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Windows XP SP3 in 2007?

Windows XP is setting a new standard for the longest waits between service packs for a Microsoft desktop OS.

The first service pack got hung up in the U.S. antitrust ruling negotiations, with Microsoft finally inserting some tools for removing Windows components in the service pack. The second service pack morphed into practically a re-release of the operating system with a security overhaul.

Now, Mary Jo Foley, who writes a column for our sister publication, Redmond magazine, is reporting on her Microsoft Watch Web site that Microsoft posted a preliminary date of the second half of 2007 for Windows XP SP3. That would be about three years after SP2.

Not only is Microsoft staying quiet, but the company appears to have taken down the page on its Lifecycle site and replaced it with an outdated version that pre-dates even the release of SP2 (Full disclosure: I never saw the version Mary Jo referred to).

Both the "preliminary" hedge and the way Microsoft appears to have pulled the page indicate the software giant isn't standing solidly behind a late 2007 date for the service pack. But I have to say, given the effect of the all-hands-on-deck effort for SP2 on the Windows Vista schedule, maybe holding off on the service pack until after Vista ships isn't a bad idea. What do you think? Let me know at sbekker@rcpmag.com and I'll share your thoughts in a future Redmond Partner Update.

WMF Backdoor Flap
Did the recent WMF vulnerability reveal a backdoor that Microsoft put into the Windows operating system?

Just to recap, the WMF vulnerability is the one that was so critical, and so public, that Microsoft had to release a special security patch this month ahead of its usual Patch Tuesday schedule.

Security researcher Steve Gibson alleged on his Web site last week that Microsoft may have intentionally put the flaw into Windows. "It doesn't have the feeling of another Microsoft 'coding error.' It has the feeling of something that Microsoft deliberately designed into Windows. Given the nature of what it is, this would make it a remote code execution 'backdoor.' We will likely never know if this was the case, but the forensic evidence appears to be quite compelling."

Microsoft took the charge seriously enough that Microsoft Security Response Center executive Stephen Toulouse took the time to challenge the allegations in a blog entry Friday.

Interesting stuff all around.

Migrating from Lotus
Having spent the last few years wooing e-mail users from IBM Lotus Notes/Domino to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, Microsoft is campaigning for the users who rely on Domino groupware applications.

Microsoft is rolling out new and updated tools to help customers migrate their Lotus Notes and Domino applications to Microsoft's collaboration platform based on Office and its SharePoint technologies, Stuart Johnston reports.

Partners are playing a big role in the latest effort. Microsoft cites worldwide migration solution providers Casahl Technology Inc., Quest Software Inc. and SourceCode Corp., and service providers Avanade, Fujitsu Consulting, Infosys Technologies Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services.

Here's the thing: According to U.K.-based e-mail researcher and analyst David Ferris, Microsoft Exchange has about four times as many users as Lotus Notes/Domino. It seems to me this IBM Lotus to Microsoft migration theme has been done to death, and it's hard to believe there's a huge groundswell of demand to move from Lotus to Microsoft. What are you seeing in the market? Let me know at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

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Microsoft Makes Play for Ad Searches
With Google in its sights, Microsoft put out a beta of its adCenter search engine marketing system. The service is set to formally launch in June. Microsoft's adCenter is a direct competitor to pay-per-click advertising systems from Google (AdWords) and Yahoo! (Overture). Market researchers say 11 percent of all shopping and classified site visits in December came through Google, 4 percent through Yahoo! and less than 1 percent through MSN Search.

Michael Desmond reports that it will take a sustained effort from Microsoft to catch up to its competitors.

Can Microsoft really succeed in throwing off a consumer giant with a big lead? The company's track record is not great. For years, MSN tried to take on AOL for total subscribers and lost. So far, the Microsoft Xbox hasn't dislodged Sony. And Microsoft's music efforts are far behind the Apple iPod.

How Internet Explorer 7 Will Clear Your Tracks
One of the features Microsoft has been talking up for Internet Explorer 7.0 is the ability for users to more easily flush all aspects of their browsing history. A recent post on Microsoft's IEBlog has the details of how it will work, and what will be removed. A welcome caveat for corporate types is that administrators will have the ability to disable this feature.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 18, 2006 at 11:53 AM


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