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Monday, July 31, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Microsoft presentation goes from bad to worse

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Source: JupiterResearch

It's not rare for product demonstrations to go wrong. It is rare for them to veer into comedy. Ask Shanen Boettcher, a Windows Vista product manager who last week tried to show the speech-recognition tools in Microsoft's upcoming operating system.

In a roomful of analysts and reporters, Boettcher tried to write a letter to his mother on Vista, using only his voice. The result was one of the worst Microsoft product demonstrations in recent memory.

Boettcher began by saying, "Dear Mom," but Vista couldn't understand. Repeated attempts to correct it failed. Eventually, the letter to Mom went like this: "Dear Aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all."

Boettcher weathered the chuckles and said, "I'm glad you had some fun with that at the end. I sure did."

Microsoft numbers

We love secret codes and neat number stuff — even if it's coincidental. So it was with great interest that we reviewed the maximum number of shares that Microsoft proposes to take off the market in its much-touted $20 billion stock tender offer.

If the company buys at $24.75, it would remove 808,080,808 shares.

Those digits should be familiar to Microsoft historians. The Intel 8080 was the chip inside the Altair 8800, the PC introduced in 1975. The Altair BASIC programming language, built by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is the product on which Microsoft was founded, and 8080 is honored in Microsoft's main corporate number: 425-882-8080.

Remember to smile

The WSA has sent a reminder to members about its summer networking event at Seattle's Red Lion Hotel.

In case any 12-year-olds wanted to go, the organization included some "essential network-building tips:" Make eye contact. Wear your name tag on the right. Say a person's name when you meet them (it's "music to their ears"). Smile. Bring business cards. We're surprised "don't drool" didn't make the list.

In other news

Seattle casual-game developer Big Fish Games has hired Jeremy Lewis from Goldman Sachs as its president and chief operating officer. ... RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said last week that Microsoft has "thrown the baby out with the bath water" in adopting a go-it-alone strategy on Zune. ... Amazon.com bought the rights to make a movie based on "The Stolen Child," a book it has been promoting.

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Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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