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Critics like to slam Microsoft for its aggressive competitive tendencies. But Microsoft is also pragmatic, and for the last two years the company has been licensing technology to competitors in the Linux, mobile phone and other spaces. The trick for Microsoft is licensing property that helps competitors interoperate with Microsoft tools, such as allowing cell phones to tap into Exchange.

Oh, and don't expect a free license: These deals could be a key source of profit in the future as the company is selling something it built long ago. And, in many cases, the technology is cross-licensed, so Microsoft gets something cool in return.

So We're All Crazy?
The general perception of the world, the IT community and Redmond readers is that Microsoft software has far too many vulnerabilities, leading many to consider Linux on servers instead of Windows, and fueling a resurgence of Macintosh interest. But Wipro, a U.K. IT consulting company, says we are all horribly mistaken, that Windows is more secure and cheaper to keep protected than Linux.

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The study focused on the cost of updating and patching systems, and found Windows to be cheaper. That is not such a surprise, as Microsoft has streamlined patch releases, built free Windows-only patch tools -- and IT has gotten pretty used to patching the OS (it has done it plenty of times!).

But the Microsoft press release headline implies that Windows itself is more secure and less risky that Linux, a conclusion the report doesn't seem to justify. I only wish it were true.

SMB Just Begging To Be Hacked
The Gartner Group is warning that hackers are getting set to go after a Server Message Block (SMB) flaw recently patched by Microsoft. Apparently there has been a surge in SMB port sniffing to feel out the flaw. Check out bulletin MS05-027 for the skinny on how to patch this puppy.

IE's Fertile Phishing Grounds
Redmond magazine's Scott Bekker reports a new phishing technique that affects IE and other Web browsers. The problem is having multiple overlapping browser windows. The scammers can hide their bogus forms inside legitimate sites with legitimate URLs, so you believe you are giving financial and personal information to a company you do business with. Nasty.

No Longer Invited to Bill's Birthday?
Former Microsoft CFO Greg Maffei has gone over to the enemy camp. No, he's not working for the U.S. Department of Justice. Even worse, Maffei is working directly for Larry Ellison as the new co-president and CFO of Oracle. No word on whether Maffei will try to revive the dead-as-a-door nail Network Computer.

Pet Peeve, Part 2: Readers Chime In
Last week I complained about printing Web pages and having just the ad print or the right-side text chopped off. I got lots of readers telling me to use Firefox, which I have installed on a home PC along with OpenOffice (both installs thanks to David, my 12-year-old son).

This weekend I was back at it, printing page after page from IE for a research project—the vast majority printed wrong. And pages from Microsoft.com will print wrong unless you choose the printer-friendly option buried at the bottom of the page.

IE has 8 billion features, so why can't it do the most basic thing right all the time? Redmond Report readers share my pain and offer some answers.

Don has this suggestion, which I've used. It helps, but not all the time:
"You're right that Internet Explorer often prints the wrong thing from a page. Here's a trick you can try: Always select the Print Preview first and then print from there. For some unknown reason it seems to do a better job in selecting the main portion of the screen."
- Don

Rick has another idea:
"I have a solution for you: STOP PRINTING! Instead, just grab the text with Cogitum Co-Citer and place it in your organized, searchable collection of goodies found on the web! Check it out at www.cogitum.com. There's a companion product for images Cogitum Co-Tracker, also. Best of all, they're free for non-commercial use!"
- Rick

And finally, Adrian has this to say:
"... and that's why 6 percent of us (and growing) now use Firefox."
- Adrian

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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