Software and hard words were fit to be featured this past week. Let's take a closer look.

Hasta la vista, baby
When Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that its latest operating system will come in seven different flavors, one was left to wonder whether we were talking Baskin-Robbins or the plain vanilla Mr. Softy-serve that typically oozes out of the world's largest software company. Past Windows incarnations have come in different varieties, but as Tim Beyers pointed out, Microsoft's approach and its hyped-up features almost sound customer-centric this time.

Vista could be huge. At a time when Microsoft is feeling unusually vulnerable to the market share-grabbing of Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) and the popularity of open source alternatives, the House of Gates needs you to want Vista.

It's not the only company with plenty at stake here. Computer makers like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Gateway, and Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Motley Fool Inside Value pick Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) are banking on Vista, too. A new operating system could inspire computer users to go ahead and upgrade their systems, if only to get the new version of Windows.

Stern warning for Stern
I wrote about the lunacy of CBS (NYSE:CBS) suing Howard Stern earlier in the week. Since then, details of the case -- and the fact that Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) is now named in the lawsuit -- have me revisiting the merit of the lawsuit.

I still believe that CBS is only doing Sirius a favor by getting Stern's name in the news again, although the case may not be the slam-dunk for Stern I once thought it was. Apparently, the suit revolves around the subscriber acquisition targets written into Stern's contract with Sirius, which freed up stock that Stern and his agent received earlier this year.

That certainly spices things up, as some may interpret Stern's pitches for Sirius while still on the air at CBS Radio as a way to accelerate the clause that would free up the equity portion of his $500 million deal. One can always argue that rival and Rule Breakers recommendation XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) signed up more users than Sirius in the time between the deal's announcement and Stern's departure from the terrestrial airwaves before the December holidays, but now Stern's intentions are under the microscope.

This case suddenly got a bit more interesting, and for Stern's promotional purposes, that may not necessarily be a bad thing -- even though it may hit him, and perhaps Sirius, in the pocketbook if CBS' case has merit.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to look back, even if it means he falls on his face going forward. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.