Good design is an integral part of a successful product, which may explain why Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system has been getting hammered since its official release last month. This week, the Web design guru Jakob Nielsen gave a rather scathing critique of the new software on his blog. (Still, PC makers like Lenovo are trying to make the best of Win8 with models that can contort themselves between tablet and laptop form.) Also adding to Microsoft’s woe: problems with new Windows Phone 8 handsets spontaneously rebooting, and leaked old videos showing its discontinued Kin phone spectacularly flunking usability tests.
But no matter how bad a week Microsoft is having, at least they can’t be accused of deleting December, which Google did for some Android 4.2 users. (They’re looking into it.) In addition to restoring the 12th month of the year, Google is said to be working on an open alterative to Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming technology for beaming music and videos around the speakers and screens in your house.
Apple has had a week of ups and downs itself, with iCloud and some of its Web-based services being, well, down. But on the upside, the company finally snagged the AC/DC catalog for iTunes and is reportedly experimenting with an eBay storefront to sell refurbished Apple computers, iPods, iPads and other gear — at refurbished prices. While iOS gamers will still have Apple’s Game Center network, developers and players on other platforms should note that the OpenFeint gaming network is shutting down on December 14th.
Perhaps the long-awaited Nintento Wii U console that arrived last weekend (review roundup here) with ease some of the pain—once the device gets a good library of games that maximizes the potential of the GamePad controller. Oh well, at least you can watch Amazon Instant Video on the console while you’re waiting around.