customers and what they are doing with it. [The Register]

Tue, 13 Jun 2006 12:59:49 GMT

Stats Shed Light on Malware Infections: Microsoft's anti-virus "Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool" has removed 16 million viruses and trojans from 5.7 million Windows PCs during its first 15 months of operation. That's more than three instances per computer. Stats from use of the tool present a new perspective on how bad the Windows malware problem really is. [The Register]

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 11:52:43 GMT

Microsoft Strips Adobe PDF from Office 2007: Here's a major dustup over the "Portable Document Format" (PDF) invented by Adobe and made freely available to all software vendors that want to use it. Microsoft got into trouble because of their penchant for "embrace and extend" -- they wanted PDF in Office 2007 alongside their own rival "XPS" work-alike product, which in Adobe's view threatened to steal marketshare from PDF. By comparison, for nearly five years PDF has been an integral part of Mac OS X at the operating system level, making "print to PDF" available to all applications, not just a suite subset. Virtually any document on a Mac can easily be made into a PDF that's viewable on any other computer platform. For all computer users, it's simple, elegant, and easy. So why is Microsoft so intent on reinventing this in their own image? [Information Week]

Sat, 27 May 2006 04:46:39 GMT

When Will Windows Vista Be Available?: "Despite attempts by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, to reassure customers that Vista will ship on schedule next January, some experts are not convinced." [News Factor]

Mon, 22 May 2006 15:52:25 GMT

Vista Specs Murky to Many: The system requirements for Microsofts upcoming (January "Vista") OS are now public, and many are scratching their heads trying to figure out if it will run on their existing PCs. One British tech consultant suggests only 5% of existing PCs will be able to run the new OS. [PC World]

Thu, 18 May 2006 12:20:53 GMT

Apple Ads: Communicating a product's value is not easy. In their new "Get A Mac" TV ad campaign, Apple has taken one of the most recognizable metaphors -- interaction between two people -- and communicated something very big in a small way. What I find compelling is that both people/computers are likeable, though obviously different. Apple makes its points effectively without unforgivably slamming the competition. [Microsoft Monitor]

Thu, 18 May 2006 12:10:53 GMT

Why Booting Windows on Macs Matters: In the short term, Apple's free "Boot Camp" software for running the Microsoft Windows OS natively on new Intel Macs will be especially useful to those who want to own a Mac but who need to run a few Windows-only apps they can't live without. [PC Magazine]

Fri, 05 May 2006 17:49:10 GMT

Further Delays for Windows Vista: "Microsoft[base ']s track record is clear; it consistently misses target dates for major operating system releases," say Gartner analysts in a research note to clients earlier this week. The release of the Microsoft Windows "Vista" OS is already missing this year's big end-of-year selling season and according to the official schedule won't appear on the horizon as a finished and shipping product until January of 2007. This latest report suggests the Vista deadline will slip even further. [Financial Times]

Fri, 05 May 2006 17:27:23 GMT

Native Speaker: Tame Bear surmised back in January (see "Apple Rosetta Stealth", Jan 20, 2006) that Apple was laying the groundwork for everyone to run Windows apps on Intel Macintosh computers -- without running the Microsoft Windows OS! Now Robert X. Cringely has picked up this same theme, reminding readers that Apple already has a license to implement the Windows XP API, and they can do it natively on their new Intel Macs. So Windows XP users could get a Mac to run all their current software apps, and ditch the security-flawed Windows OS in the same move. Can't wait for Windows Vista? Why bother when everything it offers is already available and shipping in Mac OS X? []

Wed, 19 Apr 2006 12:39:42 GMT

Running Windows on a Mac: Apple's "Boot Camp" software lets anyone now install and run Windows natively on the new Intel-processor Macintosh computers. Here is a good review of the whole process, and a description of how well it works. [Macworld via MyAppleMenu]

Sun, 12 Feb 2006 06:08:53 GMT

Gates Circumspect on Microsoft iPod Rival: When asked by a highschooler if Microsoft plans to come out with an MP3 player, chief software architect Bill Gates offers a lesson in the art of the indirect answer. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer via MyAppleMenu]

Thu, 08 Dec 2005 12:48:06 GMT

Gates To Be Proved Wrong on Spam: According to security company Sophos, Bill Gates' prediction that spam would be "a thing of the past" by the year 2006 has virtually no chance of coming true. The Microsoft founder made his claim at the World Economic Summit in 2004, along with the assersion that Microsoft was working on a variety of solutions to the junk email problem. [ZDnet]

Thu, 01 Dec 2005 23:26:26 GMT

Sober Attack Biggest Virus Outbreak Ever: The latest Windows virus is a whopper, according to email security firm Postini. In just the last seven days, the company has captured enroute and quarentined over 218 million messages containing the Windows computer infection. Apparently warnings from the FBI and CIA are an excellent ruse for getting people to click and spread the latest worm. [Information Week]

Wed, 09 Nov 2005 11:46:11 GMT

Secure Remote Access to a Mac from Windows: Are you required to use a Windows computer at work while your nice Mac laptop laguishes on your home wireless network? Here's how to establish a secure ssh connection home through your corporate proxy server and tunnel the ports you need to VNC share the Mac's screen and control it remotely from your desk at work. [macosxhints]

Mon, 19 Sep 2005 12:34:35 GMT

Microsoft Satisfaction: Dori Smith examines the 85% satisfaction rating Microsoft's employees give their company. Steve Balmer touts this survey to illustrate that the company is on track "to win the Web." But no one at Microsoft should be satisfied with their current performance; stagnant stock price, missed deadlines, lack of innovation, slow product delivery, and low customer satisfaction. [Backup Brain via MyAppleMenu]

Tue, 13 Sep 2005 15:25:13 GMT

Microsoft and the iPod Nano: "Microsoft should issue all of its employees a nano and then have them report back a week later on why they can't make a product like that," writes Damien Byron. The article speculates about how much the Windows/Office monopoly prevents Microsoft from producing appealing new products. [Textura Design via MyAppleMenu]

Tue, 13 Sep 2005 15:12:22 GMT

Sad Tales After a School System Switch from Macs To Dells: The results are in after a two-year phase out of Macintosh computers to all-Windows at one school. IT support calls tripled; the IT dept had to hire another full-time tech; cost of the systems was UP after factoring in the expense for virus and spyware protection; money to combat a virus infestation in the first week of use was pulled from the software budget, postponing plans for new apps; and no money left for professional development. How wonderful. [Macsimum News via MyAppleMenu]

Mon, 29 Aug 2005 11:43:12 GMT

What Business Can Learn from Open Source: Among the valuable insights in this philosophical piece are these gems:
1) 52% of companies are replacing Windows servers with Linux servers. ("... anyone proposing to run Windows on servers should be prepared to explain what they know about servers that Google, Yahoo, and Amazon don't.")
2) The emergence of really good open source (usually free) software is a Darwinian process that results from so-called "amateurs" who work for free because they love what they are doing. No company can inspire that kind of devotion to work by throwing more money at its employees. [Paul Graham]

Wed, 17 Aug 2005 15:48:23 GMT

Zotob Worm Forks Into a Dozen Variants: Security firms first spotted the emergence of the Zotob worm this past Sunday, and by Wednesday it's classified as the fastest-spreading Windows computer virus ever. Some dozen variants have emerged. Unpatched Windows98, Windows ME, Windows2000 and WindowsXP computers are vulnerable. Macintosh computers are immune. Zotob is a "network worm," meaning it can spread to vulnerable computers without any action on the part of the computer user, other than connecting to the Internet. Many businesses were hit by this virus, including CNN, ATT and SBC. The attacking worms leave computers open to remote takeover by malicious automated agents -- denial-of-service attacks or spam-zombie servers -- as well as potential data loss. [Business Week and SANS Internet Storm Center]