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Consumer News: Windows 8 Baffles Consumers

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Plus, Apple finally improves its shipping methods.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on consumer companies from around the Web.
13 Wham ABC
Link: Early Look at Windows 8 Baffles Consumers
"The release of Microsoft's Windows 8 (MSFT) (NASDAQ:MSFT) operating system is a week away, and consumers are in for a shock. Windows, used in one form or another for a generation, is getting a completely different look that will force users to learn new ways to get things done.

"Microsoft is making a radical break with the past to stay relevant in a world where smartphones and tablets have eroded the three-decade dominance of the personal computer. Windows 8 is supposed to tie together Microsoft's PC, tablet and phone software with one look. But judging by the reactions of some people who have tried the PC version, it's a move that risks confusing and alienating customers."

TechCrunch
Link: Pre-Orders for AT&T Windows Phone 8 HTC and Nokia Handsets Begin at Best Buy
"Best Buy (BBY) (NYSE:BBY) started accepting pre-orders today for the AT&T (NYSE:T) Nokia Lumia 920 (NYSE:NOK) and HTC (TPE:2498) 8X Windows Phone devices. Pricing details are also now available, with the Lumia 920 available for $149.99 on a new 2-year contract, and $599.99 without commitment. The 8X is $99.99 on contract, and $599.99 without, meaning those interested can get on board with Windows Phone 8 for $50 less with HTC, albeit with some trade-offs."

ReadWriteWeb
Link: Finally, A Properly Priced Google Chromebook
"Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Thursday announced a new $249 Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) Chromebook, finally delivering a Web-optimized computer at a price that makes sense for consumers.

"The 'new Samsung Chromebook,' as Google executives officially refer to it, will complement the existing $449 Chromebook and the $329 Chromebox computers, both of which are also manufactured by Samsung. Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome and apps for Google, told a San Francisco press conference full of analysts and reporters that the new Chromebooks were the first of many more to be launched with a number of partners."

Property Mentor Group
Link: Apple Inc.'s New iPod touch and iPod Nano Saw Their Shipping Times Improve
"The new versions of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPod Touch and iPod Nano, released together with the iPhone 5 at an event in September, saw their shipping times improve over the weekend, from an anticipated two week shipping timeframe to 5-7 business days. The first iPod Touch and iPod Nano models for 2012 were first given the open-ended retail window of "October" when initially launched, and then were available to pre-order customers earlier this month.

LA Times
Link: California Gasoline Consumers Hurt by Few Suppliers, Outages
"For nearly two decades, Santosh Arya has pumped some of the San Diego area's cheapest gas at his three Homeland Petroleum stations.

"But his streak ended early this month, when wholesale prices started rising sharply, then shot up 40 cents a gallon overnight. To break even, Arya calculated he would have to sell a gallon of regular at $5.10 - almost a buck higher than at nearby Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) and 76 stations. Instead, he shut down and waited for prices to drop."
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