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 [email protected].)

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 protected].

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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 sakes?

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: [email protected].

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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