Microsoft Counters Apple With a Terrible Ad

Microsoft has a new ad that is getting a lot of attention.

The punchline: Microsoft Windows Laptops are cheaper than Macs.

The ad is a reflection of Steve Ballmer’s line last week:

“The economy is helpful,” Ballmer said at a conference today in New York. “Paying an extra $500 for a logo on it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this economy.”

I think the ad is odd and misguided:

1- Instead of building a better OS and suite of products they focus on price. They should be a bit embarrassed they don’t have an answer to iLife. Focus on products not price.

2- Are we gonna see ads that say that Microsoft Windows Mobile powered phones are cheaper than iPhones? Would that matter?

3- How much is Microsoft Office again? Do they really want to talk about price? I just bought a Mac for my home. It’s the first Mac I’ve ever bought that doesn’t have Microsoft software. I’m going to use a combination of Google Docs and Apple iWork ($50). I’m sure I’m not alone.

Even though I use Macs, I am a fan of Microsoft for many reasons. But this ad doesn’t shine a light on the right stuff.

AT&T Selling 8GB Refurb iPhone 3G

Ha, you or someone you love just paid full retail for an iPhone 3G a few days ago, didn’t you? We’ve always heard that the best deals come after Christmas, but people just never learn. All smack talk aside, those who didn’t get a new cellie under the tree, but did acquire a Benjamin or so courtesy of cash-stuffed holiday cards, can certainly score a big deal today. AT&T is now offering the 8GB iPhone 3G in refurbished form for just $99 with a two-year agreement, while 16GB refurb is $199 on contract in either black or white. Call us crazy, but we don’t foresee these hanging around in stock for too awfully long.

Prediction: Windows 7 will hit Stores in 2009

Windows 7 will hit store shelves sometime next year. And if I had to guess exactly when it would happen, November 2 would be my answer.

Yes, I know that Microsoft has said that it plans on releasing Windows 7 by early 2010 and there has been no confirmation on the part of the software giant would indicate a 2009 release. But when we consider that Vista is still in trouble, Microsoft extended the XP deadline even further into 2009, and there’s no end to Vista troubles in sight, I simply don’t see any other option for Ballmer and Company.

Microsoft knows all too well that it made a slew of mistakes with Vista. Intent on turning things around and putting this mess behind it, I think the company will make a major announcement in the next couple months detailing the future of Windows and the exact release date of Windows 7. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if we hear about it at CES when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes the stage to deliver his keynote address.

For the past year, all we’ve heard from top Microsoft brass is how great Windows 7 will be. Ballmer said it will be like Vista, but “better.” Gates said that Windows 7 will be the next major release from the company that everyone will want. And time and again, when given the option of discussing Vista or Windows 7, Microsoft almost always chooses the latter.

Realizing that, doesn’t it stand to reason that Microsoft would do its best to release Windows 7 as quickly as possible? And if it was shooting for an early 2010 release when it still hoped that Jerry Seinfeld and its own brand of “I’m a PC” ads would improve Vista’s standing, don’t you think it will try to release it sooner now that those ads haven’t done anything to improve Vista’s stance in the market?

November 2 seems like the perfect day for Microsoft to release Windows 7 next year. It not only provides the company with ample time to improve the OS and get it ready for the public, but it shows vendors, software partners, and consumers themselves that it’s serious about getting Windows right this time. And perhaps most importantly, that release date puts Microsoft in the position it wants to be in: ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Say what you will about Vista and its value, but I don’t see it lasting another year. Microsoft has learned its lesson with Vista and its hellbent on ensuring it doesn’t commit those mistakes again.

That’s why Windows 7 is coming next year and that’s why I’m looking forward to it.

Multi-Touch Swipe Gestures for iPhone Keyboard

Despite the Christmas holiday, the U.S. Patent Office continues to be churning away and has revealed this interesting new patent application from Apple called Swipe Gestures for Touch Screen Keyboards. The patent application is authored by Wayne Westerman. While we always enjoy reading research from the former Fingerworks founder, his multi-touch patent applications always seem to be more ambitious than practical. This latest document, however, details some very useful (and practical) additions to the iPhone’s on screen keyboard.

Apple suggests the use of swipe gestures to be sued on top of the iPhone’s on screen keyboard in order to provide the user with quick access to common keys.

For example, erasing and basic punctuation insertion, directional swipes (also referred to herein as “swipe gestures”) over the alphabetic keys can be used as an alternative to striking certain keys. Because the Space and Backspace keys are quite frequently used, they are logical candidates for the rightward and leftward swipes, respectively. Leftward and rightward swipes intuitively match the cursor travel caused by these symbols. Following this cursor movement analogy, the Enter/Return may be invoked by a downward swipe, and a Shift/Caps may be invoked by an upward swipe. Alternatively, as the Enter and Shift functions may be less frequently invoked, these may be substituted for other functions as well. One alternative mapping for the upward swipe, for example, could be to activate an alternative numeric and punctuation keypad or a particular punctuation symbol like an apostrophe or period.

Cops To Zap Drunks With Lasers?

lasers

The department of Justice is working on two new weapons descended from the Air Force’s “pain beam” Active Denial System – and wants to put them in the hands of your local boys in blue.

 

One is a backpack-sized portable ADS that uses microwaves to roast your skin, creating what the Pentagon gingerly calls a “repel response”—in other words, OWOWITBURNSOWOWTURNITOFF. They say it causes no permanent damage, but there haven been cases of second-degree burns.

And then you’ve got the PhaSR, that Starship Troopers-looking laser rifle above. Not only does “dazzle” you with lasers—not the kind that’ll make your sight any better—it has a infrared beam attachment to burn your skin too, which is more currently practical than the microwave-based pain beams, though the latter penetrates clothing better. The National Institute for Justice is testing it “in various scenarios, which may include prison situations as well as law enforcement.”

Meaning we can look forward to videos like this one, but with a sweet Halo rifle instead of a dinky taser dishing out the pain

Christmas at Google

It used to be that Google employees received a cash bonus at this time of the year. This year, it was a bit different:

“Google on Tuesday began handling out mobile smartphones rather than cash as a year-end present to its staff, in a move that reflects an effort by the company to pare the cost of tis lavish employee perks. The Internet search group is to give most of its 20,100 employees around the world the GI, the first handset to be powered by Google’s new mobile operating system, as Android.”

The Google gesture of a G1 is still notable in this company. The Google employees may count themselves fortunate. They still have a job.

1.7 Wiis Sold Last Week

According to some not-quite-official but probably relatively-accurate numbers from VG Chartz, Nintendo moved 1.7 million Wii units last week. That’s a staggering number in its own right, and compared to the now-cheaper Xbox 360 (535,806) and the “hey guys, I’m still here, and I play Blu-ray discs” PlayStation 3 (239,576) it’s a pretty commanding lead for Nintendo. The fact that most people in most areas can finally track down a Wii at a retail store for a non-inflated price probably isn’t hurting things – not to mention that really cool bowling game they’ve heard so much about. We’re curious what console you might’ve picked up for a friend, love one, family member, or that good looking person in a mirror this holiday season, so hit up the poll below. Then, after you’ve taken a particularly long sip of egg nog, hit up the video after the break and weep for humanity.