Breakfast Briefing: Windows 8 “not ready”, Microsoft killing off version numbers, new MySpace

In this morning’s round-up of must-read tech stories: Intel’s CEO takes a swipe at Windows 8, Microsoft kills off version numbers, MySpace borrows features from its rivals and Apple’s new cables are cleverer than they first appear.

Breakfast Briefing: Windows 8

Otellini: Windows 8 isn’t ready

Intel boss Paul Otellini may be making a conciliatory call to Redmond this morning, after he told his company’s employees that Windows 8 was shipping before it was ready, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The report doesn’t stipulate exactly what Otellini found wrong with the operating system – perhaps he thinks the missing Start button is a bug – but disquiet from one of Microsoft’s major partners is going to do nothing to boost sales ahead of the 26 October launch.

Microsoft killing off version numbers?

Microsoft-watcher Paul Thurrott reports on an interesting trend emerging inside Redmond: the death of version numbers. Thurrott says that Microsoft is studiously avoiding referring to Exchange Server 2013 by that moniker, preferring “the new Exchange” instead. Likewise, Office 2013 is now being labelled “the new Office”, with Thurrott claiming he was “repeatedly warned not to lapse and use the term Office 2013” by Microsofties at a recent TechEd.

Thurrott explains how Microsoft has “been screwing around with version numbers for decades now”, dropping the dates from versions of Windows “because year numbers are like the expiration date on milk: first they expire, and then they begin to ripen and smell bad”.

He also explains how the decision is tied to Microsoft’s attempt to sell products such as Office on a subscription basis, where you’re automatically upgraded to the latest version. “Microsoft really wants to sell you is the subscription and services-based versions of these products. And in such cases, version numbers suddenly are a lot less meaningful. Over time, maybe the versions with version numbers just… disappear,” he argues.

MySpace relaunches yet again

Yes, we’ve heard that one several times, but this proposed update to 2003’s best social network looks to be taking a particularly bold approach: borrowing the best bits from every other social network.

So it has Facebook’s Timeline mixed with a healthy dose of Pinterest and iTunes, an update system that looks a bit like Twitter – and its all based more than ever around music. Will it win anyone back? Is a further move towards becoming a music hub the best way forward? See for yourself.

Apple’s new connector is rather clever

We were ready to consign this whole Lightning kerfuffle to the past, but it seems the iPhone 5’s new cable has a few tricks up its sleeve.

According to Peter Bradstock of Double Helix Cables, the reason the cable is reversible is that the signals are simply assigned to the pins dynamically depending on which way it’s been inserted. There’s a detailed explanation (complete with pencil diagrams) over at AppleInsider, showing the importance of the authentication chips in the cables – so don’t go buying a cheap import. According to Bradstock there’s “basically no way those are functional cables”.

Google searches can predict a game’s sales

An interesting whitepaper from Google looks at the search activity surrounding game releases. Alright, you could probably predict that search activity ramps up as release approaches then tails off afterwards, and that before release we want previews and after release we want details of downloadable content, but publishers will love the news that we can fairly accurately predict a game’s sales by looking at its search clicks.

“If a game accrues 250,000 clicks in the 10 months around launch, it will likely sell between 2 and 4 million units in the first four months after release,” says the paper. We prefer the stat that 27% of searches for tips are from mobiles, presumably so we can cheat without stopping playing.

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