IAG 2007 -- A Whale of a Deal

Congratulations! You get to memorize a brand-new acronym. While Cisco has firewalls with names like PIX, Centri and Catalyst, acronym-crazy Microsoft named its latest firewall IAG 2007 (which is about as intuitive as ISA, its previous product).

IAG isn't just a complicated name; it's a complicated product and has an even more intricate history.

Let's start with the product. IAG combines ISA with VPN and firewall software that Microsoft got when it acquired security appliance maker Whale Communications, which had hardware similar to that of Network Engines, Celestix and others.

The appliance story is a bit tangled, so let me walk you through it. Although Whale was a maker of appliances, Microsoft decided not to compete against other hardware makers (check out our take on this issue here).

Instead, both Celestix and Network Engines will build IAG hardware devices. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal all around.

Dell and Intel: I Knew Something Was Up
When AMD starting gaining steam with cheap and blazingly fast PC and server chips, all the major hardware makers jumped at least partly on the bandwagon -- except Dell, which stubbornly and publicly refused give AMD an inch.

Behind the scenes, though, Intel was paying Dell big bucks to use its chips. While this may not be illegal or even unethical, it's the subject of a shareholder lawsuit; Dell didn't report about $1 billion in such payments openly enough, the suit charges.

All this chaos led founder Michael Dell to take back the reigns of the company he started in an Austin dorm room 27 years ago.

Zune Exec Zooms Off
The man behind the Zune has left Microsoft, and no one is really saying how or why. Bryan Lee, by all accounts, got the Zune out on time and in stores in time for Christmas. I looked superficially at the specs and thought it compared quite favorably to the iPod. That is, until Redmond Report readers set me straight, pointing out the Zune won't play tunes Microsoft originally promised it would, such as WMA tracks bought from Napster and other music services, or even from Microsoft itself.

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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