This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Pocket Change
Apr 18 2000 12:00 AM PDT

The press squinted at Microsoft (MSFT) from two angles this morning. First, today is the day its Pocket PC software hits the big three-oh. Second, many outlets scrambled to cover yesterday's Wall Street Journal scoop on the new perks Microsoft is using in an attempt to keep its senior staff in the stable.

The New York Times' Steve Lohr nodded to an "industry adage" that Microsoft software doesn't generally catch on until version 3.0, citing as examples the Windows OS and the Internet Explorer browser. (To this list he might have added Word, Excel and Windows NT. Except that in NT's case, it took until version 3.51.) Lohr concluded with a he-said, she-said from industry observers: "It's too late for Pocket PC to catch Palm" (David Pogue), or "Pocket PC will have 40 percent of the market by 2003" (Diana Hwang).

MSNBC and ZDNet ran the same brief story by PC Week's Carmen Nobel, which described the software built into the Pocket PC devices that are due this week from HP, Casio (CSIOY) and Compaq (CPQ): "tiny versions" of Word, Outlook, Excel, Money, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and eBook Reader.

The Seattle Times ran Paul Andrews' long color piece on Dick Brass, the man behind eBook Reader's Cleartype technology. Brass is a former speechwriter for Oracle (ORCL)'s virulently anti-Microsoft chairman Larry Ellison, and Andrews quoted a Microsoft executive who characterized Brass's role at Oracle as "hit man." Andrews's larger-than-life subject provides ample scope for insight and irony, and the piece is consistently engaging.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Buckman scooped everybody, the Seattle papers included, with detailed reporting on Microsoft's program of enhanced perks and promotions. Nobody had much to add to the story today. The Seattle Times ran with Bloomberg copy and Wired News went with Reuters. The Seattle P-I pulled together brief coverage attributed to "staff and news services." - Keith Dawson

Microsoft Will Challenge Palm's Hand-Held Computer Dominance
New York Times
(Registration required.)

HP, Compaq Ready PocketPC Devices

Microsoft to Unveil Pocket PCs in Big Rematch With Palm Inc.
Wall Street Journal Interactive
(Paid subscription required.)

Microsoft Picks Up Tune of One-Man Brass Band
Seattle Times

Microsoft Upgrades Perks in Effort to Keep Top Talent
Wall Street Journal Interactive
(Paid subscription required.)

Microsoft Offering More Perks to Stem Employee Defections (Bloomberg)
Seattle Times

MS to Execs: 'We Want You' (Reuters)
Wired News

Microsoft Is Perking for High-Up Employees
Seattle Post-Intelligencer