Readers on Windows 8 and Microsoft's Quest for Cool

Yes, we still do this. People still e-mail your editor, and he still runs their e-mails in newsletter entries and blog posts. Oh, sure, folks can post comments directly on the blog site (which is great) or Tweet with abandon (if they must), but old-school e-mail and traditional reader feedback live on.

We start this edition with thoughts on Windows 8, which we at RPCU think looks great for tablets but not so appropriate for PCs. To our great surprise, several readers wrote to...agree! Writes Glen: More

Posted by Lee Pender on June 08, 20111 comments

Could an Underdog Microsoft Become Cool?

Apple is cool. Do we have to try and quantify that? Nah. You don't have to be cool to know who's cool. Were you one of the cool kids in high school? If not, did you know who was? Well, that's our point. We at RCPU are not cool, but we know that Apple is cool, and maybe Google is, too.

Microsoft is not. Never has been, really. One reason is that Microsoft has long been a bully, a company perceived (and probably not inaccurately) to have ripped off a lot of other vendors in its quest to dominate the technology industry. People still love to read about this stuff. The bitterness toward Microsoft is still strong. Doug Barney's recent story on the "10 Technologies Microsoft 'Borrowed'" has racked up an enormous number of hits (not to give away our trade secrets or anything). More

Posted by Lee Pender on June 06, 20115 comments

Windows 8: Put It on Tablets, Keep It Off PCs

There's a dog pile, and I'm about to jump on top of it. (Yes, I'm also dropping RCPU's trademark obnoxious royal "we" for this entry, as I'm going to be dishing some opinions that are more personal than usual. Be ready.)

Remember dog piles, by the way? How much fun was that, as a kid, to be playing football on the playground or in the backyard and have some kid yell "dog pile!" at which time all the kids would jump on each other until somebody suffered a collapsed lung? Good times. It's no wonder I enjoyed playing rugby so much when I lived in Europe (as an adult). More

Posted by Lee Pender on June 02, 201112 comments

Microsoft Needs an Apocalypse

Microsoft is in a funk, a rut, a down period with no real end in sight. Heck, even IBM blew past Microsoft in value last week.

IBM! IBM rising to the No. 2 spot in the industry, behind Apple, feels kind of like Grand Funk Railroad or Air Supply racing up the pop charts in 2011, if pop charts still exist. (OK, so here's your obligatory Grand Funk YouTube link. Beware of considerable '70s shirtlessness. We'll spare you the Air Supply link.) More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 23, 201112 comments

Tech-Ed: Microsoft's Next Generation of Datacenters To Be Leaner, Greener

Just a few years ago, Microsoft was building massive datacenters, complete with water-powered cooling systems and enormous generators. Those days are gone.

Wednesday at Tech-Ed in Atlanta, Rick Bakken, senior director of datacenter evangelism at Microsoft, revealed during a breakout session that the next generation of Microsoft datacenters will be smaller, air-cooled facilities that will use less power and cost less to operate. More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 19, 20110 comments

Tech-Ed: Idera Keeps Things Simple in Competition with Microsoft

Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is a popular component of a very popular management suite, and it would take a brave third-party vendor to try to compete with it.

Idera is that vendor. In announcing this week at Tech-Ed SharePoint diagnostic manager v2.5, Idera is ramping up its battle with Microsoft in the market for SharePoint administration tools. But while SCOM and Idera's diagnostic manager are competitive products, they're not necessarily aimed at the same audience. More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 18, 20110 comments

Tech-Ed: Windows 7 Migration Masters Are Ready When You Are

The old-fashioned operating system doesn't get the hype it used to. Here at Tech-Ed in Atlanta, all the talk is about mobile operating systems, virtualization and the cloud. And Windows XP continues to cling stubbornly to a ridiculous level of market share for a decade-old OS.

But many, probably most, companies are going to move to Windows 7 eventually, and when they do they'll have plenty of help if they want it. Aaron Suzuki's company, Prowess, makes applications that deploy what some might consider more old-school OSes, from Windows 7 to Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. And ChangeBASE tests for application compatibility and remedies potential app problems with OS migrations. The companies' products might not be the sexiest stuff at Tech-Ed, but they're still the bread and butter of corporate IT infrastructures (and they actually seem pretty darn useful). More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 18, 20110 comments

Tech-Ed: Thin Clients Doing Well in Lean Times for HP

Tuesday wasn't the best day for HP, which took a stock-price hit after a profit warning. But there was a little bit of good news from Tech-Ed in Atlanta.

HP's thin-client business, long a steady grower, is gaining interest among customers thanks to enhanced virtualization technologies from Microsoft, Citrix and VMware, as well as the current cloud computing craze. More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 17, 20110 comments

Tech-Ed: Looking for Azure? It's Everywhere

Pretty much everybody attending Tech-Ed this week was expecting Microsoft to drape the show in Azure and heavily tout its cloud platform. That didn't happen -- at least not the way most observers expected that it would.

Windows Phone 7 and Visual Studio got most of the stage time at this morning's keynote, and Azure didn't get anything like a starring role. But that's not to say that the nascent platform was absent. In fact, it was everywhere -- but always as a component of something else. More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 16, 20110 comments

Tech-Ed Analysis: Low-Key But Not Uninteresting

Something or someone called the Glitch Mob opened for the Microsoft keynote at Tech-Ed this morning. Aside from having what seems like a very unfortunate name for a group performing at a tech conference, the Glitch Mob wasn't Microsoft's typical pre-keynote fare.

In the past, Microsoft has blasted early-morning attendees with musicians banging on drums and dancers descending from the ceiling on wires. But today, the Glitch Mob just kind of grooved, offering some sort of dance music and generally hanging in the background. More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 16, 20110 comments

Why We'll Never See Anything Like the Microsoft Antitrust Case Again

Back in 1987, SMU lost its football program for a season after the NCAA -- the governing body of collegiate athletics here in the United States, for those who might not know -- handed the school the infamous "death penalty" for repeated rules violations.

The school chose to cancel the 1988 season and therefore went two years without football, which in Texas is kind of like going without air or water for two years. Needless to say, the scandal rocked the state and, among college football fans, the nation. (One of ESPN's "30 for 30" documentaries, Pony Excess, did a mostly marvelous job last year of recounting the whole sordid episode.) More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 12, 20110 comments

Microsoft's Skype Buy Might Just Make Sense

In a flurry of late-night bill paying, your editor happened to notice that the Wall Street Journal reported Monday night that Microsoft would announce the acquisition of Skype this morning. Microsoft is splashing out somewhere in the neighborhood of $8.5 billion for the video chat service, which makes this buy the biggest in Microsoft's history.

It's probably a good one. After all, more than 600 million users know that Skype works -- it almost has Kleenex status in terms of brand recognition -- and the technology Microsoft is buying should fit in very well with the software giant's significant push into unified communications. This buy also snatches Skype away from Google, which had been sniffing around, as had Facebook, although, the WSJ says, maybe not to the extent that some pundits suggested. More

Posted by Lee Pender on May 10, 20113 comments