Is Google the New Antitrust Target?

When Microsoft was under the antitrust gun, former government target IBM piled on. Now that Google is gaining dominance, it's only fair that Microsoft take a few shots.

And that's just what Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith did in a recent speech, arguing that Google's 90 percent share of the online advertising market should raise serious questions -- questions Google should be made to answer.

Smith is not alone. Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France and husband of the best-looking first lady ever, also wants Google investigated.

Is Google good or bad for media? And what do you think of antitrust laws? If you back them, who would you prosecute? Render your verdict at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on February 03, 2010 at 11:53 AM2 comments


ScriptLogic Branches Out

I talked to my old pal Nick Cavalancia, vice president of Windows management for ScriptLogic, about a new direction for the company. This is a little complicated so bear with me.

Quest Software last year bought a company called PacketTrap, which does network monitoring. Now, years earlier, Quest had bought ScriptLogic, though many don't know this because ScriptLogic is run pretty much as an independent company with its own brand, salesforce, product line, executive staff and development team. This is a smart move as ScriptLogic is known by thousands upon thousands of IT managers and admins.

Now, Quest is selling PacketTrap technology to managed service providers and as a free suite. Meanwhile, ScriptLogic is selling PacketTrap as Perspective, a premises-based management and network monitoring tool for small and medium-size businesses. The software monitors core Microsoft products such as SQL Server and Exchange, as well as VMware. It also works with network gear from Cisco and Juniper, which together own a vast swath of the network market. Perspective, by integrating with Desktop Authority, is a true member of the ScriptLogic family.

I hope Oracle learns a lesson from Quest and ScriptLogic and leaves Sun alone.

Third parties are welcome to share their news with me and the Redmond Report readership by writing [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on February 03, 2010 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Minor-League Bad Guy Jobs Calls Out Google

Steve Jobs is a real American hero. It's tough to knock the guy, but I'll try anyway: His products are almost always closed and expensive, and he has a penchant for going after journalists for doing their job.

Despite these flaws, Jobs generally has the moral high ground, and that's why his recent Google comments sting so much. Google is famous for claiming to "do no evil." Jobs isn't buying it, saying it's all a load of...well, you fill in the blank.

Jobs' beef seems to be over Google going after the iPhone: Jobs isn't competing in search, so why should Google enter the phone wars?

I don't get it. I'm in favor of competition, and as long as Google competes with the iPhone fairly, what's the beef? Clearly, there are other ways Google has violated the "Do no evil" code.

Is Jobs right to be irritated? You tell me at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on February 03, 2010 at 11:53 AM9 comments


Good Luck, Jason!

ScriptLogic's Nick Cavalancia shared some other company news: Longtime CEO Jason Judge has left the company. For this to make sense, you have to have read the previous item.

As you recall, Quest bought ScriptLogic two-and-a-half years ago. Quest made good on its pledge to maintain ScriptLogic's independence by keeping Jason on as CEO (my guess is Judge remaining was part of the contract). I've seen this happen before, such as when Quest bought Aelita Software. The founder and head of Aelita, Ratmir Timashev, stayed on during the transition, but left afterward to start virtualization vendor Veeam, itself a very cool company.

My guess is that Judge has something similar in mind. Judge is used to running his own show, having started companies, run companies and, in the case of ScriptLogic, given them serious legs. I'll be curious to see Jason's next move!

Posted by Doug Barney on February 03, 2010 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Minor Out-of-Cycle Windows Fixes

Microsoft has been busy lately with patches, in particular patching the famous hole that let Chinese hackers break into Gmail. Last week, Microsoft released four under-the-radar fixes -- not plugging holes per se, but correcting "idiosyncrasies."

Here's a quick rundown:

  • Software updates don't always update, so there's a new tool for Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (R2, as well).

  • Some machines with an NVIDIA USB-enhanced host controller interface freeze after moving data to USB devices. There's a hotfix for those with real troubles, while other folks can wait for a fix through a software update.

  • Error reporting in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 has its own errors which are fixed through a quick update. Errors include system hangs and keyboard shortcut glitches.

  • Those wanting to restore Windows XP or Windows Server 2008 R2 backups have a new utility that replaces the no-longer-available removable storage manager.

Posted by Doug Barney on February 01, 2010 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Microsoft Gets Huge Windows 7 Lift

Last April, the economy was crashing worse than a Lindsay Lohan SUV, and critics were predicting the fall of the Redmond empire. I wrote a long essay, "The Strength to Endure," arguing that Microsoft would be just fine.

Microsoft's latest earnings report backs my case, as rampant Windows 7 sales have Microsoft bean counters working overtime. Not only did Microsoft pull in nearly $19 billion (with an impressive net income of nearly $7 billion), but sales rose 60 percent compared to a year ago.

In fact, this is Microsoft's best quarter ever! Driving this success is some 60 million Windows 7 licenses. Xbox Live is no slouch, either, with 23 million current members (I have a pretty rabid one in the house).

How will Microsoft do in the coming decade? Let us know by writing [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on February 01, 2010 at 11:53 AM4 comments


Lowly Writer Questions Steve Jobs' Judgment

I thought I could ignore the iPad, but as someone who might be asked to buy one (or three) as Christmas presents, I can't resist. First, given Steve Jobs' track record and knack for design, this will be a raging success. But I have to question why it's based on the single-tasking iPod/iPhone OS rather than the richer, multitasking, full version of the Mac OS.

Let's face it: Nearly all of us need a laptop. If the iPad were indeed a computer, it could act as a laptop replacement or companion, just like PC-based tablets and netbooks. But I can't see lugging around my cell phone, laptop and an iPad -- especially through airport security. A Mac OS-based tablet could do all the things the iPad does, but also word process, run all common Web apps and browse without limits.

The iPad may cost from $499 to $829. In this recession -- and when I can get a sweet laptop for $400 -- this seems a tad steep. But that's just the beginning. Like the iPod and iPhone, it's all a big money suck. Videos, books, tunes -- Apple wants you to pay for all this, too. Given that, the iPad should be a Park Avenue/Hamptons/Silicon Valley status symbol. Unfortunately, regular folks who can't afford it will be wasting their gotten gains on stuff they don't need. 

The iPad is cool for sitting around the living room, car seat (passenger, please!) or airplane, and listening to tunes, reading a book, watching video or doing some low-level messaging. This is a niche market -- and an expensive one, at that.

Having said all that, I'm not a technology and design genius. Steve Jobs is. And I predict Jobs will prove me dead wrong. Now, if Jobs would only build a Mac-based netbook...

By the way, will Apple be forced to change the iPad name? Given all the late-night jokes, it might not be a bad idea.

Posted by Doug Barney on February 01, 2010 at 11:53 AM7 comments


Oracle Shows Off Sun

Oracle held a press conference longer than a Joe Biden diatribe this week to explain to the world just what it intends to do with Sun. I'm talking five solid hours of exec-speak.

Now, I'm usually not happy when a cool, independent company gets bought, but Oracle is probably the best buyer for Sun. Like Sun, Oracle is feisty and pushes more envelopes than my local post office.

The good news is that Oracle wants to maintain the Sun brand, but only for "some products." Most of the messaging revolved around integrating Sun into Oracle, thus reducing any hope for Sun independence. More good news is that Oracle remains committed to both Java and Solaris.

In classic Oracle style, the company used the acquisition of Sun to go right after Microsoft. In particular, Oracle wants to go after the Office franchise with a cloud version of OpenOffice. I've used OpenOffice briefly and talked to Redmond Report readers about it, and it's pretty solid software. The only beef is that it's too much like Microsoft Office!

I hate to see Sun go, but I'm interested to see what Oracle does with all this technology. Is Sun-Oracle good for our industry? Let us know at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on January 29, 2010 at 11:53 AM1 comments


Did Meaningless Ship Dates Get Leaked?

Sometimes, stories like the one I'm about to bring you turn out false. But I'll proceed in assuming it's true. Apparently, an ex-Microsoft worker inadvertently posted release dates for nearly all important products Redmond is working on.

Here's a rundown of the leaked dates: Windows 8 will be out July 2011, Office 2012 a year later, and SQL Server 2011 in -- you guessed it -- 2011!

These dates may be real Microsoft dates, but software is software. As a young journalist, I liked nothing better than to clobber companies for missing dates. Now that I've been doing this for 25 years, I've learned a thing or two about software. For one, I still can't write it, and for two, it's unfair of me to be critical when people who can write it take longer than they thought they would to finish.

My hunch? Real or not, these dates are meaningless. Do you care about or believe release dates? Express yourself at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on January 29, 2010 at 11:53 AM2 comments


The Internet Sky Is Falling

In 1999, while at Network World, Carolyn Marsan and I interviewed Vint Cerf about IPv6. Cerf was beseeching the entire industry to move as quickly a possible to IPv6 since IPv4 addresses were running out.

Thanks to a kludge or two, 11 years later there are still IPv4 addresses left -- but not many. Over 90 percent of all possible IPv4 addresses are in use. At this rate, all of them will be gone by 2013, says the Number Resource Organization.

The good news is that IPv6 has been here for a long time, it works, and companies such as Microsoft are doing a great job supporting it.

I guess the lesson here is we should all get moving on IPv6. Vint Cert will thank you!

Posted by Doug Barney on January 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM12 comments


Veteran Editor Forgets Journalism Basics

Friends, your faithful scribe has been attacked, reviled, subjected to ridicule and hostility. Bob Evans, senior VP at TechWeb (which, incidentally, competes with nearly every property I run) came across my item about Oracle buying Sun.

In that item I said, "I admit it: I'm a huge fan of Sun Microsystems...But it soon may no longer be a company at all as the European Union this week approved Oracle's proposed $7.4 billion buyout. It's such a done deal that Larry Ellison is planning a Hugo Chavez-style five-hour company and press event next week on the matter."

Evans decided to give me a lesson in journalism. In his mind, I was directly comparing Larry Ellison to Hugo Chavez.

But if you read my sentence correctly, you can see I'm comparing the "company and press event" to a Chavez event. It's a simple metaphor.

Evans lays further groundwork, suggesting that maybe I "got confused and was thinking of Fidel Castro, who like Chavez is also a brutal tyrant but who has legitimately earned his reputation for long-windedness for the past 60 years in Cuba."

Anyone who knows anything about Chavez knows that he loves to give marathon speeches. A quick Google search could have told Evans that.

So Mr. Evans' entire premise is wrong, but he uses it anyway to attack me and one of my properties, saying, "The one and only thing a media brand has going for it is credibility with readers. And when nitwits like Barney write gratuitous and vicious things about a CEO of Ellison's caliber, it just adds to the growing disillusionment so many people have these days with media properties that fail to respect the audiences' intelligence..."

And, as if the reader didn't already know how he feels, Evans calls me "asinine." This guy is pulling out all the stops!

Mr. Evans is also a mind reader, as he makes clear in this passage: "Is Larry Ellison's [sic] everybody's hero? Surely not. Can he be hard-edged and savagely competitive? You bet he can, and those traits lead to another quality of Ellison's that Barney and perhaps others object to: he's one of the wealthiest people in the world."

Let me get this straight. Even though I never maligned Mr. Ellison, somehow Evans thinks I'm jealous of his wealth. Mr. Evans is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon. Does he teach students to make such leaps of logic?

Now here's a lesson for Mr. Evans, and I won't use words like "nitwit" and "asinine" to make my point. Even in blogs and newsletters, writers have to be careful and statements should be grounded in fact. Evans didn't parse my sentence properly and falsely argued that Hugo Chavez isn't known for long speeches. That double-error is the same kind of shoot-from-the-hip journalism Evans falsely accused me of.

I've been wrong many times, and when I am, I admit it publicly. In fact, loyal Redmond Report readers are the ones that keep me on the straight and narrow.

Mr. Evans is a different animal. He refuses to admit any error and seems quite happy with what he's done. Unlike him, I'll show some class and not say how I truly feel.

Yesterday, I posted a comment on Evans' blog, to which he responded in a rather evasive manner. When I tried to respond, the system blocked my post. I'm still shut out of the comments section. I'm not sure if this is a glitch or censorship, but unlike Evans, I'm not going to jump to any conclusions.

Whether you agree with me or Bob, feel free to share your comments on his blog. Of course, as a loyal Redmond Report reader, you're more than welcome to write me at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on January 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM21 comments


Make Public Clouds Private

Microsoft legal eagle Brad Smith is asking Washington to pass laws and revise existing ones to make sure our clouds are safe, secure and private.

There are a number of computer-related laws on the books, but all were written when the predominant style of computing involved hard drives and local processing.

Smith is looking for action in three areas. First, he wants cloud providers to be able to hunt down hackers, something I'm clearly in favor of. Next, he wants information to be as private as possible, in part by making cloud providers disclose privacy policies clearly. Finally, he wants our security acts to take clouds into full consideration.

These are all noble goals. I hope there's real legislation that addresses IT concerns, especially relating to the privacy of corporate data. What laws would you pass? Lobby me at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on January 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM1 comments