Microsoft Step Up A Gear

There's lots going on at Microsoft as we head for the mythical world of Web 2.0. A new version of Internet Explorer (7) that I installed and immediately removed. Friends report that, two weeks on, it's a lot more operational now.

A new version on Windows Media Player (11) is a lot more workable and there's a nice Vista-like interface. It may be my eyes, but the decoding at lower data rates seems better.

Then there's the launch of the Expression suite - a rival to Adobe/Macromedia's Flash and Dreamweaver products which are very powerful and link well into the existing Microsoft authoring environment, but might be just a bit too techy for your average Machead in a web agency.

Coming soon is a new video production and encoding product, Windows Media Encoder Studio.

The lighte must be on late at Redmond as they try and keep their advantage in an increasingly competitive market. The good news for the rest of us is all of the above are available for free (at the moment...).