Bing visual search, Cheap Windows 7, IBM ditches Office and Palm ditches Windows Mobile

Microsoft has had a busy week.  Not only have they released a new Zune, there was plenty of other news relating to the company.

Bing’s Visual Search

bingvisualsearch When Bing launched, one of the things that set it apart from other search engines was it’s visual previews for video and pictures.  Microsoft has taken that concept a bit further with the Visual Search Gallery.  There are several galleries already assembled as well as the Featured Galleries.  A gallery is a category that is displayed as icon stacks.  You select a category and another gallery will open.  This second gallery will open up to a page that displays sub-categories, arranged alphabetically in yet more stacks.  Click a stack and search results are returned in the traditional manner.  So, say you want to search cell phones.  binggallery1 Click the Cell Phone stack from the Visual Search Gallery.  (I find it funny that a Palm Pre is displayed on the top of the stack.)  Next, you’ll see a page with a perspective style, alphabetized set of rows of stacks.  Scroll forward or backward to the letter you want and then click the stack of your choice.  Once you do that, you’ll see the traditional set of results.  This is an interesting and entertaining way of looking for something as well as a somewhat better method of organizing searches that can return thousands of hits.

Cheap Windows 7 for Students

Microsoft announced a new program that will allow college students purchase Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional for $29.95.  The program will run through January 3, 2010.

Microsoft loses a major Office customer

IBM has mandated that its 360,000+ employees use its Lotus Symphony office suite instead of Microsoft’s suite.  Lotus Symphony-no, not the early nineties product-is an office suite built from OpenOffice.  Symphony looks nicer than the vanilla Open Office, but it works no better than Open Office.  Both suites suffer from compatibility and performance problems,  though they are far and away better than they used to be and Symphony seems to be more stable.  Both now allegedly are Office 2007 compatible.  I suspect the guys in Redmond are not crying over the loss of this customer.

Snow Leopard could eat Windows 7 alive

Here’s an interesting take on sales figures:  an article by ChannelWeb blogger Ed Moltzen says that the ‘aggressively priced’ Snow Leopard upgrade, coupled with its ‘ease of upgrade’ will allow the Cupertino company to give Microsoft ‘an ugly time’.  The article, citing analyst Stephen Baker from the NPD Group, tries to say that Windows 7 high cost and lack of ‘direct upgrade from market-share leader Windows XP’ will give Apple the edge.  Right.  What Mr. Moltzen fails to point out is that Microsoft has already pre-sold Windows 7 at $49.95(US), is offering the operating system in a ‘family pack’ for $149 for three licenses, had record downloads of the release candidate, already has businesses running the operating system and that pre-release chatter has been overwhelmingly positive, something Vista failed to generate.  I don’t think Redmond is too concerned about Cupertino giving them an ‘ugly time.’

Windows 7 advertising campaign begins…requires a visit to the dentist

The campaign, featuring the sweet little girl from the Windows Live advertisement, has begun.  The spot features Kylie making a video using Movie Maker that is made up of things she found on her Dad’s computer.  You are then treated to the finished movie.  The spot is nice, but doesn’t really show off Windows 7 or why you would want to upgrade.  Instead, you see what others are saying about the ‘new’ operating system from Redmond.  The cute video is wrecked, however, by a god-awful soundtrack.  Click here to watch the spot.

No more Windows Mobile phones from Palm

Palm announced, during its earnings call, that it will concentrate solely on producing phones that utilize its new-ish webOS operating system.  Jon Rubinstein said:

“Due to importance of webOS to our overall strategy, we’ve made the decision to dedicate all future development resources to the evolution of webOS. Which means that going forward, our roadmap will include only Palm webOS-based devices”

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