Tag Archives | Operating System

Are Chromebooks from the Past or the Future? I Still Can’t Tell

A year and three-quarters ago, Google announced that it was working on Chrome OS, an operating system that was just a browser (or, if you prefer, a browser that had evolved into an operating system). That was a long, long time ago. In mid-2009, netbooks were trendy. The iPad didn’t exist. Android was merely a phone operating system, and one that was still just getting started at that.

This operating system thing turned out to be tricky: Chrome OS-based computers were supposed to hit the market by the end of 2010, but the schedule slipped, so the only one that met that deadline was Google’s own experimental CR-48. At today’s Google I|O keynote, however, Google laid out the basic info of the first two “Chromebooks” (a term I’ve been using for awhile and which Google is now championing) that will go on sale.

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Microsoft to Offer Choice of Browsers–In Europe

Today, the European Commission (EC) announced that Microsoft will permit Windows 7 users in European countries to select their default browser from a ballot screen when they configure their machines.

The news comes as a bit of a surprise, because, last month, the company said it was going to strip Internet Explorer from European versions of the operating system, and was originally strongly opposed to idea of providing a ballot screen.

Microsoft was compelled to make the change as a remedy for the EC’s Microsoft vs. Opera antitrust case that began in 2007. The company had a contingency plan to ship Windows 7 in January if it was unable to reach an agreement with the EC.

The settlement will no doubt keep Windows 7 on schedule for its fall debut. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on Wednesday.

The EC has clearly learned from the failure of previous mandates. There was no demand for the Windows Media Center free edition of the OS that the EC mandated Microsoft sell in Europe. I’m glad that the ballot option was chosen over no browser at all.


Windows 7 Family Pack? I Hope So!

The Brady BunchZDNet’s Ed Bott is reporting that the license for Windows 7 Home Premium appears to make provisions for a family-pack version that would permit three installations of the OS, presumably at a discounted price. (Apple sells a five-user Family Pack edition of OS X Leopard for $199.)

Folks have been asking for a Windows family license for a looooong time, so if it’s good news if such a deal is indeed in the works. It would also be consistent with Microsoft’s strategy of making Windows 7 a little eaiser on the pocketbook than Vista was.

At first, I wondered why Microsoft would hold back on announcing a family pack–especially since other versions of the OS are already available for pre-order. You’d think the company wouldn’t want anyone to order multiple copies of Windows 7, then discover that he or she qualified for a cheaper family license. But at the moment, Microsoft is offering copies of the Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for only $49.99, a discount of more than half off. If Ed’s right in his guess that a three-user Home Premium Family Pack would go for $189, the current discounted price of just under $150 for three licenses would be cheaper still, and nobody who ordered now would be out any money.

Maybe Microsoft’s holding off announcing the Family Pack until the big preorder discount ends on July 11th. Any guesses?