Doug's Mailbag: Google Ditches Windows

Here are some of your responses on the news that Google has restricted the use of Windows throughout its company:

It's an interesting statement against Apple that Google considers Microsoft a competitor and Apple isn't. This is kind of weird because I thought that Apple was actually Google's biggest competitor with the iPhone going against Android.

Or is maybe Google just taking the classic Linux user approach where they are just against Microsoft, no matter what they do? And in that case, maybe Microsoft should just wholeheartedly accept Google so that Google has to be against itself!

But I guess it just comes down to CXOs making decisions without the understanding of the reality of what goes on beneath them. Totally not understanding what the ramifications of their actions really are, you know, just like the U.S. Congress.

Hopefully this just didn't transpire because Google is so cheap that they are going to hoard the $10M or so that they would be paying Microsoft for licenses.

As many complaints that I have concerning Microsoft, Google, et al, won't catch them for years to come, if ever. Not only do they dominate the marketplace, the interoperability between their vast array of products is almost profound.

Linux is for geeks. Macs are too expensive. Google operates in the cloud market, which won't be trusted by most businesses for years to come.

Microsoft is for business. And since business do the overwhelming amount of computer training, everyone knows Microsoft. It will continue to dominate for at least another generation or two.

FYI, I'm implementing Small Business Server 2008 w/Office Communications Server 2007 R2. What a sweet package for the Small Business. It has everything they'll ever need for IT, and it's unified.

What I have seen at some tech companies is a big divide between the technical/production side of the company and the business side -- when it comes to what machines they need. The technical side uses whatever they need: Windows/Linux/Mac, etc. But at the business end, while the PC dominates, the Mac has gained a cool status and can usually support the business end, when they are using Microsoft Office for the Mac -- there's that pesky Microsoft again. But, Macs are far more expensive than a PC with Windows, with no added cost/benefit (except for the cool status). I guess Google feels the need to spend the extra cash on Macs for the business staff.

But do we really think GE or another enterprise will wake up and say to themselves: "Gee, let's spend all that extra cash on more expensive Macs." The cost benefit is just not there. Maybe someday, but not yet.

As I understand it, the Google hack was successful because they were still running IE6 on some of their systems. Upgrading to 7 or 8 was recommended long ago because of security issues with 6. And, yes, it was Gmail that was hacked. Is that thing out of Beta yet?

No, Microsoft isn't under pressure from Google's drop of Microsoft products, nor by the iPad. If anything, Microsoft's cell phone market is practically dead. Windows Mobile 7 is taking far too long to be released and other cell phone OSs, particularly the iPhone and Android OSs, are grabbing a huge portion of the market share. This is where Google and Apple are taking a bite out of Microsoft. Windows Mobile 7 is going to have to be spectacular for Windows Mobile phones to come back with a vengeance.

The last company to take such a bold stand with MS was Netscape and that did not end well. Before that was IBM and they seem to have since joined MS rather than fight them.

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Posted by Doug Barney on June 07, 20100 comments

Massive Patch Action

Every Patch Tuesday is different. Some are light, and sometimes we need more plugging than a BP oil rig. Tomorrow is more like the Deep Water Horizon -- with a whopping 10 patches. The only difference? Microsoft plugs almost always work.

This Tuesday there will be an even 10 patches -- most of which , predictably, involve remote execution exploits.

The big culprits this time around include Windows, including the arguably more secure Win 7, as well as Office. IE, from version 5 all the way up to IE 8, got fixes.

SharePoint also gains an important patch.

With 10 patches, it's time to crank up the coffee pot, especially now that Jolt Cola is off the market.

Posted by Doug Barney on June 07, 20104 comments

Manual Labor Applied to AD

There are some phenomenal tools that make the already powerful Active Directory easy to handle. I'm not sure if it's pride or budgets but most IT pros manage AD directly, on a manual basis.

This is according to Osterman Research which shows that nearly 60 percent of IT pros have no extra tools to manage AD.

Script monkeys and the real hard-core command line folks prefer direct control. And for the gifted, going manual gains my total respect. But I'm sure there are plenty that would love some third-party tools but the boss just says no.

What say you? Do you love command lines and other forms of direct control or do automation tools free you to be more strategic? Fire up your text editor and tell me what you think at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 07, 20103 comments

IE Stable -- Marketshare-Wise

IE might still have more than half the browser market, but that lead has been steadily eroded by the likes of FireFox, Chrome and Safari. In a surprise move, IE actually gained back share last month, increasing 1.3 percent to nearly 60 percent of total share, according to Net Applications.

Much of the minor surge is due to IE 8, which, by most accounts, is measurably better than its predecessors. In fact, more than 50 loyal Redmond Report readers wrote to me about IE 8 and the reports were generally glowing.

Slight losers in all this were Chrome and FireFox, which each lost a tiny bit of share.

Is IE 8 a worthy competitor or am I just drinking the Redmond Kool-Aid? You tell me at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 04, 20104 comments

Google Gone Wrong

I was driving home from New Hampshire with my daughter behind in another car two winters ago and came across a road block. Having to turn around, we decided to use her GPS to guide us back to the highway. The road got narrower and soon turned to dirt. Then the GPS advised us to take a left down a Jeep trail strewn with fallen branches.

That's what came to mind when I heard about Lauren Rosenberg from Los Angeles.

Lauren was in Salt Lake City and wanted to walk to a local park. Google Maps sent her down a highly-traffic sidewalk-free road where she was promptly hit by a car. Now she wants a 100 grand for her troubles.

Apparently Lauren used the mobile version of Google Maps, which offered no warning of the lack of sidewalks and no alternative route. The regular Web version would have had both of those things.

Is Google at fault or was Rosenberg stupid to proceed down an unsafe road? You be the judge at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 04, 201051 comments

Doug's Mailbag: Apple Products and Steve Jobs Impressions

With Apple surpassing Microsoft in market sales, Doug asked what are readers' favorite Apple products and is Steve Jobs a genius or control freak? Here's some of your responses:

I think the truth is actually something of both.

There's no question that Steve Jobs has a mind for controlling everything that he goes after. If he could, I have no doubt that he would control even more. However, any one person only has a certain span of control; to attempt more is just not going to work successfully. Where Steve's genius comes in, I think, is his ability to discern products and services that will appeal to a passionate audience, and to attract very smart people to come alongside and work diligently on them until they're polished to a high luster.

Apple has not had an unbroken record of success since Jobs' return as CEO. The Mac Cube, for instance, looked great, but had some fundamental problems that were never fixed.

Overall, though, Apple has a reputation for bringing exceptional products and services to market. The fit and finish of Apple hardware is really hard to match in the arenas where they compete. Apple services, like iTunes, are market leaders for a reason -- they're better than the competition, and they just work.

If it sounds like I'm an Apple fanboy, I'm not. I simply recognize that Steve Jobs is exceptionally successful at what he does, and the company he's (re)built has done its work really well. And that market cap is evidence of that success.

Apple products are too locked down for my personal taste, but they're the game in town that everyone tries to imitate -- the most sincere form of flattery.

Yes. He is an unprincipled one.

I think that Jobs is both a control freak and genius. I think he is a control freak because he is a genius. He has a vision of how things work, and has forced everything in that direction.

It's hard to say which one of my Apple products is my favorite, but it may be MobileMe. It seamlessly and effortlessly connects with no problems. I sync everything between Macs and my iPod without the hassle of physically doing it myself.

I truly believe that the thing that has kept Apple from being the home desktop/laptop king is their prevalence in the schools back in the '80s. I remember using the old II e/g s and thinking that they were way easier to use than the PCs. My computer tutor told me that they couldn't be any good if they let little kids use them, and I eventually adopted that attitude. Then, through necessity, I bought and used a Mac mini. One thing led to another, and now I am one of those annoying Mac converts.

You always come up with thought-provoking topics and provide insightful views that instigate intelligent, educational feedback.

In my collection of electronic wizardry, there are a couple of iPhones, an iPod, a MacBook Pro and an iPad. Of these, the iPhones are my most often used Apple products, while the iPod seldom sees use. My least favorite is definitely the iPod. The iPhones completely fulfill every use I would have for my iPod. On the other hand, no one product qualifies as my favorite. I love the use of Apple's MobileMe to keep all critical information in sync across almost all my Apple devices. In addition, it allows me to access that information from any Web browser on any system. For me, this advantage is so powerful that I have already moved all my contacts, calendar and task information to my Apple gear.

I promise, sometime in the near future, I'll write you about the path that lead me into the Apple world and the synergy I get from adding a little Apple to my daily PC usage.

It is politically incorrect to refer to people at Steve Jobs' level of wealth with negative terms like paranoid, control freak or crazy. Those terms are only used to describe people with far smaller nest eggs. For people at Steve Jobs' level of wealth we use the term eccentric as the first part of a compound positive term. For example, we would describe Steve Jobs as an eccentric genius, an eccentric leader or even an eccentric motivator… you get the idea. Personally, I view Steve Jobs as an eccentric genius, ever revolutionizing the lives of people living in the information age.
-Dr. Dave

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected]. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on June 04, 20102 comments

DoD To Defend Private Nets?

The Department of Defense is always worried about cyber attacks against government computers, but taking down a major corporation can be just as bad.

That's why the DoD is thinking about defending corporate networks as well.

The department has a new task force looking at the issue with an eye towards financial institutions, utilities and transportation.

The DoD already has its own defensive system called Einstein, which may extent to certain critical private industry systems.

If the plan moves ahead, corporate involvement would be strictly voluntary, DoD officials say.

Does this all make sense or do you fear the government will do more harm than good? Express your feelings at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 04, 20102 comments

HP To Print 9,000 Pink Slips

Over the next few years, HP will shell some 9,000 workers and use the money it saves to buy machines. No, the workers aren't being replaced by robots or HAL. HP plans to build more data centers to run cloud apps. Besides buying new gear, HP plans to consolidate the data centers it already has, which will require less man (or woman) power.

HP won't exactly turn tiny. It will still have some 300,000 employees after all is said and done. 

And while the 9,000 heads are on the chopping block, HP plans to hire 6,000 new workers in the same time frame, for a net loss of 3,000 slots.

Is HP making the right move, or it is sacrificing workers for a small boost to the bottom line? You tell me at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 02, 20103 comments

Doug's Mailbag: Android Upgrading Issues, Google or Office?

One reader has a fear about the future of Android-based phones:

Recently, there is a lot of discussion on tech Web sites about the good and the bad of Android compared to the iPhone.

Although it is good to have some alternatives to the iPhone, i've just realized that my worst fear just came back...

Do you remember in the past with Windows Mobile? You would have Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.5... But what happened when a new version came out? Not everyone could update...

I remember I had a Palm Treo in Switzerland when Windows Mobile 6.5 came out... I couldn't update. The reason was that although U.S. customers could update, there was no license for the Italian version to upgrade.

My point: Are we going back to the same nightmare? If we buy an Android phone with version 2.0, do we risk that later on we cannot upgrade to version 3? Of course, theoretically we could -- but we would need to wait for the various manufacturers to release their own image.

In addition, every phone out there has its own screen resolution.

I now realize how easier it was with the iPhone. Even customers with the first generation iPhone could update to version 3 of the iPhone OS. And the best thing about that? Everyone could get the update at the same time! In addition, as a programmer, not having to deal with different screen resolutions is a plus.

Here are some of your thoughts on the battle between Office and Google Apps:

I moved a small shop of five users to Google Apps from an Outlook 2000 e-mail client backed by cheap Web hosts POP and SMTP mail. A local Exchange server would have been overkill for them and not paid for itself for about three years.

They ended up upgrading Office (well, Outlook) to the 2007 version on top of paying for Google Apps because of Outlook's file attachment ease of use. So $50 a year per user for e-mail, plus $93 per user for Outlook. I tried to get them to share calendars and contacts, but do not think they have gotten that far yet.

So a small manufacturing company still needed both. We ended up with both anyways.

I thought I needed 25 years' worth of features, but since I can no longer find those features due to this awful RIBBON, I've learned to live without them!

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected]. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on June 02, 20101 comments

Another Redmond Reorg

Last week I told you about a reorg in Microsoft's entertainment group. Today I'm going to tell you about some tweaks to the Server and Tools division. Starting next month, endpoint security will fall under the System Center team run by Brad Anderson.

One reason for the move is the increasing integration between Forefront endpoint tools and System Center.

Are you a Forefront fan or foe? Answer me this at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 02, 20100 comments

Google vs. Microsoft

I always found it ironic that as much as Google despises Microsoft, it continued to use Redmond products. Now Google is taking either a great leap forward or a great leap back by ditching Windows.

Google claims the move is due to the insecurity of Windows, especially in light of the Chinese attack on Google. But as I recall, wasn't it Gmail that was cracked?

In any event, Google is now pushing either Macs (I thought they hated Cupertino as much as Redmond) or Linux.

The move has self-important pundits questioning the future of Windows. But with a 90-some-odd-percent market, I wouldn't be too worried. If Vista couldn't kill Windows, nothing can.

Do you agree or is Windows finally under pressure from Google and the iPad? You tell me at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on June 02, 201015 comments

Microsoft Reorgs Entertainment Group To Go After Apple

The entertainment space for Microsoft has been hit or miss. The Xbox is a hit, the Zune and Windows phones a miss. That just doesn't cut it for one Steve Ballmer who reportedly engineered a reorg that saw Robbie Bach, Entertainment and Device president, and VP J. Allard leave their posts.  

With Apple now more valuable than Microsoft, for the sake of Redmond pride, it must do better in the consumer space. The good news is that Windows Phone 7 looks to be a vast improvement over previous offerings. But once the iPhone is available from more carriers that just AT&T, it's going to be pretty hard to beat.

What do you think of Microsoft's consumer products? Share your opinions at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on May 28, 20101 comments