Microsoft Intune Gives Small Companies Enterprise Capabilities

It's about PC security and management; it's really powerful, and it's cheap. Plus, it's a hosted offering from Microsoft (which is, you might remember, “all in for the cloud.”) Pretty interesting stuff, actually.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Hackers Get Way Up Into Google System

Convinced that cloud computing is secure? We're rethinking our position on it, too, after reading this week that hackers who hit Google last year stole the company's source code for its global password system. That's kind of like stealing the Colonel's secret recipe of herbs and spices or swiping the keys to Fort Knox. Point is, what these hackers were able to do was get to the very heart of what makes Google… well, Google. And that's a much bigger deal than just being able to siphon off some user names or personal information. They didn't nick the hubcaps off of the car; they took the engine. Wow.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Redmond Sorry for Office Mobile 2010 Mix-Up

Apparently some folks were surprised last week when their copies of Office Mobile 2010 beta just kind of stopped working, although Microsoft says that it had put the cutoff date for the beta in the product's fine print. (You do read those user agreements, don't you?)

Well, apparently this little incident rankled enough users that Microsoft actually apologized for it. And while this might not be that big of a deal (and while it's technically not even an error on Microsoft's part), we still contend that it's a symptom of the greater mess that is Microsoft's mobile "strategy."  

Posted by Lee Pender on April 14, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments


Microsoft Outsources IT to Infosys

Infosys landed this week what must be just about every partner's dream -- Microsoft's own IT contract. Yes, Microsoft entered into a three-year deal to outsource its IT operations to its long-time, India-based partner.

We're going to be writing more about this in the weeks to come, and we'd love to hear your take on it. Send it to [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on April 14, 2010 at 11:56 AM6 comments


Google Docs Gets a Lot Better, but It Still Isn't Good Enough

Many times we've said in this space that Google Apps has great potential to do some damage to Microsoft Office. They key word there, though, has always been "potential."

In our experience at RCPU (and we use Google Apps every day), the package is fine for quick-and-dirty work but not anywhere near robust (there's a ‘90s word we don't hear too often anymore) enough to handle serious, day-to-day chores. This week, though, that might have changed -- or, at least, started to change.

Well, that's the case on the word-processor front, anyway, as Google gave Apps a major boost that included pretty much a complete overhaul of the Google Docs component. Google Docs is the Apps offering we know best, and it's honestly pretty frustrating to use. Oh, sure, it's incredibly handy and light, but it lacks so many very basic features compared to Microsoft Word -- or those basic features are so hard to find and use—that we wouldn't think about composing even this newsletter in Docs, much less something like a full feature story.

This week's move gives Docs little touches such as a margin ruler and improved functionality with bulleted lists. That stuff will help, but Docs will still have a long way to go to catch Office. Office, of course -- and particularly Office 2007, with its baffling ribbon -- has way too much functionality. And although we'll admit to not having tried Microsoft's Office Web Apps extensively, we haven't seen any hosted suite that could beat the speed of Google Docs.

The bottom line is that as a power user of word processors, your editor just isn't ready to move off of the desktop for his typing pleasure quite yet --
not in a permanent way, anyway. But we can see Google Docs moving in the right direction. Google is moving Apps from having potential to beginning to fulfill potential. And that won't be good news for Microsoft and its partners in the long run.

Do you use Google Apps or Office Web Apps? What do you think of them? Which do you prefer? Send your thoughts to lpen[email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on April 14, 2010 at 11:56 AM3 comments


Didn't Know You Had Kin Folk in Redmond? You Do Now

Forgive us for this fairly major departure from partner-oriented content, but we just couldn't let this pass unnoted: Wow, Microsoft, you really know how to reach the youth market. OK, we'll give you credit for the Xbox, but other than that, your record is kind of bleak. And it only got worse today.

Seriously, your new line of phones (which only adds to your complete mess of a mobile strategy) is called Kin. Really? Kin? You should have just stuck with Pink, the "code name" you used for this project for so long. So, now, we have not only Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7 (aside from, possibly, some other version of Windows Mobile to come -- you've lost us there, Microsoft), we also have Kin. Kin!

This is the phone aimed at the kids -- the one that's supposed to facilitate the Facebooking and the Tweeting and the texting and the other sometimes nefarious activities that the youth of today love so much. (Oh, by the way, parents, it just got easier for your kid to send stuff to his or her friends behind your back. Hooray!)

So, what image does Microsoft conjure up with the name of this new phone offering aimed at people who don't even remember the ‘80s? Why, one of an 1890s gold prospector, of course, or maybe a character from The Grapes of Wrath. Or the first thing we thought of: Jed Clampett after he struck oil and his "kin folk" said, "Jed, move away from there!"

At best, then, Microsoft has managed to churn up a (nearly) 50-year-old TV reference with the name of its new, youth-oriented phones. Look out, iPhone! The Clampetts are coming to get you, and that Granny can be a real pistol… Seriously, we Kin-not believe this.

What would you have named Microsoft's phones for kids? Send your ideas to [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on April 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM6 comments


Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight 4 Released

Skittles and Mountain Dew all around! If the developers will please stop crunching code for a few seconds, they'll notice that Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight 4 and .NET Framework 4 are all now available. Go ahead and wear your ironic t-shirt to the launch party -- which will happen online, of course, so you won't have to leave your chair.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Google Jumping on the Tablet Bandwagon

OK, so, apparently when Apple comes out with something, no matter how ridiculous it looks (or is), everybody has to have one. And then every other vendor has to make one. This week, word is that Google is getting ready to launch an Android tablet computer. Google will have to get in line with everybody else because suddenly there are (or will be) a lot of dumb-looking computers out there.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM4 comments


Big Patch Tuesday on the Way

A whopping 11 fixes for 25 vulnerabilities means that there's been some messed-up stuff in Microsoft software recently. Hopefully the patches will take care of it.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Box.net Gathers Funding to Take on SharePoint

Ambitious little document-sharing cloud vendor Box.net has raised an additional $15 million in venture funding for its fight to dethrone Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, which just happens to be a billion-dollar business for Microsoft these days. Well, $30 million -- Box.net's total venture haul to date -- is a start, we suppose. A pretty small start…

Posted by Lee Pender on April 08, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments


An Early (Unofficial) Look at Windows 7 SP1

The sieve in Redmond has another leak flowing through it. This time, it's Windows 7 SP1, a version which is now apparently all over the Web. It doesn't seem to be all that exciting, and the leaked SP doesn't seem to answer the few smoldering (they're not exactly burning) questions, mainly about USB 3.0 support and improved Bluetooth and Wi-fi capabilities, surrounding SP1. But if you want a little peek at it, take a look for yourself.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 08, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Microsoft Introduces CRM for Non-Profits

Redmond columnist Mary Jo Foley tells us that the new Dynamics CRM offering is available as a hosted application or as an on-premises deployment. As you might imagine, it has lots of functionality aimed at organizations that aren't actually supposed to make a profit.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 08, 2010 at 11:56 AM2 comments