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This article was published on August 5, 2011

This week at Microsoft: Zune HD Apps, Google, and BlueHat

This week at Microsoft: Zune HD Apps, Google, and BlueHat
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

It has been an excellent week in the world of Microsoft as there’s been conflict, intrigue, and humor, all the necessary ingredients for a good time.

Before we delve into the stories for today, answer this week’s question in the comments: What version of Windows 7 do you use at home? Now, follow TNWmicrosoft on Twitter and Facebook, and let’s get into our stories.

Google v. Microsoft and friends

Google took the gloves off and smacked Microsoft, Apple, and others over what it called predatory use of patents by several consortiums (of which Redmond was a part) to beat back Android. To Google, Android is so hot that everyone must be working together to bring it down.

That might even be true, but Microsoft was not happy with the way that Google framed its rather bald accusations. The company fired back, and pointed out (with proof) that it had offered Google a spot in the patent deals, thus making Google’s claims seem a touch paranoid.

Google responded to Microsoft’s point that it had been invited to the table by saying that it had been a trick. On the whole, Google appears to be somewhat frightened about the IP underbelly of Android and is taking its case to the public. The company must hate that so many OEMs are signing deal with Microsoft at $15 per shipped Android device, simply as IP blood money.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is as happy as a pig in a blanket. We will be covering this as it unfolds. Hold on tight.

Zune apps: why?

Microsoft put out a sheaf of new Zune HD apps this week, despite the Zune HD being, on the whole, dead. You see, Microsoft discontinued its ‘Zune Originals’ campaign that let people get highly colored, and made to order Zunes. The company seems to be selling off its remaining HD stock, and should call the whole thing off when the warehouses go empty.

In other words, Zune hardware is kaput. So then, why would Microsoft release new apps for dead hardware? We have no idea.

Even funnier is that Microsoft has promised to port all Zune HD apps to Windows Phone. So, not only did the company burn the time and money to build for a dead platform, it will later have to spend more to port the apps over to its actual mobile line.

When it removed life support from the Zune HD, Microsoft told Zune-heads to buy a Windows Phone. Let’s see if that works.

Microsoft puts up $260,000 security prize

Microsoft, with over $50 billion in the bank, needs to do something with all that cash. To that end, the company is dropping $250,00 in currency, and $10,000 in prizes on a security competition.

The goal for entrants is as follows: “[to] generate new ideas for defensive approaches to support computer security.” More specifically, Microsoft’s mission is to “[challenge] security researchers to design a novel runtime mitigation technology designed to prevent the exploitation of memory safety vulnerabilities.”

In other words, Microsoft wants people to think up neat ways to keep computers safe. The company has a huge vested interest in enterprise systems being safe, and this prize just might attract a few new ideas. Top prize is 200 grand in cash, so there is plenty of juice there to get things rolling.

The winners will announced at Black Hat 2012.

IE users are stupid?

Someone put a hoax of a study onto the market, and it was eaten up because it let every person who covered it, and read it, feel superior.

Yes, a fake study claimed that IE users are not just less savvy, but had a markedly lower IQ than the users of other browsers. You can see why it took off with such vigor. The only problem was that the study was a fraud, so most everyone (TNW included) ended up with a bit of egg on their face.

You can chalk up the mistake that the media made to whatever you want, but this was one of the funnier interludes in digital media for quite some time. We actually caught up with the prankster, and you can check out our interview him here.

That is all for this week ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned for more.

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