Office Needs a Service Pack 2

Everything these days needs service packs. Heck, even service packs often get service packs. Office 2003 is no exception. Just introduced for your downloading pleasure is the 100MB beast dubbed Service Pack 2 for Office 2003. (Where do they come up with these catchy names?) Besides a bunch of fixes, the pack includes some new anti-phishing software.

Bill-Poleon Dynamite
It was one of those little coincidences, but yesterday I decided to watch the film “Napoleon Dynamite” as I always seem to miss the beginning on cable. Then, last night , when desperately scraping for Redmond Report items, I came across a video where Bill Gates teams with geek star Jon Heder for a skit. The five-minute mini-movie, shown at the recent Professional Developers Conference, is actually “pretty sweet” as Napoleon might say. See for yourself and send your reviews of it to dbarney@redmondmag.com

Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Office 12
In typical Redmond fashion, Microsoft starts beating the drum for new products literally months and years before they ship. In this case, details of Office 12 have been dribbling out. Our own Scott Bekker has gathered all the drippings into a special report that details everything there is to know about the new suite -- except the ship date. It could be next year, it could be the year after. Who knows?

Office 12 is sure to confuse and confound with its new interface and hundreds of new features. I guess I'll stop trying to figure out this version of Word and wait to be baffled by the new version. How many years have you been using Office and there are still features you can't seem to figure out? Tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com .

Microsoft Bones Up on Business Intelligence
If you thought SQL Server 2005 was just a huge hunk of much delayed database code, you'd be wrong. According to Bill Baker, GM of SQL Server Business Intelligence (BI), SQL Server 2005 has a host of BI features that partners are already exploiting. As an unshipped product, SQL Server 2005 has to prove itself in the BI space against vendors that have been slogging it out for years. Oh, I forgot, Microsoft has been pushing SQL Server for BI ever since SQL Server 2000. Microsoft will eventually get there, but I wouldn't toss out my other BI providers just yet.

Backup Done Right?
I've always wondered why good backup wasn't built into every OS. As much as I appreciate the work of storage vendors like EMC, BMC , CA and HP (and the ones with actual names like Veritas and Legato), I never understood why backup has always been a separate program.

Well, Microsoft apparently liked the idea of customers paying extra for what could be built in and is now shipping the $1,000 Microsoft Data Protection Storage Manager. If customers are displeased with spending hard-earned dollars on backup software, how do you think Microsoft storage partners feel having to compete with Redmond?

Branching into Branches
There is a clear operating system leader in the network appliance market and its name is Linux. But Microsoft never gives up and is working with third parties on a host of Windows 2003-based appliances, many of which are aimed at branch offices. The bulky and expensive Windows has no real shot in the general purpose appliance market, so Microsoft is instead aiming at appliances that don't just run Windows but also Microsoft apps like ISA Server and Storage Server as well. And the company expects a whole batch of backup appliances running Microsoft Data Protection Storage Manager.

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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