Several security vulnerabilities addressed
Microsoft has released updates to its Mac software, Entourage and Office 2008. Office v12.2.4 offers several improvements to overall stability and performance. The company has also included a number of fixes that address security vulnerabilities, helping to prevent an attacker from overwriting the computer's memory using malicious code.
Office for Mac updates
Microsoft has released updates to its Office 2004 and Office 2008 software for Mac. Office 2004 11.5.3 is claimed to offer enhanced stability and performance. A bug has been fixed that had previously caused the program to quit unexpectedly when a document was opened. Several vulnerabilities have also been addressed, now preventing an attacker from crafting a malicious Word, Excel or RTF file that could be used to take complete control of a victim's computer.
Apple edges Acer for No. 3
Research firm IDC reports that worldwide PC shipments grew at 15 percent in the second quarter of 2008. The quarter also saw Apple roughly tie Acer in the US market, assuming fourth place and missing third place by only a few thousand units. Demand in the United States suffered from the ongoing economic pressure, with rowth in the low single-digits. Dell continued its recovery with another quarter of double-digit growth, while HP saw year on year growth rise from the first quarter. Portable adoption continues to be a key driver, even though consumer share is generally at its lowest during the second quarter.
Office 2004 2008 updates
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled updates for Office 2004 and 2008, offering users some stability, security, performance, and compatibility fixes with the two business productivity suites. Office 2004 11.5.0 adds compatibility with documents from Office 2008 for Mac and Office 2007 for Windows by offering an update to the Open XML File Format Converter, allowing users to convert files from the newer versions of the suite.
IDC sees PC growth
IDC is projecting worldwide PC shipment growth of 15.2 percent in 2008, reaching 310 million units. The analysis firm predicts that growth will remain in the double-digits through 2010, followed by high single-digit growth through 2012, boosting annual shipments to over 472 million in 2012. Meanwhile, the fall in average PC selling price will be offset by an ongoing transition to sale of notebooks, which generally cost more than desktops. IDC's report also says that the Asia/Pacific region excluding Japan (APeJ) surpassed the United States as the region with the largest PC market in total annual shipments at the end of 2007.
Despite a series of conflicting news releases, Vodafone has confirmed that there will not be a pay-as-you-go version of the iPhone 3G available in New Zealand. NZMac.com first spotted the confusion in statements from Vodafone and Apple New Zealand which announced both contract and prepaid versions of the iPhone in various press releases. Vodafone cleared things up this morning, saying only the contract versions will be available in New Zealand and Portugal beginning in July 11.
Rogers data plan limits
Rogers Communications recently unveiled plans for a Canadian iPhone release, and while official details are scarce, RBC analyst Jonathan Allan predicts the plan will include a "virtually unlimited" data portion of 100 to 200MB per month. According to the National Post, Rogers would offer consumers 250 to 500 anytime minutes, as well as unlimited evenings and weekends after 9PM. Allen suggested the data plan could run for $35 per month, while the phone plan itself would range between $80 and $100.
Apple shares up 4.5%
Shares of Apple Computer Inc. are up $6.51 to $161 near the end of trading on friday, representing a gain of 4.21 percent. The uptick could be due, at least in part, to strong market share gains posted by the company in recent surveys from various research firms. Apple saw the biggest gain among the top 5 vendors in the U.S. market according to Gartner, enjoying strong retail sales coupled with "decent growth" in the professional market. According to IDC, Apple is expected to come in at fourth place and ship 950,000 Macs to Americans during the first quarter of 2008, earning itself an increase from 5.7 percent in the prior quarter to 6 percent. The increase is a 25.1 percent jump over sales in early 2007 and also represents more than a full percentage point increase in marketshare from year to year.
Google beats estimates
Google today posted its first quarter profits, thoroughly outpacing Wall Street analyst estimates, which were based on the effects a slowing economy would have on sales and earnings. According to CNN Money, the news follows a weak fourth quarter last year, with earnings coming in under analyst estimates. The report shows Google's income rising 30 percent to $1.31 billion – $4.12 a share – with $1.54 billion before one-time charges.
RIM posts large profits
BlackBerry manufacturer RIM today posted its fourth quarter and year-end results for fiscal 2008, with quarterly revenue topping 1.88 billion, or a 102-percent increase from the year ago quarter. RIM boasts a user base of 14 million, 2.18 million of which were new subscribers for the quarter, or an increase of 32-percent from the previous quarter. Overall, RIM posted a 98-percent revenue increase for the year, with total revenue sitting at $6.01 billion.
iPod sales '08
As part of his "3 Cylinder Engine" report on Apple's three core product lines, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recently looked at Apple's iPod, discussing the business unit's growth trajectory, upcoming iPods and more. Saying that the iPod will be a slower growing segment than the Mac or iPhone, Munster expects iPod unit growth to be flat in the calendar year 2008, but also thinks that Apple can maintain iPod unit growth and slightly exceed street expectations. Munster believes that the iPhone will replace the iPod as a driver of significant growth for the company.
Iomega 120GB REV at CeBIT
Iomega today announced the REV 120GB Backup Drive, as well as the accompanying disks, and it will show the offerings at CeBIT 2008 in Hanover, Germany. The third-generation offering adds to a current user base of over 350,000 drives, with over 2 million disks in circulation. The drive will be available with a USB 2.0 connection in April, while Iomega expects to release an ATAPI version later in the summer. Pricing was not immediately available.
FileMaker Dev Conference
FileMaker today announced the start of registration for the 2008 FileMaker Developer Conference, which takes placefrom July 13th to the 17th at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. FileMaker is offering a $200 discount to registrants who act before May 16th, while all attendees will be given a complimentary copy of FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced. Registration fees for the conference start at $1200 for the basic package, and $2000 for the Passport tier pass.
Athletes can blog in China
The International Olympics Committee today gave its official approval for athletes to blog while at the Beijing games in August, providing that they do not publish media of the event or Olympic properties. Reuters reports that the IOC recognizes blogging as a form of personal expression, and not that of a journalistic nature. An additional stipulation states that any postings must adhere to the Olympic spirit, being "dignified and in good taste."
Apple's record earnings
Apple today reported record breaking earnings that soared above all previous quarterly results, marking the best three-month period for the Cupertino-based company since its inception in 1976. "We're thrilled to report our best quarter ever, with the highest revenue and earnings in Apple's history," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We have an incredibly strong new product pipeline for 2008, starting with MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iTunes Movie Rentals in the first two weeks."
Apple's Q1 2008 results
Apple on Tuesday will release its Q1 fiscal results, which are expected to show better-than-anticipated numbers, mainly due to strong Mac sales. Despite a steady tumble in share price starting in early January, analysts are predicting that Apple could be worth close to $600 per share within 18 months. In addition to strong machine sales, the optimistic outlook is fueled by Apple's desire to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, as well as the prospect of an iPhone "nano".
Mactopia gets a facelift
In anticipation of Office 2008’s upcoming release at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Microsoft has given the Mactopia page a facelift, with a design reminiscent of the Office Mac site. The redesigned page is fairly lean, opting for an automated search of Microsoft’s main site for Mac software, rather than supplying a list of products on the left-hand side of the page. Promotions and Mac Mojo are still linked from the page, however; Microsoft’s current promotion entitles users to a free upgrade to Office 2008 when purchasing 2004 before January 14th.
DRM-free Sony on Amazon
Amazon.com today said it is now selling unprotected music from Sony BMG, making the online retailer the first store to offer DRM-free songs from all four major music labels in MP3 format, according to a report from Reuters. Apple's iTunes Store announced the availability of iTunes Plus in early April, with unprotected MP3 music files from EMI's catalog at a slightly higher price.
Word 2008 preview
Users eagerly await the release of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, especially those that use Intel-based Macs, as this will be the first incarnation of the suite to include Universal application support. The suite has been redesigned to be more “available” to users, introducing a number of new elements, as well as reconfiguring old features to make them more obvious to new and regular users alike. While Office 2008 doesn’t ship until the start of Macworld on January 15th, Microsoft has provided MacNN with a preview of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage ahead of the announcement.