Posts tagged Cuts
Unable to light a fire under Windows 8, Microsoft is holding a fire sale instead.
On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is offering significant additional discounts on both Windows 8 and Microsoft Office to PC makers that will include the software in small laptops that include touchscreens.
Specifically, the Journal reported that Microsoft was offering computer makers a package of Office and Windows 8 for $30, when the normal discounted price of the bundle is $120. It’s important to note that even the normal $120 figure already represents a substantial savings over what consumers could expect to pay if they purchased both products at retail; at least $140 for Office and $200 for a Windows 8 upgrade, for a total of about $340. Microsoft representatives declined to comment.
(Microsoft also reportedly honored an accidental “discount” that UK residents discovered, where an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, normally £189.99, was “mistakenly” offered for £44.99.)
In other words, PC makers are paying roughly 10% of the retail cost of Windows 8 and Office to include the Microsoft programs with their products. Note that the discounts apply to laptops with screen sizes of less than 10.8 inches, which have traditionally cost anywhere from $299 to $499 - iPad territory. The idea, apparently, is that slashing costs will spur PC makers to invest more heavily in small-form-factor Windows 8 laptops, and/or allow them to lower their retail prices. Either way, the Windows world wins.
Why Is Microsoft Cutting Prices Now?
Why is this happening now? Most likely because Windows 8 sales are sputtering.
Using the Net Applications data that Microsoft prefers, in part because Microsoft feels that it more accurately reports real-world usage, the most recent numbers show Windows 8′s desktop operating system market share nudging past Mac OS X 10.8. That’s expected, given the relatively high percentages of Windows PCs in the market.
But NetApplications’ data also shows Windows 8 sales growth seemingly, possibly, maybe, flattening out a few months after its October launch. In November, NetApps claimed that Windows 8 had 1.09% of the market; in December, 1.72%; January, 2.26%; and in February, 2.67%. Zoomed in, the graph looks like this:
Is that a peak forming on Windows 8′s growth curve, or does the line still indicate signs of healthy growth? Linux blogger (and my former colleague) Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols sliced the numbers a different way, showing that Windows 8 is falling behind Windows Vista, as a month-by-month comparison of the launch shipments shows.
Windows 8 vs. Windows Vista
The parallels do look similar. Early reviews of Microsoft Vista describe it as an operating system that was nice to have, not a must-have; some, like PC World, called Windows Vista “fun to use”. (Doh!) Only Stephen Manes of Forbes called it like history did: “Vista is at best mildly annoying and at worst makes you want to rush to Redmond, Wash. and rip somebody’s liver out.” (Manes has since authored a book about ballet.)
The point is that as professional observers work to see both the positives and the negatives in a major revision of Windows revision, customer reaction is frequently less nuanced. And once the public collectively decides on the worth of a product, the conventional wisdom can be hard to overcome.
Windows 8 still has some momentum behind it, partly driven by the Microsoft spin machine and multimillion-dollar ad campaigns for the Surface tablet and Internet Explorer. And Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that if consumers are going to buy a Windows 8 tablet, they really should get a touchscreen.
So what’s really happening here? Is Windows 8 already a bust? The market share trends charted by Net Applications offer clues, but it’s too soon to tell for sure whether or not that little “hump” is a bump, a step or nothing much at all. But the latest discounts indicate that Microsoft is worried enough to sacrifice its margins to juice sales of smaller Windows 8 devices. Will it be enough to make a difference?
Image Source: Flickr/Ambernectar 13
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Kansas City Star
Bank of Korea Cuts Interest Rates as the Economy Slows
To contact the reporters on this story: Eunkyung Seo in Seoul at email@example.com; Cynthia Kim in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at email@example.com. Facebook Share …
Bahk Eschews Stimulus as South Korea's Slowdown Abates
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This week, at long last, the Federal Communications Commission explained in court why telco criticisms of its Net neutrality regulations are “baseless.” Nonetheless, it has become crystal clear that the FCC’s rules against online discrimination – perhaps the signature technology policy move of Barack Obama’s presidency – are in the industry’s crosshairs.
The Net neutrality regulations adopted by the FCC on a party-line vote just before Christmas 2010 represented the administration’s attempt to find middle ground. Chairman Julius Genachowski had floated an idea variously called “The Third Way” or “Title II Lite.” His plan proposed a historic, black-and-white reclassification of broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service under the Communications Act of 1934, but with caveats: the FCC would “forebear” on using all the regulatory muscle that it generally holds over common carriers, like the ability to impose sharing requirements. But Genachowski, facing a tsunami of industry disapproval, retreated to a far more modest jurisdiction over broadband. That’s what Verizon now dismisses in court as the FCC’s attempt to “conjure a role for itself.”
Genachowski’s Net neutrality rules were a tenuous play from the start, considering the Comcast v. FCC decision on BitTorrent throttling some months earlier, which challenged the commission’s “ancillary authority” to regulate broadband. Verizon said it would go to court. It has.
Meanwhile, AT&T responded in public with a what’s done is done air. In a hearing last March, a company executive quietly seconded a member of Congress who suggested the rules would “require no change in the business plans of AT&T.” We’re beginning to see why. In the run up to this week’s expected release of iOS 6, AT&T has said that it will disable FaceTime, the iPhone’s video chat feature, over its cellular networks except for subscribers to its pricey Mobile Share plans. Why? An uncertainty about data load, the company said. And if the FCC can make up the rules as it goes along, AT&T seems to be arguing, then so can we.
Blocking FaceTime doesn’t violate Net neutrality regs, a company rep wrote, because the app is “preloaded.” That’s a distinction not found within the four corners of the FCC’s neutrality rules. But it buys the company a little wiggle room.
Genachowski’s Christmas surprise earned him the ire of critics, some of whom see an inevitability to today’s challenges. “This is a mess of the commission’s own making,” said Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, a vociferous proponent of net neutrality regulations. Congress, it’s worth noting, wasn’t able to craft the FCC any clearer authority. But rather than establishing that the Internet is both the digital bits that make up its content and the (highly regulable) pipes that those bits travel along, Genachowski tried to make do with a far less coherent jurisdiction. And prodded by industry, he carved out exemptions for mobile Internet, which is exactly how more and more Americans are going online. Companies can’t block competitive applications, and they have to be transparent about what they do do. But that leaves gaps big enough for AT&T to drive its FaceTime policy through.
That the FCC would claim jurisdiction over broadband, today’s dominant communications medium, scares the bejeebus out of some people. Same goes for the idea that it wouldn’t. The agency tried to calm roiling waters with a tempered approach to Net neutrality. But that produced only a momentary peace. Verizon is challenging it in court. AT&T is challenging it in the marketplace. What is the government’s role in regulating broadband networks? More unsettled than ever. And that doesn’t benefit much of anyone.
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'Reply 1997′ releases still cuts of Hoya and Seo In Guk dressed up as doctors
Seo In Guk is also seen in one of the photos for he decided to try on Hoya's gown for himself even though his character isn't a doctor in the drama. Hoya's character, Junhee, is said to have done extremely well in high school and matriculated into …
Infinite's Hoya Becomes a Doctor for 'Reply 1997'
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Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? The HP Envy x2 is actually both, but it remains to be seen how well this Windows 8 device actually performs in either one of its dual roles.
One Device? Or Two?
Do you want your laptop and your tablet to be the same device? That’s the essential question facing HP’s new Envy x2 – a clever combination of full-featured Windows 8 laptop with a detachable screen that functions on its own as a Windows-8 powered tablet.
I was able to examine the consumer-oriented Envy x2 for only a few moments at an HP preview event earlier this month, but my initial impressions were of a sturdy, well-made device.
HP did not disclose pricing, but said the Envy x2 would ship in time for the holidays. It will be available only in a combined form – you won’t be able to buy just the tablet portion.
Welcome Innovation In Form Factors
I’m not yet convinced it’s best in class in any category, but the idea of combining the laptop and tablet into a single fully integrated device is certainly intriguing. Along with Microsoft’s Surface and other Windows 8 devices expected to be announced in the coming weeks and months, the Envy x2 augers a welcome spate of innovation in the form factors of mobile computing devices. The iPad has been deservedly popular, but I have to believe there’s value beyond what Apple offers.
When fully assembled, the Envy x2 looks for all the world like a small laptop computer, its 3.1-pound brushed aluminum clamshell case holding an 11.6-inch touch-screen display and full-size keyboard and touchpad. So far so good.
The Guts Are In The Tablet
But that’s obviously only half the story. Pretty much all the guts are in the screen portion, so when you pull apart the cool magnetized hinges, you’re holding a 1.5-pound Windows 8 tablet with a 32GB or 645GB solid state drive as well as a mini SD Port for expansion. The keyboard portion holds a separate battery and a full-size SD port along with standard laptop connectivity options. The unit features HP’s Beats Audio technology (though I wasn’t able to check actual sound quality), Near Field Communications (NFC) capability, an 8-megapixel camera on the back and an front-facing HD webcam.
Fredrik Hamberger, HP’s Vice President, America’s Consumer Category Management, told me that 55% to 60% of total battery life was in the tablet portion, and that the unit automatically draws on that keyboard portion battery first, leaving as much charge as possible in the tablet portion for detached use. Hamberger estimated battery life as “a lot more” than the 8 hours claimed for the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4, which HP also announced.
Two Touch-Screen Laptops
The 4.77-pound Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 uses a 14-inch touchscreen display on an otherwise fairly typical laptop equippped with a subwoofer. HP also did not reveal pricing for this unit.
HP is also announcing the $1,399 Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, which also weighs 4.77 pounds but sports a 15.6-inch, “edge-to-edge glass” touchscreen and Thunderbolt connectivity. It’s due to ship in December.
While Windows 8’s touch-centric interface would seem to argue for the value of such devices, using a touch screen on a standard laptop has alway been awkward for me. I can never seem to decide whether to reach for the screen, the touchpad or maybe even a mouse if one is connected. And reaching over the keyboard always seems like a stretch – literally. Still, with the touchscreen adding only $100 to $200 to standard laptop prices – and that premium expected to decline over time – I think we’re likely to see a lot more touchscreen laptops in the coming months.
All images – except for HP product shot – are by Fredric Paul.
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The Herp Derp Web Extension is a browser plug-in that aims to make YouTube comments palatable by making them read “herp derp.” The world needs such a function, as conventional wisdom would have it, because YouTube comments are the scum of the Internet, a repository of “everything that is terrible about humanity.” But is that a reason to censor them?
Herp Derp is getting rave reviews. As one user put it in the Chrome store yesterday, it’s “the best browser plugin ever created.”
Perhaps Tanner Stokes, the creator of the extension, is just having a laugh, as are the reviewers. But signs point to their being all too serious. Here’s Stokes’ list of comments that deserve the herp derp treatment: “FIRST,” “omg justin bieber,” “lol FAKE” and “your dumb.”
OK, they’re not Shakespeare. But people were writing “FIRST” as an Internet comment long before YouTube existed. “FIRST” is an Internet comment staple and an Internet culture mystery various media outlets, like Buzzfeed, have been trying to solve for years. So why would Stokes call it out as a problem with YouTube?
As for people who write “lol FAKE,” they’re clearly going to the trouble of questioning what they’re watching. Remember folks, you can’t trust everything you see on the Internet.
The comment “your dumb” is not particularly offensive – unless bad grammar ruins your day – nor is it characteristic of YouTube at large. Questioning someone’s intelligence is, I hate to break it to Stokes, common on various Web platforms, be they social networks or news sites.
Similarly, “omg justin bieber” isn’t inherently a YouTube phenomenon, though the 18-year-old megastar did get his start on the site. By expressing his desire to censor this comment, Stokes admits that he watches videos with Bieber in them. How else would he know? Rabid fan girls don’t write “omg justin bieber” on videos that don’t include the singer. Just sayin’.
The trolls who so trouble Stokes come out to play on trending videos or clips picked up by mainstream media. Thus the Herp Derp plug-in’s core user base consists of people whose YouTube habits don’t extend beyond the latest viral video. Herp Derp users likely don’t use YouTube to educate themselves or engage with the Web community. They don’t visit the YouTube channel of the White House, Reuters, TED Talks, a premium content channel, a YouTube celebrity or tutorials on DIY projects. If they did, they wouldn’t find themselves mired in comment threads running amok to the point where they need to be censored.
No YouTuber worth his or her salt (i.e., the hundreds now making at least six figures a year in a YouTube career, and the hundreds of thousands who want to make YouTube their career) would ever use the Herp Derp extension. In fact, they beg for comments from their fan base and rely on comments to run their business. Many of them insist that the instantaneous feedback they receive through comments is incredibly helpful, and – surprise! – intellectually satisfying conversations often emerge.
If it’s fun to censor YouTube comments, why not those at Huffington Post, Boing Boing, Yahoo or Fox News? Trolls are everywhere. They’re not confined to YouTube. Free speech is a fundamental Internet value, and YouTube is an important Internet community. Censoring YouTube comments undermines Internet culture as a whole.
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Microsoft has undertaken what’s being called “a round of layoffs,” including eliminating the position of long-time digital marketing evangelist Mel Carson, who worked for Microsoft Advertising in the US and helped start adCenter in the UK. The software giant confirmed the layoffs…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Microsoft has undertaken what’s being called “a round of layoffs,” including eliminating the position of long-time digital marketing evangelist Mel Carson, who worked for Microsoft Advertising out of its London office and helped start adCenter there. The software giant confirmed…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.