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Tech Roundup: Google Jet Fighter, Vista Lags Office, Vendor Channel Stuffing, More

Google's founders have jet fighter -- H211, a company owned by top Google officials, including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, that owns and operates the planes used by the two as well as Google CEO Eric Schmidt has added a light attack jet from Dornier of Germany and Dassault-Breguet of France. According to Google, which has no direct relationship with H211, the jet is being set up with instrumentation for NASA missions. Not that the U.S. government's space agency has any access to air and space craft. If you see Microsoft buy an aircraft carrier, then you can bet we're in for a domestic arms race that would certainly boost the economy. But maybe it's all a misunderstanding. There's a recently discovered big security flaw in Android, so maybe Google was going to offer tactical backup to users. [Source: New York TimesBits Blog on fighter, Android security problem]

Office to spank Vista in sales -- If Microsoft wants to do some defensive acquisitions, now might be the time. The company has long seen versions of Windows and Office as their financial mainstays. But year-over-year client sales -- read Vista -- were up only two percent in the first fiscal quarter of its 2009 year as compared to 2008. Meanwhile, Office saw 20 percent growth. Sounds like a potential case of sibling rivalry -- or a real impetus to finish and release a new version of Windows. In the meantime, the company has also identified some strategies to deal with the global economic crisis, including lowering total cost of customer owners, to help, though it is still lowering its estimates. Not sure that was supposed to mean having products that people don't buy. [Source: InfoWorld on Vista Sales, plans to weather the economic crisis]

High end retailers scaling back; channel stuffing coming -- Retailers are on the front line of any economic crunch, and there's an interesting interview with the CEO of one high end Los Angeles chain, Ken Cranes. They're cutting back on inventory by around 25 percent, dropping the number of products in some categories (like plasma televisions), and getting flack Samsung, which has been trying to push them into carrying three times the amount of product that Cranes thinks it can move. As vendors push to stuff the channels with inventory, thus propping up their short-term numbers, expect iffy results for the fourth quarter to be followed by a veritable hammer of bad economic news when most of that product is still sitting around. [Source: New York Times]

Yang knows he's the right guy for Yahoo Kara Swisher got an interview with Yahoo's Jerry Yang, who reiterated that he's the best choice to run the company at this point. Microsoft? His management team was willing to talk to them about anything, even if it wasn't willing to do anything about it. What Yahoo is doing? Doing "most, if not all" that it set out to do last year. Hey, nothing like knocking your stock price to a fraction of what it once was to make it more affordable for investors to buy more. And one way it's planning to cut costs? Move workers to Nebraska. Don't wait for the executives to follow them. [Source: Wall Street Journal, Silicon Alley Insider]

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