Microsoft Antes Up for Facebook

Microsoft apparently beat out Google yesterday and won a piece of social networking company Facebook. Microsoft agreed to pay $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. That would put Facebook's total value at about $15 billion. At this level of investment, each of Facebook's 50 million users is worth $306.12 to Microsoft.

Microsoft's investment guarantees the software company's exclusive right to sell Facebook's international advertising. Clearly, Microsoft sees online advertising as its next growth business.

Getting a piece of the exploding interest in social networking seems to be the biggest prize of the last year, and Microsoft has won the latest battle. Is Facebook in particular or social networking in general a worthy partner for a software company like Microsoft? Is the company worth $15 billion? Send me your thoughts to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft Clarifies Dynamics Picture
Microsoft earlier this week announced a major support upgrade, clearer road maps and a new financing option for its Dynamics suite of business applications. First, the company said it will release a new version of its Dynamics products every two years, with occasional interim service packs. It also extended its premier support service to Dynamics, including 24-hour technical support.

For enterprises that don't upgrade every time a new version is released, Microsoft has announced an upgrade to its existing support policies. Specifically, it will offer five years of extended support beyond the five-year mainstream support period. This means that a new installation will see up to 10 years of support for that specific version.

Do you support a Dynamics installation? Will these new policies help you? Tell me your tale at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Popfly Comes to Your Computer
Microsoft last week made available the public alpha release of Popfly, a tool built on Microsoft Silverlight that lets people build and share mashups, gadgets, Web pages and small and personal applications on the Popfly Space network.

Popfly is intended for the novice or hobbyist who's interested in experimenting with Silverlight and building and sharing Silverlight applications.

Have you looked at Silverlight yet? What are your thoughts? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Rockies Hit Online Ticket Snag, More
Yesterday, Lafe reported on the Rockies' online ticketing problems. Don shares his take on the whole mess -- while another reader thinks we should just stick to the facts:

Saw your online note about the Rockies ticket fiasco and thought I'd share a little background from here in Denver. I was one of the unsuccessful ones trying to get to the Web site on both days. "Techie-type" people that I talk to all seem to feel that there was never any "malicious, external" attack. It was just a combination of poor planning and testing on the part of the ticket vendor and lots and lots of hits from fans and especially ticket brokers running "bot" programs.

Rumors abound: On the second day, certain IP addresses were denied access because they were "suspected" of being associated with the "malicious, external" attack on the first day. Success was dependent on who the ISP provider was. IP addresses that appeared to be in the Denver area were all routed to a single server. The process didn't work at all with Macs.
-Don

Shaddup! I thought Redmond Report was about technology, and I don't care if you're a BoSox fan. Why not tell us something about Paciolan?
-Anonymous

What's your mobile strategy? Are you a BlackBerry fan, or do you use Windows Mobile instead? Here are your thoughts:

Our experience with Windows mobile has been mixed, with results ranging from wildly mediocre to "I can't answer my phone because it won't let me." One can only hope that eventually Microsoft will find a field that they can be creative and competitive in again. They need to find a technology they understand, not one that the marketing guys think they can make a lot of money on.
-Anonymous

We have an older version of SMS here and the client on the desktop pushes management software to any Windows Mobile device that Active Sync connects with, even if the desktop/laptop is operating off of the network.

There is an easy way around this phenomenon: Modify the dminstall.ini in the \temp\dminstall folder of the Windows Mobile device to read "uninstall" instead of "install" and re-run the dminstall.exe to remove the software. Then, create a file (not a folder) called dminstall in the \temp folder and the software can't create its install files on the next connect. So RIM has one up on MS in this case as it's impossible (to my knowledge) to "escape" pushes from a BES server.
-Darren

If you need something right away, call me. That is what phones, especially cell phones, are for. If it needs my attention but it can wait or you do not want me to forget, e-mail me and when I get to a computer I'll check it out. I had a BlackBerry for about two weeks before I asked for a cell phone back. My two major reasons were getting frivolous e-mails at 2:00 a.m., and I don't want to walk around with an earbud or look like I'm talking into a calculator.

I also get the added benefit of less stress and more sleep -- two very important things near and dear to ALL of us.
-Bruce

We want to know what you think! Leave a comment below, or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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