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Office Live

Scott Bekker here. I'm the new editor of Redmond Channel Partner magazine and one of your guides for this newsletter. RCP Executive Editor Anne Stuart and I will be sharing this space; you'll be getting your first newsletter from Anne next week.

Like former editor Paul Desmond, Anne and I are here as advocates for the Microsoft partner community. Our ability to fulfill that role depends on feedback from you. We want to know what issues you face and what topics are important to you.

Thanks to those of you who've sent notes of welcome. Please keep the e-mail coming -- tell me what you like about this newsletter and the magazine, what you don't like and what you'd like to see us cover. Reach me anytime at [email protected].

Office Live
Speaking of feedback, I'd like to get your reaction to the new Office Live services from Microsoft. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie unveiled the new services, called Windows Live and Office Live, Tuesday at an event in San Francisco.

What's new are Web-based services that layer on top of Microsoft desktop licenses. On the Windows Live side, that includes Web-based portable favorites, a new version of online e-mail, personalized homepages and other consumer-focused services. Some of those are in beta testing already.

The Office Live offerings are initially focused on small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Microsoft says there are about 28 million businesses of this class worldwide. The services will help those companies establish a domain name, a Web site and Web e-mail accounts at no charge through an advertising-supported model. Other Office Live subscription services will include more than 20 business applications.

Microsoft bills Office Live as an opportunity for partners to access a previously untapped market of micro-businesses. What's your take? Are there opportunities here for your company, or is Microsoft crowding your turf? Let me know at [email protected].

Microsoft Looks to Partners for MBS Profits
Microsoft's latest 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows the company is looking to partners to bring the Microsoft Business Solutions division to profitability. Meanwhile, ongoing partner investments are part of the reason that MBS revenue growth hasn't yet translated to profitability, the company says. Read more here.

Reorganization Ramifications
Microsoft is still getting its organizational charts in order from the major executive shuffle in September. While Microsoft clarified the fate of the Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners organization shortly after the reorg (see story), details of the effects on the Microsoft departments dealing with enterprise and developer partners only emerged last week. Sanjay Parthasarathy and the Developer & Platform Evangelism team now report directly to Kevin Johnson, co-president of the new Platform Products & Services division. Simon Witts and the Enterprise & Partner Group now report to two masters: The solid line leads to COO Kevin Turner, with a dotted line pointing to the Server and Tools Business now led by Bob Muglia.

For more about Muglia's new role, go here.

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This column was originally published in our weekly Redmond Partner Update newsletter. To subscribe, click here.

SQL Server 2005 RTMs
A week ahead of the formal launch next Monday, Microsoft has released to manufacturing both SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. BizTalk Server 2006 formally launches next week, too, but that product won't actually be available until sometime next year.

And Now for Something Completely Scary
If you've harbored doubts about the trustworthiness of the big media companies pushing digital rights management technology, Windows kernel expert Mark Russinovich has found a reason for you to get downright paranoid. It seems the Winternals co-founder has discovered that a Sony audio CD installed a rootkit on his system without prompting.

Check out the detailed account on his Sysinternals blog.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 02, 2005