Bad Day for Microsoft, Good for Everyone Else

This may come as a surprise to our regular readers, but — gasp — it makes us giggle just a little bit when someone rains on Big Evil's parade. From the stories coming off the wire today, the weather in Redmond must be stormy with a chance of floods. We've got our Wellies on and an umbrella standing by, so let's jump right in.

First up is the biggest damper on their day, the U.S. Supreme Court's flat-out refusal to intervene in Novell's anti-trust suit against the Empire. The Court refused to grant certiorari — legalese for "alright, we'll listen" — and sent the matter back where it came from for resolution. The ever-vigilant watchdogs over at Groklaw have — as always — put together a comprehensive review of the pwnage.

That was only the beginning, however, as Microsoft's release of Vista Service Pack 1 today puts them squarely in the firing line for critical commentary on defective products. Among the defects in this latest plug to their sinking flagship? How about the complete inability for users with certain Intel, Symantec, and RealTek drivers to even obtain the package? Or the fact that it breaks a number of other packages, even the New York Times' Reader. And then, of course, there are the security packages that the update blocks, including popular packages like BitDefender and Zone Alarm. Microsoft's explanation? "Reliability reasons." Anybody else think this sounds a bit too familiar?

Today brought good news for Yahoo, however, with the release of a three-year plan for the search giant including projected revenue of $8.8 billion by 2010. The news was well received on Wall Street, with company stock jumping to $27, an increase of almost 5%. It also serves to underline the position of Yahoo's Board that Microsoft's hostile takeover undervalues the company.

Apple is also having a pretty good day today, with the release of version 3.1 of its Safari web browser. While we couldn't get it ourselves, we're told its quite shiny, with improvements to stability and compatibility, increased support for web standards, better functionality on Windows systems, and new features for web developers. Interested parties can pick up a copy from Apple's download site.

Things weren't too shabby for the principal developers of BusyBox either, as the Software Freedom Law Center settled the pair's three-month old GPL-enforcement suit against Verizon. While the settlement seems to have been pretty standard and included all the normal terms, it's a watershed development for software freedom, as Verizon was the largest and best-funded company to be sued for non-compliance with the GPL.

Lastly, things are looking sunny over at Novell, and not just because of the Supreme Court. The software giant is chasing the clouds away with the news that they have been picked to perk up the technical side of Sesame Street. While we doubt we'll see Big Bird pecking away at SUSE anytime soon, it's exciting to see an Open Source partner getting involved in teaching kids, even if it is behind the scenes.

And now, we're going to go out side and enjoy the (virtual) sunshine!

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