It's the last RCPU of the year... Well, actually, it's not. There will be (at least) two more in December. But this is the last RCPU that I'm going to write in 2010, so let's crank up the greatest Christmas song ever (everybody can enjoy this one) and get to doing what we do at the end of every year: passing out holiday thanks. I'll even do this in first person, just because I care.
First and foremost, a big thank you to our readers. You are the reason RCPU exists. To those who e-mail, who comment on the blogs online, who click on links or who just read the newsletter when it hits your inbox, my sincere thanks for your thoughtfulness, your interest, your participation and your contribution to what we do here. You are the best. Really, you are. I've written for a lot of audiences in more than one language, and I've never enjoyed a group as much as I enjoy you. Thank you.
Now for the folks who dutifully work with me as I ramble and roam over the keyboard all year long. To Doug Barney, editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine, thank you for all your support this year and for getting this newsletter off the ground nearly five years ago. Without your guidance, I was lost. But with your suggestions and influence, RCPU has become not only a lot of fun but (I hope) genuinely worth reading.
To Scott Bekker, editor-in-chief of RCP the magazine, many thanks for your continued friendship and for the numerous times you've filled in writing this newsletter for me at the last minute. (Also, uh, thanks for writing the two editions that will come out over the next couple of weeks.) You are a consummate professional and a great guy, and it's a privilege to know and work with you.
To Chris Paoli, thank you for actually combing through every word of these ramblings before sending them out for public consumption. You make me look smarter and more coherent than I really am. To Becky Nagel, Mike Domingo and Kurt Mackie, denizens of our Web team here at the Redmond Media Group, thank you for your constant support, your willingness to shoe-horn in last-minute updates and corrections and your general good sense of humor about everything. I'll see you all soon (more on that in a minute).
To the great Jeffrey Schwartz, who consistently pulls me out of the fire on the print side of things, thank you for your constant stream of articles that provide so much of the content I refer to here. And I don't just mean the ones you write, although they're great -- I also mean the ones you find online and send almost every day. You make my job easier.
To Wendy Gonchar and Katrina Carrasco, our managing editors on the print side who keep the whole operation running, thank you for your patience and understanding when I, uh, extend the occasional deadline. (It's all in the name of quality reporting, you know.) And thank you for acknowledging that I write RCPU while you're yelling at me to get a feature story filed. Just kidding...mostly. Seriously, though, you're the best. It's a privilege to work with you.
To my office mates in Framingham, of whom I've seen little since my son was born in September, thanks for your continued friendship and camaraderie. Scott Shultz, Lafe Low, Matt Morollo, Brad Zerbel and Kathleen Richards, the Framingham crew, you really are the best people I've ever shared a floor full of cubicles with. And Kate -- thanks for all of your chats with me about your newsletters. You're doing fantastic work over at Redmond Developer News. Brad, keep up the good work designing Redmond. Also, keep cracking me up in art meetings...
To our columnists and freelance writers for Redmond -- Mary Jo Foley, Greg Shields, Don Jones, Brien Posey, Peter Bruzzese, Paul Korzeniowski, Gary Olsen, Jeff Hicks and many others -- thank you for your patience (writing RCPU takes a fair amount of my time...) and for your continued excellent contributions to the publication. And to all the flacks -- nah, PR professionals -- out there, thank you for your help with stories, interviews, contacts and all the other stuff I'm constantly bugging you about.
Finally, thank you to my beloved TCU Horned Frogs for finally making my ultimate sports fantasy come true and making it to the Rose Bowl. We've come a long way from 1-10 in 1997, Frog fans. The Rose Bowl! Win or lose, it'll be a party. California office folks, the family and I are headed to the game (of course), so I'll see you in the Irvine office at some point after New Year's.
I'm sure that I've left somebody out, and for that I'm sorry. But let me wish all of you a happy, healthy and blessed holiday season. We'll see you in 2011.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/16/2010 at 10:27 AM3 comments
Sometimes, it just stinks to be Microsoft. Oh, sure, there are the billions in revenues, the embarrassingly dominant market share in huge sectors like operating systems and the picturesque surroundings of Greater Seattle around the company's headquarters.
Still, though, it's not easy being...whatever color Microsoft is. Maybe electric blue like its executives' dress shirts, as opposed to that navy IBM blue. But we digress. This week, rumors leaked that Microsoft will be introducing a tablet computer, a competitor to the iPad, at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.
Now, these are rumors. Microsoft has confirmed nothing. Only The New York Times is talking about this device in definite terms, and even its details are sketchy. Officially, this tablet doesn't exist. Nevertheless, everybody hates it.
Well, maybe not everybody -- but some critics already do, based on sketchy details and what might or might not be an image of the device (made, in this case, by Samsung). Now, we're not saying that the Windows tablet is going to set the world on fire. It might be awful. It might be mediocre. It might be brilliant.
What it won't be, though, is the iPad, and it seems as though that's what critics want it to be. But Microsoft doesn't need to try to reinvent the iPad. In fact, that would be an embarrassment and a market disaster (hello, Zune). No, there are things Microsoft can do with tablet computers that could actually bring value to the space.
If this device really does have a slip-out keyboard, we already like it better than the iPad. If it's cheaper than the Apple device, we like it even more. And does the iPad run Flash yet? Maybe it does by now (we can't remember...), but if we remember correctly it didn't for a while. Compatibility shouldn't be a problem with a Windows tablet. We say shouldn't remembering cautiously the Vista debacle, but surely Microsoft has learned its lesson.
So, could we all hold off on trashing Microsoft for a product it hasn't even released yet? The anti-Microsoft cabal in the pundisphere simply cannot wait to jump on Redmond at every opportunity. Here at RCPU, we're going to make sure that the Microsoft tablet is lousy before we start mocking it relentlessly.
Do you have any early impressions of the leaked Microsoft tablet? Send them to email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/15/2010 at 11:55 AM3 comments
'Tis the season for short RCPUs with news in short supply and your editor eat-up (as we'd say in Texas) with other projects. So, we're just dropping an entry in here to say that a major Microsoft product hit metal this week.
Wait, did someone say metal? (Oh, yeah. We just went full power ballad all over this entry. Careful clicking on that link, though -- it's nothing serious, but Bret Michaels has something of an aversion to shirts in this clip. He may be blond, but he is nevertheless hirsute.)
Anyway... Windows Small Business Server 2011 "hit metal" (got released to hardware manufacturers, but you knew that) this week. By now, you should be playing air guitar on the solo, so maybe you're hitting metal, too. Righteous.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/13/2010 at 2:49 PM0 comments
Another day, another federal agency moving to the cloud. This time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture picked Microsoft's cloud e-mail offering in what turns out to be the largest government cloud deal ever. (That's a record soon to be broken, we imagine. Heads up, partners.)
Anyway, so, that's about it, right? Microsoft wins a big contract, Google says "gosh darn it" and everybody goes back home, right? Ha. We all know better than that. Google's apparent reaction to the USDA news was "whaaaaaaat?" Followed, of course, by complaints. And maybe they're legitimate -- Google says that it didn't even get to bid on the USDA deal.
All of this, of course, follows on the heels of Microsoft's protest that the General Services Administration played a shell game with Redmond before choosing Google for its cloud implementation. Microsoft's gripe might very well be legitimate as well, which leads us to conclude one thing: Government is seriously messed up.
Is anybody surprised? Inefficiencies and questionable dealings in the federal government? Really? How could this have happened? Seriously, the fact is that governments of all sizes are fast becoming cloud customers because they can ditch old, costly messaging systems (probably provided by Microsoft...) for new, taxpayer-friendly, low-maintenance cloud implementations.
That's good news for everybody, right? Partners, taxpayers, Microsoft, Google... Well, sort of. Yes, there's money to be made there, but let's not forget that we're talking about government institutions here, the inner workings of which have all the elegance and appeal of a rendering plant. Hold your nose before you go in if you know what's good for you, and don't expect to come out without getting some blood on your electric-blue Microsoft dress shirt.
As for Microsoft's complaints about the GSA, reader Aaron is less than sympathetic. He says:
"I think that Microsoft gets what they asked for. If Microsoft was serious about competing with Google, they'd invent something like ‘Excel Services" and charge $50,000 per site license. Oh, wait a second...that's what Microsoft did, huh? No wonder people use Google spreadsheets over Microsoft solutions!"
Aaron, it's hard to argue with you there. We do think that Microsoft has a pretty solid cloud offering together overall, but some of the price tags here and there do leave us scratching our heads.
What's your take on working with government institutions? Do Microsoft and Google have the right to complain? Sound off at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/09/2010 at 10:49 AM1 comments
What is it with these ex-Microsoft guys? Did they actually manage to blow all their cash? And on what, in Seattle -- rain parkas and lattes? Lumberjack equipment? Ironic t-shirts? Jake Locker for Heisman paraphernalia? Anyway, first Paul Allen sued most of the technology industry over patents and now former Microsoft CTO Nathan "Nasty Nate" (not really his nickname -- we just made it up) Myrhvold is doing pretty much the same thing.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/09/2010 at 10:53 AM0 comments
Those marketing folks at Salesforce.com sure have a way with domain names. They've got Salesforce.com, of course, along with Force.com and now...Database.com.
Yes, Salesforce.com's new database service for the cloud is called Database.com. How brilliant is that? Your editor is on his way to squat on other domain names (is that still possible?) that Salesforce.com might someday want to use: NastyCommentsAboutMicrosoft.com, MarcBenioffsEgo.com, AcquiredByGoogle.com, DubiousCliams.com...
Wait, what's with that last one? Well, Salesforce.com -- a company we at RCPU generally like, by the way -- is claiming that Database.com is the first database for the cloud, which would be true if Microsoft and Amazon Web Services didn't already have cloud databases.
But Salesforce.com is saying that apps developed for Database.com will run on other platforms as well as on the company's own Force.com platform -- Microsoft's Azure included. Database.com apps will also work on a variety of devices, apparently. That's pretty cool and maybe fairly unique, so maybe we should go get LetsGiveSalesforceSomeCredit.com. Unless Salesforce.com has it already, of course.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/08/2010 at 12:29 PM0 comments