WPC: IAMCP Has New International President

Ulises Aguilar Nahle probably should have been player of the tournament at the World Cup with a magnificent name like that, but he'll have to settle for being the new president of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners.

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

Follow WPC '10 at RCPmag.com

It's all WPC all week here at RCPU, and there's more online about the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference at our dedicated Web home for the WPC. Scott Bekker and Jeff Schwartz are running around DC like lobbyists chasing after Congressmen, digging up stories and talking to partners to get their perspective on the show. Here at RCPU, we're aggregating Scott and Jeff's work, but the WPC '10 site is definitely worth following daily. Check it out. It's just like being at the show except that there are no box lunches.

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

WPC: Windows Intune Beta 2 Available

Well, it's sort of available...It's open to the first 10,000 organizations that get to it, anyway.

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

WPC: Silver and Gold Have Value Again for Microsoft Partners

Over the years, a fair number of members of the Microsoft channel have put pretty significant marketing resources into selling themselves as Gold Certified. As the Partner Program morphed into the Microsoft Partner Network, though, the Gold label seemed to be doomed.

Not anymore. In a move that many partners should welcome as good news, Microsoft is bringing the bling to the MPN by labeling competencies as "gold" and "silver." So, while Gold Certified might be dying as a partner distinction, a gold competency can take its place. So, don’t do that complete rebranding yet...

Posted by Lee Pender on July 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments

Researchers Complain About Un-Patched Windows Flaws

Apparently some security researchers aren't feeling the love (or anything positive at all, for that matter) from Microsoft and are fed up with that they perceive as repeated snubs by Redmond. So, what do they do? Form a group with a semi-clever four-letter abbreviation, of course. What did you expect, protests outside Microsoft's campus? That would have been a lot more fun, actually...

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

Prepping for the Worldwide Partner Conference

The premier annual event for Microsoft partners will take place next week in what might be a sizzling Washington, DC -- although nothing could compare to the Houston Humidity Festival from '08.

Anyway, Microsoft partners invading DC will want to have a plan, which RCPmag.com helpfully lays out here. And those of you who won't be there (which will be most of you) will still be able to follow the WPC blow-by-blow with superb reporting and expert commentary from RCP's coverage team on our dedicated WPC site.

That's about all that we at RCPU have to say about the WPC, but this entry feels a little short. So...let's run a reader e-mail! This one comes from Bob, who takes on the topic of whether an upgrade to Office 2010 is worth the money:

"If your organization is heavy into SharePoint and all of the obscure things Office can do, then maybe it is worth the money. But for most of us (90 percent or more?), it is a complete waste. It is used because, well, that's just what you do. I don't think Google Docs is a replacement, but OpenOffice [.org] is. I use it; I love it. I'm a developer specializing in Microsoft technologies, and I have no desire to even look at Office 2010.”

Interesting, Bob. We'd love to know what the reaction that statement would be at WPC...Anyway, we're using Google Docs here at RCPU more heavily all the time (although not right now...), but we should probably check out OpenOffice.org, too. Thanks for sending your thoughts. We'll keep running reader e-mails in the weeks to come. In the meantime, enjoy the WPC and send your thoughts on anything and everything to [email protected].

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

EMC Buys Greenplum

This purchase is all about data warehousing and data analysis for EMC, and Greenplum will become a new division of the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant.

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

Yet Another Tablet on the Way

LG Electronics is the latest vendor to take up the utterly futile challenge of trying to compete with the iPad and produce a tablet computer. This one will be based on Google's Android operating system.

And if you thought that reading e-books would save you some time compared to paging through dead trees, think again. Apparently people read e-books more slowly than they read old-fashioned books, for what it's worth.

Posted by Lee Pender on July 07, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments

Hackers Exploiting XP Flaw

An un-patched flaw is playing heck with Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, according to various reports. Microsoft is working hard to fix the flaw by next Tuesday, apparently, but in the meantime a Fixit tool from the company might be the best option. Actually, it's probably the only option.  

Posted by Lee Pender on July 07, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments

Kin Kills Everything It Touches

Microsoft's biggest product disaster ever (in our opinion) is dead, but it's not forgotten. Or, at least, it wasn't for a while. Apparently some smart fellow came up with a Kin tribute site that let users memorialize the phone, the life of which only just managed to outlast the presidency of William Henry Harrison. Well, now, not only is the Kin dead, the site is apparently dead, too -- pending a new home, at least. Is there anything the Kin can't destroy?

Posted by Lee Pender on July 07, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments

What Microsoft Knows About You

Some months ago here, we asked for your take on Microsoft and privacy for a story called "What Does Microsoft Know about You?" which was to run in Redmond magazine, RCP's sister publication.

At last, that article is now online, and we're pleased to say that it has received a healthy response from readers. (That is to say that it has driven some traffic to our Web sites -- hooray!) Anyway, we mention this because there really is some pretty interesting information in this piece.

For RCPU (your editor did write the story...), the bottom line here is that a lot of the freaking out that goes on about privacy is just that -- overreaction to something that's usually not that big of a deal. Yes, companies screw up -- Google in particular lately, although you'll find in the article that Google really does take privacy seriously and really isn't looking to sell out its user base.

But, for the most part, companies like Microsoft and Google aren't interested in you; they're interested in how you use their products and services. So, they're really not trying to track you down or keep tabs on you. They're trying to figure out how you use their products so that they can make those products better.

Seriously! Now, once you give a company your personal information -- as you do when you sign up for an e-mail service, for example -- the game changes a bit. But even then, Microsoft and Google aren't using their respective Hotmail and Gmail products, for instance, to snoop out your medical records or report you to your boss for visiting ESPN.com 15 times a day at work (or for streaming live World Cup games at the office...ahem). They're just trying to serve you ads that they think you'll want to see.

It's funny that many of the same people who blog or who dish information openly to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn get nervous about Microsoft's Windows Activation Technologies (formerly known as WGA) or Google's retention of search information. By far, the greatest risk of privacy loss involves users voluntarily giving up information.

Microsoft and Google don't make money by selling your personal information, and furthermore they certainly don't want to alienate their own users by, for instance, selling their medical information to insurance companies. That's just not how their business models work. Granted, it's pretty annoying to have to use WAT in order to use Windows or to have to agree to a 4000-word-long privacy policy that's somewhat incomprehensible in order to sign up for online e-mail, but those things are a lot less scary than they seem.

That doesn't mean, of course, that users shouldn't be vigilant about privacy or question vendors (most of which take information from you in some way) when something looks dodgy. But while caution is a must, living in fear of software vendors is just not necessary. They're not out to get you.

What are your biggest concerns regarding privacy? Should users be more fearful than we're suggesting they should be? Send your thoughts to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on July 07, 2010 at 11:56 AM1 comments

Sony, Dell and Laptop Madness

If PCs are now trucks, as Steve Jobs suggests, then there have been some wrecks on the computing highway this week.

First, there's Sony, which is recalling half a million Vaio notebooks because they can, apparently, get hot enough to "cause skin burns". Ouch. Oddly, though, Sony has only received a handful of complaints about laptops overheating, and apparently a software download can actually solve the problem. So, this recall sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

And then there's Dell. This is quite a bit more serious. According to documents -- most of them internal Dell documents -- recently unearthed in a lawsuit, Dell allegedly not only knowingly sold millions of faulty computers but misled customers about why the computers were faulty and replaced bad computers with other bad computers.

The problem with the computers stemmed from their capacitors (which can cause very serious problems if they don't work properly), which Dell didn't actually make. But, according to the lawsuit documents, Dell allegedly knew that there were and would be problems with the computers and the capacitors in them but went on selling those computers, anyway.

Now, all of this is supposedly a few years behind us, and Dell, after a myriad of problems, has been trying to set itself back on track for the last five years. Part of Dell's revised strategy has been to open itself to the channel as never before. And while we have no reason to believe that Dell is currently trying to mislead anybody, revelations like the one about the capacitors are certain to make partners think twice about doing business with a company that they might not have trusted much in the past.

Hopefully the alleged capacitor issue is just one of those ugly incidents that happened in a company in crisis and won't happen again. But for Dell, a company that's trying to rebuild its credibility with a number of audiences, this week's news is an obvious setback -- a flat tire, perhaps (at least) on the road to recovery.

What's your take on Dell as a company? Do you trust Dell? Do you partner with Dell? Why or why not? Send your thoughts to [email protected]. Get your e-mails in soon, please, as we're going to start running reader feedback again imminently.

Posted by Lee Pender on July 01, 2010 at 11:56 AM2 comments