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Would Microsoft Steer You Wrong?

Techstination feature for Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Would Microsoft steer you wrong? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The world's biggest software company is out with the 2006 edition of Streets and Trips….and it adds some new features that finally put it on par with the competition. It is sold with or without a GPS receiver. Buying it with the receiver allows you to use a laptop as a replacement for expensive built in car navigation systems. Product manager Helen Chiang says among the new features this year….are voice prompts….

"Right after you make a turn it prompts you with the next direction and then right before you're about to make a turn it gives you the direction again and you can repeat it as many times as you want or turn the voice off if you're listening to music in your car."

The package with a GPS receiver costs about 130 dollars, the software alone is about a hundred dollars less. Microsoft faces competition from Delorme…which sells the 2006 edition of Street Atlas USA with a GPS receiver for under a hundred dollars…..and from solutions from companies like ALK Technologies that can turn a Pocket PC or Smartphone into a GPS navigation device. Then there are stand alone systems for cars from Garmin, Pharos and TomTom…which now has the AOL owned MapQuest as a partner. Chiang says Microsoft has some advantages…

"Our product is one of the easiest to use on the market. The user interface is very similar to any of the other Microsoft products."

And with the new features, Microsoft is finally on the map with the competition. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.