Microsoft Rivals Playing Dirty (Can You Blame 'Em?)

Microsoft is complaining that its rivals and the rabid dog European Union are in cahoots to put the screws to Redmond. Microsoft says that the top witness for the complaining corporations (among such lightweights as IBM and Oracle) is a tad to close to EU prosecutors, as are the rivals themselves. Underhanded dealings? Where'd they get that idea from?

Now Microsoft, the subject of many a subpoena, is seeking documents to prove its case.

Snort Raises International Ruckus
Security kingpin Check Point probably thought its deal to buy Snort would go off without a hitch, but U.S. government types are all over this deal, worried that Israeli-based Check Point will have too much power over U.S. intelligence. Let me get this straight: We can't trust a staunch ally with Internet security, but it's fine for a Middle Eastern company with questionable ties to run our major ports? Hmmm.

Like 'My Name Is Earl', VoIP Ready for Prime Time
Remember the first time you heard Voice over IP, how horrible the sound was and how ridiculous the sales guy was? "It's not that bad," he'd say. If he had said that over the IP phone, you would have heard "Iz nlotff dattzsh baaa."

Now, the quality in most cases is OK, and the prices are worth a serious look. All this has led to a tripling of U.S. VoIP users in the last year. What I'm really waiting for is the quality to exceed traditional phone service and for IP to be truly exploited in the form of amazing new features and integration with our other forms of communication.

EMC and MSFT Sitting in a Storage Tree
When it comes to storage, there's no one closer to Redmond than EMC. Maybe it's because EMC is so darn good, or maybe it's because EMC is the largest independent storage vendor. In any case, Microsoft and EMC just deepened their already deep relationship (why don't they admit their love and get married already?) with a few new initiatives -- all of which aim to put big bucks in the Redmond coffers. The three main areas of interest, all of which involve joint sales, are upgrading to Exchange, upgrading to SQL Server and moving from Notes to Exchange. Are you seeing a theme here?

My question is whether Microsoft is too close to certain large vendors (HP on the server side, EMC for storage and Cisco for networking to name three)? Is this fair to customers and smaller partners? You know where to write: dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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Speaking of Partners...
Microsoft's partner program touches all -- it touches 600,000-plus partners, and as 96 percent to 97 percent of all sales are touched by partners, it affects almost every single customer. We recently told you about an IDC survey that ranks Microsoft as having the No. 1 partner program. As skeptical as I am about analyst firms (can a few well-paced dollars affect survey results and analyst opinions?), I'm pretty confident about these results. Microsoft puts enormous effort into this program. Microsoft's channel chief, Allison Watson, expounds on the partner program with thoughts of interest to customers and partners alike. If you're a partner and haven't subscribed to our new Redmond Channel Partner magazine, I have one question: Are you insane? Of course not. You just haven't taken a minute to sign up for a free sub. Do so now here.

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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