Windows 7 Undergoes Federal Inspection

Now that Windows 7 is edging closer to release, the feds are looking at key documents and specifications to make sure the operating system is open to third parties and competitors.

This all stems from the 2002 final antitrust judgment that dictated Microsoft open the specs and APIs to the market just as much as they're open to Redmond insiders. Since then, there have been complaints back and forth that Windows isn't open enough, but by and large the industry has been satisfied. Changes were made, but speaking as someone who covered the Justice Department investigation, it was more of a wrist slap than a body blow.

The EU Takes Tougher Windows Stand
A week or so back, we told you how the European Union (EU) is still pestering Microsoft over the bundling of Windows and Internet Explorer. I was never a fan of the tight bundling, but it's been a done deal for so long I've mostly forgotten about it.

The authorities, especially those in the States, have essentially conceded to Microsoft the right to continue this bundling and the tight integration (it takes mad IT skills to delete IE from a Windows machine). The EU, however, never forgot and may force Microsoft not to remove IE, but to fully disable the browser.

I'm siding with the EU on this one, and I'll tell you why. Many in IT have Firefox or other browsers as the standard because it's more secure. That's all well and good, but IE is still in place, even if it's not used, and still offers an attack vector. The EU could be forcing Microsoft to show the world precisely how to disable IE with techniques IT can then use to offer IE-less machines for sale.

IE 8: Your Turn
Speaking of Internet Explorer, IE 8 is currently in beta and will be a key part of Windows 7. Are you using IE 8? What do you love, hate or just mildly adore?

Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]. I'll send you back a bunch of questions and build a feature story based entirely on your feedback! Rocks!
When I look for items to bring you in the Redmond Report newsletters, I have a vast new source of material. It may sound confusing, but is our new Web site that brings together Microsoft news from across the Web. We're so committed to this being an open site that we don't even link to our own stories.

Do me a favor -- check out this site and let me know what you like, dislike and how we can make it richer and more satisfying. Impressions can and will be sent to [email protected].

Mailbag: Microsoft In the Money...Not
Last week, Doug wrote about the rough quarter Microsoft just had -- profits are down and layoffs are up. Did Vista have anything to do with it? Is Windows 7 going to give Microsoft the boost it needs? Here are some of your thoughts:

In your item about what went wrong with Microsoft's earnings, you said regarding Vista: "Then there is the Vista problem. Many who would like a faster machine believe that Vista is slower than XP, no matter how many gigs of RAM you throw at it." This is a perception that is thrown out by the media and writers of technical publications that are either under pressure to do so, or are purely misinformed and have not run comparisons themselves. It is no longer true that XP outperforms Vista. The only advantage XP has is on boot-up on laptops, where Vista lags by about 20 to 30 seconds. Once booted up, Vista outperforms XP. With desktops with dual-core processors and above, Vista performs or even outperforms XP at boot-up.

Microsoft failed on two levels, in my opinion, regarding Vista: It released it at a time when hardware and software vendors still had not created stable drivers and software updates, and secondly Microsoft has a horrible marketing department. Maybe it should have been laid off a long time ago.

The interesting part of this article is that it seems to show that Microsoft simply does not have any understanding of its customers. I run a startup global sourcing business, and I spend a rather significant part of my day playing games with one operational problem after another with Vista. As if that is not bad enough, Microsoft provides virtually no customer service; other than a publication like Redmond Report, there is no one to talk to. Because of this, I can only assume that no one in Microsoft is listening.

Personally, I think that Microsoft is on the slippery slope of ultimate failure. I am a small fellow in the world, but I have three computers in the business and three at home that will eventually migrate to Apple or Linux. Microsoft is, in my humble opinion, the soon-to-be Chrysler of the software industry, looking for a handout to keep the doors open just a little longer. Will Microsoft's vast cash reserves last it through the need to convince the public that there is good reason to invest in Windows 7 -- or even to download Vista SP2?

I think you are right about Microsoft for 2009; it will be glad to see the back of 2008. It will really reap the benefits through 2010, though, when Windows 7 -- I know the marketing wonks won't like it, but couldn't they keep that as the name? -- and Server 2008 R2 are established. Certainly, both products will be on top of my list late this year. We have skipped Vista entirely and I'll be working hard to ensure that we adopt Windows 7 relatively early especially as application compatibility appears pretty good in the beta so far. I think you can keep the rose-tinted glasses on.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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