Forget Vista, I'm Skipping to Windows 7

Wondering what the next release of Windows for the desktop will look like? So am I, and so -- I imagine -- are the developers themselves.

But here's what we do know: It already has a code-name, "Windows 7" (Windows 95 was 4, 98 was 5 and XP was 6), it's expected to ship in 2010, and it will run in 32 or 64 bits. Microsoft is also kicking around the idea of selling it on a subscription basis.

Do you really want to rent your OS? And should Redmond bite the bullet and go pure 64-bit? Let us know at [email protected].

Microsoft Research Shows More Than It Ships?
I've been a defender of Microsoft Research and the billions that the company spends exploring the computing envelope. Other journalists haven't been as kind, taking the division to task for not turning its research into leading-edge products we all can use.

The more I hear about Microsoft Research demos that are all show and no product, the more I start to agree. While there's a place for pure research, other companies -- such as startups -- research, develop, then ship!

Last week, Microsoft Research held a Faculty Summit where it showed off new pen and search technology, as well as speakers that can isolate two different sounds in a single room (so you can watch the hockey game while your spouse listens to "Days of Our Lives," or vice versa). Oh, and don't forget the robot that uses an old cell phone as its brain.

I'm still a fan of Microsoft Research, but would be an even bigger supporter if I could use some of its inventions. What say you? What do you want to see Microsoft invent? Let us know at [email protected].

A Bad Quarter for Google (Kinda Sorta)
I wouldn't mind having the bad quarter Google just posted. The search engine king reported earnings of nearly a billion dollars on sales of nearly $4 billion -- a neat little 25 percent margin. Meanwhile, revenue was up almost 60 percent compared to the previous year's quarter.

So Wall Street geniuses drove the stock price up, right? Not on your life. The Street was looking for more and slapped Google upside the head by driving the share price down 8 percent in one day.

Meanwhile, Google exec Eric Schmidt is talking cautiously about the future, indicating that the company will slow down its hiring (is that why it hasn't returned my calls?).

Microsoft's results, to my mind, were also superb. It has more than three times the profits of Google (MS had $3 billion) and over three times its revenues (MS had over $13 billion). But as an older and larger company, Redmond's growth rates failed to compare to Google's.

Andreessen Now Even Richer
Marc Andreessen has never been seen as a real heavyweight executive. Many felt he lucked into the whole browser thing and went along for the ride at Netscape. I sometimes veered into that category, as well.

Marc, I take it all back. You're smart, inventive and a heckuva businessman. The proof is in the results.

After Netscape, Marc (using his first name saves me from spelling his last one) started Loudcloud. He sold a chunk of that to EDS and turned the rest into Opsware, which he just unloaded on HP for $1.6 billion -- despite the fact that Opsware has been losing money. Now, that's a businessman!

Which tech exec do you think is underrated? Let us know at [email protected].

Mailbag: Taking Apart the Trade Deficit
One reader shares his thoughts on the U.S. tech sector's $102 billion trade deficit:

I see the problem as twofold. One, the American lifestyle to which we have become accustomed has mutated into a self-centered gimme-gimme kind of mindset, where all things should be cheap and disposable.

The other is that other countries are actually CULTURES; the U.S. has no culture. So we stand alone, basically doing economic battle with people who are held together by their belief in what they are, often bound by an almost World War II-like desire to excel as a race. People in this country seem to hold Japanese and German (and probably all foreign) products in higher regard than our own. Why? Because they believe that those countries have pride in their work and that they are unified in their efforts to supply a superior product. Why do they believe that? Because they have jobs which reveal a total lack in ethics by their co-workers, and they see the low quality of work. Why is there a low quality of work? Because everything is cheap and disposable, you don't have to work hard, and you're not a team or a culture struggling for survival.

Myself, I know the value of the American worker, and I strive to buy not only U.S.-made, but also U.S.-owned. I willingly pay more, something most Americans refuse to do. I remember when all my server stuff was made in the U.S., and only small chips came from foreign markets. Now, companies like Intel are investing more in off-shore manufacturing, and you have to wonder when the technology will leave with the manufacturing. People have to be willing to sacrifice and keep those U.S. companies here, even if it means paying more for less.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

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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