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Microsoft and Banquo's Ghost

Well, the battery on my Dell laptop conked out just as the boys began to get into the heart of the presentation. Memo to self: Next time bring a spare!

By now, you must have read about the news out of the Microsoft announcement. All in all, I think several Microsoft rivals have a lot to chew over.

Microsoft showed off a free Skype-like feature that got my attention. And unlike eBay, Microsoft didn't have to plunk down $2.5 billion for the privilege. There also was a desktop security scanner clearly targeted at the likes of Symantec and McAfee. Microsoft also demo'ed a nifty Plaxo-like feature that automatically updates contact info whenever anyone in your email list modifies their personal data.

This is all of a piece with Microsoft's historic approach of dumping everything but the kitchen sink inside of a container. In years past that container was called Windows. Nowadays, it's a collection of Internet platforms the brass calls its "Live Offerings."

Lastly, all of this will be supplemented by a bevy of contextual advertising links that Microsoft will be selling. Nobody mentioned what was driving all this but they didn't need to belabor the obvious: Google hovered like Banquo's ghost during the entire presentation.