Microsoft Broadens Vista Search
One of Vista's spiffy new features, Instant Search, has already irked competitors
-- especially Google, which maintains that it restricts users' choice and competitive
opportunity. Google filed a complaint last December with the Justice Department
(which must've built a special wing by now just to handle Microsoft matters)
alleging that the way it was set up was unfair to potential search utility competitors.
Currently, Vista's Instant Search lets users enter a search query that returns
a listing of all items stored on their hard drive that include the search term
-- pretty straightforward stuff, except that it drops you right into Vista's
search function with no real easy way to use anything else.
agreed yesterday to open up the search function and give users a chance
to first select a default search utility. Microsoft also agreed to add links
within Internet Explorer and the "Start" menu to make it easier for
users to launch their preferred default desktop search.
The company will also give third-party developers greater access to architectural
and technical specifications to help them optimize desktop search performance.
These updates will come in the already eagerly awaited service
pack 1, expected later this year.
Microsoft made the announcement late yesterday afternoon as part of a joint
report it filed with the Justice Department and the U.S. District court that
is monitoring Microsoft's compliance with the infamous 2002 antitrust consent
Another example of Microsoft's monopolistic practices? More overzealous Microsoft
hounding from competitors and the feds? What do you think? Search your feelings
and let me know at [email protected].
HP Scoops Up SPI Dynamics
Another installment in the ongoing chronicles of Big Fish Gobbles Little Fish:
HP has signed papers to acquire
SPI Dynamics, known for its Web application security utilities and services.
SPI Dynamics' technology is already integrated into HP's Quality Center software
and has been for some time, so this acquisition takes their existing partnership
one step further. Once the acquisition is complete, SPI Dynamics' business will
be rolled into HP's Technology Solutions Group.
The previously privately-held SPI Dynamics is based in Atlanta. Its customer
base is primarily government, financial services and health care -- industries
in which Web security is at a premium.
"For more than five years, we have partnered with HP," said Brian
Cohen, SPI Dynamics' CEO. "I am very pleased to be joining forces to better
serve our customers and partners."
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
How are you handling Web application security? Are you using a combination
of products or a single suite from a larger vendor? Log on and let me know at
Yahoo Switches CEOs
What investors want, investors usually get. In this case, Yahoo investors have
been eager for a changing of the guard in the company's upper management. Chairman
and CEO Terry
Semel is stepping down as CEO, but not completely away from the company;
Yahoo named Semel non-executive chairman of the board.
Yahoo co-founder Jerry
Yang will take Semel's place at the helm of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based
search engine company. Former CFO Susan Decker will be bumped up to president.
Yahoo investors have pressured the company for the change, criticizing Semel
for not moving quick enough to challenge search engine juggernaut Google. Lately,
Semel has also drawn criticism for his response to sites like Facebook and MySpace.
"This is the time for new executive leadership, with different skills
and strengths, to step in and drive the company to realize its full potential,"
Semel said in a prepared statement. "It is the right thing to do, and the
right time is now."
Does this shakeup affect you? What's your preferred search engine? Do you
see more heated competition coming in the search engine wars? Find me at [email protected]
and let me know.
Learn Not To Burn
If you have a laptop, exercise caution so you won't have to stop, drop and roll.
Sony has a massive recall underway that involves lithium-ion battery packs that
and start fires.
The recall affects more than 10 million battery packs used in certain laptop
models by Dell, Lenovo, Apple, Acer and Toshiba.
Recently, there have been three instances of Toshiba laptops starting blazes
that have been linked to the suspect battery packs. Toshiba e-mailed owners
with a warning, and urged them to replace the entire units. The company is currently
reimbursement expenses with Sony.
If you think your laptop may be affected, check your manufacturer's Web site
Web site for recall details. It's worth the time to ensure your safety.
Has this massive recall affected you? Have you been involved with any other
technology recalls? Let us know at [email protected].
Mailbag: Vista vs. Leopard, Microsoft and Open Source,
Monday, Doug asked readers which side they fall on: Vista or Leopard. Here's
what some of you said:
I make my living supporting Microsoft technologies, but honestly, once
my wife convinced me to buy a Mac, I haven't looked back. I'm SO excited about
I installed Vista when it was released in early December only to realize
my brand-spanking-new laptop had no support for it and the manufacturer said
they wouldn't support it until after the "official" release. I had
numerous problems getting it to work with anything that wasn't Microsoft-related.
Soon, I just went back to XP. It works, and I don't have to hit "allow"
100 times a day.
I'm SUPER excited about Leopard. I've been using my Mac as my main computer
now. I have remote desktops and Parallels installed, so I have full functionality
of my PC within my Mac, and I've never been happier. Now, I'm just excited
about the fun new features of Apple's new OS.
Regarding the choice between Vista and Leopard, since Vista's a shipping
product and Leopard is a promised product, I'd have to say Vista's got the
lead. Vista looks nice, has fair application and hardware compatibility, and
is something I could see using as my main OS. Leopard, by contrast, would
require me to buy all new hardware and apps (or use Parallels or VMware),
so it's a choice that wouldn't be made without a LOT of consideration. There
is a third way, however.
I've got a system at home that has 4GB of RAM and an Athlon 64x2 processor.
I've got swappable hard drives, so I can run either Vista or XP, depending
on my whim at any given moment. I also, however, have one hard drive with
the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 7.04 installed. It's THIS hard drive and OS that
I find I really like. Ubuntu actually has better hardware compatibility than
Vista (a TV tuner card that doesn't work under Vista works fine under Linux),
it's fully 64-bit (so I see all 4GB of my system RAM), and everything that
I can productively do with Vista I can equally well do with Ubuntu. At the
moment, my XP installation is my main OS on this machine; that will probably
remain the case because of my workspace requirements and so forth. For personal
use, however, I could switch to Ubuntu in a heartbeat -- it looks good, it's
compatible, it's secure, and it's fast.
Dennis has a few more words to say about Apple's move into the browser
wars with Safari:
On the matter of Safari for Windows, the reason that Apple has made it
available is obvious to me: It's a PLATFORM, for both developers and market
growth. Look at how pervasive QuickTime is -- do you doubt that Apple would
like to make Safari as ubiquitous? Will it happen? I don't know -- it has
a lot of catching up to do, but I guess we'll see.
As for Microsoft's pledge to be more
open to open source, Dennis takes a "wait and see" attitude there,
too -- while Tom just thinks Doug's getting his leg pulled:
As far as Microsoft's dealings with the open source community goes, I
think the proof will be in the pudding. Even if they are becoming more interested
in working productively with FOSS developers, they have several years of hostile
messages regarding open source software to get past. This new message from
Microsoft won't overcome the bad blood overnight, but given time, it might
indicate a truly new approach to dealing with non-Microsoft technologies.
If it's serious and sincere, I believe that everyone could wind up winning
in the end. But again, we'll just have to wait and see.
You have been "Microsofted." I thought Redmond magazine
and you were the Consumer Reports of the computer industry! By writing
this kind of article, you have basically advertised for them! That may be
like American Cancer Society sponsoring Marlboro!
Let us know what you think! Comment below or drop a line at [email protected].
Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.