Microsoft Says Goodbye to Stephen...Elop

This wasn't the Steve whose job was rumored to be on the line. In fact, he really never seemed to go by Steve at all, but we needed to call him that in order to come up with a clever headline that would create some confusion with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Unlike Ballmer, who has been under fire for many quarters for years now, Stephen Elop was a standout at Microsoft as head of the company's Office and Dynamics product lines, among others. That must be why Nokia chose Elop to be its next CEO.

We, too, are surprised to hear that Nokia still exists, but with Elop at the helm the company isn't Finnish yet; in fact, it's just getting started. (Thank you! We'll be here all week.) Seriously, though, we have no doubt in Elop's ability to get Nokia back on track.

What we are wondering is how much of a magnet Microsoft still is for executives these days. Now, obviously, a CEO gig at a company such as Nokia trumps even a high-level job in Redmond (we guess), but Microsoft seems to be losing more net brain power than it's bringing in.

Maybe that's because Microsoft isn't a sure-thing stock moneymaker anymore and hasn't been for quite a while. Those options just don't look as attractive as they used to. Or maybe it's because the company is experiencing something of a vision deficit since the departure of Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie being a relative disappointment in the messiah department.

In any case, with one Steve moving on, there's another who has another big pair of shoes to fill and will, no doubt, have to field a few more questions about his own future.

Is Microsoft as attractive an employer as it once was? Send your thoughts on the matter to lpend[email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on September 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Microsoft Close To Providing Missing Lync

Sasquatch? No, Office Communications Server, which is now named Lync Server 2010 in honor, presumably, of that guy from the Mod Squad (who spelled it Linc, but we couldn't resist a late-'60s TV reference. All you over 50s say what!) .

Posted by Lee Pender on September 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Windows XP Continues To Slowly Die

You know that it's a slow news day when Windows XP cracks the headlines, but you also know that the operating system is alive and well when its death is reported over and over again.

There's no free support left for Windows XP, and soon, Dell, once again one of the industry's leading PC makers after having survived a bit of a dip, will stop offering XP as the pre-loaded OS on its machines. Evidently, Dell doesn't really want to stop selling XP on its boxes. Read between the lines (or just read the actual lines) of a Dell blog post on the XP issue, and it seems pretty clear that Microsoft is the puppet master in this scenario.

Well, of course it is. Isn't that normally the case when it comes to PCs? Besides, XP is nearly a decade old. It's outdated. Shouldn't we all just move to Windows 7 now? Maybe...but we won't because XP still works just fine for most users and because now is still not a great time at many companies for IT investment that isn't absolutely necessary.

Still, Microsoft is just doing what it has to do for its own self-interest -- and the move is good for partners, who might just be able to sell some hardware refreshes and OS upgrades if they can make the argument that XP is going away forever and ever, like right now...even if it's clearly still with us.  

How long do you plan to hang on to Windows XP? Send your answers to [email protected]

Posted by Lee Pender on September 09, 2010 at 11:56 AM13 comments


Microsoft Somewhat Less of a Failure in Search

So, that Microsoft-Yahoo search deal? It's kind of working a little bit! With Bing now running Yahoo, Microsoft's consumer-search market-share numbers now seem, at least, to be marginally less pathetic than they used to be. Keep on foisting that sword at those windmills, Don Microxofte.

Oh, by the way, while Microsoft was looking slightly less non-competitive in consumer search, Google came out with some sort of instant-search thing that's supposed to make searching faster than thinking (or, at least, faster than typing).

Posted by Lee Pender on September 09, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


New Version of Windows Storage Server Coming

Do try to contain your excitement... Mary Jo Foley of Redmond magazine column fame tells us that a new version of Windows Storage Server is due by the end of September.

Posted by Lee Pender on September 09, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Microsoft RTMs Windows Phone 7

Ready or not (and it might very well not be ready...), here comes Windows Phone 7 to manufacturers.

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


Mark Hurd: $6 Billion Man

Lee Majors cannot be happy about this. Just a generation (or two?) ago, the tastefully named gentleman was the Six Million Dollar Man -- better, stronger, faster, etc. And nearly worthless compared to a guy who basically got bounced from his last job.

Mark Hurd didn't sustain severe injuries in a test-flight crash and come back as a bionic man (as Majors's Steve Austin character did in the '70s, in case you didn't know), but he did suffer a pretty hard fall after leaving the CEO post at HP under a cloud of bizarre circumstances and sexual-harassment accusations.

He must have hit rubber at the bottom, though, because he sure did bounce back quickly. Hurd is back in a top post with another top company now. Oracle, in a Labor Day announcement, said that it has hired Hurd as co-president, at the expense of Charles Phillips, who went overboard off the Good Ship Ellison.

Yes, Hurd will report to Cap'n Larry himself, and he'll have a friend with him on the quarterdeck --the other co-president, Safra Catz. Given the nature of the allegations against Hurd at HP, we're not sure what kind of experience he has with bizarre three-ways -- but he's gotten himself into one now. Well, maybe.

For its part, HP isn't so sure that Hurd can legally board the Battleship Oracle, and it's putting its lawyers to work by suing the former HP CEO. Why is everybody fighting over this guy, who, just a month ago, was awash in a mild scandal?

Well, for one thing, he's a well-respected technology executive largely credited with turning around HP after the unfortunate reign of Carly Fiorina. And then there's this from the Wall Street Journal:

"Oracle investors appear a bit overexcited about the hiring of Mark Hurd as their company's new co-president, adding about $6 billion to the company's market capitalization in early Tuesday trading."

And this, in the very next paragraph of the WSJ story:

"HP stock similarly added about $6 billion to its market capitalization on the day in 2005 that Mr. Hurd was hired."

Good grief! This guy is the $6 billion man! No wonder Oracle wants him and HP doesn't want him to go to a company that's increasingly becoming a rival. This dude is -- quite literally -- money. Is he worth it? Well, that's for Admiral Ellison to find out. He probably was worth it at HP, though, and he might just be the CEO-in-waiting at Oracle. So, sorry, Lee Majors. Hurd has gone from being the fall guy to being the $6 billion man (again). That's inflation, we suppose.

Is Mark Hurd worth $6 billion? How will he get along at Oracle? Send your thoughts to [email protected]

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


Texas Messes with Google

Oh, Google. You have stepped in it now. Forget about the U.S. Department of Justice. You've got the State of Texas on your tail for antitrust issues now, and justice in Texas can be pretty swift and severe. (Hey, your editor is a native. He remembers.) Of course, Google is alleging that it's not the Lone Star State but Microsoft that's behind this investigation. In any case, giddy up, Google.

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


Slower PC Growth to Come, Forecast Says

Maybe this prediction will be as wrong as all the dire warnings about Hurricane Earl were. We can hope, right?

 

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


Microsoft Publishes 'Fix it' for DLL Flaw

Let's not kid ourselves here. It's blazing hot outside by New England standards; your editor is working on a cover story for Redmond magazine on the 25th anniversary of Windows; Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, and Hurricane Earl might very well blow us right off the East Coast this weekend.

Today is not the day for bloviating, philosophizing or entertaining here at RCPU. It's a day to, quite literally, "mail it in," which is what we're doing. Absent any news of significant interest for commentary, we're leading with the fairly mundane but not unimportant story of Microsoft publishing a fix (not really a patch...but something) for a DLL flaw that's been running amok lately.

And...that's pretty much it. No witticisms, not pop-culture references, no flashpoint arguments. All you'll get here today is a wish for a nice long weekend and some impatience for the post-summer news machine to crank up again soon. Happy Labor Day, everybody. Stay safe out there.

Posted by Lee Pender on September 02, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Microsoft To Build Datacenter in Southern Virginia

What? There's a Southern Virginia now? We thought that outside of the D.C. area, Virginia was just kind of a myth... Only kidding. We at RCPU love Virginia. It's gorgeous. And it's going to be home to a new Microsoft datacenter (although how it beat out your editor's native state of Texas, we'll never know).

Posted by Lee Pender on September 02, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments


Sapient To Expand India Operations

Sapient is a Microsoft National Systems Integrator that's about to go even more international than it already is. The company's going to be filling those Boston-to-Bangalore flights soon...

Posted by Lee Pender on September 02, 2010 at 11:56 AM0 comments