Microsoft Is Hungrier Than a Sumo
At last week's Microsoft Partner Conference, the never demure Steve
Ballmer made a characteristically bold challenge
: He asked Redmond resellers
to push Microsoft search, unified messaging and security products, and spit
on those of Redmond rivals.
Although I've heard this song before, this time it really rubbed me the
wrong way. In each case, rivals pioneered these paths: Avaya and Cisco in unified
messaging; Yahoo, AltaVista and Google in search; and Symantec and McAfee in
anti-virus. Ballmer wants partners to utterly discount these efforts and put
their full weight behind the Microsoft-come-lately offerings.
That is just wrong, especially in security. Let's face it, Windows would
be much more of a crash-fest were it not for anti-virus software from third
parties. I guess saving Windows isn't enough to keep Microsoft from trying
to destroy your company! Imagine a world without strong third parties? I don't
want an IT market that looks like the oil or soft drink industries -- dull,
secretive and expensive!
Lotus Notes: Not Dead Yet
In the name of keeping Redmond off balance, you might want to check
out a few alternatives, like the new
Notes client that runs on Linux. While the world wasn't exactly waiting
with breathless anticipation, this is great news for the rare shops (rare in
America, less so in Europe and elsewhere) adopting Linux desktops. I'm
still troubled that desktop Linux isn't ready for prime time, but you
should be prepared for when it is. A sprinkling of Linux sure won't hurt
when it comes time to negotiate Vista licenses, eh?
Does Suse Rate a 10?
Novell, struggling for its very survival, is struggling like heck to
commercialize Linux, a feat long ago mastered by Red Hat, which has some 80
percent of the pay-to-play Linux market. That is at least half of what Suse
10 is all about -- encouraging customers to register their software and
pay Novell its annual dues.
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My take? This industry needs companies like Novell, always ready to battle,
to survive. Microsoft only excels in the face of rigorous competition, and that
same competition keeps prices in check. Want to pay less for Windows Server?
Buy a few Linux servers and give your MS rep a tour next time he comes to visit.
Windows To Get Faster -- At Least When It Comes to Shipping
Also at last week's partner event, Ballmer
promised we won't have to wait five years for the follow-up to Vista
-- like we will for the follow-up to XP. Unfortunately, Ballmer didn't
offer more product details or specifics on how he'll shrink the development
window. But given the company's track record on ship dates, I'll
believe this when Vista 2008 ships on time!
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.