Microsoft Revamps Fragmented ERP, CRM, Supply Chain Line

At this week's Convergence Show in Dallas, Microsoft provided another roadmap for Dynamics, its line of enterprise apps that it cobbled together by buying Great Plains, Axtapa and other ERP-style vendors. The ultimate goal is to take a line of four heavy-duty products and merge them into one through Project Green. That won't happen for another couple years, at least. In the meantime, Microsoft has renamed all these tools to make them seem like they're all a part of a family.

Here's the problem: Let's say you're looking for supply chain software. If you go to the Dynamics Web site, you'll find at least three products with overlapping supply chain functionality. There's no grid that lists comparative features and clearly defines what size and type of company each product is suited for.

Despite all the confusion, Microsoft is committed to the ERP market, and through patience and integration with all its other tools, will ultimately stake out a prominent position -- mark my words.

To Patch or Not To Patch?
There's a newly discovered IE flaw that could be used for phishing attacks. Microsoft hasn't patched this puppy yet, and if your users are trained in how to resist phishing, this shouldn't be a big deal. But if they click on every "New E-Mail Added to PayPal Account" message, then you're already in trouble.

Spammer Pays the Piper
Most of today's spammers are untouchable overseas scumbags that the weak Can-Spam law and weak-willed law enforcement can't touch. We're fighting a well-equipped worldwide army of spammers with pea shooters. But there's a minor victory in the war on spam: Jumpstart Technologies, an actual company in San Francisco, was sued by the FTC, and agreed to pay $900,000 to settle. Jumpstart apparently offered folks movie tickets if they gave up friends' e-mail addresses, then e-mailed the friends acting like it knew them. Then Jumpstart worked on these ninnies until they gave up credit card numbers.

Jumpstart's big mistake? It didn't run this scam from Bulgaria.

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Snort Deal Off
Recently we told you how the feds objected to Check Point Software, an Israeli company, buying Snort, since Snort is used to protect classified U.S. info. Now Check Point has bowed out, just like Dubai bailed on the ports deal. Interestingly, it was the Bush administration that objected in the first place.

Linux Interop Vendor Millions Richer
Centeris, which lets Windows tools manage Linux servers, just scooped up $11.5 million to build up the company. Like Vintela (bought by Quest), this is a company to watch. Original investor Ignition Partners, formed by a who's who of ex-Microsoft big wigs, kicked in money for this second round.

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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