Xbox

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s new motion-sensing device unveiled at its E3 press conference today has no name, no price, no release date and its early-stage technology is of uncertain parentage.

Despite such apparent disadvantages, this bastard child has a kindly foster father and champion in Peter Molyneux, the visionary leader of Microsoft’s Lionhead Studios.  Read more

The FT’s Lex column considers the three-way war for the living room, and concludes that with little console innovation on the horizon, Nintendo’s Wii, the current leader, could be vulnerable:

Microsoft has an opportunity to catch up on Nintendo. The US software giant has the cheapest console on the market at $199 in the US, for something that is more capable than Nintendo’s $250 machine. Read more

  • Bing made an early debut, but Microsoft‘s new search service is about to test new social and legal limits in its presentation of video clips. On Bing, “thumbnail”-sized video clips play automatically when a cursor hovers over them. That might be as far as any major company has gone to test the limits of the “fair use” defence to copyright infringement when it comes to video content.
  • Prime View International, the Taiwanese maker of screens for Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers, aims to consolidate its hold on the nascent “electronic paper” industry by acquiring E Ink, the US company that owns key technology for making the screens.

 Read more

  • The economic slump hasn’t ended yet. That was the word from the executives of Microsoft and Dell, as they countered the recent optimistic views expressed by other big tech companies. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said: “To think that things would be back in a year seems naive to me.” Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, said: “Based on what we see in the marketplace, we’re not comfortable talking about seeing a bottom at this point.”
  • Microsoft and Google took direct aim at each other’s core businesses as they showed off ambitious new services that represent some of their biggest internet development efforts. Microsoft unveiled its new search engine, Bing, to generally positive reviews. Google, meanwhile, stole the thunder by showing-off Wave, a new communication platform that incorporates elements of email, chat and document sharing.

 Read more

  • Pirates of all sorts seem to be in the cross-hairs these days. France is set to introduce the world’s most draconian laws against internet piracy, with parliamentarians voting to give the government powers to cut off offenders’ internet access. The controversial draft law would create an agency to police illegal downloading of copyright material. The bill still has to be voted on by the Senate but is widely expected to be approved in a final vote on Wednesday.
  • Meanwhile, new findings suggest the new French laws might be better suited for the US. While the US has the lowest PC software piracy rate in the world, at 20 per cent, it has the largest dollar losses from piracy, at $9.1bn, because it is by far the world’s largest software market, according to the sixth annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study. Worldwide, “the PC software piracy rate rose for the second year in a row, from 38 per cent to 41 per cent, because PC shipments grew fastest in high-piracy countries such as China and India.”

 Read more