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More changes from Microsoft

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Microsoft is making changes to the next versions of both Office and Windows as part of an effort to head off a legal challenge from Adobe Systems.

 

Microsoft said earlier Friday that it expects an antitrust suit from Adobe after months of negotiations in which the companies failed to reach an accord.

 

The software maker is, unilaterally, making changes to both Office 2007 and Windows Vista in an effort assuage some of Adobe's concerns and, more important, lower the chances that an injunction could stop Microsoft from shipping those products.

 

"We don't want anything to stand in the way of customers getting their hands on the product," Microsoft vice president Chris Capossela told CNET News.com in a telephone interview on Friday. "We certainly are trying to be a good partner here."

 

Microsoft has already had to delay the release date for Windows Vista several times because of technological hurdles. The current plan is to finish development of Office in October, and Vista by November, in order to have a mainstream launch of the products in January.

 

The company is making two main changes. With Vista, it plans to give computer makers the option of dropping some support for XPS, Microsoft's fixed-format document type that some have characterized as a PDF-killer. Under the changes, Microsoft will still use XPS under the hood to help the operating system print files. But computer makers won't have to include the software that allows users to view XPS files or to save documents as XPS files.

 

That said, Microsoft doesn't expect many computer makers will choose that option.

 

"We think it will be rare, because there is value and customers want it," group program manager Andy Simonds told CNET News.com. History may be on Microsoft's side here. The company was ordered by the European Union to offer a version of Windows without a built-in media player. However, manufacturers have shown little or no interest in selling PCs based on the stripped-down operating system.

 

On the Office side, Microsoft plans to take out of Office 2007 a feature that allows documents to be saved in either XPS or PDF formats. However, consumers will be able to go to Microsoft's Web site and download a patch that will add those capabilities back in.

 

If customers do that, it will essentially make Office 2007 work the same way as it has in current test versions, including the Beta 2 release that Microsoft made publicly available last week.

 

Customers will have to go through extra work, though, as they need to both download code and install it before adding back the options.

 

"It's clearly not as customer-friendly as we would like it to be," Capossela said. Microsoft announced plans for the PDF-saving option in October.

 

Even if customers don't download the add-on for Office, those running Vista may still be able to save their documents in the XPS format, provided their computer maker has not stripped out Vista's own XPS abilities. In Vista, the print driver can save all files in the XPS format.

 

Forrester analyst Kyle McNabb said that Microsoft's move to make PDF saving an add-on to Office 2007 won't be a major blow to the new software. "Having to download it and add it will not kill Office 2007," McNabb said. Consumers "will be disappointed, yes, but it won't prevent Office 2007 from moving forward."

 

Simonds, whose unit develops XPS, said that customers want the fixed document type and doesn't see the additional hurdles hurting XPS's ability to become a universal file format. "We think that value will sort of transcend any of this," he said.

 

But it will be an added hurdle, Capossela acknowledged. "Clearly, it introduces a barrier, in that customers have to go through another step to make this capability possible," he said.

 

Adobe developed PDF but has made much of its core technology an open standard. It offers its own PDF reader software for free, while charging for the Acrobat software that creates PDF files. Microsoft maintains that its plan to incorporate a PDF-saving option was on solid legal ground, noting that rivals such as Corel and Sun Microsystems already include such options in their office software products.

 

McNabb said that regardless of the latest moves, PDF is still the dominant player in the market.

 

"There is more demand for PDF than XPS," McNabb said. "Even if Microsoft makes XPS free and native (to Office) and users have to download PDF, it will only have a marginal impact on XPS adoption. The market wants PDF."

CNET News.com's Dawn Kawamoto contributed to this report.

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Adobe developed PDF but has made much of its core technology an open standard. It offers its own PDF reader software for free, while charging for the Acrobat software that creates PDF files. Microsoft maintains that its plan to incorporate a PDF-saving option was on solid legal ground, noting that rivals such as Corel and Sun Microsystems already include such options in their office software products.

Yeah, it's free all right. I went looking for it, and was offered V.7 @ something like 20MB (56k doesn't really do much beyond 44k if you're lucky).

 

I tried downloading it at the library, and all I got awas a half-MB link, and when I tried to install on the WinXP it wanted to dowload the rest.

 

I finally went searching thru install discs and found V.5 to load onto the WinXP. Now I can open .pdf files instead of putting them on the Flash Drive and walking across the room to the REAL computer (Win98 SE).

 

Lynn

Edited by lynn98109

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I have to say that I like Microsoft a lot more than I like Adobe. Anything Adobe costs one helluva lot more than Microsoft, and has a poor upgrade policy.

 

The only SOHO software that I have seen that is worse than Adobe for the cost of upgrading is Intuit's QuickBooks. Microsoft pales in comparison.

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I have to say that I like Microsoft a lot more than I like Adobe. Anything Adobe costs one helluva lot more than Microsoft, and has a poor upgrade policy.

 

The only SOHO software that I have seen that is worse than Adobe for the cost of upgrading is Intuit's QuickBooks. Microsoft pales in comparison.

I hear ya on the Quickbooks. With Payroll, they see you coming in the door. And, the crap ads they put in their software is totally aggravating. But, the last 2 years I've used it, it's made my work life so much easier. And my CPA loves me more now.

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I hear ya on the Quickbooks. With Payroll, they see you coming in the door. And, the crap ads they put in their software is totally aggravating. But, the last 2 years I've used it, it's made my work life so much easier. And my CPA loves me more now.

 

My daughter-in law does all of the bookwork for my son's business. She used Intuit's Payroll, and was using the 2003 version when she got notification that the business had to upgrade to the 2006 version, and that Intuit will no longer support Payroll on the 2003 version. She did so, before the first of the year.

 

I don't use the Payroll, because I am my only employee. :huh: But it sometimes irritates me when folks talk about Microsoft in a bad vein. Hell, without Microsoft, the folks that come into these forums, would not even have a chance to bitch about any software. Without Microsoft, it is doubtful that Roxio would have even existed. Think about it. Apple, Linux, or someone else?

 

I get a bit peeved at Microsoft, especially when I see their "star" icon in my tray. :D But, Microsoft made it possible for me to give a shot of going out on my own, to make a living. I only wish that I was 20 years younger. I might even make lots of money, if I was in my 30's. :)

Edited by grandpabruce

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With respect, Bruce, I guess you and I see Microsoft differently.

 

I see no reason to thank a cynical Monopoly Corporation for the faulty software I have to buy from them at greatly inflated prices.

 

If they had not been allowed to ruthlessly crush their competitors, pinch and plagiarize others' ideas, and sneakily embed their applications into their operating systems to prevent competition, I think we users would have been much better off.

 

The computer software industry would be much more varied and competitive, there would be more choice for the consumer, and real development work would be done. There would be no room for smug complacency or products with built-in fishhooks, and because of the competition prices would have to be more reasonable.

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I agree with Bruce, Brendon.

 

If it had been "left to the Marketplace" without Microsoft, it would probably have been like stereo radio in the US, or at best like the fight between VHS and Beta videotape.

 

The result would probably have been computers remaining expensive, and for the elite.

 

Whatever the problems with the standard, at least there is a standard. (Altho Vista may turn out to be a major promotion for either Apple or Linux.)

 

Lynn

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without Microsoft, the folks that come into these forums, would not even have a chance to bitch about any software.
Not necessarily true. There were several other graphical user interfaces in the earlier days like GEM which I used before Windows and liked much better at the time. Plus a few others that were promising. Microsoft is still at it trying to take technology they don't own. I was disappointed that IBM gave up so easily on OS/2. It could have been good competition to Windows NT had they developed further.

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You make a lot of good points Bruce. But to me it's how MS got to be the top dog. Over the years they have either stole, "borrowed", or in some nasty way tromped down in court, any new good program that came on the market. I would guess that half of the program code that MS has in it's operating system was stole form others that had it as a stand along program.

 

And speaking of Adobe, I use their FREE version 7 that I downloaded from the internet just so I could in turn download any kind of forms etc. that just about all public agencies have. I certainly wouldn't go out and buy their product at the rediculous prices they are asking.

 

BTY----On another point, just yesterday I got a screen notation from Symantec in regards to my Norton Internet Security 2005 that advised to be able to continue using my program I would have to re-activate it. Say what ??? I called Symantec and after a long discussion with one of their techs, I was told that there was a small program I could download that would tell NIS 2005 not to keep bugging me about re-activation. Holey Moley--They are getting just like MS !!! I was also told that all those that still are using the 2005 version should be upgrading to the 2006 version. That would solve the problem. I will be looking for another good security program as soon as my present program yeqarly subscription runs out.

 

Frank....

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I agree with Bruce, Brendon.

 

If it had been "left to the Marketplace" without Microsoft, it would probably have been like stereo radio in the US, or at best like the fight between VHS and Beta videotape.

 

The result would probably have been computers remaining expensive, and for the elite.

 

Whatever the problems with the standard, at least there is a standard. (Altho Vista may turn out to be a major promotion for either Apple or Linux.)

 

Lynn

 

 

Don't forget too the expense of the software. Imagine if there were five OS in general use. I can't imagine it's cheap for a company to write for Win and Mac, let alone adapt the program (and print off more installation cds and so on) for more OS's.

We win some, we lose some.

 

And Frank...I have NAV 2006. The only reason is it was cheaper (with rebate) to buy it over renewing my 2004. It can be an odd, intrusive pain at times that I will be replacing when I too run out on subscription.

 

Should I start a new thread on this?...Recommendations for antivirus/security software (wish I didn't need it/gotta have it)

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Don't forget too the expense of the software. Imagine if there were five OS in general use. I can't imagine it's cheap for a company to write for Win and Mac, let alone adapt the program (and print off more installation cds and so on) for more OS's.

We win some, we lose some.

 

And Frank...I have NAV 2006. The only reason is it was cheaper (with rebate) to buy it over renewing my 2004. It can be an odd, intrusive pain at times that I will be replacing when I too run out on subscription.

 

Should I start a new thread on this?...Recommendations for antivirus/security software (wish I didn't need it/gotta have it)

I have Norton 2005 on both computers. On the WinXP it seems to behave itself.

 

On the Win98 SE, I have the remnants of Systm Works 2002, FireWall 2005, and Computer Associates EZ AntiVirus. (The FW program was purchased seperately from the suite on the WinXP - fortunately, for sale cheap on eBay.) I also got AV 2005 on eBay, but it was running the processor at nearly 100% nearly full time, and two hours short of a week was replaced by the CA program. My first loyalty is to the processor. Without that, everything else is academic.

 

I put in FW 2005 because I liked the anti-pop-up/anti-ad on the WinXP. I have endeavoured to disable its autoupdate and net-detect "features". Something is blocking the line, and it makes two attempts (disconnect/redial, continue surfing) before giving up. I get that less often than before taking evasive action, but it still happens. (The modem, phone line, and hard drive have been exhonorated by now).

 

EZ AV also seems to have an auto-update feature; it has a place to tell it not to, but it's not entirely beyond suspicion unless I can pin it for sure on Norton.

 

I, too, am looking for a good FW/AV program - one that will NOT grab the 56k line as soon as I get on. My evasive action for the problems that come with being online 24/7 is taht I am NOT on 24/7, and the computer is set so it cannot go online unescored.

 

As to Norton 2006 - they've offered me $10, they've offered me movie tickets, they've offered me $20 - but they've also assured me it won't work with Win98 SE, so I'm not interested.

 

Lynn

Edited by lynn98109

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I, too, am looking for a good FW/AV program - one that will NOT grab the 56k line as soon as I get on.
I use ZoneAlarm and AVG with XP so don't know how they would play with Win98. Both are free and you can set manual updates. I'm online (at 45k) now and my CPU usage is 3%. I have been using this combo for years without a problem.

 

FWIW, I have my Windows updates turned off because I got tired of the popup shield. Every so often, I go in and see what updates are available and only download the ones I think would be useful. I don't know that I will ever switch to Vista.

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I use ZoneAlarm and AVG with XP so don't know how they would play with Win98. Both are free and you can set manual updates. I'm online (at 45k) now and my CPU usage is 3%. I have been using this combo for years without a problem.

 

FWIW, I have my Windows updates turned off because I got tired of the popup shield. Every so often, I go in and see what updates are available and only download the ones I think would be useful. I don't know that I will ever switch to Vista.

At least some versions of AVG don't play nice with ECDC 5 - which is still on my Win98 SE.

 

Lynn

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Well, you may be lucky that NAV2006 won't run on 98SE. Norton just seems to love to make their program bigger every year, and make to do more every day. Enough already. I just need AV. I have separate anti-spyware...heck you can get good ones for free...I don't need it bundled. Or at least give me a version of it alone without the frills. Every year we get faster computers, but the resources get sucked up by programs that do more. We just can't seem to get ahead sometimes..lol.

 

I don't actually have a problem with the CPU working...usually 1% (the norm I guess). It is probably as much perception than reality that when I am using the computer for something heavy duty, that things run just a bit slower than they ought/I'd like them to.

 

 

By the way...anyone out there use F-Secure? I've heard it's big everywhere except North America (where Norton and others seem to have convinced people that they rock).

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You make a lot of good points Bruce. But to me it's how MS got to be the top dog. Over the years they have either stole, "borrowed", or in some nasty way tromped down in court, any new good program that came on the market. I would guess that half of the program code that MS has in it's operating system was stole form others that had it as a stand along program.

 

And speaking of Adobe, I use their FREE version 7 that I downloaded from the internet just so I could in turn download any kind of forms etc. that just about all public agencies have. I certainly wouldn't go out and buy their product at the rediculous prices they are asking.

 

BTY----On another point, just yesterday I got a screen notation from Symantec in regards to my Norton Internet Security 2005 that advised to be able to continue using my program I would have to re-activate it. Say what ??? I called Symantec and after a long discussion with one of their techs, I was told that there was a small program I could download that would tell NIS 2005 not to keep bugging me about re-activation. Holey Moley--They are getting just like MS !!! I was also told that all those that still are using the 2005 version should be upgrading to the 2006 version. That would solve the problem. I will be looking for another good security program as soon as my present program yeqarly subscription runs out.

 

Frank....

 

I got the same message when I opened my SystemWorks 2005 Premier, yesterday.

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I don't actually have a problem with the CPU working...usually 1% (the norm I guess). It is probably as much perception than reality that when I am using the computer for something heavy duty, that things run just a bit slower than they ought/I'd like them to.

100MHz is a larger percentage of 400MHz than, say 2.4GHz.

 

Lynn

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I know Lynn...so like I said, isn't it irritating that our systems get faster, and we plug in more ram, but they just get bogged down by ever more demanding background software. Ah, the good old days of win3.1 and dos....

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I know Lynn...so like I said, isn't it irritating that our systems get faster, and we plug in more ram, but they just get bogged down by ever more demanding background software. Ah, the good old days of win3.1 and dos....

There are a couple maxims that parallel what you've stated:

 

for computers: Program size increases to exceed available CPU power and memory.

 

for income: Expenses rise to exceed income.

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There are a couple maxims that parallel what you've stated:

 

for computers: Program size increases to exceed available CPU power and memory.

 

for income: Expenses rise to exceed income.

 

Er ... I'm still using the 400MHz computer.

 

Some sites, notably eBay, are banned. (I check some things, but not saved searches; and sometimes I give up and kill the windows and phone line when eBay hangs up when I do try with the Win98 SE. I don't think I'm the only one who's spending less time there now they expect everyone to have WinXP, High Speed connection, and min. 17".)

 

Lynn

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I can understand upgrading to play a game, run heavy duty video/imaging software..but website cruising?

Gimme a break...

Gotta agree with you Lynn..it's a shame. The internet should not be dictating computer upgrading.

 

The world changes and they force you to change with it. Eventually you have to give in I suppose. Doesn't make it right...just the way it is.

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I can understand upgrading to play a game, run heavy duty video/imaging software..but website cruising?

Gimme a break...

Gotta agree with you Lynn..it's a shame. The internet should not be dictating computer upgrading.

 

The world changes and they force you to change with it. Eventually you have to give in I suppose. Doesn't make it right...just the way it is.

I'm not arguing that web pages should keep getting bigger and more complicated either as I have to revert to dial-up on occasion myself. I'm just pointing out that "bigger", "more dynamic" is the direction everything is taking, and will probably continue to take. Just like real "programers" used to hand optimize their code for speed and smaller size, now space isn't a consideration, and hey, processors are fast enough it doesn't matter if the code is optimized or not.

 

< sigh >

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I can understand upgrading to play a game, run heavy duty video/imaging software..but website cruising?

Gimme a break...

Gotta agree with you Lynn..it's a shame. The internet should not be dictating computer upgrading.

 

The world changes and they force you to change with it. Eventually you have to give in I suppose. Doesn't make it right...just the way it is.

At some point, there's a chance I'll just unplug! There's more to life than computers and new shiny toys. :)

 

PS. If it doesn't work on dialup, I don't use it.

Edited by sisterscape

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