2/21/2008

Microsoft cuts Canadian Xbox 360 console prices

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp announced late on Wednesday it will cut the prices of its Xbox 360 video-game consoles as it continues to battle Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3 for dominance of the gaming market.

Microsoft said it would cut the price of the Xbox 360 console to C$349 from C$399, while the premium Elite model with a larger hard drive would drop to C$449 from C$499. The more basic Arcade model is dropping to $279 from C$299.

Microsoft Opens Game Development

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday it will make Xbox 360 video games developed by players available for download through the console’s online service.

The new service will double the size of the Xbox 360 game library, to 1,000 games within a year of its launch, scheduled for this holiday season, the company said.

To distribute a game on the Xbox Live service, game creators must use Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio software, which requires a $99 per-year subscription, or be an XNA Creators Club member. Each game will be vetted for quality and appropriateness by the online community itself.

Creators Club members will be able to test a beta version starting this spring.

Google to Store Patients’ Health Records

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc. will begin storing the medical records of a few thousand people as it tests a long-awaited health service that’s likely to raise more concerns about the volume of sensitive information entrusted to the Internet search leader.

The pilot project to be announced Thursday will involve 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who volunteered to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google’s new service, which won’t be open to the general public.

Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password that’s also required to use other Google services such as e-mail and personalized search tools.

Google views its expansion into health records management as a logical extension because its search engine already processes millions of requests from people trying to find about more information about an injury, illness or recommended treatment.

But the health venture also will provide more fodder for privacy watchdogs who believe Google already knows too much about the interests and habits of its users as its computers log their search requests and store their e-mail discussions.

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