Microsoft Pipes Up in Voice Mart

I'm getting older so my memory isn't always perfect, but I seem to recall an interview with Bill Gates over 20 years where he talked about voice recognition, fuzzy logic and other cutting-edge software concepts, and about how he would ponder how Microsoft could address these issues while in the shower (while Gates was in the shower, not his company).

Well, thousands of presumed showers later, Microsoft is getting closer to realizing Gates' voice visions. Office has voice recognition built in (let me know if it's any good at dbarney@redmondmag.com), they have a speech server product, and now Microsoft owns Tellme, a high-end voice recognition vendor whose technology drives everything from banking systems to directory assistance.

Just When I Jump on a Bandwagon, the Wheels Fly Off
Recently, I received praise from the FoxPro community for writing a small number of sentences in praise of the product.

But I apparently made on error, arguing that the loyal FoxPro user base would not let Microsoft kill off the product. I was wrong.

Visual FoxPro 9, due this year, will be the last of what Microsoft believes is a legacy tool (it has its roots in the old dBase market), but what users consider a powerful, controllable tool with plenty of third-party support and a massive library of custom applications.

Jupiter to Microsoft and Back
Going to Jupiter and back seems like a long trip, but not if you're analyst Michael Gartenberg.

Gartenberg recently left a cushy job at JupiterResearch to join Microsoft as an evangelist. Apparently, Mike doesn't quite have the necessary Redmond religion; he no sooner got there than he turned around and went back to Jupiter (here's Mike's blog).

I defended Gartenberg against critics who called him a sellout and a corporate shill (some of my best friends are sellouts and corporate shills!). Now I don't know what to think. I do, though, wonder what the heck happened during those few days he spent at Microsoft!

Doug's Mailbag: The Patch that Got Away, Why MS Search Can't Cut It, More
If a patch gets released before Patch Tuesday, does it make a sound? Not if Microsoft can help it, one reader suggests:

I just wanted to let you know that Tuesday wasn't a totally patch-free Tuesday. Microsoft released an XP-specific patch under KB929338 which was officially released Feb. 27, 2007. This update was just downloaded by our corporate WSUS server and pushed out to our client computers for installation. I guess since it was released between the time period of February's patch Tuesday and March's patch Tuesday, Microsoft doesn't consider this worth mentioning. Or maybe they just forgot about it.

It's also available from the regular Windows Updates Web site. So now I really don't know why Microsoft is saying there are no new patches released.
-Andrew

Microsoft already trails Google and Yahoo, respectively, in the search arena. Next thing you know, Live Search exec Christopher Payne announces that he's leaving his post. Are Microsoft's dismal search numbers to blame? One reader chips in his 2 cents:

I think that the issue goes lots deeper. Here's why (is MS listening?): I was just using Windows update to update my servers manually on Patch Tuesday. (I know, no security patches, but there is other stuff out there, too, that rolls on this day.) I noticed that Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 is available. I don't want to download this thing (120MB) on every server, so I thought I would download once.

To make a long story short, as the saying goes, I found more info on this service pack through Google's Web site than through the MS Web site. Maybe if MS Search was more relevant, it would get used more. They can't even index their own content.

By the way, this isn't the first time I've used Google to find stuff on Microsoft's Web site. That's worse than having your wife find stuff for you because you can't find it!
-Jeff

So, is the promise of a line of Apple subnotebooks anything to cheer about? For this reader, not really:

Sadly, it's still a Mac! 'Nuf said.
-James

Let me know what you think! Drop me a line at dbarney@redmondmag.com or comment below.

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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