It's the old switcheroo, I tell ya! Folks in Redmond must sound like 1920s gangsters (or maybe 1850s gold prospectors?) when they discuss, no doubt in heated tones, Google's big cloud win with the General Services Administration.
Apparently (and this is a complicated story), the GSA, a U.S. government agency, stipulated that, among many other requirements, its cloud data must rest in data centers in the U.S. Microsoft responded thusly with a plan. Then Google, via Unisys, came in with a slightly different proposal that didn't include domestic-only data storage.
The GSA must have liked the pitch because it decided that keeping its data on U.S. soil wasn't that important after all and revised its requirements. Google and Unisys won the bid, and Microsoft cried foul. At least that's what we think happened. The ins and outs of this story probably go much deeper than that.
Really, though, if we've learned anything here, it's that the cloud is still a mystery to many IT departments and that partners shouldn't shy away from making a few "suggestions" in their cloud proposals. If an organization as strict as a government agency can start rethinking federal law (which is what seems to have happened here) on what appears to be a whim, then a little creativity in a cloud pitch might not be a bad thing.
As for Microsoft's case in this little matter, well, it actually looks pretty solid to us. It's very possible that Redmond got hoodwinked. But such is the nature of business in bootlegging, gold prospecting and cloud implementations, we suppose.
Did the GSA pull a switcheroo on Microsoft? Sound off at email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/06/2010 at 1:23 PM0 comments
SAP is a company so important and presumably so difficult to manage that it actually has two CEOs. In any case, one of them this week delivered the good news that IT spending is coming around, particularly in the software market. No word yet on what the other CEO thinks.
Posted on 12/02/2010 at 1:23 PM0 comments
As December rolls in, so the tide of news slowly begins to roll out. We've only got a couple more weeks of RCPU left for the whole year, as incredible as that might seem. Your editor is studying his calendar carefully to make sure it's actually December. Where did 2010 go?
That paragraph sounds like a setup for some sort of year-in-review post, but it's not. We're just sort of rambling here, to be honest, and we're not sure how to make a clean segue to the topic of this entry. So, let's just go without one.
Microsoft and Red Hat roamed further into the cloud this week. Redmond trotted out some test builds of Azure cloud add-ons, as Redmond magazine Mary Jo Foley so ably explains. Red Hat, the open source vendor (that always sounds like a strange description...), made its play for a cloud-based Platform-as-a-Service by buying Makara. Jeff Schwartz offers further detail and technical what-not on RCPmag.com.
Not really earth-shattering news, is it? Well, the Earth is likely to stay well intact at least until January at this point, at least on the tech-news front. That'll mean shorter RCPUs with less pontification over the next couple of weeks. You're welcome.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/02/2010 at 1:23 PM0 comments
The would-be do-gooders in the European Union who have given Microsoft such fits over the years are getting serious about going after another American target: Google.
And what incriminating stuff does the EU have on Google? Well...none, actually, but the European governing body is pretty darn sure that Google has been evil somehow. Check out these allegations leveled against the company, taken from the article quoted above:
"1) Rankings: Google allegedly lowered the ranking of unpaid search results of competitors that specialize in services such as price comparisons. The firm has also allegedly given preferential placement of its own search services in order to shut out competitors.
2) Sponsored Advertising: Google allegedly lowered the 'Quality Score' for sponsored links of competing vertical search services. The Quality Score is one of the factors that determine the price paid to Google by advertisers.
3) Advertising Obligations: Google allegedly forced exclusivity obligations on advertising partners, preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their Web sites, as well as on computer and software vendors, with the aim of shutting out competing search tools.
4) Data Portability: Google allegedly restricted services from transporting advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms."
Huh. So, Google allegedly earned -- against a lot of competition -- a near-monopoly on a platform, search in this case, and then used its position of power on that platform to promote its products over those of competitors. Well done, Google! If all of this is true, then you've followed the Microsoft business model to a T. Seriously, congratulations. And EU, leave Google alone. Google got the loot. That's business.
Oh, and Microsoft, you could stand to be a little less giddy about this whole thing. We're sure that you're more than willing to help a competitor get whacked in Brussels the way you did, but you have to admit that Google beat you at your own game here -- allegedly.
What's your take on Google's alleged antitrust misdoings? Which do you trust more, Google or Microsoft? Answer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/01/2010 at 1:23 PM4 comments
You probably won't be able to use it yet, but the missing link between Google Docs and Microsoft Office (from the Google side, anyway) is in beta.
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/01/2010 at 1:23 PM0 comments
Really, now, why? Why are these tablet things so popular? What's really weird here is that a bunch of investment bankers are going to be carrying around products with the super-cool Apple logo on them. What will that do to Apple's street cred with the bookish hipster coffee-house set?
Posted by Lee Pender on 12/01/2010 at 1:23 PM1 comments
We read (and write) it all the time: Microsoft is behind the curve in developing for new technology formats. Redmond's smartphone operating system is an also-ran. Microsoft has no tablet strategy. Google, Apple and RIM are just killing the old dinosaur in those areas.
But so what? Microsoft is still raking in money, and there's still a Windows laptop on almost every...well, lap, we suppose, or desk. The company's server products are going like gangbusters, and even Dynamics is settling into a niche. No big deal, right? Tablets, trick-pony phones and all those toys can take a back seat to real technology.
Actually, that's what we'd like Microsoft to say: that it's going to focus on enterprise technologies, operating systems and the cloud for business and leave the more consumer-oriented stuff behind. But that's not Microsoft. That's not Steve Ballmer. The company wants to be everything to everybody, so it has some sort of presence in just about every technology market in existence.
But Microsoft's roots are still in the old-fashioned desktop OS, and that's becoming a bit of a problem as users increasingly turn to smartphones and (for reasons we still don't understand) tablets, and away from laptops and especially desktops. If Microsoft wants to be everything to everybody, it's going to need to pick up its game big time.
Early returns on Windows Phone 7 suggest that, despite some clever but confusing (are we not supposed to look at our phones?) advertising from Redmond, Android is just crushing. Microsoft's mobile OS. One UK retailer says that Android sales are outpacing those of WP7 at a rate of 15 to 1. Ouch.
But the news gets worse for Microsoft: Gartner recently cut its forecast for worldwide PC shipment growth in 2011, noting that the popularity of tablets is actually cutting into PC sales. And which tablet is the most popular of them all? Well, the iPad, of course. There's not a Windows machine to be found in the tablet market right now, at least not one that's garnering any serious interest.
The tablet thing is especially disturbing because it hits Microsoft right in the financial gut -- sales of Windows on PCs. And, frankly, we at RCPU really didn't see that coming. Everybody's talking tablets now, and not just for reading books on the subway. Businesses are increasingly adopting them, and they're buying iPads. Why? We're honestly not sure, but it's happening.
So, while Microsoft tries to please all of the people all of the time, it's letting Apple (of all companies -- seriously) make a dent in its core revenues. Maybe it's time for Microsoft to shift its focus from phones -- which have never been a massive moneymaker in Redmond, anyway -- to tablets. And it's definitely time for Microsoft to stop trying to win every technology contest and figure out which areas it needs to develop -- and protect -- in order to maintain its position at (sorry, near) the top of the technology heap.
What kind of interest do you have in tablet computers? Have your say at email@example.com.
Posted by Lee Pender on 11/29/2010 at 1:23 PM6 comments
The Supreme Court is going to hear Microsoft's appeal in the patent case that led to an injunction on sales of Microsoft Word. We kind of like Microsoft's chances here given the pro-business nature of this court. Don't hold your breath for news on this, though -- the Supremes, with or without Diana Ross, hope to reach a decision by the end of June.
Posted by Lee Pender on 11/29/2010 at 1:23 PM0 comments