Visto Lawsuit Raises Larger Issues
When I first heard a company named Visto was suing Microsoft, I assumed it
was over the name Vista. But Visto has a different
-- it claims that Redmond “misappropriated” Visto technology
used to match servers and wireless devices to remotely access e-mail, and is
in violation of three Visto patents. Because the suit was announced the day
that Visto was acquired by BlackBerry-suing sourpuss NTP Inc., a holding company
sitting on top of a bunch of e-mail patents, it’s tempting to leap to
But Visto, er, NTP, is criticizing how Microsoft is giving away technology
that Visto was founded with through hard work and even harder-earned dollars
to build and commercialize. This is what Redmond did with browsers, disk compression,
media players -- heck, we even had to buy separate programs just to print in
sideways mode (anyone remember Sideways from Funk Software?).
I’m pretty torn on this subject. When you give away the basic technology
that competitors struggled to build so you can protect your monopoly, you might
deserve to get sued. But I’d like to see some features that should be
core to the OS, such as software that protects that OS. I say bundle anti-virus,
anti-spam, anti-phishing and anti-hacking components until my computer is safe
What do you think should and shouldn’t be bundled with Windows XP? Write
me at email@example.com.
SAP and Microsoft Partnerships Remains Tight
Speaking of the high end, Microsoft and SAP are developing
a new tool that gives Microsoft Office users richer access to SAP data.
Code-named Mendocino (if you think the code name should be the real name, let
me know at firstname.lastname@example.org),
the product will be in beta (Microsoft for some dang reason calls it a Technology
Preview) this week.
While productivity software has long front-ended large enterprise ERP, database,
CRM and supply-chain apps, better integration is always good. In many cases
we have terrific back-end apps that we fail to harness. Data is no good to anyone
if it can’t be viewed, analyzed and acted upon.
This type of integration is also key to keeping OpenOffice and others from
stealing Office market share.
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There’s a New Scam in Town
I’m used to getting fake proposals from Nigerians and notices of lottery
winnings from Amsterdam and no longer fall for them. But when I heard that I
won $500,000 in a Microsoft lottery, I sold the ‘79 Ford LTD wagon and
bought a Hummer and a boat -- even before I collected my winnings!
Actually, I shouldn’t be telling you this, because the
e-mail from Iries Van Guus, the lottery coordinator, asked me to keep it
confidential for a while -- something about a mix-up in the numbers.
I’d write more but I have to rush off to my bank and make arrangements
to forward a little cash advance to get the whole ball rolling.
It looks like this scam, which sullies the fine Microsoft name, has just recently
been making the rounds. I guess they think the proud name of Microsoft, and
their huge cash reserves, make it all the more believable.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.