SaaS-y Software

Mark me as confused on this one. Microsoft has just posted a sample application to show how Software as a Service (SaaS) works. The Microsoft Web site explains that "Software as a Service is a new delivery model where companies pay not for owning the software itself but for using it."

I agree with this whole sentence, except for the word "new." Service providers have been offering Microsoft software as a service for years, lots of years. And so, to some extent, has Microsoft itself! I'm glad Microsoft is serious about this model, and is throwing new technology and infrastructure in this direction, but the concept is far from "new."

Now Open Source Is the Proprietary One?
Microsoft could have used OpenDoc, the file format for OpenOffice and other apps, as the file format for Office 2007, but that just wouldn't be right. Microsoft wants it own file formats for market control, and so that the file formats can handle anything Microsoft apps need them to.

And so it is that we have OpenOffice XML, a Microsoft format that others can use, along with an open source translator that can convert Microsoft files into OpenDoc.

I guess that makes Microsoft open -- open enough to criticize OpenDoc backer IBM for being closed!

In an open letter, Redmond accuses Armonk of trying to hold back Open XML in favor of OpenDoc. Can't all monopolies just get along?

Are You Losing Money on IE7?
Ian Campbell is to ROI what Roger Ebert is to movies: He knows his stuff and usually gets it right. Campbell, founder of Nucleus Research (I worked there for a short stint), also likes to ruffle a few feathers. His latest salvo -- that moving to Microsoft's latest browser will cost you money.

Campbell's logic goes this way: IE7 isn't worth using, and once you find that out, it can take hours of your precious time to get it off and put IE6 back on.

Have you had this experience? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Ubuntu Better than Vista?
OK, OK. I write about my kids a lot (they keep track so I have to mention them all equally). Here's another item courtesy of a young Barney, this one from 13-year-old David (for equality's sake, I need to point out that he has an older sister, Lauren, and a younger brother, Nick).

Dave, a Mac and Linux bigot, found a little story about a kid whose dad wanted him to get and install Vista. Instead the kid installed Ubuntu, and the dad has been raving about it ever since!

Doug's Mailbag: Now You See It...
This reader's computer was unexpectedly returned to its original default state after last week's Patch Tuesday (talk about a ghost in the machine!). If any of you have experienced something similar, drop me a line at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

I don't know if it was the patches, but yesterday morning when my wife turned on our home computer, it was wiped out. She phoned me and asked what to do, but since I was unaware of what had happened, I could do nothing until I got home.

When I got home I was amazed. Most of our added desktop shortcut icons were gone. The system (Windows XP) had been restored to its defaults, not the "classic" look we had been using. Many of the programs acted as though they were running for the first time. My AT&T Yahoo browser was no longer the default browser; that was set to IE7. It was as though Microsoft had completely redone my computer and I was starting over. Even the icon for my 2006 tax program had been removed.

Fortunately, as I explored, I was able to find the installed software, but my personal "look and feel" -- all that I was used to -- had been removed and I was back to out-of-the-box Windows XP. I may be unusual, because my wife and I have been using personal computers since before they were called that, but I am outraged that Microsoft would take such liberties with my computer. It made me wish for the pre-Internet days, when security was assured because there was no external connection. The only thing we had to fear then was getting bad software on a disk someone gave us. As long as we stuck to quality commercial software, we were pretty safe. Now, I am not even safe from Microsoft.

I know most of what I am talking about is my user profile, which I know was one of the things that were wiped out. Maybe it was an accident, but for a home system with only two users, it's upsetting to get an error message to contact your network administrator.
-John

Think you can help this reader out? Comment below or send an e-mail to 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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