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
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
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
And when we search the Internet, we don't MSN Live Search it -- we Google it,
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!
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.