Life Without Microsoft

Redmond magazine is all about Microsoft -- except when we don't talk about Microsoft. We do so to give reasonable alternatives and help you integrate non-Microsoft technologies. Now we're interested in a bolder approach, profiling companies that exist without any or much Microsoft software. Is it harder or easier to manage? What about training and support? And just how hard is it to integrate? At first we were looking for shops that made a wholesale switch away from Microsoft so we could explore all the issues; but some of these shops won't talk and others are vendors that have more pressing economic concerns than pure IT ROI.

So I'm taking a different tack, examining pockets of change. If you support a decent number of Macs or Linux PCs, drop me a line at dbarney@redmondmag.com or post below and you just might see your words in our magazine.

Microsoft (and the Press) Primes Vista Pump
Ever since Windows 95, Microsoft has been a master of leaks, hints and partial disclosures, all to keep story-hungry journalists writing front-page stories. They are two sides to blame here: headline-obsessed Microsoft and the easily manipulated Fourth Estate.

Now we're all fighting to break the story of just when exactly Microsoft will announce Vista, which most recent reports put at this October. Only Microsoft could get away with this nonsense. I mean, Vista has been discussed for years and is in broad testing -- there aren't exactly any secrets. So...come October, Microsoft will announce all the things we already know and features many of us are already using.

What Is a BlackBerry Worth? About $612 million!
BlackBerry users (I'm still jonesin' for one myself) have been on pins and needles waiting to see if its maker, Research in Motion, would be forced to yank the service over a patent dispute. Well, not to worry, the company paid the patent holder a cool $612 million, so users can keep destroying their fingers and family lives through non-stop e-mailing. On second thought, maybe I don't want one after all.

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Google Yaps About Microsoft and Insane Revenue Goals
If there's one company that can get press without even trying, it's Google (Microsoft has to try just a wee bit harder). Google has grabbled gobs of great headlines, first by warning about slowing growth, which forced the stock way down, and then promising to go from today's $6 billion in revenue to $100 billion. That's almost three times the size of Microsoft (its self-proclaimed biggest rival, duh!), and would put Google solidly in the Fortune 10 (Google was No. 541 in 2005). There's nothing like ambition, even crazy, out-of-touch ambition.

Part of why it the company made the statement was to recover the stock-damaging remarks from Google's CEO earlier in the week, but whatever the reason, we got some insight into Google's grand plans. Some of it sounds right to me, as Google is offering to sell advertising for high-tech magazines. I guess it's not enough that Google filches IT online advertising -- now it wants to collect our actual commissions.

Google is impressive, but just as the Internet can let a company grow from nothing, it can let rivals -- even if not founded yet -- take it all away.

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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