Vista Slip-Sliding Away?

A few weeks ago Gartner made the startling prediction that Vista would probably be late. Not exactly a stunner for a product that has been delayed since before Paris Hilton was famous (those were the good old days!). But since Gartner, aka Captain Obvious, had broached the subject, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the next step, with an official statement that maybe, just maybe, Vista, umm, could ship, err, based on beta feedback, and it could be, perhaps, that Vista, uhh, might be released at a date, ahem, other than that previously specified. Have I made myself clear?

Ballmer's backpedaling put Microsoft PR into full spin control mode: They all say it is still on target for January. Ballmer also jumped back on the January bandwagon at his next speech, blaming the misinterpretation on an "unusual question."

Stupid Hackers Redux
MySpace has been in the news nearly every day, usually with lurid stories about how the Web site is somehow connected with murders, kidnappings and molestations (yesterday there was news that a college girl may have been stalked and strangled because of her MySpace profile). But what about MySpace as victim? Two dufus teenagers from New York with modest computing hacking skills (roughly equivalent to Napoleon Dynamite's, I'd guess) tried to blackmail the site with the threat that they could teach the world how to hack MySpace. These two nitwits actually flew to California to collect their big score, but were greeted with cuffs instead of cash.

If you're having deja vu, it's because MySpace successfully used the exact same tactic with another teenage blackmailer a year ago.

Web 2.0 Brouhaha
O'Reilly, the feisty, opinionated book publisher, has a reputation for standing up for causes, like Open Source, computing freedom and the future of the Internet. That's why it was a bit of a shock to learn the company had trademarked the term Web 2.0 and will sue to protect it. In O'Reilly's defense, the first time I ever read a clear definition of Web 2.0 was from it.

Critics weren't as kind. A posting on an O'Reilly blog prompted 42 pages of angry responses, the most vile of which were deleted. Kudos to the company for keeping almost all of the lambasting up on the blog.

While I'm a bit queasy over a trademark for such a well-used term, O'Reilly might have an ulterior motive -- to keep Microsoft from co-opting the name. Company founder Tim O'Reilly is currently vacationing, but it seems he's poised to respond upon his return.

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Google and Dell, Big Whoop?
When the news broke that Dell planned to bundle a few bits of Google software in its PCs, the way some reacted you would have thought Microsoft was on the brink of collapse. The mainstream media sees this as a knife driven right into Redmond's left ventricle. Never mind that Google is reportedly paying Dell some $1 billion for the privilege of giving Dell its software (I'd love to learn how to negotiate like Dell!).

So what is Dell bundling? An alternative browser (here's my idea), an Office-style suite, a new, better OS? No. What has everyone salivating is (drumroll…) the Google toolbar! Are we so desperate for some Microsoft competition that we seriously think this is important?

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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