Quick quiz: What is Mendocino?
If you answered that it’s a coastal community located north
of San Francisco in California’s wine country, you’d
be right. But if you identified it as the code name for a new business
product evolving out of a first-time alliance between Microsoft
and SAP AG, you’d also be correct. And if you added that Mendocino
the product is scheduled to hit a major milestone this week, you’d
get extra credit.
About 40 Microsoft customers and 10 partners are scheduled
to get a “technology preview” -- sort of a pre-beta
beta of Mendocino -- on Friday.
Mendocino will link SAP directly to Microsoft Office applications,
which developers say will allow information workers access SAP data
and processes through the familiar Office environment. That capability
should help companies improve efficiency and speed up decision making,
says Chris Caren, general manager of Microsoft’s Business
Initially, Mendocino will focus on four key “scenarios”
allowing users to process SAP information in Microsoft Outlook:
budget monitoring, time management, personal-leave management and
HR-related administrative and planning tasks.
Microsoft says the product, which was announced last spring, is
on track for a broader beta release in the spring. It’s expected
to become available late next summer.
Open-Source Software Firm Woos Midmarket -- and Venture Capitalists
A San Diego-area software firm believes its open-source products
will attract not only small and midsize organizations dismayed by
the costs of proprietary business software, but venture capitalists
IRadeon Group Inc. of Roseville, Calif., customizes open-access
programs for uses ranging from e-commerce to customer relationship
management to employee training. The 6-year-old firm targets businesses
with fewer than 1,000 employees because, officials say, those companies
are often hard pressed to invest in the hardware, consulting and
licensing fees that come with proprietary products. IRadeon hopes
investors will agree that that market is ripe with opportunity:
to seek $30 million in funding early in 2006.
column was originally published in our weekly
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Want an Xbox 360? Here’s Where (and When) to Look
Pssst: Still desperately seeking one of Microsoft’s new Xbox
360 machines for somebody’s holiday gift? I know where you
can find one. But it’ll cost you a bundle.
The Xbox 360s, which normally retail for $300 and up, have
been selling briskly for two and three times that amount on
eBay this week. During a one-day auction on Tuesday, the price jumped
from $700 to $850 in the last couple of minutes. On Wednesday morning,
some Xbox offerings drew 40 or more bids, with the price rising
by $100 or more in the auctions’ final couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, Boston college student Chris
Lamberts’ online Xbox inventory tracker was issuing what
appeared to be real-time availability reports such as “Overstock.com:
In stock 1 minute ago,” “CompUSA: Sold out about 4 hours
ago” and “Barnes & Noble: Sold out 6 days ago.”
If you simply must have an Xbox this holiday season, here’s
my advice: Wait until next week, do some comparison shopping, take
the best deal and surprise the recipient with an out-of-the-blue
New Year’s gift instead. I guarantee you’ll save a bundle.
New Year’s Resolution: Protect Your PC in 2006
Microsoft’s Security Technology Unit wants everyone in your
organization to make secure online computing a top personal priority
for the coming year.
The company’s “Protect
Your PC in 2006” initiative encourages all users to boost
their security online by applying the following rules to their own
- Always use an Internet firewall.
- Run regular security updates (automatically, if possible).
- Install an anti-virus program and keep it up to date.
- Use software that combats spyware.
“Online criminals are much like their offline peers: They
make a living by hunting for weak spots in the system and trying
to exploit them,” says Amy Roberts, the security unit’s
director of project management. Taking the pledge and adopting the
four best practices can go a long way toward keeping users safe
on their own computers as well as on the machines at work.
Microsoft Software: Spotting Billing Errors
Billing mistakes for Microsoft software happen more often than you
might think. And when things go wrong, it's not just the price --
compliance can be affected as well. Scott Braden, the Redmond Negotiator
for our sister publication Redmond magazine, walks
you through what to watch out for.
Posted by Anne Stuart on December 21, 2005 at 11:53 AM