Your IE homepage might change soon

Our telecommunications monopoly has had a long love affair with Microsoft but now the marriage seems to be on the rocks. Michael Sainsbury reports in The Australian IT section that Telecom has put out to tender its online partnership, and that Yahoo7 is the preferred suitor.

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This week’s user generated programming over the Internet

- Your Internet Explorer homepage might change soon

- So who is buying YouTube? Anyone?

- How to spoil a perfectly good iProduct launch

Humour is a double-edged sword

It has to be sharp to slice through to the heart of the matter. If it’s too cutting though, people get hacked off. That’s why most sensible journalists leave the funny stuff to the likes of Richard Pryor and Peter Cook. Well, they would if the pair weren’t dead, but you know what I mean. So anyway, apologies to any who were offended by last week’s Derek and Clivery (And if you thought their language was blue, you should have heard the telling off Juha got — Ed).

Luckily though, Microsoft is working on technology to protect people’s ears from turning blue and falling off. I love the description of the patent:

“The automatic censoring filter employs a lattice comprising phonemes and/or words derived from phonemes for comparison against corresponding phonemes or words included in undesired speech data. If the probability that a phoneme or word in the input audio data stream matches a corresponding phoneme or word in the undesired speech data is greater than a probability threshold, the input audio data stream is altered so that the undesired word or a phrase comprising a plurality of such words is unintelligible or inaudible.”

Last week’s video clips would’ve been silent movies! The US Federal Communications Commission which says you cannot use certain strong language between the hours of six in the morning and ten at night will be rapt.

- Microsoft files for *bleep*ing good patent

- Wikipedia: Richard Pryor

- Wikipedia: Derek and Clive

Drawn-out payback time

Credit card therapy of a very different kind.

- Obsessive Consumption Credit Card Statement Drawings

Your Internet Explorer homepage might change soon

Our telecommunications monopoly has had a long love affair with Microsoft but now the marriage seems to be on the rocks. Michael Sainsbury reports in The Australian IT section that Telecom has put out to tender its online partnership, and that Yahoo7 is the preferred suitor.

This would spell the end of XtraMSN and possibly create… erm, XtraYahoo!7? XtraHoo!? Something like that.

It’s Marko Bogoievski (Yes! Spelt his name right this time!) who is behind the review because he believes that in the future, Telecom’s customers will go to either Yahoo, MSN or Google. That could very well be the case: I was just reading that Yahoo alone has 255 million users for its email service alone. This compares with 234 million for MSN Hotmail, making Google’s Gmail look like a relative minnow with 49 million only.

Enormous numbers indeed, and the whiff of them understandably makes a bean counter like Bogoievski excited. Does it make sense for Telecom to abandon an established brand like XtraMSN though? Also, this will presumably mean that XtraMSN will no longer be the default home page in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser for New Zealand customers.

I checked with Microsoft’s director of innovation Brett Roberts, who confirms that the contract is up for grabs:

“Further to our discussion Microsoft is currently reviewing its existing agreement with the Telecom New Zealand Group with regards to XtraMSN and the delivery of the MSN and Windows Live services to the New Zealand market. It is not appropriate for us to comment further on the commercial relationship at this time.”

The question is, will Microsoft NZ set up a local MSN or Windows Live services delivery site, or just use for instance the Aussie one? Is there anyone else here than Telecom they could partner with?

It’s an interesting development though, signalling perhaps that Telecom has figured out that its business is to supply the network connections people want rather than dabbling in content and services provision. Although XtraMSN usually pops up at the top of any traffic rating survey, it hasn’t made much of a mark locally. It’s seen as a default homepage provided by two large corporations promoting their own interests rather than an innovative provider independent content.

That, incidentally, is the kind of pall that hangs over Ferrit too so I wonder how long Telecom’s patience with its Amazon-clone will last. Ferrit is trying hard to gain traction in the market, but it’s not doing itself any favours currently with marketing campaigns that end up eroding customer confidence instead of building it up. The awful ads are bad enough, but seriously … writing your own consumer reviews?

- Seven, Yahoo in NZ bid

- ReadWriteWeb: Yahoo! Mail Beta release – Podcast with Ethan Diamond

- Red-faced Ferrit apologises for writing own reviews

So who is buying YouTube? Anyone?

Video clip success YouTube is again the hot gossip, with pundits wondering whether or not Rupe will cough up a cool US$1 billion for it. Can he afford it still? He seems to have money to burn on other online sites, but the asking price for YouTube could be too steep for Murdoch even.

- Gigaom/Robert Young: Why Murdoch won’t YouTube

- CBS wants to buy the next YouTube, not YouTube

- Murdoch linked with £20m online graduate jobs business

- Rupert Murdoch pays out £100m to control the Crazy Frog

How to spoil a perfectly good iProduct launch

Apple released a bunch of new and interesting products this week, both hardware and software. Its iPods small and tall, in colour and aluminium, and the new iTunes 7 media player.

I haven’t seen the new hardware yet, but I will warn you now not to touch iTunes 7. The new media player seemed fine at first, as I was looking at the iMovie bit mainly, but when I played some music I thought my computer’s audio had broken. This is one buggy iTunes release, so don’t install it.

Have asked Apple New Zealand for comment and when an updated version with the bugs fixed will be out, but there’s no official word yet.

- PC World: How about these Apples?

- Techsploder blog/iTunes 7 bugs: doesn't Apple test software before releasing it?

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