Giving Them the Small Business
Everyone seems to be talking about small and medium businesses: It’s
SMB this and SMB that. Maybe I’m old-fashioned or just not that bright,
but I think technology is technology, and a tool that’s good for a big
shop should be good for a small one.
There are exceptions: My corner bike shop doesn’t need the same set of
multi-million dollar supply chain applications that Harley-Davidson has. (Should
there be different technologies for different size businesses? Let me know at
So I guess there are services that could be tailored to smaller outfits, which
is what Microsoft is promoting with its Small Business +, a set of Web tools,
training and support programs. While free, some of these offerings seem to be
a tease to get small businesses to pay for the services Microsoft hopes customers
will fall in love with. You can check it out here.
And read our report here.
Party Planning for Partners
Microsoft is a genius when it comes to events. Big (like Tech-Ed) or small,
they always seem to go off without a hitch. Now Microsoft wants
its partners’ events to go as smoothly. The new Microsoft
Partner Events Web site offers everything (registration services, attendee
tracking) you need for a proper event, save the shrimp cocktail and Heineken.
Windows Goes Open Source -- A Little
To please the never-satisfied European Union (won’t they ever let poor
Microsoft alone?), Redmond will license
some of its Windows source code for a fee so developers can build interoperable
products. Microsoft is still battling the EU, which seems to want Microsoft
to open its entire source code vault. Microsoft fears overseas cloning of its
software, but I’m not sure that’s a huge concern, as counterfeiting
is already rampant. More likely is theft of chunks of code and using it to build
new commercial products. So what exactly is Microsoft disclosing? For now just
the communications parts of Windows Server.
Wal-Mart Web Music -- Sounds Pretty Bleeping Lame
Wal-Mart is jumping on the music
download bandwagon, and I’m sure concerned parents everywhere will
be happily signing their kids up, as Wal-Mart has a terrific history of censoring
nearly everything it sells. I have no problem with watered-down music and movies
for minors, but Wal-Mart won’t even allow me to buy an original Eminem
CD. How should online music censorship be handled? Let me know at email@example.com.
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One Small Step for Anti-Spyware
You’ve probably seen it or known someone who got snookered by fake spyware
notices leading to a site that, you guessed it, sells what they claim is anti-spyware
software. My own demon here was SpySheriff, which last time I checked (10 seconds
ago), was still out there scamming (not sure why this hasn’t been shut
down yet). There’s a similar outfit, Secure Computer LLC, which unleashes
pop-up warnings of spyware and then runs a bogus scan that flags normal files
as bad, and tries to sell you Spyware Cleaner for a cool $50 -- a third-rate
product if there ever was one. (Here’s a review
of the product)
Fortunately, Microsoft helped
hunt these thieves down, and Washington is charging the company with misleading
advertising and spamming. Now, can Microsoft go after SpySheriff, for all our
Do you have any spyware horror stories? How should we hunt the authors down,
and what should we do once we’ve found them? You know the address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.