THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Microsoft denies Vista code being scrapped
A report says Microsoft is rewriting more than half of its upcoming operating system, but Redmond says it isn't so. Plus: Toshiba may have its own version of Microsoft's Origami in the works.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Smarthouse, an Australian trade publication, is reporting that more than half of Windows Vista will have to be rewritten. The problems are so severe, Smarthouse claims, that the newly reorganized Windows group is pulling in programmers from Microsoft's Xbox game-console division. However, blogger Alec Saunders doubts that the problems could be that bad -- if so, he writes, Microsoft (Research) would be pushing Vista back to 2009, not 2007. Microsoft's own blogger Robert Scoble checked into the story and got a denial from an executive at Microsoft's PR firm, who says he's not aware of any Xbox programmers working on Windows. Microsoft is now targeting next year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as the launch event for the consumer version of Windows Vista. One reason for the delay, and for the possible involvement of Xbox programmers: Microsoft now plans to include functions from the Media Center edition of Windows, which can record TV shows and play photos, music, and videos on a TV, into its mainstream operating system.

Toshiba Origami handheld on its way

Apple rings up an iPhone
Word from Taiwan is strong that Apple is lining up manufacturers for its own iPod-cell phone hybrid. Plus: Plaxo pledges to stop spamming. (more)

At its recent launch, Microsoft's "Origami" ultramobile PC got dissed because, among other things, no well-known PC makers were on board. But now there are whispers that Toshiba, a major laptop maker, plans to come out with its own version of the handheld. GottaBeMobile tracked down the rumors to an article in APC Magazine, which recently interviewed a Toshiba product manager about an upcoming handheld whose specs -- a screen smaller than 7 inches, pen entry, with a Tablet PC operating system -- sound suspiciously like an Origami device. If the rumors pan out, getting Toshiba on board would be a boost for Microsoft's new handheld platform.

New online Word competitor panned

Is AjaxWrite the next Microsoft Word? Venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky doesn't think so. Though the online-applications space is white-hot after Google's purchase of Writely, Kedrosky doubts that many users will flock to write documents using software from a startup with, as he puts it, "unknown staying power." Jeff Nolan points out a bigger problem with AjaxWrite: In his experience, it didn't work, because AjaxWrite's Web servers were often unavailable. Hey, when you're setting out to compete with Google (Research) and Microsoft, who has time for details like making sure your servers stay operational?

Google Finance bums Yahoo engineer out

Jeremy Zawodny got his start at Yahoo (Research) programming its finance website. So the launch of Google Finance bummed him out, says the Yahoo engineer and blogger. He says that many of Google Finance's advantages over Yahoo -- a better ticker search, interactive charts which tie news events into changes in the stock price -- are things Zawodny's colleagues talked about adding to Yahoo Finance but never got around to actually building into the product. "I sure as hell hope this is a wake-up call!" he concludes. Top of page

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