Exchange Snobs Rejoice

Want to make your e-mail-loving friends jealous? Just spring for a premium Exchange 2007 client license -- it's the Dom Perignon of messaging. For the extra dough you can command Exchange through voice, store voice messages through Exchange and get improved folder management. I'll just take the Korbel.

Office Group Cut in Two
The Microsoft Office group has been growing and growing, absorbing products that have seemingly little to do with word processors and spreadsheets. Microsoft apparently reached the same conclusion and is splitting this huge group down the middle, with the core Office tools (word processors, spreadsheets and related Web tools) on one side and all the tools that were piled on, like SharePoint, Groove and Project, on the other.

When Microsoft and Adobe Fight, Customers Lose
Mac bigots, like the ones that live in my house and eat all my food, love to brag about the native ability to save documents as PDFs, something Windows users have to kludge together. Windows lovers laughed back when Redmond announced that Office 2007 would include PDF as a native format. But sometime after Microsoft announced a PDF competitor, Adobe (or Microsoft, depending on who you talk to) nixed the PDF idea. Apparently, Adobe is worried about giving a monopoly free access to a key piece of Adobe intellectual property. I guess they've seen what happened to all the others that made that mistake.

Microsoft Collaboration Confusion
So you want to use Microsoft technology for collaboration? What do you get? Messenger, Exchange (and user Shared Folders -- Redmond's original collaboration idea), SharePoint, LiveMeeting, Groove or more than a half dozen other tools that somehow touch collaboration? That alone is confusing enough. Making matters worse, all these products look, feel and act differently. Bringing cohesion to this mess is a monster job -- one that may never be complete. But Redmond does understand this problem and, as new revs comes out, should get closer and closer to a unified, cohesive strategy. It even has a plan it's been sharing under NDA, according to Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft Watch.

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Ballmer Is Right, Wall Street Is Wrong
Wall Street types are madder than a flea on a clean-shaven poodle because Microsoft's stock price refuses to budge (except occasionally to go down). The Brooks Brothers set blames Redmond, and asks that, at the very least, the company give back some of its hard-earned billions through dividends. But Ballmer and Company aren't the total reason the stock is so stagnant: a two-decades-long Wall Street run-up is more to blame.

Steve Ballmer hit it right on the money when he explained that Microsoft needs to hold and keep its cash to invest in the future (you think Longhorn is gonna write itself?). I for one would rather see these billions go towards hot new apps rather than to millions of small investors who could maybe buy a cheeseburger with their dividend.

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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