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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/15/2010 at 1:23 PM3 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 1:23 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 email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/09/2010 at 1:23 PM1 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 1:23 PM0 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 1:23 PM0 comments
Many are the times that we, in this space, have bemoaned Microsoft's embarrassing efforts to be cool. Finally, somebody in Chicago summed up in a relatively short article what we've been trying to say here for years.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/08/2010 at 1:23 PM2 comments