Microsoft Scrambles To Fill DNS Hole

We talked last week about a Windows Server DNS vulnerability that has had IT hopping -- both hopping to fix it and hopping mad!

Well, folks, Microsoft is on the case, working around the clock to build what observers call a "mega-patch" which could be delivered before next month's Patch Tuesday.

In the meantime, Microsoft suggests blocking port 139, and tweaking IPSec and all your firewalls.

For more info, go here.

Dell XP Backtrack Not as Bad as It Seems
Late last week, news broke that Dell was once again offering XP to home users wary of Vista.

Offering old OSes is old news for the corporate market which upgrades far more slowly than power users, gamers and your run-of-the-mill teen. But critics have come out of the woodwork, arguing that the Dell move means that Vista has entirely stalled. I don't think that's true at all.

I'm sure there are some consumers that actually do prefer XP to Vista, but my guess is that the real demand for XP from Dell is one-off corporate purchases where a home/consumer PC is cheap and easy to buy.

Google's Search for Profits Yields $1 Billion
The Google train keeps a-rolling, pulling in more money, more press and more search market share.

All this momentum pushed revenues to $3.6 billion for the latest quarter with profits of over a billion dollars (who says software doesn't have healthy margins?).

While pundits see Google as perhaps the future of end user software, the vast majority of Google's dough comes from good, old-fashioned ad dollars, which are spent in new-fashioned ways.

The real question is: What will Google build (or buy) with its increasingly large cash reserves?

Intel Crushes AMD Groove
Always spunky AMD put a hurt on Intel with faster chips for game PCs, cheaper prices, a killer 64-bit strategy and by leading the dual-/multi-core charge.

You had to know Intel wasn't going to take this guff forever, and you were right. The chip giant took the gloves off and whacked AMD soundly with even lower prices, an aggressive dual-core plan and by leveraging its many OEM relationships. All that helped drive AMD results down faster then a 2001 Enron share price, as AMD lost over $600 million in its latest quarter.

Here's hoping the company gets back on its feet. Intel fights way harder when it has a little competition.

Peter's Mailbag: We Want Our Windows XP!
Last Wednesday, Redmond Report guest columnist Peter Varhol asked readers what they thought about Microsoft's decision to phase out XP by Jan. 31, 2008. Will you let XP go gently into that good night and move on to Vista? Your responses, overwhelmingly, said NO:

After testing Vista for one-and-a-half months on a new laptop that is "Vista compatible," I removed it and went back to XP. The day Vista is forced on businesses is not a day I am looking forward to. Long live XP!
-Anonymous

If Microsoft is really so silly as to phase out XP in favor of Vista, I will go out and buy a Mac, or switch to Linux on all machines. Vista is either a disgrace or a disaster, depending on one's point of view (I vote disaster). XP does all I need an OS to do, but then so does Novell SLED 10. I suspect the softies in Redmond have the egg beaters in their mouths again stirring up their brains.

Actually, if they open-sourced Windows 2000, I'd go with that as well. Bring back OS/2!
-Charles

To answer your question, "Would you like the option of choosing Windows XP for a longer period of time?" YES. Or simply enable the purchaser of Vista to remove DRM. Then I would buy Vista. XP is by far an OS with fewer legacy and DRM issues.
-Brad

I think that it's fairly contemptible that MS is already trying to phase out XP (which arguably has only really come into its own after SP2 was released) and force Windows Vista down our throats. For many users Vista may be a fine OS, but for others there are issues out the wazoo. If tomorrow I could only buy a new PC with Vista, I would probably get a Mac. Maybe by Jan. 31, 2008, MS will have fixed many of the issues with Vista, but I somehow doubt it. Microsoft is growing complacent in its position at the top, and if it stays that way, it may find more and more of its users starting to revolt.
-Anonymous

I was disappointed that Microsoft was planning to phase out XP in favor of Vista so soon. I have been evaluating Vista for over a year now, the latest version being RC1. So far, I'm not impressed and have had issues with hardware and application incompatibility. If the XP rollout is any indication, Vista won't be ready for business/production environments until at least SP1. I say, keep XP available and supported for at least two more years.
-Jeffery

I for one was quietly stunned by the announcement. XP took a while to take over from Win2K, and even after having gathered market confidence, the option for Win2K was still around for a good deal of time (the evidence being that it managed to survive up until SP4).

One of the possible outcomes of this sudden market extraction of XP is that it will drive the market for pirated versions of XP. Not everyone is happy to ditch their hardware for the sake of an OS upgrade, so the options become limited. The average user is still a little uncertain about Linux, Mac is nice but expensive, and Vista is sending out all sorts of signals with a confusing array of flavors (starting with the stripped-down Home version). Users will lean toward XP if it's offered, and may turn a blind eye to pirated copies for the sake of simplicity.

What has Microsoft got to lose in continued sales of XP?
-Nick

In order to ensure full compatibility for our Web pages, we still run one computer on XP. Having gone the whole route (Win 3.1, Win 95, Win 98, XP), that is about as far as we are willing to go. I think we speak for many people when we say that XP is great, and when Microsoft phases it out, the reasons to upgrade won't be as compelling as they were in the past. Considering the ever-increasing alternatives, we won't be switching to Vista.
-Ole

I don't know why Microsoft wants to do this because it seems that XP is the end of the line for many people. Vista is a Microsoft release, not a release that truly benefits the user (OK, Aero is a little cool). With Google applications and Web 2.0 apps, Linux may be perfect for us after we can't purchase XP for our systems.
-Jim

I would love it if Microsoft would keep Windows XP around awhile longer. It seems to me a very stable platform with many useful features like System Restore, but its minimum requirements are much less than Windows Vista. Also, I personally know two people who have purchased new systems with Vista and had problems -- one with a printer driver not available from HP and the other with the incompatibility of all the legacy DJ software he uses at work. He spent four hours total, not including regular installation time, making each one compatible with Vista in order to get up and running.
-Anna

My opinion is XP is rock-solid and easy to use. I've worked with Vista once and could not get around without switching back to classic mode. The end user could not commit both their PC and laptop to Vista because not all the software and hardware were Vista compliant.

I can't afford to be purchasing a new computer every three years. I just upgrade to a computer that is 2 or 3 years old, and then upgrade the memory, hard drive and video card. I think Microsoft's attempt to emulate OS X could drive users to OS X. For now I am going to bypass Vista and wait 'til MS comes out with an OS with WinFS.
-Dwight

Would I like the option of choosing Windows XP for a longer period of time? I would like to give a resounding "Yes" to that question. I'm one of those people who don't consider a Microsoft OS ready for production environments until SP1. I also have serious reservations about Vista as a whole and I'm watching to see what experiences other professionals have and waiting for the resulting knowledge base.

Personally, I'm actively evaluating Linux, specifically Fedora, for my own personal computing needs. So far, it has everything I need, the price is right and the licensing is not confusing and restrictive. I know a few people who are shifting to Linux, as well. I don't have enough information to say that MS is significantly threatened, but I can see it losing some customers to Linux with this announcement.
-Kelley

I have a small specialized company and will only move to Vista after the first SP is out. I like XP and it works fine for all of us. Furthermore, our CAD and GIS programs are compatible with XP, and the companies I purchase software and upgrades from are a bit slow to make it Vista ready.

Bottom line: Most specialized software companies never upgrade their software as fast as Microsoft upgrades its OS. We find alternatives and live with it.
-Marc

Phasing out XP is wrong. The current OS that is Vista is a damn nightmare. It's bloated, runs like crap and makes Windows ME looks stable at times. To be fair, some of the problems are known to be immature drivers and software. This makes me clutch Windows XP even tighter in my hands. I guess the next step by Microsoft will be to "suggest" that manufacturers stop making drivers for XP. I'm a lifelong Windows user who is starting to look elsewhere just because I'm tired of being pushed around like this. If MS had an ounce of a
soul, it would make the cutoff at the end of 2008, not the beginning.

-Danny

Minimizing the availability of XP is, in plain English, NOT very clever. I have tested and evaluated Vista Ultimate (the best version of Vista by far) and it is, I am sorry to say, just too damn slow for effective customer use. It is currently quirky and the design gurus, in changing the structure of how Vista looks and feels compared to XP, have given my customers once again a new learning curve, something they are beginning to loathe and cannot afford. Also, the price Microsoft wants for Vista in Australia is indecent, close to $700 Australian, and that is about 65 percent of the cost of a completely new PC with XP installed by an OEM.

I'm sorry, Microsoft, but until Vista is remodeled to be about 50 percent faster, the security aspects changed so they are far less obstructive and intrusive than at present, and the choices for end users returned to familiar places, it will continue to be a take-up rate that happens because of desperation for something rather than nothing -- not a clear choice by customers because they want it and see the benefits. Any time the market forces choice on consumers, it has backfired altogether.
-Ken

I would prefer to stay with XP as long as possible as the hardware and software I have is just about perfect for XP but a little underdone to run Vista well. But the biggest issue is the third-party software I have replaced since upgrading from Win 98 SE when I purchased this computer. That would need to be replaced again for Vista.

Incidentally, I'm one of the crowd that is eagerly waiting for XP SP3 and would not use Vista until SP1, or later.

-Allan

A recent poll shows that if given a choice, 54 percent of IT professionals prefer XP and 36 percent prefer Vista when ordering a new PC. Thus, the Jan. 31, 2008 deadline is way too soon. More time is needed to establish confidence in Vista.
-Anonymous

I love XP and have not enjoyed Vista. I dislike having to learn how to turn my PC off with every new OS. Why not make XP better rather than changing everything for the sake of change? Yes, it sells software, but can't Microsoft do that without calling everything by a new name and locating it in a different place?
-Shane

I have no intention of upgrading, if that is the correct term, to Windows Vista until Microsoft gets rid of the major impediments to my actually using the software. If that comes from a service pack, then that is fine by me, but the notice boards are still full of people who expected wondrous things from Vista only to find that, at present time, the hardware doesn't deliver the "experience." Personally, I think that an OS has a major need to actually deliver services, not to restrict the user in order to protect Hollywood. I still think that unless Mr. Gutmann is radically incorrect, Microsoft will have a really bad hair day when the mom and pop computer buyers start buying Vista for its "improvements" only to find that the software does not deliver.

We have already seen one class action lawsuit over Vista and I don't think it will be the last. Count me an XP fiend for the moment, and if this nonsense continues, then I may just go Apple for my next computer!
-Angus

Join the fray! 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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