Duet Sounds a Little Stronger

Microsoft and SAP have a strange relationship, a bit like a Hollywood marriage where both sides compete for fame but try to get along for the sake of the public.

In the ERP space, SAP is the old guard (Demi Moore) and Microsoft Dynamics the upstart (Ashton Kutcher), and the battleground is the midmarket where most companies have yet to sink millions and suffered countless man-hours building up an ERP/supply chain system like their larger enterprise counterparts.

This competition, while intense at times and bound to get intenser (yeah, spell check caught that but I went with the word anyway), hasn't stopped the two from promoting an Office front-end for SAP back-ends called Duet.

The fact that the duo is only on Duet 1.0 didn't stop them from going public with plans for Duet 2.0 next year and Duet 3.0 thereafter. Hey, I want to know what's in Duet 12!

Part of the plan is for Duet to work with SAP CRM, and better support for SharePoint Server.

Of course, Microsoft wouldn't mind if you just ditched SAP and SAP CRM and went with Dynamics. But after years of finally getting SAP to work, how many enterprises are going to do that?

Unwinding the Ribbon
A week or two ago, I asked faithful Redmond Report readers if they love or hate the Office ribbon interface. First, I want to thank the 50 or so folks that took the time to write. Your work was not in vain.

About half of your letters were posted in the newsletter, and I showed the other half to an Office product manager when I was in Redmond last week. His eyes bugged out a bit when he saw just how disruptive the new interface is. While many would never return to the standard toolbar, most of you wish Microsoft would go back in time and reverse its decision to go with the ribbon.

Venture Architects Labs feels your pain. If you've got a spare Jackson in your wallet, the company will send you ToolbarToggle, which implements the old toolbar in the new Office 2007 suite.

I can save you that $20 and hundreds more. Send me $5 and I'll tell you in person to stick with Office 2003 and download the free translator so you can work with newer XML-based files. Now, that's a bargain!

Cheeseburger, Fries and a Large Google, Please
Brands become huge when they're used as common words. A Kleenex is a tissue to most -- doesn't matter who cut down the trees to make it. A Coke is a cola, and most of us would gladly accept a Pepsi or even an RC if the real thing wasn't available.

And when we search the Internet, we don't MSN Live Search it -- we Google it, baby!

And that ubiquity is the main reason why Google is the most valuable brand in the world today, two places ahead of Microsoft.

While I often cast doubt on just how broadly Google competes (I see it as a search and ad company), this brand gives it a huge leg up in any new markets it cares to enter. If it made a super-caffeinated cola beverage, I'm sure we'd all be asking for a Google instead of a Coke. Then Coke could strike back with a killer search engine!

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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