DoubleClick Away Your Privacy

Here's a cool twist: Microsoft is arguing that Google, with its impending purchase of DoubleClick, will have too much monopoly power. Not only that, but Google may simply know too much about our private lives, the boys from Redmond argue.

Of course, Microsoft wanted this monopoly power and the ability to know too much about our private lives, too, as it was also bidding for DoubleClick. Sour grapes? Perhaps.

Is Google too powerful and does it know too much? Answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Virtually Late
Microsoft, locked in a pitched battle over virtualization with VMware, is seeing some key products slip. Delayed products include Virtual Server 2005 and a test version of Windows Server virtualization (dubbed "Viridian").

These delays are far from fatal. I expect the VMware/Microsoft virtualization war to rage for years.

Which vendor do you prefer? Let us know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft Aims for Richer Web
Microsoft dialed into the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas and showed off Silverlight, a new tool for building rich interactive Web apps and for running TV-quality video in a browser.

The widespread perception is that Microsoft is way behind Google and other competitors when it comes to Web apps and Software as a Service. But as one of the founders of Redmond Developer News magazine, which covers Microsoft's development tools, I'm not so sure.

I'd argue that if you are trying to write these kinds of apps, no one has a deeper portfolio of tools than Microsoft.

Doug's Mailbag: Tied Up Over Office's Ribbon Interface, Is the iPhone Worth It?
The new ribbon interface: love it or hate it? Reader responses yielded a mixed bag:

I completely love the new ribbon interface. I find it all much more intuitive.
-Anonymous

For users coming from a background of the Office suite, the ribbon interface is not bad -- it just takes a little getting used to. If you knew howto get around before, it will be totally different this time. As in all revisions of software, things get changed around a bit. But this is different: You totally lose the menus and now have a more tab-style view, and it's categorized in sections like formatting and layout. It's not hard to find some things; it just makes you think a little. There were a few things that were really hard to find. Settings, for example, were inside a menu from a button on a tab that you wouldn't really expect. So at times, it can be awkward, and other times very quick and easy.

I like it. For the new user, I think it quite possibly could be easy to adapt to, and if they are learning the software from a class they are taking, then that makes it all the better. I still say it's nice and has a very new and unique feel to it.
-Jason

Takes a while to get to know it, and some of the functionalities are not intuitively obvious, but after using it for a month, I wouldn't want to go back to the old style.
-Anonymous

The interface would be nice, if I was able to find what I was looking for. I am not sure why Microsoft needed to move/hide the locations of the items, which were so readily available to us in Office 2003 and earlier.
-Joachim

Just give me back my menu -- at least, I can eventually find what I am looking for. The ribbon is even worse on Excel than on Word. It may make sense to a Mac user but not to us longtime Windows users.
-Barry

I don't know what drives corporate types and the people they employ. The new interface for Office is beyond me. Why, after all these years, has Microsoft decided to change the familiar menu bar? I use Word, Excel and Access a lot. I'm pretty good at what I do. 2007 changed all that. Now I go nuts trying to find out where to go to get something done.

I was sobbing about this with a close friend and he said Microsoft does it because it can. That was very profound and probably dead-on. It doesn't matter what the consequences are for the end user; little Johnny or Joanie gets to preen and shine.

I generally like Vista, but I resent the fact that I cannot get the look and feel all the way back to Windows "classic." With the Office products, you can't even get them somewhat back. Under the circumstances, I don't think it would be unreasonable to shoot someone!
-Brendan

Absolutely hate the new ribbon interface. After over 10 years of experience using Word, I am now having a hard time finding what I need in the ribbon.

Wish there was an option to switch to "classic" interface.
-Arthur

Hate it! I've already swapped back to Office 2003.
-Don

Hate it!
-Anonymous

At $500 a pop, is the iPhone a must-have? Here's what a few of you had to say:

I will most likely get an iPhone because it's thinner and lighter than my current cell phone, it's thinner and lighter than my current PDA, I don't have a BlackBerry, and my birthday falls close to the iPhone launch date.

The iPhone demo showed a very easy-to-use cell phone. Being able to easily place a phone call is a killer feature. And, as an IT pro, an easy-to-carry mobile computing device (with browser and PDF reader to read documentation) is plain great: No need to lug around a laptop. And as I travel to Europe every so often, well, multi-band cell is just icing on the cake.
-Josep

From the online demos, the iPhone looks wonderful. If you are one of those unlucky souls who use a PDA, cell phone and portable music player, the iPhone makes sense for that price, considering that purchasing all of those items separately would cost more.

But most people who fit this category would want to use the iPhone for corporate mail, and I don’t know many people who use a Yahoo mail account for corporate use. Now, if you could configure it to use POP and SMTP to communicate to your corporate mail server, it would be a better option than a BlackBerrry.

My concern is that some of our employees will purchase them to use for their corporate mail and expect the IT staff to configure and support their setup and use. It’s going to be a headache for IT.
-Tim

While it's enough to give me pause, the $500 price tag isn't a deal-breaker for me getting an iPhone. If it lives up to expectations and can provide a reliable connected interface for both e-mail and voice, in addition to providing a mobile platform for other apps, then it could be worth it.

Don't expect me to recommend the iPhone any time soon, however. After consistently horrendous customer service and billing experiences with Cingular, which I understand has an exclusive contract for the iPhone, I have no intention of trying it personally or recommending it for my users. I would love to play with the unit, but I'm not willing to support it for myself or my users until I see a proven track record of improved service from Cingular. I am very disappointed with Apple's decision to only provide the unit through a single provider, regardless of which provider.
-David

The iPhone sure makes for a great demo. Unfortunately, the lack of any high-speed data support also makes this a non-starter for me. I can't imagine living without my EVDO connection. I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the high school students, though.
-Peter

Let me know your 2 cents! Leave a 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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