winvista_h_web.jpgMicrosoft (or its King Gates) always manages to make headlines for some reason or five. This week, the buzz can be attributed to the long-awaited release of the final pre-release beta version of Windows Vista, Microsoft’s new visually-rich,windows-vista.jpg user-loving, “breakthrough computing experience.” Scheduled to hit the market in early 2007, Vista version “5728,” can – as of yesterday – be downloaded on a single disk by Microsoft’s usual tester crowd, as well as 100,000 randomly selected users chosen for their Customer Preview Program. Bloggers are already reacting to the new product’s every feature, from how “realistic” the details look on each of the 4562 new icons (one mesmorized analyst insists that the journal icon looks like real leather) to the start-up sound options (the post addressing the ping preferences on Scobleizer received over 700 comments).

Of course, Vista wasn’t Microsoft’s only announcement of the week that started the technophiles talking. Grateful gamers welcomed reports that Microsoft has agreed to fix old Xboxes for free, zuneblack.jpgand some new viral marketing efforts promoting Microsoft’s iPod challenger, Zune, also created a stir. Gizmodo offers the most comprehensive leakage on Zune – including videos that reveal the user interface and footage illustrating how users can share songs with other nearby Zuners. Though the product won’t be released until the holidays, the hype is building, and at $229.99, Zune saves consumers a full twenty bucks over iPod’s $249 price tag. Should Apple be biting their nails?


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