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Exclusivity Comes to the eBook Market

The Wylie deal with Amazon marks not just the beginning of high profile authors cutting publishers out of the loop to strike deals ebook deals directly with online retailers, it’s also likely to do for eBook readers, what mutually incompatible OS’s and video formats did for desktop computers and video players. Segregate them. Apple’s launch of the iPad might have delayed the inevitable, and Barnes and Noble diving in the Nook, and Borders with its own branded eBook reader might have delayed it a latter, but it was bound to happen anyway. Book publishers attempted to slow down the drift by overpricing and slowing down eBook releases, which just made authors hungrier to bypass them, and reap the profits. So just as the MPAA sabotaged its hold on the music market by fighting P2P, publishers trying to slow down eBooks alienated readers and writers. But if Amazon and other book retailers try to protect their hold on the marketplace with exclusives in incompatible formats, they’ll be opening the door to a war that will only kill the viability of the eBook reader.

How to Host a Windows 7 Party

Microsoft has come up with the incredible amazing idea of having people host Windows 7 parties. But does anyone out there actually want to throw a Windows 7 party? The answer is maybe. Because Windows 7 is a moderately decent OS. It’s what a Microsoft OS would be, when Microsoft takes twice as much time to get it right, after screwing it up the first time. That of course makes for a great party theme. Who doesn’t love a second chance and Windows 7 is all about giving Microsoft a second chance, after Windows Vista ate your computer, revealed all your passwords to the IRA and sued you for paternity leave.

Use your Windows 7 party as a chance to try and fix the things you screwed up the first time around, taking inspiration from Microsoft which managed to fix Vista the second time around. Were you dishonorably discharged from the military? Reenlist and don’t take no for an answer. Did you run over a turtle in Arizona? Move to Arizona to raise turtles. Did you embezzle billions from your customers causing the collapse of the US economy. There’s an easy way to fix all that, throw a Windows 7 party. That’s right, because Microsoft making a decent OS for the first time since they released XP back in the dark ages when wizards riding on dinosaurs roamed the earth, is the perfect occasion for a party.

What sort of food should you serve at a Windows 7 party? Think transparency. Aero Glass is the big shiny feature of Vista and its less retarded adult cousin, Windows 7, so glass coffee tables, Crystal Sprite, Zima, and lemon ice cream should all be on the table. And since Windows 7 still comes with an annoying UAC nagger, be sure to come over and ask every guest who tries to take a sip, if he or she is really really really sure they want to do that. Because nothing makes a Windows 7 party perfect like giving them the full Windows 7 experience. So did you really want to read this post? Did you? Are you sure? Okay.

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Is Microsoft Trying to Kill PC Gaming?

It’s not exactly an original question. When Microsoft got on board the console express, one of the first things they did was try to begin drawing away PC game makers into developing for the the XBox, that was actually one of the supposed selling points for developers. Microsoft has an obvious financial incentive to drive gamers from the PC to the XBox 360, because it doesn’t profit from PC games, it does profit from XBox 360 games. Microsoft needs PC gaming only when it releases a new OS to try and sell gamers on the idea that this OS will be good for them. And Microsoft has a history of trying to pull gamers into a new OS by making it exclusive. Microsoft deployed that in a big way with Windows 95 working with developers to create Windows 95 only games. Microsoft has done the same thing with its own games, buying up developers and insuring that they develop only for the XBox 360 and not for the PC. That’s why you won’t find Gears of War 2 or Fable II on the PC. Microsoft however has to walk a fine line between shoving gamers out the door, or destroying the whole idea that the PC is a credible gaming platform.

Should Microsoft be in the Phone Business?

With the Zune HD set to get a generally positive if shrugworthy reception, the question becomes what Microsoft’s next step will be. Microsoft may not have many grown up fans in the hardware crowd, but they’ve demonstrated that they can produce passable technology with the XBox 360 and the Zune HD. Apple has made the next step very obvious, a mobile phone. But that temptation may be a very bad idea. Microsoft’s strength has been selling operating systems, not selling hardware. Apple on the other hand has always been the fancy upsold hardware company. But with the Zune, Microsoft tried to grab the market from Apple, and arguably went the wrong route. Microsoft sabotaged its own efforts to sell an MP3 OS to rival manufacturers that could have posed a serious threat to iTunes and done to Apple’s iPod, what the Windows PC did to the Mac. Instead Microsoft tried to compete on hardware and lost. Now if Microsoft goes down the rumored Pink road to a Zune phone or a Windows phone, Microsoft will not only alienate manufacturers, already looking toward Google, and uneasy with Microsoft peddling Windows Mobile 6.5 while toying with Windows Mobile 7, it will take another step away from its core OS sales, to peddling hardware. Which is not a smart or safe business model for Microsoft at all.

Google’s Shiny New OS, Does it Really Matter?

Google’s promised new Chromium OS would matter more, if Google Chrome actually did. So far Google hasn’t shown much ability to even move a Browser up to the 2 percent market share range. That’s barely beating Opera and nowhere in Firefox territory. And that’s an easily downloadable browser add on. What the adoption rates would be for a Linux based Google branded browser that exists mainly to push Google’s own internet apps is best left to the imagination. As with Google Chrome, the OS would be stuck competing with other Linux distros for market share, a situation that would not be to Google’s advantage. The Google name might convince some small businesses to give it a try, but that’s about it. Still Google isn’t pegging this as a desktop OS war, but a way to sell some netbooks that would be oriented around Google apps. Which is not a bad move, albeit unimaginative and a bit pointless since the netbooks market is underwhelming and cell phones would seem to be where it’s at.

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