A few more Microsoft tidbits from around the Web to close out the week:
Microsoft and Symantec partner on free Windows security offer: Microsoft and Symantec are offering a promotion via which businesses with up to 50 PCs can get Symantec's EndPoint Protection Small Business Edition product for free. There are some caveats: The deal runs through December 31. You need to purchase Windows 7 Professional from PC Mall, and then buy EndPoint Protection for $18 per copy (normally $37 per copy). There's a mail-in rebate for $18, making the product free. (Customers also need to have at lealst one server to qualify.) Microsoft is offering free Microsoft Security Essentials for small-business users with up to 10 PCs. Symantec has gone on record saying that its paid security solutions offer more protection than Microsoft's free one.
ComScore's latest numbers: MicroHoo basically holding steady. The researchers at comScore have released their October search-share numbers. Google was up 0.2 percent from September, with 66.3 percent of U.S. searches. Bing was up 0.3 percent, to 11.5 percent, and Yahoo was down 0.2 percent, to 15.6. Together, Bing and Yahoo had 27.1 percent. These figures are for explicit core searches only, meaning searches manually entered on a Web page, and not the results displayed from "instant" searches.
Microsoft's System Center team starts readying its 2012 family of wares: At Microsoft's recent TechEd Europe conference, bits and pieces about the company's next-generation System Center wares began trickling out. Blogger Steven Bink posted a schedule for System Center Operations Manager 2012, which has Microsoft delivering a beta in Q2 of next year and the final version of the product by Q4 2011. Microsoft is seeking Technology Adoption Program (TAP) testers for Beta 2 of the next version of System Center Configuration Manager, which also is known as Configuration Manager 2012. And System Center Virtual Machine Manager v.Next -- which also is going to get the 2012 naming treatment, even though it is expected to RTM in 2011 -- is shaping up, as well. SCVMM 2012 is the release that is going to enable server application virtualization. It also will support Hyper-V remote deployment on bare-metal and add new power-management and dynamic-optimization functionality, according to Virtualization.Info.
The next version of Microsoft's Dynamics GP product is due in the first half of 2011: Microsoft is planning to deliver the next release of one of its four ERP wares -- Dynamics GP -- in the first half of 2011, company officials said via a blog post this week. The R2 version will add more business-intelligence support via RoleTailored dashboards, as well as connectivity with Microsoft's just-launched Lync unified-communications product. Microsoft also is adding more out-of-the-box reports, a new form generator and other customizations. This will be the first new version of Dynamics GP since April 2010, when Microsoft rolled out Dynamics GP 2010.
Open-source Web application gets the Windows Server certification nod: CMS vendor Silverstripe has become the first open-source Web application to pass the Microsoft Windows Server certification criteria. As Silverstripe notes on its blog, "(W)e're told that Microsoft has certified under 10 web applications irrespective of their licensing model. We also understand only a handful of open source products that are native executables (i.e. not web-based) have ever been certified." However you qualify it, as of this week, Silverstripe is now "Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2."
Windows holiday news coming next week: It should be a quiet and short Thanksgiving news week next week. But there will be some kind of Windows-related holiday news coming on November 23, the Softies assure us. I'm starting to wonder if could involve the Kinect and Windows 7 PCs. Hey, if Microsoft can write a connector to get Kinect to talk to its Lync Server, why not do one that gets PCs to sync with Kinect. It looks like other folks have managed to do so.... Anyone have another guess?