Intel exec says NVIDIA's CUDA will be a "footnote" in history  

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Intel dismisses threat of GPGPU computing, saying that Larrabee’s focus on IA cores will win out in the long run-
Intel has revealed that it sees no place in the future of computing for general purpose GPU (GPGPU) programming models such as Nvidia’s CUDA, which has enabled Stanford's Nvidia GPU folding client, saying that programmers don’t have the time to learn how to program for radical new architectures.
In a Q&A session after announcing Intel’s 40th birthday, we asked Intel’s senior vice president and co-general manager of Intel Corporation's Digital Enterprise Group, Pat Gelsinger, where he saw GPGPU languages such as CUDA in the future. He said that they would be nothing more than ‘interesting footnotes in the history of computing annals.’ ‘The problem that we’ve seen over and over and over again in the computing industry is that there’s a cool new idea, and it promises a 10x or 20x performance improvements, but you’ve just got to go through this little orifice called a new programming model,’ Gelsinger explained to Custom PC. Those orifices, says Gelsinger, have always been ‘insurmountable as long as the general purpose computing models evolve into the future.’
Gelsinger used the Cell architecture used in the PlayStation 3’s CPU as an example to prove his point. ‘It [Cell] promised to be this radical new computing architecture,’ said Gelsinger, ‘and basically years later the application programmers have barely been able to comprehend how to write applications for it.’This, according to Gelsinger, is one of the major reasons why Intel’s forthcoming Larrabee graphics chip will be entirely based on IA (Intel Architecture) x86 cores. ‘Our approach to this has been to not force programmers to make a radical architectural shift,’ explained Gelsinger, ‘but to take what they already know – this IA-compatible architecture – and extend the programming model to comprehend new visual computing data-parallel-throughput workloads, and that’s the strategy that we’re taking with Larrabee.’ Larrabee, according to Gelsinger, will simply expand on a standard programming model.
‘It’s an IA-compatible core,’ explained Gelsinger, ‘and we’re extending it with a graphics vector visualisation instruction set that has full support for native programming models, full support for the graphics APIs like DX and OpenGL, and then this broad set of new programming models to go with it.’Gelsinger claims that the ISVs (independent software vendors) that are currently dealing with Larrabee have responded with ‘nothing but sheer passion and enthusiasm for that direction.’ As such, he added that ‘we expect things like CUDA and CTN will end up in the same interesting footnotes in the history of computing annals – they had great promise and there were a few applications that were able to take advantage of them, but generally an evolutionary compatible computing model, such as we’re proposing with Larrabee, we expect will be the right answer long term.’
Could GPGPU computing really take off in the future, or is Intel right in saying that a standard x86-based programming model will win out in the end? Let us know your thoughts.

Nvidia Reports Problem With Laptop Chips  

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Nvidia has uncovered a problem with some older graphics chips that shipped in "significant quantities" of laptop PCs, the company said Wednesday.
Nvidia hasn't determined the exact cause of the problem but said it relates to a packaging material used with some of its chips, as well as the thermal design of some laptops. Modern processors generate considerable amounts of heat.
To tackle the problem, the company is releasing a software driver that will cause system fans to start operating sooner and reduce the "thermal stress" on the chips. The driver has been provided to laptop makers directly, said Derek Perez, an Nvidia spokesman.
Nvidia will take a charge against second-quarter earnings of US$150 million to $200 million to cover the expected cost of repairing and replacing the products, which include graphics processing units and media and communications processors. It didn't say specifically which of its products were affected.
The products have been failing in the field at "higher than normal rates," Nvidia said. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it said it was talking to its supply chain about getting reimbursed for some of the costs.
The company also had other bad news on Wednesday. It said it was lowering its revenue forecast for the second quarter due to pricing pressure and delayed product ramps. The company now expects revenue to be between $875 million and $950 million.

Enjoy E-mail Facility without internet  

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Now you can Send and Receive E-mail with your Mobile Handsets, no matter how cheap is. This facility provided by Rajesh Jain Company "Netcore Solutions”.
The interesting point of this service is The Service is not required a High facility Mobile Handset, so you can call it “Black Barry for Poors”. you can Send and Receive E-mail from this service with your every Mobile Handset who have SMS Facility. The monthly charges of this service is between 800 to 1200 Rupee Indian. The service is in works.
The service is come with 2 IDs, The 1st is Personal ID and the 2nd is Corporate ID, anywhere, any time you can Send or Receive E-mail With this service.
You have 480 Characters to write E-mail (remember: you have 160 Characters to write a SMS) and you have facility to forward your E-mail like SMS and you may have push E-mail Facility but its required a Data Enabled Mobile Handset.
Netcore Solutions CEO Abhijit Saxena say: we Introduce this service to Provide facility like Black Barry’s to people who cant afford Money to spend on value able Mobile Handset, so we can call it “Black Barry for Poors”.
Before this service The Company Provided Live New, Joks, Sensex and Bollywood News in SMS alert, the costumers of this company is reached more than 3.5 Million in the country.Finally, if you want to join this service, write a SMS to “Rajesh Jain Company Netcore Solutions”, than the company will forward you instructions about the settings to change in your E-mail ID. After that you can Send and Receive E-mail on your Mobile Handset, you have one copy of the E-mail into your E-mail ID and the one copy on your Mobile Handset, also you can transfer your all Previous E-mails into your Mobile Handset.

Intel not keen on full Vista Rollout  

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SAN FRANCISCO - Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker and decades-long business partner of Microsoft, has no immediate plans to roll out the software giant's Windows Vista operating system to all its employees.
"We're in a refresh cycle now and there are a number of factors considered before we select software," an Intel spokesman explained without elaborating.
Intel and Microsoft have for years been known as "Wintel," because the two have worked together since the early days of the personal computer industry to tie Intel's microprocessors with Microsoft's operating system.
"We are testing and deploying Windows Vista in certain departments," the Intel spokesman said.
The decision by Intel is the latest setback to Vista, which has faced slow adoption by large corporate customers, many of which are choosing to wait for the release of Microsoft's next operating system code-named Windows 7.
Microsoft has targeted a 2010 release for Windows 7.

"There's been very little enterprise-wide uptake of Vista," said Endpoint Technologies Associates analyst Roger Kay, of big-business use of Vista across entire companies. "They look at Vista and say, 'We're not going to throw out a bunch of hardware and software."'
Using Windows Vista can often require expensive upgrades of computer hardware, because Vista requires larger amounts of computer memory to run smoothly, among other requirements.
Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, has about 80,000 employees across the globe and maintains a network of about a dozen multibillion dollar plants that churn out its processors that are the electronic brains of PCs.
Together, Intel and Microsoft control some 80 per cent or more of the global personal computing industry.
The Inquirer, a London-based technology website, and the New York Times earlier reported Intel's decision not to roll out Vista across the entire company.
Among consumers, however, many millions of copies of Vista are in use, with Microsoft saying that more than 140 million copies are installed on PCs around the globe.
"The consumer market is moving along apace," Kay said. "And in the small- and medium-business market you're seeing decent adoption of Vista."
- REUTERS

The bell tolls for Windows XP  

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REDMOND - Microsoft is scheduled to stop selling its Windows XP operating system to retailers and major computer makers Monday (US time), despite protests from a slice of PC users who do not want to be forced into using XP's successor, Vista.
Once computers loaded with XP have been cleared from the inventory of PC makers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, consumers who can't live without the old operating system on their new machine will have to buy Vista Ultimate or Vista Business and then legally "downgrade" to XP.
Microsoft will still allow smaller mom-and-pop PC builder shops to buy XP for resale through the end of January. A version of XP will also remain available for ultra-low-cost PCs such as the Asus Eee PC.
A group of vocal computer users who rallied around a Save XP petition posted on the industry news site InfoWorld had been clamouring for Microsoft to keep selling XP until its next operating system, Windows 7, is available. The software maker has said it expects to release Windows 7 sometime in 2009.
Last week, Microsoft said it would provide full technical support for six-year-old Windows XP through 2009, and limited support through 2014.

Yahoo Bigwigs Move to Defend Microsoft Rejection  

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NEW YORK - Yahoo began pressing a case to major shareholders that its board and management deserve a chance to prove they made the right move when they rejected a $47.5 billion takeover offer from Microsoft.
The missed opportunity to sell to Microsoft infuriated many Yahoo shareholders, prompting activist investor Carl Icahn to agitate for replacing Yahoo's nine directors and reviving negotiations with Microsoft. If he gains control of the board, Icahn intends to fire Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang as chief executive.
In response, Yahoo has assembled a 32-page shareholder presentation to elaborate on the points it has been emphasising since Microsoft withdrew its bid May 3.
Investors will decide the dustup in a vote scheduled Aug. 1 at Yahoo's annual meeting. That leaves another month for the Sunnyvale, California-based company and Icahn to disparage each other.
And with Yahoo shares sliding back toward $19.18 - their value before Microsoft's bid - Yahoo's management is facing even more pressure to end the financial malaise that triggered the takeover bid in the first place. Yahoo shares fell 44 cents to $20.89 in yesterday afternoon's trading.
Icahn didn't respond to a request for coment, but he wrote on his blog last week that he would share his latest opinions on Yahoo "shortly."
Yahoo argues that entrusting the company's fate to Icahn would be foolhardy because his strategy centres on resurrecting a dead deal.
Its breaking point came after Yang and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer couldn't agree on a price. Ballmer had orally offered $33 per share, but Yang wanted $37 per share - a price that Yahoo's stock hasn't reached in nearly 2 years.
Since Microsoft walked away, Yahoo said it tried to reopen sales negotiations in meetings on May 17 and June 8, only to be told "unequivocally" that the software maker no longer is interested in buying Yahoo in its entirety.
Hoping to dispel any perception that it mishandled the Microsoft negotiations, Yahoo's shareholder presentation lists the dates of at least eight meetings that its management or other representatives held with Microsoft before the bid was withdrawn.
Yahoo also wants to raise doubts about the sincerity of Microsoft's bid, arguing that its unsolicited suitor was "unresponsive and inconsistent" during the first three months of negotiations.
"The record casts doubt on whether Microsoft was ever committed to a whole company acquisition," Yahoo asserted in the shareholder presentation.
But Ballmer appeared to leave little doubt he prized Yahoo's whole franchise when he submitted his initial bid of $44.6 billion, or $31 per share. The Jan. 31 offer was 62 per cent above Yahoo's stock price at the time. Microsoft made its oral offer of $47.5 billion May 2.
"This is simply revisionist history," Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said about Yahoo's account of events.
To move on from the Microsoft bid, Yahoo hopes for a major boost from a planned advertising partnership with internet search leader Google Inc.
By relying on Google's superior technology to show some of the ads alongside its search results, Yahoo believes it can increase its annual revenue by about $800 million and generate another $250 million to $450 million in annual cash flow.
Although the Google partnership still could be blocked by antitrust regulators, Yahoo believes it offers more value than an alternative deal proposed by Microsoft. The software maker offered $9 billion for Yahoo's online search operations and a roughly 16 per cent in stake in the rest of Yahoo's business.
In its shareholder presentation, Yahoo argues Microsoft's partial offer is a "bad choice" because it wouldn't be as lucrative or as flexible as the Google partnership

Mac OS X market share surges 32% in one year  

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Vista grows by 256% in the same period, but Windows is down overall

Apple Inc.'s operating system market share has increased by nearly 32% in the last year, according to data collected by an Internet metrics company.
Last month, Apple's Mac OS X accounted for 7.94% of the operating systems powering computers that accessed the 40,000 Web sites Net Applications monitors for its clients, the company reported yesterday. A year ago, Mac OS X's usage share stood at 6.03%.
Also showing gains in June were Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista and Linux, which climbed 8% and 18%, respectively, to end the month accounting for 16.14% and 0.88% of the online operating system market.
Those gains came at the expense of Windows XP, and to a lesser extent, Windows 2000. Net Applications' data showed that Windows XP's share dropped from 72.12% to 71.2%, a decline of nearly a full percentage point. Windows 2000, meanwhile, continued its long slide, dropping to 2.11% of the online operating system share during June.
Monday marked the first major retirement milestone of Windows XP as Microsoft stopped offering licenses to most big-name computer makers and halted sales of boxed copies to retailers.
While Windows Vista's 256% increase in market share over the last 12 months significantly outpaced Mac OS X's gains, Windows' overall June total was down 2.45 percentage points from the year before, indicating that Vista was replacing XP, not adding to Microsoft's share.
Net Applications' operating system share and trend data is available online.

Firefox3 Sets Download Record  

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today's rating is 28,887,740
The open-source Firefox web browser now holds the Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in a day.
Mozilla Foundation said today that its recent 'Download Day' record attempt was successful.
It thanked the Mozilla community, which downloaded the latest version of the browser, Firefox 3, an impressive 8,002,530 times in 24 hours.
The record attempt did not run completely smoothly, with many internet users reporting that they were unable to connect to Mozilla's servers.
Some visitors checking for the update were delayed by up to two hours as the servers buckled under the massive demand.
A matter of hours after Firefox 3 was made available, security firm DV Labs/Tipping Point claimed it had found a flaw that could let cybercriminals take over a PC if malicious links were clicked.
Firefox now holds over 19 per cent of the world browser market, making it the second most popular behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Mozilla believes that it will push over the magic 20 per cent mark this month.
The counter on the record site currently displays nearly 28.5 million downloads of Firefox 3.

Microsoft lifts efforts to boost Vista's appeal  

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Microsoft New Zealand is ramping up its efforts to encourage local businesses and home computer users to switch to its new, much-maligned Windows Vista operating system.
The company believes it can do a better job spreading the word about Vista's potential to boost workplace productivity and plans to publicise more examples of local organisations using the operating system.
Microsoft has dominated the global personal computer operating system market through the various incarnations of Windows, which run on about nine out of every 10 computers.
Vista was launched early last year to a chorus of complaints from PC users who said it was sluggish compared to its predecessor, Windows XP, and incompatible with some of their existing software and hardware.
As a result, Microsoft has faced loud calls to delay the phase-out of XP, which was introduced in 2001.
The Vista sell has been made harder by Microsoft talking up its next operating system, Windows 7, due to be released late next year or early in 2010. This has prompted some business IT departments to consider skipping Vista and delaying their next operating system upgrade until 7 is available.
The latest embarrassment for Vista has been a decision by chip maker Intel - a major Microsoft business partner - not to upgrade the computers used by its 80,000 employees to the new operating system. The New York Times last week quoted a source saying Intel's IT department "just found no compelling case for adopting Vista".
However, Ben Green, Microsoft NZ's Windows marketing manager, says a year and a half after Vista's launch, it has been significantly improved and 60 per cent of small businesses say using it makes them more productive. Negative sentiment about Vista typically came from businesses or consumers who were not using it.
"The reality is someone who tried Vista early on may have had a great experience, but chances are they would have probably ended up having to look around a manufacturer's website for that extra driver to make something go," he said.
"A year and a half in, the experience is significantly different. So we're encouraging people at the moment to have a test drive, to have a look."
Green said his job would include spending more time talking to customers about Vista's selling points such as its enhanced security and productivity-enhancing features.
"Someone using Vista and Internet Explorer 7 [the latest version of Microsoft's web browser] is 60 per cent less likely to be infected by a virus or malware," Green said.
Green said businesses typically spent $5000 a year per machine on computer provisioning costs, about 70 per cent of which was made up of "labour" costs - the time the IT department or the end-user spent maintaining the system. Vista had features such as over-the-network diagnostic tools that cut that annual cost by between $300 and $1200, he said.
Local organisations that have begun to use Vista include Kiwibank, Treasury, the Fire Service, Waikato Institute of Technology and engineering consultancy Beca.
Two years ago Microsoft predicted businesses would adopt Vista at twice the speed of XP, but Green said to date, overall uptake of Vista was about the same as it had been a similar time after the launch of XP.
While users may not be rushing to upgrade to Vista - it has about a 20 per cent share of the market - its eventual dominance is assured as Microsoft phases out XP. However, the company has said it will continue offering support to XP users until 2014.

Microsoft Tries Annual Fee in New Office Bundle  

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A lower-cost, subscription-based Office bundle may be less of an effort to undermine Google Apps and more about promoting Microsoft's OneCare antivirus service.

Stuart J. Johnston
In a bid to drive new subscription-based revenue from consumers, Microsoft plans to begin selling a subscription service for the home and student edition of its Office productivity suite, starting in mid-July.
With its $69.99 annual subscription fee, the new Microsoft Equipt bundle may appear like a swipe at software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, which are delivered over the Web, and for which users similarly pay subscription fees.
But rather than getting its feet a little more damp in SaaS -- an area where it's thus far been reluctant to wade too deeply -- Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has other aims with Equipt.
The package includes Office Home and Student 2007 -- which typically retails for $149.95 -- as well as a subscription to the company's OneCare malware protection service, which by itself costs $49.95 per year. Unlike SaaS offerings like Google Apps, however, the version of Office is traditional, packaged software that users install on their hard drives.
As a result, one analyst sees Microsoft sticking to its guns by retaining Office as pure software. Instead, it's OneCare that is Equipt's core focus, Matt Rosoff, consumer affairs analyst at Directions on Microsoft, told InternetNews.com.
"It looks like they are trying to spur adoption of OneCare by bundling it with Office," Rosoff said. "I can get a security product from someone like Symantec for $80 per year or I can get it with Office."
The idea is to lure customers in with a deeply discounted, packaged version of Office as a loss leader while enlisting new subscribers to OneCare's anti-malware and antivirus subscription service.
"With Microsoft Equipt, we're improving our customers' computing experience by giving them essential software in a package that offers an easy install and setup experience, as well as a convenient and affordable way to stay updated with the latest versions of Office and Windows Live OneCare," Bryson Gordon, group product manager for Office, said in a statement.
In addition to Office and OneCare, the subscription provides free updates to the Office suite -- which includes Word 2007, Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007 and OneNote 2007-- as long as users continue to pay the annual fee. Users also will be able to install software on up to three PCs.
Equipt includes several already-free Microsoft Windows Live services, including Live Mail, Live Messenger and Live Photo Gallery.
It's not yet clear whether home and educational users will gravitate toward the offering, when it goes on sale later this month, in outlets that include 700 Circuit City stores in the U.S. The cost savings is likely to have at least some appeal, Rosoff said.
"It's a pretty good value," he added.
Microsoft first announced Equipt, then codenamed Albany, in mid-April.
Even though the offering isn't targeting SaaS-based rivals like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Docs, Zoho Office Suite, OpenOffice.org and Sun StarOffice, that doesn't mean that Microsoft is staying away from SaaS.
For instance, the company has shown some willingness to explore hosting enterprise applications for businesses -- such as its Dynamics CRM Online offering, which went live in April.
Additionally, application virtualization firm Endeavors Technologies in May said the software giant plans to roll out upcoming software licensing changes that would let companies stream Office applications to users' desktops.
Microsoft has yet to announce such a plan publicly, even though rumors had previously suggested a June date for its unveiling.

Windows 7 Beta Critical to Compatibility  

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In another example of the fact that Windows 7 will be everything that Windows Vista was not, Microsoft indicated a strong commitment to ensure a high level of compatibility for the next iteration of the Windows client from the get go. And the Windows 7 compatibility recipe involves addressing compatibility head on from the very early stages of the operating system. As early as the first beta, in fact.
“Customers have a need to ensure compatibility with the new releases of the OS and that hardware (systems and devices) are fully functional after an upgrade. This will enable Microsoft and partners to evaluate the results and correct issues in the new OS and the associated hardware as part of the release plan,” Microsoft revealed via a March 21, 2008 update version of the Windows Hardware Logo Program Requirements documentation (via Long Zheng).
Microsoft is effectively forcing all the hardware developers to test drive Windows 7 Betas in order to qualify for the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista Logo programs. However, the Redmond giant requires that tests are performed and logs with the results turned in to Microsoft. The program’s new requirements come into effect on June 1, 2008, but this is not to say that next month will bring on the first Windows 7 Beta build, as the company has failed to give any indication of such a scenario.
“Beginning with the release of the first beta of the next operating system, all Windows Vista client and Windows Server 2008 submissions must include a complete CPK with test logs for the new beta OS. The test logs generated from the beta OS are not required to pass. Issues with hardware, system BIOS or drivers must be investigated and resolved by partners prior to the launch of the logo program for the new OS. The tests should be run after performing an upgrade from Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 to the beta OS. Testing on the new beta OS must be done with drivers that are intended to install on the beta OS,” Microsoft added.

UPDATE: Microsoft Unveils Streamlined Licensing Process  

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DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) unveiled a new licensing program for its largest software customers, a move the company said will improve the way it brings products and services to market while supporting ongoing customer relationships.
The new effort, which doesn't include price cuts, is intended to streamline the licensing process, said Stacie Sloane, the company's director of worldwide licensing and pricing.
Under the program - set to be rolled out this fall - larger companies with multiple business units will be offered flexibility in purchasing, streamlined license management and reduced time and potential costs of renegotiating licensing agreements.
Microsoft said the program will give customers price advantages for volume purchasing across the entire company at corporate and affiliate locations. Eligible government organizations and qualifying academic institutions will also receive "special pricing."
In addition, it will track the contract and ordering processes under a single customer ID, an effort to make it easier to manage software licenses throughout a company.
Microsoft's announcement comes just a day after the company stopped selling its ubiquitous XP operating system, following the introduction of the more- advanced Vista operating system 18 months ago. But while the new system is powerful, upgrading means spending lots of time and money to rework applications designed to run specifically on XP. As a result, some companies - including Microsoft partner Intel Corp. (INTC) - have balked at adopting Vista, preferring instead to continue using XP.
Though Monday was the last day Microsoft would sell XP or provide free support for the "hundreds of millions" of computers that are estimated to run on it, the company will still make money from XP by charging to provide support. Microsoft will offer the program at least through 2014, which is expected to attract many big corporate customers who are reluctant to switch to Vista.
Shares closed down 2.3% at $26.87.

Statistics for the operating system market come in different flavors and from a variety of sources but they all have one thing in common: indicating that Windows is losing ground to Mac OS X and Linux. As far as Microsoft is concerned, it reached the apex of the operating system market with the launch of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP back in 2004. Since then, it has been all down hill for the Redmond giant. Sure, the slope is by no means steep enough for a hard Windows fall, just sufficiently inclined through the erosion produced by Mac OS X and Linux that the ground is slipping from under Microsoft’s proprietary platform, slowly but surely…
While Windows is not at risk from a landslide, it has been on a descendant trajectory for the past years, with consumers suffering from Windows fatigue, and increasingly looking for alternatives. Recent releases such as Windows Vista in 2007, and Vista Service Pack 1 as well as Windows XP Service Pack 3 have done little to impact the general trend. As of May 2008 Windows is credited with 91.13% of the operating system market according to Net Applications, with 91.11% by W3Counter and with 95.94% by OneState (but only as of April 2008).
In January 2007, when Windows Vista hit the shelves, Net Applications revealed a share of 93.33% for Windows, approximately two percent higher than in January 2008. Back in July 2007, OneStat gave Windows a share of 96.97%, also larger than the 95.94% from a couple of months ago. W3Counter seem to be on par with Net Applications indicating that Windows was at 93.6% of the market in May 2007, and as low as 91.11% in the past month.

Windows Saturation  

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The release of Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista and of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP has done little to help break what appears to be a generalized and accentuating case of Windows fatigue. Net Applications stated that SP3 for XP failed to impact the operating system’s continuous market share lost for over a year. Even with SP3 available as of May 6, 2008, XP continued to lose audience and is down from 73.07% in April to 72.12% the past month. Vista continues to climb in statistics, but SP1 didn’t deliver the kick needed to accelerate growth to the levels where focus will no longer shift to XP SP3, Windows 7 or rival products. Vista only climbed from 14.02% in March to 15.26% in May.
Statistics from W3Counter indicate a similar trend with XP dropping from 78.56% to 78.24% in the past two months while Vista jumped from 7.34% to 7.69%. It’s not that Microsoft can’t spare a few tens of millions of users, and it’s not that a large proportion of the Windows audience is shifting toward Mac OS X and Linux, but the Redmond company is finding it harder and harder to boost its share on a market already saturated by its operating system. The software giant is indeed at the top, but the only way is not necessarily down, even if the general trend seems to contradict this perspective.

Windows Vista, the Default Growth  

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Windows Vista climbed up in the space occupied by Windows XP to claim the second most used operating system on the market since mid-2007. Since the January 2007 launch, Vista’s growth has somewhat stabilized at around 10 million units per month. At the end of March 2008, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 140 million Vista licenses worldwide. As of May, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer claimed that Vista had passed the 150 million mark.
W3Counter puts Vista at 7.69% in May 2008 compared to 1.91% the same month of the past year. In March 2008, OneStat indicated that in its statistics, Vista is at 13.76% up from July 2007 when it accounted only for 12.72%. Net Applications reveal the most consistent growth for the latest Windows client, from 0.93% in February 2007, to 15.26% in May 2008.
Without establishing the records Microsoft was aiming for it, Vista’s adoption rate does not qualify the operating system for a failure by any measure. However, the biggest catch behind the uptake of Vista is the fact that it is almost entirely governed by the sales of new OEM computers. Original equipment manufacturers are responsible for over 80% of the revenues of the Windows Client Division, and concomitantly for the largest volumes of sales of the new Windows operating systems.
A very accurate prediction is that Windows Vista adoption will only accelerate after June 30, 2008, when XP is no longer available through retail and OEM channels. With only Vista preloaded on new machines, there is nowhere to go but up for the latest Windows client. Still, even at over 10 million new licenses a month, Vista will remain far from the dominant OS on the market, Windows XP.

Don’t Expect Miracles from Windows 7  

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Even though Windows Vista has taken all the heavy hits, acting as a buffer release for Windows 7, the next iteration of Microsoft’s proprietary operating system will drop in a market which has started to experience Windows fatigue for a number of years. But unlike Vista, Windows 7 will benefit from the get go from a mature ecosystem of software and hardware products. Microsoft is essentially promising a Windows 7 apple which will fall far tom the Vista tree, while at the same time featuring the same architecture as its predecessor, in terms of the kernel, and the graphics and audio subsystems, security and search functionality, etc.
In January 2007, data from Net Applications placed Mac OS X at 6.22% of the operating system market and Linux at 0.35%. In over a year, the market share of Windows’ rivals went up to 7.83% and respectively 0.68%. OneStat claims that Mac OS X jumped from 1.79% in July 2007 to 2.18% in April 2008, and Linux to just 0.42% from 0.36%, while W3Counter gives OS X 4.73% in May 2008 up from 3.72% in the same month in 2007.
Both Mac OS X and Linux have been slowly converting the default audience of Windows now looking for additional solutions on top of what Microsoft has to offer. The most consistent growth is that of Apple, because of the winning hardware plus operating system combination. This is something that only the Cupertino-based hardware company can deliver, without Microsoft or a Linux distribution vendor being able to match it.
Microsoft is indeed working with its OEM partners harder than ever in order to produce bundles that will rival the Mac computers and OS X in terms of consumer appeal. This month, it has become clear that the Redmond company’s main weapon against Apple will be the natural user interface. Delivering an entirely new interaction model as mainstream technology might seem like a big bet for Microsoft, with traditional Windows users experiencing instincts to resist such a move.
However, touch, gestures, voice commands, object and motion recognition will become a standard model of interaction in the future, and Windows 7 has the largest potential to bring this niche technology to the masses and get it adopted fast. At the same time Apple is not exactly standing still, as touch-based interfaces are already widely available in products such as the iPhone and the latest Mac models. At this point in time, it seems that Linux will be the last comment at the natural user interface feast, unless the major developers of Linux distribution take matters into their own hands and convince OEMs to to for the open source operating system what they are doing for Windows 7.

Good, Old XP  

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Innovation is a mandatory item in the recipe for Windows 7 if the next iteration of Windows attempts to stop its install base from migrating to Mac OS X and Linux. But Windows 7 is planned to drop at the end of 2009, and for the time being Windows Vista proved incapable of not letting the Windows momentum from slowing down. But don’t count XP out just yet. Vista’s predecessor will continue to have a consistent impact even after Windows 7 will be made available. This because Windows XP is no less than Microsoft’s way of reaching the next five billion users.
The Redmond company has already committed to offering Windows XP Home Edition until 2010 or one year after the release of Windows 7, whichever comes first, on ultra-low-cost mobile and desktop computers. While ultra-low-cost machines will be sold in developed countries, the focus falls on first time users in emerging markets, where Microsoft has identified the next five billion potential customers. But, here, the company has to first fend off Linux, whose biggest advantage is the fact that it is free.

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