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Hello and welcome to Microsoft Monday today, with the company’s bombastic CEO putting the smack down on Apple market share, preparations for the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS tomorrow plainly under way, and in a moment which should forever eradicate the notion that security and Microsoft are friends, the shock leak of thousands of Hotmail passwords giving the company a headache.

First the world inside the mind of Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, who today continued his verbal assault on all things Apple, saying, "[Apple has] done a very good job of marketing to their 3.5 per cent of the market. I’m glad we’re doing a great job with the other 96.5 per cent."

The bombastic MSFT boss was chatting with Cnet when he made his claims, though he refused to make any utterances on the shock revelations of the Microsoft Courier tablet, which eagle-eyed readers may recall they read about here first….

On Apple, Ballmer talked up his company’s mass market approach over Apple’s excellence in execution. "They advertise basically to that small niche of people who want their machines. And I don’t take it away from them; they make a very good business doing it," he said. "So, we need to have messages that are appropriate to the vast majority of people, and it’s fine. There may be 3 percent of people who sort of appreciate their approach."

Ballmer keeps it going when discussing Windows Mobile too, promising a scatter gun approach until Microsoft gets it right, “we’re going to keep (coming out) with new releases, new releases, new releases,” he said. You could look at everything else Microsoft’s boss has to say right here…

Windows Mobile 6.5

Microsoft is excited at the release tomorrow of the first mobile phones running Windows Mobile 6.5, which includes support for a touch-screen interface and connects to a new online store where mobile users will be able to download applications.

The patch is seen as hugely important to the company, as it has to respond to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android systems if it wants to retain any relevancy in the mobile phone sector, where it has lost almost 3 per cent of its share of the smartphone operating system so far. The company aims to release Windows Mobile 7 early next year, it has previously promised.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s attempt at an App Store is already online, and available to those few phones out there in the wild running Windows Mobile 6.5.

The Hotmail disaster

So with Microsoft marketing in full effect, it’s a shame news has emerged that thousands of Hotmail passwords have been leaked...

Password details for Windows Live Hotmail accounts, including @hotmail.com, @msn.com, and @live.com e-mail addresses, were revealed anonymously at pastebin.com, a site that lets users share text snippets.

As of October 1 there were over 10,000 of these account passwords posted as a result of either some type of "hack" or phishing scheme, according to Ars Technica, which cites Neowin as the first source for this information.

“The list reportedly details accounts with usernames beginning with "ar" all the way to "bl," which suggests there may be details for many more thousands of accounts,” the report warns.

This implies many thousand more Hotmail or Windows Live users may need to change their passwords immediately – and also hints that those of us who may have once signed-up for one of these accounts and used a favourite password may need to apply changes in the password if they also use it on other sites and services.

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