Avaya Dumps Microsoft for Open Source

Version 6.1 of Avaya's IP Office communication platform says goodbye Windows, hello Linux. The company claims collaboration, productivity and cost improvements. We'll see.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 17, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Microsoft Accused of Inflating Windows Revenue Numbers

This is probably a whole lot of nothing and really doesn't seem like a big deal, anyway, but you clicked, right? Anyhow, somebody's accusing Microsoft of inflating Windows revenue figures by bringing in numbers from other parts of the company, specifically the Entertainment and Devices Group. Uh, that seems kind of backwards to us. Windows needs help from the entertainment group? Really? We kind of doubt that.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


EMC To Buy Isilon

The storage giant just got...more storage. One whole heck of a lot more, actually, with its purchase of Seattle-based Isilon. Ha, for once, an East Coast company consumes a West Coast firm. New England represent!

Posted by Lee Pender on November 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Kin It Be True? Phone Flop Could Be Set for Comeback

Ahahaha. Please, Microsoft and Verizon. Please do this. Please bring the Kin back.

Yes, that's right. Arguably the biggest flop in Microsoft history could -- although there's nothing official on this yet -- make a stunning return as a feature phone with a cheaper Verizon data plan. We really want this to happen.

Why? Because we enjoy poking fun at Microsoft from time to time here and many of Redmond's recent product offerings have been too good for ridicule. Windows 7 is a huge hit, and even Windows Phone 7 doesn't seem that bad. The various server offerings have been consistently very good, and the specter of Vista is pretty much gone.

Oh, it's not that we want Microsoft, or even the Kin, to fail. It's just useful, we think, to remind the software titan once in a while that it's capable of really embarrassing itself -- and that it shouldn't lose focus on its enterprise product lines in favor of thrusting swords at too many consumer windmills. That last bit is really the main thrust of our occasional jabs.

Besides, bringing back the Kin is kind of like making Ishtar 2, if that flop-movie reference still has any currency. (We could have gone with, say, More Cop Rock, but that's still pretty '80s. Your editor needs to stop watching TV Land.) Maybe it makes sense for the phones to be cheaper and not require such heavy data plans, but we can see a steady stream of jokes headed our way. Microsoft and Verizon, make it happen.

Why on earth would Microsoft try to bring back the Kin? Speculate at [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on November 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM3 comments


Redmond Encourages Users To 'Be What's Next'

It's Microsoft's new tagline -- Be What's Next, that is. The question is, what is next for Microsoft? A wave of new cloud products? A new CEO? Success in the mobile market? Billions of dollars more in revenues? Probably billions of dollars more in revenues.  

Posted by Lee Pender on November 10, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments


Microsoft Security Essentials Has Competitors Upset

Go figure. Microsoft has taken more knocks about security over the years than Gerry Cooney has taken punches, and now that Redmond has actually made a pretty solid effort at protecting its own operating system, its security partners are whining.

Microsoft's free Security Essentials is available to Windows update subscribers who actively say that they want it -- it is not, in other words, an automatic download. But security firms such as McAfee, Symantec and especially Trend Micro are complaining that Microsoft's practice of offering Security Essentials as part of an update download -- even a completely elective one -- is anti-competitive.

We at RCPU have very little sympathy for the third parties here, and here's why: First off, Microsoft has long shirked the responsibility of properly protecting Windows, and the $50 Microsoft Windows Live OneCare -- the predecessor to Security Essentials -- was just an insult. Buying OneCare was like paying protection money to slick-haired men in track suits.

Security Essentials, on the other hand, is simply an example of Microsoft doing what it should have been doing for years -- securing its flagship product, fairly effectively (apparently) and for free. It's Microsoft's responsibility to do this, not a privilege. Besides, Microsoft is constantly coming out with technologies that could (and do) put certain third parties out of business. ISVs just have to live with and adjust to that -- it's part of being a software company.

That brings us to another point: Symantec, McAfee (soon to be part of Intel) and Trend have huge product portfolios that go way beyond what Security Essentials offers. And while we frankly doubt whether many uses will take the risk of using only Security Essentials to protect their PCs (in other words, third-party vendors shouldn't see a huge drop in sales), security vendors would do well to improve their own wares.

For years now, the major third-party security ISVs have offered bloated, overpriced, under-effective products and sub-standard customer service. They've gotten fat off of complacency and Microsoft's failure to secure its own products. Well, welcome to the paradigm shift, Symantec, McAfee and Trend. Just as Microsoft is having to adjust to competition from other vendors as never before, you're going to have to adjust to competition from Microsoft. After all, the mother ship is only trying to do what it should have done all along.

What's your take on Security Essentials? Send it to [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on November 10, 2010 at 11:56 AM7 comments


Microsoft Delivers SQL Server 'Denali' Test Build

The first test build of the next version of SQL Server is available for download now, if you're a TechNet or MSDN subscriber. Denali will bring cloud enhancements and a whole bunch of other stuff Mary Jo Foley describes in her piece.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 10, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Patch Tuesday Won't Fix Zero-Day Flaw

Tomorrow's small set of fixes won't include a patch for the zero-day flaw that's been ripping through older versions of Internet Explorer. Have fun with the rest of them, though.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 08, 2010 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Ballmer To Sell Microsoft Stock

We're sure that Steve Ballmer doesn't mean to cause any panic with his planned big sale of Microsoft stock. He's very wealthy. He can do what he wants with his money. His tax preparations have to be only slightly more complicated than doing calculus in Mandarin.

Still...Ballmer's planning on selling $2 billion in stock by the end of the year. That's billion with a "b." Executives sell stock in their companies all the time, but Ballmer hasn't sold any of his Microsoft shares in seven years. He'll still have a lot left over after the sale, but this is not an insignificant dump.

All of this leads to the obvious question: What does Steve Ballmer know that we don't? It's hard to explain away a $2 billion stock dump -- the first in seven years -- with just the tax excuse. Does Ballmer see stormy seas on the horizon for Microsoft, financially speaking? And if so, how stormy could those seas be, given how long Microsoft's stock has been flat and how much it has actually declined this year (12 percent as of Monday morning)?

Does the CEO lack confidence in Windows Phone 7, Windows 8, Azure or the Xbox? Does he fear the effects of competition from companies like Google and Apple? Did he wake up one day and panic because he suddenly realized that he was still Microsoft's CEO (heh heh)? Is his job in jeopardy?

We don't know the answers to those questions, but we do feel as though now is a good time to ask them. Tax preparations or not, a CEO dumping billions in stock for the first time in years is not a sign of confidence for a company. There's almost no positive way to spin this story, especially since Microsoft stock has been falling -- meaning Ballmer isn't exactly taking profits here, in all likelihood. Partners, beware—Ballmer's move might not be bad news, but it almost can't be good news for Microsoft and the channel.

What's your take on Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO? Send it to [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on November 08, 2010 at 11:56 AM3 comments


You Just Can't Kill the Mainframe

You can stab it with your steely knives (although we're not really sure how much good that would do...), but you just can't kill the mainframe. It's the Hotel California of data.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 08, 2010 at 11:57 AM3 comments


Microsoft Fills Out Partner Lineup for Private Clouds

In Berlin this week, over beer and schnitzel (probably...and mmm, by the way), Microsoft announced a lineup of partners that will help the company provide private cloud infrastructures. Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM and NEC are on the not-so-surprising list. Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft watcher extraordinaire and Redmond magazine columnist, has all the details.

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


Reader Feedback: Microsoft Partner Opportunities in the Cloud

We've been wondering aloud here for a while just how significant the opportunities are for Microsoft partners to profit from Redmond's cloud efforts. Microsoft's recent cloud-heavy win in New York City -- accomplished directly, sans channel involvement -- had us pondering that issue again recently. But reader Al offers a thoughtful perspective as to why Microsoft had to go solo in Gotham and why partners can still succeed with Microsoft in the cloud:

"Realistically no partner could have pulled this off except for MSFT themselves. Most partners are not even up to speed on MSFT's latest technologies and have the practice of waiting until the 'first service pack' before even delving into a new technology. No matter how promising it is. The details, promises, guarantees, specifications, support and security concerns are all for MSFT and only MSFT to answer. It's that simple. Bottom line -- ONLY Microsoft could have done 'this' deal. I congratulate them. Very often MSFT stands by the sidelines and watches the teams lose.

This is an opportunity for partners. MSFT will be a 'platform provider.' Now the platform will be there and the smart partners with strong cloud offerings will have opportunities. That part of the deal is not really Microsoft's business model and presents opportunity for the MSFT partner community. That is, for the few, truly progressive MSFT partners.

The cloud is the future. There is no question about it. Government and corporate have done a near-miserable job of deploying and maintaining infrastructure, keeping it fresh and keeping it secure. There is no doubt about this whatsoever. I know for a fact NYC is a litany of disparate technologies, solutions and even platforms. In simple terms, it is a mess and it is dysfunctional. This is an opportunity for the city to reinvent itself and gravitate to the new normal, while providing its citizens with better services than ever. All this while making available interfaces that vendor communities could use for excellent information and saving huge bucks.

This is BIG!"

Al, we're totally with you on the notion that the cloud is the future, and you make a very good point about Microsoft being ahead of most partners in this area. Our main concern is that Microsoft had made no secret of the fact that it intends to actually compete with partners on cloud deals. That, combined with what appears to be in Redmond a movement toward favoring larger partners, still leaves us wondering how many channel players will have a real shot at making money in the cloud with Microsoft. There's no question, though, that the NYC deal is huge and that it's a move in the direction in which Microsoft and IT must go. Partners need to go in that direction, too -- to the greatest extent that they can. As you said, for the progressive Microsoft channel players out there, the cloud should rain opportunities.

Have anything to add to any of the discussions you've seen on RCPU lately? Add it at [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on November 04, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments