Old News but Good News -- Thanks Warren

In the old days, robber barons would make gobs of money while their workers lived in shacks; then, because of guilt, for the publicity, or perhaps out of sincere feeling, they would donate millions to charity. These days the hideously wealthy aren't running sweatshops, paper mills or forging iron -- they invest, make software or own massive retail operations. While it seems there might be less to feel guilty for, these uber-rich are giving more than their predecessors.

Marxists would say this money is based on pure exploitation, but I have nothing but pure praise for Mr. Gates and now good pal Warren Buffet who are giving away not millions but billions to charity. Buffet plans to give over $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is insanely great. How would you spend the money? Tell us all at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Ellison Is Rich and Cheap
Last time I checked, Larry Ellison had either the first or second most-expensive yacht in the world. And swept up in the giving frenzy set off by Ted Turner and Bill Gates, Larry announced a gift to Harvard of $115 million. But Ellison's boat must need a new engine or two, as the Oracle top dog has so far failed to hand over the cash. It seems like the funds are caught up in an ongoing insider trading investigation.

Best Buy Buddies Up with Redmond and Cupertino
As Apple's desktop market share fell, its retail outlets disappeared faster than beer at a frat party. But just weeks after Best Buy announced it will put its full geek muscle behind pushing a broad range of Microsoft software to small and medium-sized businesses, the retail giant said it is considering carrying Macintosh computers. With Vista missing the holiday rush, it could be a good December for the Mac -- maybe that's when I'll buy mine!

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What's the Deal with WinFS?
Guys, I'm way more than confused about the future of WinFS, a master file system that would let us intuitively and easily find information no matter where or what it is. Apparently this is easier announced than done. Not only was WinFS stripped out of Vista, but now it won't be shipped as an add-on (an add-on file system always seemed a bit wacky to me), but will be built into future (meaning way off) products like a future rev of SQL Server (not sure how this helps end users) and Visual Studio (so code monkeys can enjoy the features Microsoft promised to the masses?). Our man in Redmond, Stuart Johnston, can usually explain the software giant's every move, and even he's confused. Check out Stuart's report.

Office Hype
The Office 2007 beta is so easy to get, even Linus Torvalds could snag a copy. But that's not enough: Now Microsoft wants anyone with a Web browser (maybe even Firefox) to give the new Office a whirl. I'm a dedicated Office hater, which is why I'm looking forward to the new rev, and the interface seems to make a lot more sense. What do you think of the new context-sensitive ribbon UI? Tell us at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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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