What’s New in Microsoft Land: 25–29 February 2008

The Redmond based company decided that it couldn't wait for an answer from Yahoo! any longer, or for the alternative hostile takeover to finalize all of its proceedings that haven't even started yet. With Google as a target, on Monday Microsoft announced that it will tend to its own advertising program and platform rather than standing around and hopping for the best. The best could only come in half size, as the most talented people are leaving the SUnnyvale based company, like rats do from a sinking ship, after their packages vested early in February.

The new Engagement Mapping that Microsoft brought forth at the very beginning of the week is specially tailored to overhaul the process of managing and measuring the effectiveness of online campaigns. The "last ad clicked" standard, the one currently in use when connecting with customers relating to the success of the online advertising campaign, is obsolete, according to Microsoft. With Engagement Mapping, the measuring is not done by solely taking into account the last ad clicked, but an array of other variables, such as the online touchpoints and interactions associated with a specific user, that ultimately lead to a sale. "The 'last ad clicked' is an outdated and flawed approach because it essentially ignores all prior interactions the consumer has with a marketer's message," said Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the Advertiser & Publisher Solutions (APS) Division at Microsoft. "Our Engagement Mapping approach conveys how each ad exposure - whether display, rich media or search, seen multiple times on multiple sites and across many channels - influenced an eventual purchase. We believe it represents a quantum leap for advertisers and publishers who are seeking to maximize their online spends." Google, beware!

IBM and Microsoft Corp. have come together on Tuesday and announced that they will be delivering a powerful Windows Embedded-based plug-and-play solution to help make it faster and easier for retailers and hospitality organizations to deliver information and services to time-conscious, empowered consumers. It will be fairly easy to get your hands on Microsoft's Windows Embedded for Points of Service operating system, as it will come pre-loaded on IBM point-of-sale, self-checkout and self-service kiosks offerings.

"This is about helping our clients win in the marketplace by providing them a choice of solutions to enable them to more efficiently manage their businesses, and better serve increasingly demanding consumers," said Alan Outlaw, business line executive, IBM Point-of-Sale Solutions. "Windows Embedded for Point of Service gives us yet another option for clients who want to add Windows as part of their IT infrastructure." The WEPS has its platform based on Microsoft Windows technologies that have been optimized for the retail industry. What makes it special is that it is the very first point-of-service operating system that provides plug-and-play functionality for retail device peripherals.

"Retail and hospitality organizations globally are keenly focused on making the in-store shopping experience compelling for consumers while also looking for ways to drive down costs through improved efficiencies," said Ilya Bukshteyn, director of marketing for Windows Embedded at Microsoft. "This demand signals the need for technology solutions that deliver a smart, connected service-oriented experience. Microsoft’s collaboration with IBM is a terrific example of the positive response to our embedded point-of-service retail and hospitality strategy."

Wednesday was both a glory and troublesome day for the Redmond based company. It brought forth from its labs the next generation of infrastructure and application platform products, Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 being the jewels of its crown. The domains targeted with this so-to-say update are varying from security, web and virtualization to business intelligence, all improved with the latest versions of the all-so-popular by now products. The event thrown in the launch's honor had a "Heroes happen here" theme, and highlighted the outstanding work that IT professionals, developers and partners do every day to create solutions and cutting-edge applications that keep global commerce and industry running.

"IT professionals and developers tell us they spend too much time and money managing existing systems and not enough investing in new capabilities that create strategic advantage," Ballmer said. "That feedback is at the core of the innovations in this new wave of products. Already, the overwhelming response from thousands of IT professionals and developers around the world is that this is the most secure enterprise platform we have ever delivered, and that it will simplify management and enable them to focus more on driving their businesses forward."

But then again, when everything was looking pink and fuzzy for Microsoft, the European Union slapped a $1.4 billion fine against the Redmond based company for failing to comply with previous directions. The story is as old as Matusalem and has very well been documented so i won't give further detail. Nevertheless, that must have cut into the bidding money, should Tahoo! decide on a whim to accept.

Who likes a sale? Everybody does, including Microsoft, as it reduced the price on several retail stand alone versions of Windows Vista. Because the company wants the transition from Windows XP to Vista to happen as soon as possible and as quick as possible, the finance people decided to make it less expensive to buy the latest operating system on retail, in an attempt to double the rate at which the change is happening. Windows Vista was primarily made available to customers via the sale of new PCs, with the stand-alone market being almost unattended to.

"Windows Vista has been on the market for more than a year now, with more than 100 million licenses sold in its first year. While this is great progress, we see an opportunity to grow our business even more with some of the new editions we introduced with Windows Vista. Today, the vast majority of Windows licenses are sold with PCs; retail stand-alone sales, in contrast, have been primarily from customers who value being early adopters and those building their own machines. We’ve observed market behavior, however, that suggests an opportunity to expand Windows stand-alone sales to other segments of the consumer market," Brad Broks, corporate vice president for Windows Consumer Product Marketing, said.

The price-cut will be available for everyone to benefit from as soon as Windows Vista SP 1 hits the market, later this year.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 was announced as a fact on Friday, when the Redmond based company officially confirmed that testers have already begun joining the limited technical beta program for the browser. The invitations started flying last week. While knowing that IE8 is just around the corner, most likely the whole wide world will be able to catch a glimpse of it at MIX08 next week, where it is said to be the star product. What good will leaking screenshots and information about the browser will now do? A Microsoft spokesperson told Softpedia, via email, that "We are beginning to invite testers into the IE8 TechBeta program. We will also be opening IE8 Beta 1 to the public in the future, but have no more information on that at this time." Luckily, it won't be a long wait.

Source: news.softpedia.com


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