THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Microsoft employees feel maligned
Microsofties allege that Redmond's performance review system is rigged.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 magazine online editor

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Google employees get free food, unlimited foosball, and laundry machines at the office. Microsoft (Research) employees, by contrast, say that they get a politically charged job review process that has turned into a popularity contest, reports. A supposedly meritocratic system under which employees get ranked on a bell curve has been taken over by managers who try to protect their friends, Microsoft workers told the Seattle-based labor news site. A Microsoft spokesman says a top HR executive is actively reconsidering the system.

Google suppresses advertising

Signs of the Internet apocalypse abound
The launch of a new Internet incubator is a scary reminder of the bubble years. Plus: Microsoft's Origami draws disagreement.Read more.

An increasing number of cell phones can surf the Web, but with screen space at a premium and data connections still slow, every little bit you can omit helps. That's why Google (Research) reformats Web pages for cell phones, deleting images and simplifying the layout. When users surf Google on cell phones, they get these stripped-down web pages. That bothers the folks at MobHappy, who point out that advertisements are part of what Google's page-cleaning routines take out, and that online publishers are likely to strongly object to this. For its part, Google says it's just trying to get users the information on a page as quickly as possible.

Who invited you to my wedding registry?

Barry Schwartz, CEO of a Web development company, is in hot water with his fiancee. It seems that complete strangers have been placing orders off of the couple's wedding registry -- without, alas, sending the gifts to the happy couple. That's left Schwartz's fiancee to correct their registry. Schwartz, a Web-search expert, has a theory to explain the mysterious orders. He believes that search engines are indexing wedding registry pages. As a result, users searching for china and crystal happen to stumble across the pages and place orders, not realizing they're ordering off someone's wedding registry. Schwartz found more than 200 Crate & Barrel registries indexed by Google.

Apple subscription plans debunked

Since this week's introduction of Apple's Multi-Pass purchase plan, which lets customers buy a season of TV shows up front from iTunes, the Web has been buzzing about Apple (Research) getting into the music subscription business, a move CEO Steve Jobs has long resisted. But those reports are inaccurate, says the iPod Observer. Unlike Napster (Research) and RealNetworks (Research), which offer all-you-can-download monthly music subscriptions, Apple is just selling discount packages for an entire season of TV shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Customers who buy a 16-episode season in advance for $9.99 save more than 70 percent off what they'd pay to buy each show individually. It may not be not all-you-can-eat, but it's still a good deal for Stewart fans.

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