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Gates Says Microsoft Must Face Internet Services Challenge

Introduction: Two Things I Learned in College
Back in my journalism-school days -- I won’t say exactly when that was, except to note that I wrote my first published articles on an IBM Selectric typewriter -- one crusty old professor said two things that I remember well.

The first: Most readers skip right over writers’ bylines.

In fact, he said, they only notice your name for one reason: When they hate something you wrote and want to tell you so.

That guy was wrong about lots of other stuff -- he invested heavily in eight-track tapes, as I recall -- so I’m thinking maybe he was off the mark about the byline thing, too.

Of course, if you do disagree with something I’ve written, I suspect that you’ll say so. In fact, I hope you do.

But as the new executive editor at Redmond Channel Partner, I also hope you’ll contact me (and my RCP colleagues) for other reasons, such as when:

  • You see something in RCP -- in print or online -- that strikes a chord for you.
  • You’d like to see more (or less) coverage of a particular topic.
  • You want to suggest story ideas.
  • You know of Microsoft- or channel-related news that we should check out.
  • You’re interested in discussing issues important to the partner community.

Bottom line: We really want—we really need—to hear from you.

Why is your feedback so vital? Because great publications talk with their readers, not just to them. They’re based on dialogue, not monologue. I want RCP to be that kind of publication, so it’s my job to invite you, and to constantly remind you, to join the discussion anytime.

I can’t take credit for the idea that editors must create environments fostering dialogue, not monologue: It’s the other thing that crotchety old prof told me back in the Dark Ages. This time, though, I know he was right.

So let the conversation begin. What’s working well? What could we improve? And what else is on your mind?

Anne Stuart
[email protected]

Gates Says Microsoft Must Face Internet Services Challenge
In a recent internal Microsoft e-mail, Bill Gates warned the company’s top brass about the growing competitive threat posed by a new wave of Internet services.

“The next sea change is upon us,” Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect, wrote in the Oct. 30 message, which was obtained and excerpted by The Wall Street Journal. Gates predicted that the “very disruptive” services wave would create opportunities for Microsoft’s competitors, but added: “Still, the opportunity for us to lead the way is very clear.”

According to the Journal, Gates’ message relied heavily on a memo from Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, which urged the company to “respond quickly and decisively” to Internet services opportunities. “It’s clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk,” Ozzie wrote.

For those of you who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal online, you can read about it (including original text of memo and e-mail) with these links:

If not, read excerpts in this story.

Hottest Show in (Every) Town: SQL Server 2005 Tour
What I’d planned to say here was this: If you missed Microsoft’s much-publicized SQL Server 2005 launch party in San Francisco on Monday, you can catch the road show in a dozen other U.S. cities between now and year’s end.

Alas, instead I must inform you that most of those free day-long events are already full. As of Wednesday morning, only the events on Dec. 6 in Denver and Dec. 15 in Minneapolis were still accepting reservations via the official Launch Tour 2005 Web site. The Dec. 8 event Orlando, still listed as open on Tuesday night, had apparently filled by Wednesday morning.

Even the only 2006 party on the 2005 tour, scheduled for Jan. 11 in Washington, D.C., was already at capacity -- more than two months in advance. Only a few locations even had waiting-list spots available. Many Canadian events were also sold out (although, if you hurry, you might be able to snag a spot in Winnipeg or Halifax).

Doesn’t it seem as if mammoth venues like Chicago’s McCormick Place and the new Boston Convention & Visitor Center should be able to handle even a Microsoft-sized crowd? But Microsoft’s external PR agency, Waggener Edstrom, confirmed that most U.S. events were at capacity (San Francisco’s event alone attracted more than 3,200 attendees, according to Waggener Edstrom). Maybe it’s all that free food.

The coast-to-coast blitz is part of a 200-city global tour to promote SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and Biztalk Server 2006; the events feature exhibits, demonstrations, workshops and networking opportunities. More than 190,000 people worldwide are expected to attend.

If you didn’t make it onto the guest list for a launch bash near you, don’t despair: You can catch some of the action via Webcasts, Microsoft’s TechNet team will offer half-day SQL Server workshops for IT pros in locales from Birmingham, Ala., to Wauwatosa, Wisc.

  • Launch Tour 2005 Live Event Schedule
  • TechNet “Best of SQL Server 2005 Launch” sessions
  • Webcast: Steve Ballmer Keynote Speech in San Francisco

Ex-Microsoft Execs Make Big Moves
Two former Microsoft Corp. officials are now former executives of Oracle Corp. as well.

Gregory B. Maffei and Tod Nielsen both worked for Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle for just a few months before being named CEOs of other companies.

Maffei, Oracle’s co-president and CFO, announced his resignation last week, saying he was considering another job offer. On Wednesday, Liberty Media Corp. of Englewood, Colo., named Maffei its “CEO-Elect.” He’ll succeed John Malone as CEO and Robert Bennett as president in the spring of 2006. Malone and Bennett will both remain on Liberty Media’s board; Maffei will also be a director.

Maffei became one of Oracle’s three co-presidents after serving as CEO of Seattle-based 360networks Corp. for several years. Previously, he was CFO and senior vice president at Microsoft, where he orchestrated the successful Expedia spin-off.

Liberty Media controls the Starz movie channel and the QVC shopping channel.

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Meanwhile, Nielsen -- previously Oracle’s senior vice president of marketing and global sales -- becomes CEO and president of Borland Software, based in Cupertino, Calif. He replaces Dale Fuller, who left the company in July.

During his 12-year tenure at Microsoft, Nielsen helped launch Microsoft Access, served as vice president of developer tools and, finally, as vice president of the company’s platform group. He left in 2000 to become CEO of Crossgain, a Redmond, Wash.-based software startup that weathered a bitter noncompete battle with Microsoft before being acquired by BEA Systems of San Jose, where Nielsen worked in executive positions before moving to Oracle.

Posted by Anne Stuart on November 09, 2005


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