How Can Redmond Security Be Too Cheap When It Should Be Free?

This is either a paradox, an irony or a conundrum -- you decide. Here's the deal: Microsoft for years has shipped operating systems with huge holes that third parties filled with robust anti-virus-spam-hacker-phishing and what not. Now Microsoft is building and selling the same sorts of products. When Redmond gave away these tools, competitors and government authorities called it bundling and said it was unfair competition. Now that Microsoft is selling these things, the complaints are that they're too cheap, amounting to predatory pricing. Old Redmond friend Alex Eckelberry from Sunbelt is one of the more outspoken critics (read his blog here).

I fully understand the frustration, but shouldn't Microsoft have a role in fixing its own problems, and is it right for governments to tell the company how much it can charge? E-mail your answers to

Unified Messaging -- The Promises Never Stop
Ten years after I first covered unified messaging I have a laptop with e-mail, a BlackBerry that's not quite synchronized with my laptop, a home-office phone with voice mail, an office phone with voice mail, and a cell phone with voice mail (these messages show up two to three days after they're left, giving me a great excuse as to why I forgot to buy milk).

Microsoft, which has promised unified messaging before, now has a new plan: the Unified Communications line of products. Real geekazoids will love it: an e-mail turns into voice mail which turns into a conference call based on your calendar with all the attachments visible to all participants who are tied in no matter the end device. To me this is less than enticing even if it worked -- which it probably won't. Just synchronize my files against multiple devices and give me a single inbox. Is that so hard?

Are you unified? If so, what's your secret? Clue us in at

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Microsoft Learning Readjusts
The Microsoft Learning Division got rid of 14 workers who produced books, manuals and other documents. This is no biggie as this work is simply being outsourced. With nearly 70,000 employees, most in the U.S., it's tough to knock Redmond for such a move.

The Old AOL Runaround
Let me guess: You, in a past life you'd rather not admit to, tried to cancel AOL and they offered you a free month or two -- anything to get you to change you mind. That worked years ago, but with DSL in many locations cheaper than AOL dial-up, the company has gotten rougher. In fact, AOL customer service is getting downright stubborn, as Vincent Ferrari discovered when he spent a half hour fruitlessly trying to cancel. But Ferrari got even: He posted a transcript online so all the AOL haters could have a field day.

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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