Bahrain finalised multimillion dollar agreement wi

Posted by bink on October 6 2003, 4:17 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Bahrain has finalised a multi-million dollar agreement with Microsoft to ensure that government sector software products are 100 per cent legal.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Bahrain government and Microsoft, under which Microsoft platforms across all government sectors will be standardised.

It will include more than 15,000 units throughout the government, said Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) president Shaikh Mohammed bin Ateyatalla Al Khalifa, who signed the agreement with Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa chief executive officer Jean Philippe Courtois.

"Microsoft solutions have been part of the government's IT strategy since the early nineties," he said after the signing ceremony.

"It gained greater prominence in 2000, with the introduction of the first part of a government-wide agreement with Microsoft.

"All government sectors have since joined the strategy. The final part will standardise Microsoft platforms across all government sectors."

The latest agreement highlights a commitment from both Microsoft and the government to be partners to develop enterprise solutions, said Shaikh Mohammed. "Microsoft is providing value-added benefits including technical support, training for government professionals and teachers and also reaching out further into the community," he noted.

"There is a comprehensive approach to IT in Bahrain.

His Majesty King Hamad passed an e-learning initiative, where students will be introduced to the fundamentals of IT at a very early stage in their learning. "Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has issued directives that an e-government programme will be totally implemented across the government by December next year."

Shaikh Mohammed said Crown Prince and BDF Commander-in-Chief Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa had given directives to ensure the development of IT in Bahrain, using the latest state-of-the-art technology with the support of multiple telecommunication and internet providers in the kingdom.

"We now look forward to a period of technological advancement perhaps, unmatched in our history."

Mr Courtois said the agreement was part of Microsoft's commitment to the growth of Bahrain's IT industry. Gulf

Microsoft to localise WinXP in Bahasa Malaysia

Posted by bink on October 6 2003, 4:13 PM. Posted in Windows XP.

Software developers looking to create local-language solutions will benefit from global software giant Microsoft Corp’s plan to localise the Windows XP platform in Bahasa Malaysia.

Peter James Moore, chief technology officer for Microsoft Asia-Pacific & Greater China, said Language Interface Packs (LIPs) in Bahasa Malaysia can be developed based on a glossary that is built to support the basic operations of the computer.

These LIPs can then be used by local companies that want to develop applications in the Malay language, he said.

Although the primary aim of the programme is to help students and those in rural areas take better advantage of computers, Moore said the same platform can be used to develop specific applications, such as that for electronic-Government.

“(Aside from being used for licensed software you buy in a box from a store), a government agency or a third party may want to write an application to support a particular function of a department.

“Software developers can certainly take advantage of the localisation supported in Windows to make that application support the local language as well,” Moore told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Its local arm, Microsoft (M) Sdn Bhd, had on September 6 sealed an alliance with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to translate and localise the glossary for Microsoft Windows XP and later for Microsoft Office 2003.

Moore said Microsoft has committed US$100,000 (US$1 = RM3.80) for localising Bahasa Malaysia, and the five-week glossary building process for over 7,500 terms, should end sometime in mid-October.

“We want to take this first step and check what Microsoft can do with computers to make the education experience richer. We will only then see what further opportunities that it introduces us.

“The first step is to provide support for the commands in the menu. Today, children are learning to use computers by knowing where the button is, they don’t know what the word is. I think it’s really important for education that the children would be able to use the computer in the language they are taught in,” he said.

He said Bahasa Malaysia is one of more than 40 languages around the world that Microsoft has identified for localisation of its Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003.

“We want to say Microsoft is a good application to build your software applications on because the menu is available in the Malay language. In the same way, if you are a software developer and you develop in Windows, you don’t have to worry about networking or printing or different computer devices you want to connect because they are all supported.

“We are looking to reach out to language groups beyond English, German, French and Spanish, to enable as many people as possible to use technology. Therefore, the local Microsoft subsidiaries have been chartered to work with the national language authorities to conduct the translation work.

“Malaysia is among the first in Asia Pacific to take this lead, resulting in glossary for Windows being translated into Bahasa Malaysia ahead of her neighbours,” Moore said.

A similar effort had been launched several months earlier in Thailand, while some 14 languages have been identified for localisation in India alone.

“While English is the main language of business today, we recognise that it is not the first language for a large majority of the world’s population,” Moore added.

Microsoft is also spending in excess of US$6.8 billion in research and development of all fields of computing in the area of developing a language platform than can support the proper use of the language, not just an inaccurate direct translation.

“We want to support the proper use of the language, where the platform has the capability of understanding the whole meaning of the sentence, how the words should be ordered, whether it should be singular or plural, whether it should have a question mark instead of an exclamation mark,” Moore added. source

MS extends greater autonomy to MiddleEast subs

Posted by bink on October 6 2003, 4:10 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft announced yesterday that its five Middle East regional subsidiaries — North Gulf, South Gulf, Arabia, Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt — will now report directly to the Middle East and Africa headquarters (MEA HQ). The move is designed to increase the subsidiaries' autonomy, in a demonstration of Microsoft's continuing commitment to the region.

'The five subsidiaries in the Middle East have grown to be mature and self sufficient. This translates into a greater commitment from Microsoft to the individual Middle East subsidiaries with more resources and more investment now going directly to the countries that they cover,' said Emre Berkin, Vice President, Microsoft Europe Middle East and Africa. (EMEA)

The five Middle East subsidiaries will now enjoy higher visibility and greater empowerment and report directly to Berkin. Last year, Microsoft announced a gradual regional structural change that was aimed at maintaining a lean organizational structure with few management layers and a quicker decision making process. This change in the reporting structure of the subsidiaries is seen as the next step in this strategy.

'Our previous structure helped us through the years to build five strong subsidiaries in the region. These subsidiaries and their management teams are now ready to play their expected roles in further growing the business, supporting their partners and serving their communities,' said Berkin.

In 1991, Microsoft opened its first office in the Middle East in Dubai, with five employees. Today the company operates directly in 13 Middle Eastern countries with 15 offices.

'Microsoft's business in the Middle East has witnessed exponential growth rate ever since we began operations in 1991, and we are sure that with this new change in structure, we will be able to provide better service and support to our customers and partners throughout the region,' added Berkin.

Mohammed Kateeb consequently departs his post as Regional Director, Microsoft Middle East.

'In parallel to the new structure, Mohammed Kateeb took the decision to leave, a decision which we respect. Mohammed has made some excellent contributions to the growing Middle East business over the years. We wish him continued success in all his future endeavors,' said Berkin. Source

We Want Our Windows Update CD!

Posted by bink on October 6 2003, 4:04 PM. Posted in Windows Update.

On Eweek this article is posted, I agree with an WinUPdate CD but prefer a ServicePack. Windows XP sp2 should have been out now, but it is currently planned to be released Q1 2004.

In a <!-- start ziffarticle //-->recent column,<!-- end ziffarticle //--> I suggested that Microsoft issue CDs periodically to update Windows systems. And I was overwhelmed by the response. This topic struck a chord with people on dial-up and broadband connections alike.

To recount the idea, Microsoft has made the update process very easy and automatic for broadband users, but the sheer size of the updates involved makes the use of Windows Update on a dial-up connection unbearable. As a result, large numbers of dial-up users make do with out-of-date versions, and their unpatched systems undoubtedly are attacked without mercy.

Microsoft called me to say that Windows Update and Automatic Updates do what they can to make things easier for dial-up users. For example, Automatic Updates, when set to automatically download available updates, will use only unused bandwidth; in other words, if any other process needs to use the Internet connection, Automatic Updates gets out of the way. Furthermore, if you are in the middle of one of these automatic update downloads and are disconnected for whatever reason, upon reconnection, it will continue the downloading from the disconnected point. It doesn't have to start over again from the beginning.

While helpful, these measures don't change the fact that dial-up users will be downloading an awful lot of the time if they use Automatic Updates.

In addition, Microsoft wasn't clear whether all updates that someone might want, such as new versions of DirectX, are downloaded through Automatic Updates, or if they also need to check Windows Update periodically for such software. But Microsoft is right that it's still worth using Automatic Updates as a dial-up user, if we accept the fact that Microsoft doesn't compact their updates. Just try to leave the system connected when you're not using it, assuming that you don't need the phone line for something else, perhaps speech.

Microsoft's still not interested in issuing update CDs, but they do, as many of you pointed out, send out Service Packs on CD for a fee (about $10). But Service Packs can get out of date very quickly, so they are no substitute for an update CD program that keeps systems current. Besides, should they really be concerned with covering the costs of keeping their customers secure?

At the same time, a few of you disagreed with me. Here are a few of the comments:

According Engineer Mary Ubach, the solution to the update problem will only come with widespread deployment of broadband. She said focusing on dial-up users doesn't solve the problem.

Now, I certainly agree with Ubach that the update CD is what engineers call 'sub-optimal,' however, interim measures are still warranted, given the large number of Windows users on dial-up connections and in the expectation that that number will still be substantial for the forseeable future.

Scott Bekker, who writes elsewhere about Windows issues, made the excellent suggestion that these update CDs should be available as a Web download, probably as a .ISO file. That way, those of us with fast connections and CD burners could make our own copies to pass around. This would radically cut Microsoft's costs for administering such a program, and make it more acceptable for them to charge a nominal fee for shipping out a physical medium.

An anonymous vounteer for the American Red Cross described their network with 13 systems sharing a dial-up connection, and what a struggle it is to download large updates successfully for all of them. The unreliability of the process forces them to stop and restart many times but they don't have the resources to have a broadband connection.

David Chernicoff made a point that even people with fast connections would want a CD and I wished I had said that myself. Whenever I set up a new system for testing I have to go through a tiresome period of updating it to be current, hogging all my bandwidth in the process. Other readers said that they are always concerned, while running Windows Update on a new system, that they are exposed and vulnerable on the network until the updates are downloaded and applied. The Update CD would let them update the system while offline.

Jim Painter said he was outraged when the brand new Dell PC he bought required "24 patches with a size of 34 MB!" That's a go-watch-a-movie-sized download even for a lot of broadband users.

Related to this last point, C. Marc Wagner at Indiana University in Bloomington, suggested that if running Windows Update for critical updates was done conspicuously at the end of Windows setup and presented as part of the setup process, users would wait for it and accept it. I bet that OEMs would fear that this would give a bad OOBE (Out Of Box Exprerience), but sometimes you must take your medicine.

Finally, Jack Carollo, among others, suggested that any consolidated update CD from Microsoft should also include the updates for Office and any other popular products. Reports suggest that Microsoft is working on such a consolidation for Windows Update now, so perhaps this disc could include application updaters, as well.

After all the comments I received, I like this idea more than ever. More than just the unlucky dial-up audience could use it, but even experts with fast connections have a need for such CDs. For the price of keeping it available and up-to-date, Microsoft could effect a meaningful improvement in the security of Windows users. I hope they reconsider.

So Where's Tablet PC V2?

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:29 PM. Posted in Tablet PC.

Looking at Microsoft's Windows Platform Roadmap, we can see that the company promised Windows XP Tablet PC Edition "V2" by the end of 2003. But that's not happening, the company told me recently. Instead, the next Tablet PC OS will launch next year, though I've not heard a thing about new features or changes. That may sound like bad news, but in actuality XP Tablet PC is incredibly full-featured and mature, and it's the hardware concerns mentioned above that have held back the platform, and not the software. So all the new Centrino Tablets coming this year will run the original Tablet PC software, and not a new version.

Read more  of Wininformant's shortakes.

Microsoft, Sun charge into mobile billing

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:27 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have strengthened their lineup of products that allow cell phone companies to bill for downloads such as games or ring tones. The moves signal a new battle brewing between the two software heavyweights to win a dwindling share of spending by cell phone service providers.

Microsoft has begun working with Portal Software to make Portal's billing software available to any service provider that uses Microsoft's .NET platform, not just cell phone companies. But cell phone companies will be the first targeted for the goods when they arrive on the market later this year, Dickey said.

Interview with MS studio manager Ken Lobb

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:25 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

At Microsoft's recent X03 conference, we caught up with the respected UK developer for a little chatNo question about it, Rare is a legendary developer. With quality titles stretching back twenty years - we still remember gawping at Knight Lore's "filmation" technique back on the ZX Spectrum - and a reputation for perfectionism, Rare's every move is scrutinised. Even when Rare doesn't say anything (which is most of the time), folk can't stop speculating.

Imagine our delight then, on being granted an exclusive interview with Rare at the recent X03 event. Following Microsoft's acquisition of the company and the lack of any info on the much desired Perfect Dark Zero, this would be a fantastic opportunity to find out just exactly what the Twycross developer is up to. Except, predictably perhaps, the Twycross developer didn't show.

Not so much an interview with Rare as an interview about Rare followed - thankfully Microsoft studio manager Ken Lobb was in talkative mood, even if the Rare guys themselves were too busy rolling around naked in piles of dollar bills - uh, that is, finishing Grabbed By the Ghoulies.

Could you start by explaining your relationship with Rare?

Lobb: I'm the studio manager for Microsoft Game Studios; my studio is responsible for all the Rare games, which is why I'm here. I used to work for Nintendo for about nine years, and during that time I was responsible for the Rare relationship, amongst other things, so it kind of worked nicely when they asked me if I wanted to have a studio with Rare.

So where's Rare?

Lobb: Rare is working on Ghoulies and Kameo; they guys were here yesterday at the party, just to watch people's reaction to the game, but they're finishing Ghoulies at the moment, so they had to get back for that.

So can you tell us what's going on with Perfect dark Zero?

Lobb: It's in development but there's not much more we can say about it at this point. It's just not the right time to talk about it at the moment, obviously there will be a point when we want to talk about it and I guarantee you guys will be excited about it when we do, but right now it's just too early.

Rare's worked with Microsoft now for a year - how is that relationship working out?

Lobb: Things aren't that different with Rare and Microsoft then they were with Rare and Nintendo. At Nintendo we gave Rare pretty much free rein - do what you want, make the games that you want, how you want to make them. We were involved in some of the design, I had some input in Killer Instinct and GoldenEye, but mostly Rare did what it wanted, and that's not really changed.

We've been helping the developer more; we have a significantly larger and more capable technical staff than Nintendo did, so we're helping Rare get up to speed on the hardware, and we also have focus testing facilities; when I was at Nintendo we did testing where you just gave the game to people who'd never touched the game before and have them log how they did, how long it took to play through a level, etc.


Some speculations about upcoming MS smartphone(s).

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:17 PM. Posted in Windows Mobile.

Let us take a look at some guesswork that several people, including professional journalists (!) are doing regarding upcoming smartphones:
  • the mystery smartphone to be launched on October 8, 2003 will be launched by ... Viewsonic ... says sebset and points out that Viewsonic is already a customer of AxiCom - the PR company that is organizing this launch ; click here to convince yourself that Viewsonic is in fact on their client list!
  • the mystery smartphone to be launched on October 8, 2003 will be launched by ...Psion... says the Inquirer here
  • MoDaCo - the best forum about Microsoft Smartphones on this planet betrays more details about some upcoming smartphones (click here to see more):
    • "SPV 2" will be called the SPV E-200, not C200, SPV2 or anything else, E-200.
    • The SPV E-200 has a TI OMAP 710 processor, running at 206 MHz
    • The Motorola MPx200 has a TI OMAP 710 processor, running at 132MHz
    • The Motorola prototype had a SA1100 processor, but Moto switched to the 710 because the SA1100 killed the battery life - how does 2 hours sound?
  • the mystery smartphone to be launched on October 8, 2003 will be launched by ... Sony Ericsson ... there are some speculations about it (coming from New Zealand), but they are very very unlikely so we mention it only for the sake of completeness

  • Vodafone launches Microsoft smartphone powered by Smartphone 2003 software soon ... says publication from New Zealand here - well at least Vodafone New Zealand is going to do it - we have yet no confirmation about it from our friends at Vodafone Europe though...

Source: MSmobiles Also check here

Media Player Update

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:11 PM. Posted in Windows Media.

Anupdate for Windows Media Player versions 6.4, 7.1 and 9.0 has been released. This patch updates Windows Media Player v9.0 to security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to execute commands on a computer running Windows Media Player.Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 828026

Security Update for Windows Media Player 6.4 for NT 4.0 Server 

Security Update for Windows Media Player 6.4, 7.1 or 9 for ME 

Security Update for Windows Media Player 9 Series for 2000, Windows XP, and Server 2003

Update will also appear in Windows UPdate as critical patch!<!-- THE POST -->

Geeky Microsoft wants a TV makeover

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:10 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft is promoting its Windows products on popular TV shows like Fox's "24" and HBO's "The Wire," airing this fall, as part of the software company's push to transform the PC's image from "geek to sleek."

Microsoft formed a group last November to gain exposure for Windows products in sports and entertainment programming, according to Andy Ma, Microsoft's program manager for strategic placement.

After some early success with shows like "24" last season, Microsoft funded the marketing team to strike again this year, particularly for the company's new Windows Media Center Edition 2004. The software, an advanced TV application with the PC as its hub, will be featured on upcoming shows of CBS's forensics show "CSI," as well as "24" and "The Wire," among others.

The campaign is part of a push from Microsoft executive Jim Allchin called "cool form factor," which charges the marketing group with buffing the PC's image to a hip shine among consumers, Ma said Tuesday during an interview at the Los Angeles launch of Media Center. Allchin, head of Microsoft's Windows operating systems business, described the software's debut as part of Microsoft's transition from "geek to sleek." He made these remarks at the event, which featured an MTV-like video of young, upwardly mobile consumers using Media Center-powered devices in the living room to watch digital movies and photos and listen to music.

Through the campaign, Microsoft joins other tech companies in a quest to capture the imagination--and dollars--of well-heeled 20- and 30-somethings, who largely see PCs and Microsoft products as business ware rather than stylish gear for home entertainment. Microsoft in particular faces an uphill battle in creating a hip, consumer brand image because it's historically thought of as an enterprise software company.

The move also signals a bigger shift on the part of technology companies to connect with consumers--something not promoted since the dot-com heyday.

Case in point: Hewlett-Packard on Thursday kicked off its largest ad campaign yet, spending more than $300 million to reach consumers with a new, trendy image. Its campaign, "You + HP," is centered on HP's digital photography lineup of cameras and printers. This summer, Gateway tried to glamorize its PCs through product placements in movies such as "Legally Blonde 2."

These computer heavyweights are taking a page from the playbook of Apple Computer, whose products are often relished by the fashionable and the Hollywood tech elite, and which has enjoyed a renaissance with its music innovations, iTunes and the iPod. Apple has been featured on numerous TV shows and movies in years past, a role that plays off Apple's reputation for innovation, cultivated with ad campaigns such as "Think Different." The portable music device iPod was even part of a gift package given away to attendees of the Grammy Awards this year. According to one source, the company also plans another major consumer advertising campaign around the holidays to promote its computer line.

Continue at

Bulgarian Ministry Seeks Cooperation with Microsof

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 6:06 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Bulgaria's Transport Minister Nikolay Vassilev discussed possible cooperation between the Ministry and US leading software producer Microsoft, at a meeting with its Vice President Pete Hayes on Saturday.Hayes, who is currently in Sofia to attend celebrations of the 100th birth anniversary of computer inventor John Atanasoff, and Vassilev discussed the possibility for Bulgarian students to undergo training at Microsoft. The company was also invited to assist for building high-tech studying centers at Bulgarian universities. A joint conference for high technologies development may come into effect at the end of this year or the beginning of 2004, officials from the Ministry said. The Bulgarian minister also handed Hayes a letter of invitation to Microsoft President Bill Gates to visit Bulgaria. Gates personally sent Hayes on this trip to pay tribute to Bulgaria-descended John Atanasoff, who gave birth to the field of digital computing. Late Atanasoff's son and other family members also arrived in the country for the celebrations.