Windows 8, Windows 7 updates already, Microsoft cell phones, Apple retail employees and Windows 7 launch parties…oh my!

Wow, Windows 7’s launch is still a month away and, already, news of Windows 8 is starting to ramp up.  Today’s ‘All About Microsoft’ column by Mary Jo Foley is about Windows 8.  Still in the planning stages, Foley cites Stephen Chapman, of the UX Evangelist site (great site, btw) who has ‘uncovered’ job profiles of people who have worked on various pieces parts that may, or may not, be part of Windows 8.  Huh.  Among the enhancements for the new, new OS include:  Patch Guard enhancements (protects the kernel); a new file compression engine and others.  Maybe they’ll finally finish fixing the UI inconsistencies as well.

Again, even though Windows 7 is still a month away, Microsoft has already released a true compatibility update to the operating system.  Some of the fixes include compatibility improvements for various Trend Micro anti virus products, Alcohol 52% compatibility improvements and others.  This should be the first in many similar updates.

Gizmodo ran a story about the purported Microsoft phones.  They have photos of two alleged Microsoft phones from its ‘pink’ project.  One phone, the ‘turtle’, is a cute little phone that resembles an old Blackberry.  The screen swings out to reveal a tiny keyboard.  I’m guess it is aimed at young ladies, but I may just be sexist here.  Not sure.  The other phone looks more like the Danger Sidekick and an LG slider type phone. The phones will be, supposedly, manufactured by Sharp.  Sharp produced the Danger hardware prior to the acquisition by Microsoft.  While the operating system is still unclear, it would be, most likely, some flavor of Windows Embedded or Mobile and feature Zune services.  The renderings in the photos look very Zune-ish.

Two other strange stories arose this week in the Microsoft universe.  One was about the Windows 7 launch parties and the other was about Microsoft trying to ‘steal’ away Apple retail store employees.  The latter story I find really interesting.  Microsoft plans a chain of retail outlets to promote and sell Microsoft products.  The stores will, presumably, resemble the Apple stores including Microsoft Guru bars.  The interesting thing here…and a huge complement to Apple…is that by trying to poach these employees, Microsoft is saying ‘Apple hires quality people.’  I think that is probably true.  The Apple store experience is a quality retail experience and if Microsoft can come close, they will be successful. As for the launch parties, really?  I suppose this is an attempt to be ‘hip’ or, at least, stretch the hype machine a bit further.  But, seriously?  Launch parties?  I don’t see the point.  Where’s my invite anyway?

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