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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 12, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Microsoft news roundup: Bet on touch has detractors; ‘Everybody’s business’ is new ad tagline; Windows 7 Beta arrives;

Microsoft and several venture firms are investing in N-trig, an Israeli company working with “OEMs to create multi-touch notebooks and convertible computers for the mainstream marketplace.” Microsoft is the lead investor in the $24 million financing round, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft has been touting new touch features — which substitute fingers and stylus for some tasks done with mouse and keyboard — in Windows 7. But not everyone is excited about this. “I’m not a fan of touch-screen PCs. I do see why some users like touch on their phones and MP3 players. But on PCs, touch just seem like a problem in search of a solution,” writes Mary Jo Foley. Adds Cliff Mason, a senior writer at CNBC’s Mad Money: “[F]rom my perspective in front of the monitor, it’s completely obvious that touch-screen PCs will never be more than a niche market.”

Read on for more Microsoft headlines.

Microsoft has refreshed its “People Ready Business” ad campaign with the theme “It’s everybody’s business.” (I can’t wait to remind them of the tagline the next time they answer one of my questions with “We’re not talking about that today.”) The Journal pegs the campaign’s cost at $150 million — a healthy chunk of change in the current economy. The gist of the ads: Microsoft’s products can save your business money.

After Friday’s fail, the Windows 7 Beta code became available to the public on Saturday. You can get it here. Microsoft had originally capped the Beta at 2.5 million users. Due to the strong demand, the company will offer unlimited downloads through Jan. 24.

Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft’s games and entertainment division, sees the current console generation lasting longer than the previous one. He told Bloomberg in an interview, “The life cycle for this generation of consoles — and I’m not just talking about Xbox, I’d include Wii and PS3 as well — is probably going to be a little longer than previous generations.” (Via San Jose Mercury News.) The original Xbox was on the market four years before Microsoft launched the current Xbox 360 in 2005. For more from Bach, check out my interview with him last week.

At CES last week, Shawn DuBravac, economist with the Consumer Electronics Association. forecast slower video game console sales growth in 2009 of about 2.8 percent. “It’s quite natural for shipments to start to turn the corner here and peak in 2009 as the industry waits for the next generation,” he said, adding that observers are looking for new game consoles to arrive between 2013 and 2015.

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