Great eXPectations? Microsoft has made a multi-billion-dollar business out of spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt, but lately it seems to be sharing the FUD about its own products. Take the burning question of when XP will shuffle off this mortal coil. June 30 is still the official date, but every time the Mad Ballmer opens his mouth it sounds like he's backtracking. "If customer feedback varies we can always wake up smarter, but right now, we have a plan for end-of-life for new XP shipments," he said earlier this week in Belgium. Microsoft hastily issued a statement saying essentially 'never mind, nothing has changed, that was just Steve (and you know how he gets when he's had a few Stellas).'
Meanwhile, a reader has forwarded an email from a Microsoft Customer Service Rep which reads in part, "there is no space for any worry regarding Microsoft stopping the sale for Windows XP only till 30ht [sic] of June 2008. If you have received such a mail or heard such rumors, you can classify it as a hoax." He then points the Cringester to a support lifecycle Web page last updated in May 2005. Waking up smarter would be a good idea. Or just waking up at all.
Open her up, boys. Ever willing to hike up its skirt for anyone who will save it from Microsoft's clutches, Yahoo has announced plans to open up its Web platform to third party developers -- essentially pulling a Full Zuckerberg. Can the Yahooers manage a Facebook-like renaissance as a social media site before sinking into the pit of Redmond despair? I think that's slightly less likely than Microsoft suddenly waking up smarter.
Sharks with friggin' laser beams. In a case that has "major motion picture" written all over it, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is being sued for allegedly hiring hackers to sabotage Murdoch's satellite TV rivals. A News Corp subsidiary is accused of hiring black hats to crack the encryption on cable cards for the Dish Network and distribute counterfeit cards for free, enabling people to pirate the competition's pay TV service. Kim Zetter at Wired News has the full scoop on the civil suit, which includes Bulgarian hackers, Israeli spooks, and mysterious suicides. Hey, I'm sure Murdoch just did it because he hadn't completed work on his solar death ray, scheduled to come online later this year. First target: The New York Times.