New Year, New Microsoft Flaws

Happy New Year to all from sunny Southern California, where your editor watched his TCU Horned Frogs win the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. There's no segue following that -- we just wanted to mention it. This might not be the last time, either. 

Anyway, with 2011 comes a new year as well as a new version of old news: Microsoft has security flaws. One of them is a bug in image rendering that affects older versions of Windows. The other is one of those sneaky things that Google revealed before Microsoft could patch it.

Yeah, those are a little dodgy, and we're not sure what good Google hopes to spread by ratting out Microsoft other than gaining some sort of competitive advantage of perception for itself. Microsoft says that Google is acting irresponsibly doing this sort of thing and is opening Internet Explorer (which is the target in this case) to attacks that wouldn't happen if people didn't know the flaw existed.

We can't help at this point but side with Microsoft on this issue, although obviously the best-case scenario would be for Microsoft to avoid these flaws in the first place. The real point here, though, is that TCU won the Rose Bowl. Let's not lose sight of that.

Is Google acting irresponsibly by disclosing un-patched Microsoft flaws? Send your thoughts to [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on January 05, 2011 at 11:57 AM6 comments


Tablet Sales Set To Explode

We still don't get the appeal, but somebody does. Some firm called eMarketer says that sales of tablet devices will exceed 80 million by 2012. That's a lot of tablets.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM1 comments


Oracle Releases Cloud Office Suite

Apparently Larry Ellison docked his sailboat for long enough to create an open-source, cloud-based (or on-premises...) office suite. Actually, it's mainly a result of the Sun acquisition (which Larry probably completed while manning the helm, or whatever sailors do), but nevertheless Oracle does have a competitor to Microsoft and Google now.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM3 comments


Happy Holidays from RCPU

It's the last RCPU of the year... Well, actually, it's not. There will be (at least) two more in December. But this is the last RCPU that I'm going to write in 2010, so let's crank up the greatest Christmas song ever (everybody can enjoy this one) and get to doing what we do at the end of every year: passing out holiday thanks. I'll even do this in first person, just because I care.  

First and foremost, a big thank you to our readers. You are the reason RCPU exists. To those who e-mail, who comment on the blogs online, who click on links or who just read the newsletter when it hits your inbox, my sincere thanks for your thoughtfulness, your interest, your participation and your contribution to what we do here. You are the best. Really, you are. I've written for a lot of audiences in more than one language, and I've never enjoyed a group as much as I enjoy you. Thank you.

Now for the folks who dutifully work with me as I ramble and roam over the keyboard all year long. To Doug Barney, editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine, thank you for all your support this year and for getting this newsletter off the ground nearly five years ago. Without your guidance, I was lost. But with your suggestions and influence, RCPU has become not only a lot of fun but (I hope) genuinely worth reading.

To Scott Bekker, editor-in-chief of RCP the magazine, many thanks for your continued friendship and for the numerous times you've filled in writing this newsletter for me at the last minute. (Also, uh, thanks for writing the two editions that will come out over the next couple of weeks.) You are a consummate professional and a great guy, and it's a privilege to know and work with you.

To Chris Paoli, thank you for actually combing through every word of these ramblings before sending them out for public consumption. You make me look smarter and more coherent than I really am. To Becky Nagel, Mike Domingo and Kurt Mackie, denizens of our Web team here at the Redmond Media Group, thank you for your constant support, your willingness to shoe-horn in last-minute updates and corrections and your general good sense of humor about everything. I'll see you all soon (more on that in a minute).

To the great Jeffrey Schwartz, who consistently pulls me out of the fire on the print side of things, thank you for your constant stream of articles that provide so much of the content I refer to here. And I don't just mean the ones you write, although they're great -- I also mean the ones you find online and send almost every day. You make my job easier.

To Wendy Gonchar and Katrina Carrasco, our managing editors on the print side who keep the whole operation running, thank you for your patience and understanding when I, uh, extend the occasional deadline. (It's all in the name of quality reporting, you know.) And thank you for acknowledging that I write RCPU while you're yelling at me to get a feature story filed. Just kidding...mostly. Seriously, though, you're the best. It's a privilege to work with you.

To my office mates in Framingham, of whom I've seen little since my son was born in September, thanks for your continued friendship and camaraderie. Scott Shultz, Lafe Low, Matt Morollo, Brad Zerbel and Kathleen Richards, the Framingham crew, you really are the best people I've ever shared a floor full of cubicles with. And Kate -- thanks for all of your chats with me about your newsletters. You're doing fantastic work over at Redmond Developer News. Brad, keep up the good work designing Redmond. Also, keep cracking me up in art meetings...

To our columnists and freelance writers for Redmond -- Mary Jo Foley, Greg Shields, Don Jones, Brien Posey, Peter Bruzzese, Paul Korzeniowski, Gary Olsen, Jeff Hicks and many others -- thank you for your patience (writing RCPU takes a fair amount of my time...) and for your continued excellent contributions to the publication. And to all the flacks -- nah, PR professionals -- out there, thank you for your help with stories, interviews, contacts and all the other stuff I'm constantly bugging you about.

Finally, thank you to my beloved TCU Horned Frogs for finally making my ultimate sports fantasy come true and making it to the Rose Bowl. We've come a long way from 1-10 in 1997, Frog fans. The Rose Bowl! Win or lose, it'll be a party. California office folks, the family and I are headed to the game (of course), so I'll see you in the Irvine office at some point after New Year's.  

I'm sure that I've left somebody out, and for that I'm sorry. But let me wish all of you a happy, healthy and blessed holiday season. We'll see you in 2011.

Lee

Posted by Lee Pender on December 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM3 comments


A Great Big Patch Tuesday

You've seen it by now, but here's a friendly reminder in case you missed it: Microsoft offered 17 patches for a whopping 40 holes yesterday.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments


F5 Offers Cloud Storage

F5 Networks' new offering will let companies extend storage to clouds both public and private...and we really don't have anything clever to say about that. But it's interesting...

Posted by Lee Pender on December 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Non-Existent Microsoft Tablet Already Drawing Criticism

Sometimes, it just stinks to be Microsoft. Oh, sure, there are the billions in revenues, the embarrassingly dominant market share in huge sectors like operating systems and the picturesque surroundings of Greater Seattle around the company's headquarters.

Still, though, it's not easy being...whatever color Microsoft is. Maybe electric blue like its executives' dress shirts, as opposed to that navy IBM blue. But we digress. This week, rumors leaked that Microsoft will be introducing a tablet computer, a competitor to the iPad, at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Now, these are rumors. Microsoft has confirmed nothing. Only The New York Times is talking about this device in definite terms, and even its details are sketchy. Officially, this tablet doesn't exist. Nevertheless, everybody hates it.

Well, maybe not everybody -- but some critics already do, based on sketchy details and what might or might not be an image of the device (made, in this case, by Samsung). Now, we're not saying that the Windows tablet is going to set the world on fire. It might be awful. It might be mediocre. It might be brilliant.

What it won't be, though, is the iPad, and it seems as though that's what critics want it to be. But Microsoft doesn't need to try to reinvent the iPad. In fact, that would be an embarrassment and a market disaster (hello, Zune). No, there are things Microsoft can do with tablet computers that could actually bring value to the space.

If this device really does have a slip-out keyboard, we already like it better than the iPad. If it's cheaper than the Apple device, we like it even more. And does the iPad run Flash yet? Maybe it does by now (we can't remember...), but if we remember correctly it didn't for a while. Compatibility shouldn't be a problem with a Windows tablet. We say shouldn't remembering cautiously the Vista debacle, but surely Microsoft has learned its lesson.

So, could we all hold off on trashing Microsoft for a product it hasn't even released yet? The anti-Microsoft cabal in the pundisphere simply cannot wait to jump on Redmond at every opportunity. Here at RCPU, we're going to make sure that the Microsoft tablet is lousy before we start mocking it relentlessly.

Do you have any early impressions of the leaked Microsoft tablet? Send them to [email protected]g.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM3 comments


Windows Small Business Server 2011 Released to Manufacturers

'Tis the season for short RCPUs with news in short supply and your editor eat-up (as we'd say in Texas) with other projects. So, we're just dropping an entry in here to say that a major Microsoft product hit metal this week.

Wait, did someone say metal? (Oh, yeah. We just went full power ballad all over this entry. Careful clicking on that link, though -- it's nothing serious, but Bret Michaels has something of an aversion to shirts in this clip. He may be blond, but he is nevertheless hirsute.)

Anyway... Windows Small Business Server 2011 "hit metal" (got released to hardware manufacturers, but you knew that) this week. By now, you should be playing air guitar on the solo, so maybe you're hitting metal, too. Righteous.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 13, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Google, Microsoft Accidentally Distribute Malware

Oops! Nasty but nifty hackers tricked the tech giants into distributing "drive-by" malware. Drive-by? What is this, LA in 1989? Or do those things still happen? We're going to shut up about this now.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 13, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Executive Changes at Microsoft

Hello, dear readers. I'm working on a story for Redmond magazine about recent executive moves at Microsoft (think Ray Ozzie, Jeff Raikes and Stephen Elop all leaving) and how those changes might affect Microsoft's product strategy as well as your business and purchasing choices. If you have any thoughts on this matter, I'd be much obliged if you sent them to [email protected] Thanks.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 13, 2010 at 11:57 AM2 comments


Paul Allen Loses in Court

The former Microsoft honcho's attempt to sue nearly the entire technology industry fell...just a bit short. Oh well. At least he still has the Seahawks. Ahem. And billions of dollars, we suppose. Still, the Seahawks... ouch.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 13, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Nathan Myrhvold Sues the Industry

What is it with these ex-Microsoft guys? Did they actually manage to blow all their cash? And on what, in Seattle -- rain parkas and lattes? Lumberjack equipment? Ironic t-shirts? Jake Locker for Heisman paraphernalia? Anyway, first Paul Allen sued most of the technology industry over patents and now former Microsoft CTO Nathan "Nasty Nate" (not really his nickname -- we just made it up) Myrhvold is doing pretty much the same thing.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 09, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments