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Microsoft opens curtains on Windows 8 (week in review)

At its Build conference, Microsoft sheds some light on the upcoming OS--the first to work on tablets with touch from the start and a potential game-changer. Also, the anti-Flash crowd and more iPhone 5 speculation.

At its Build developers' conference this week, Microsoft shed some light on its upcoming Windows 8 operating system--the first to work on tablets with touch from the start, and by all accounts a dramatic shift from its current Windows version.

The Windows 8 prebeta version is technically designed for developers. But no registration is required, so anyone can download and install it.

The new Windows' main new trick is the ability to swap between the traditional Windows interface and the new "Metro" style that's touch-friendly. Microsoft is also bringing some of its apps over to the newer style, such as its contacts, photos, and calendaring tools, and its e-mail client and Web browser.

And though the embrace of portable computing devices like tablets sounds a little Apple-like, Redmond's approach is very different.

Apple believes consumers will want discreet devices that are designed to take on specific tasks. That's why its laptop and desktop computers run a beefy operating system designed to handle the sort of heavy-duty computer processing that's required by, for example, computer-assisted design applications, and its iPads run a much lighter-weight operating system that's fine for simply surfing the Web or reading a digital book.

That's not the vision Microsoft's pursuing. The software giant believes consumers will want a meaty operating system that can run on a variety of devices--everything from a slim tablet up to water-cooled high-end gaming system. Not surprisingly, the company thinks that operating system is Windows.

So while Microsoft has characterized just about every Windows launch since Windows 95 as the biggest change to computer operating systems since that product debuted 16 years ago, this time, it might actually be true.
•  Windows 8 rules at Microsoft Build (roundup)
•  Ballmer woos developers on 'reimagined' Microsoft
•  An early, first look at Windows 8 (hands-on)

More headlines

Microsoft joins the anti-Flash crowd with IE10

Browser plug-ins, including Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's own Silverlight, will be excluded from the "touch-first" Metro interface of Windows 8.
•  Adobe: Flash will flourish despite Windows 8

Ask Maggie: When is that darn iPhone 5 coming?

It feels like we've been waiting forever for Apple to release the next iteration of its coveted iPhone. But a launch is coming soon...CNET's Marquerite Reardon hopes.
• Sprint says it can handle the iPhone traffic
•  Case-Mate briefly posts 'iPhone 5' case gallery
•  iPhone 5 rumor roundup

With QNX phone, RIM must avoid PlayBook mistakes

RIM can't afford to release a half-baked QNX smartphone like it did with the PlayBook.
•  RIM earnings plummet by more than half
•  RIM to cut prices on BlackBerry PlayBooks

FBI investigating hacking of celebrities

Leaked photos of Scarlett Johansson follow celebrity photo leaks earlier in the year. It's unclear who is behind the Johansson incident and whether all of the reported cases are linked or even legitimate.
•  Heidi Klum the 'most dangerous' celeb on the Net

Netflix feels wrath of consumers, investors

Netflix's woes continue to mount. The company saw Starz walk away from licensing talks. The stock price is plunging. And now Netflix expects fewer subscribers in Q3. Where will the slump end?
•  Netflix: We'll take a hit in 3rd-quarter subscribers

Google+ API launches today

Online sharing gets a big shot in the arm from newly released APIs for Google+.
•  Hidden Google+ feature: Evict people from chats
•  Google flight-search service takes off
•  Google readies social news magazine app

VC legend Doerr: Tech is booming, not in a bubble

At TechCrunch Disrupt, John Doerr points out that today's tech venture-capital environment is just about a third of what it was a decade ago. He also unveils a new social network: Erly.
•  Peter Thiel, Max Levchin: U.S. tech innovation almost dead
•  The best lesson from Disrupt: Simplify
•  Lesson from Steve Jobs? Make great products

AT&T-iPad site hacker to fight on in court (exclusive)

Hacker says he won't cop a plea and that he did not profit from disclosing the AT&T security hole, despite what damning chat logs show.
•  Comodohacker: I can issue fake Windows updates

HTC interested in buying its own mobile OS

Chairwoman Cher Wang says HTC has had discussions internally, but also that the company won't move impulsively.
•  Dear HTC: Don't get into the mobile OS business

Why the smart grid is stuck in first gear

The smart grid is taking hold slowly, held back by utility industry regulations and the lack of compelling applications for consumers.
•  Best Buy to sell home energy management gear

Intel CEO touts Ultrabooks and 'Haswell' chip

At the company's developer conference, Intel CEO Paul Otellini speaks about the importance of Ultrabooks and two chips that will evolve the Ultrabook platform.
•  Haswell chip completes Ultrabook 'revolution'
•  Intel's Ivy Bridge chip packs understated goodies
•  Intel brandishes first Google Android tablet
•  Android and ARM elbow in on Wintel alliance

YouTube adds a built-in video editor

Looking to help users polish their uploaded Web videos, YouTube is launching a simple editor to make quick fixes like trims, rotations, and color effects.

Also of note
•  NASA spots Star Wars-like planet orbiting two stars
•  Nintendo CEO re-affirms no smartphone games plan
•  White House tried to hurry Solyndra decision, report says