Microsoft's Mo' Money
Microsoft late last week pulled a classic Wall Street maneuver, reporting
while sheepishly worrying about the future—all so it
can beat expectations next year and next quarter. Driving Microsoft’s
business are raging PC sales, almost all of which come with Windows and most
of which ultimately have Office installed. Microsoft is now nearly a $40 billion
Things ain’t so bad on the server side either—for as much as Linux
grows, the Windows server family grows stronger and more complete each day.
I only hope Redmond clients will someday be that good.
Say goodbye to Longhorn, at least on the client side. The official name for
the next rev. of Windows is Vista.
We’ll probably all get used to it, but it seems like such a un-Microsoft
name. Vista is vague, nebulous, cliche and pretty much meaningless. Execs came
up with some marketing mumbo jumbo about the new OS offering “clarity.”
I’d rather they call it Windows Secure, Windows Less Expensive or Windows
Meanwhile, Redmond magazine contributor and Beta Man author Don Jones pointed
out that there is already another Windows Vista, or at least Vista Windows.
Check it out here.
And there’s weirder news. A Washington-based software company named Vista
Inc. is checking to see if its trademark is being violated. Vista’s
founder John Wall is no slouch as he earlier founded Wall Data. Wall was also
a major stockholder in Microsoft rival SCO, so surely the Redmondites should
not have been caught unawares.
XP SP2 Gathers Steam
It may seem strange to brag about the penetration of a free OS upgrade, but
Microsoft and the industry should be happy that some 60 percent of users have
moved to Windows XP SP2. This service pack packs a free firewall and anti-virus
features—and more than a few holes plugged. Well worth the download.
But SP2 is not a cure-all. My laptop, running the service pack, inexplicably
lost its USB connections, and days later the screen turned a horrible low-res
pink. The challenge is absolutely on for Microsoft to fix these problems with
Vista—it’s just plain unacceptable for IT and consumers to spend
so much time fixing the dominant desktop operating system.
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XP2 and hopefully Longhorn—err, Vista—are all about security. But
third parties are the ones driving the security train. And some of the best
are getting bought by Microsoft, or getting cash injections. Content security
and appliance vendor Finjan
just got a nice dose of dollars from the boys of Redmond. This deal has
a soap opera feel to it, and I’m sure I don’t know half the story.
What we do know is that Finjan was publicly slapped by Microsoft for disclosing
software flaws before they were fixed. Then nine days before the deal was announced,
the founder and CEO of Finjan was suddenly removed by his board. I’ll
let your imagination fill in the blanks.
My recent item on Microsoft AntiSpyware brought some 50 reader messages—a
clear record, so thanks. Many had my experience with AntiSpyware mysteriously
not detecting anything. Others thought the software sub-par, while a whole bunch
of folks were very pleased with the free beta.
All this is prompting me to dig a little deeper. Look for an upcoming Chief
Concerns and a Your Turn story. And if any of you have been hit by the SpySheriff
infection, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org—I’m
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.