Don't Cry for Microsoft

Every year, I hear how Microsoft is under siege, that it just can't compete with fresh new technologies. The Network Computer promoted by Sun and Oracle was going to kill Windows (instead, Windows through Citrix is the OS that drives today's thin clients). Linux was going take over because it's free (instead, Microsoft decided to integrate with Linux while dramatically improving its own server OS).

And, most recently, Google was to lay waste to every aspect of Microsoft's business (in reality, Microsoft has matched Google app for app so far, despite what inexperienced journalists would have you believe).

Is all this finally catching up with Redmond? Sure. Second quarter earnings only increased some 80 percent compared to the previous year's quarter! The run rate of earnings (not revenue) is almost $20 billion. That's oil company territory.

All areas of Microsoft's business grew. Now, can't we do something about that stock price?

Vista Help Is on the Way
Many in IT won't adopt a new Microsoft OS until its first service pack (in Vista's case, it might take a few). Well, bucko, here's your chance to take the plunge. It seems that Vista SP1 could ship as soon as the middle of next month.

Usually, a service pack fixes a bunch of bugs and a gaggle of glitches. Vista's issues are more fundamental. Vista requires a mental shift and total readjustment in how it works. That does not a service pack address.

Meanwhile, Microsoft released a bunch of minor Vista tweaks and fixes, one of which boosts the performance of Vista graphics.

Time for Mac Security Software?
Mac bigots love to kid Windows users about all our viruses, rebuilds and exploits. And they're right. The question is: Why is Windows so vulnerable? Mac-philes would like to believe their platform is intrinsically safer. The other theory is that hackers attack those systems with the most market share. And perhaps the theory most on target: Hackers just love to mess with Microsoft.

If market share is the issue, then eventually Apple will have to worry. With the success of its TV commercials, the Mac is gaining market share (unfortunately, only in the high-end consumer market, as Steve Jobs continues to utterly ignore the enterprise and low-end consumer PC markets).

Sophos believes Apple should be worried now. The security vendor argues that organized crime is basing new extortion plots around Mac attacks. And malware, which isn't yet a crisis, is increasingly written with the Mac in mind.

IE 7 -- Whether You Like It or Not
If you have Windows update set to auto-approve, you'll soon be using IE 7. On Feb. 12, all such systems will be updated with IE 7. Your choice? Bite the bullet and get moved to Redmond's version of tabbed browsing, or change your update settings.

SQL Server (Late) 2008
Oops. Late next month, Microsoft is having a huge launch party for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. But SQL Server may not see the full light of day until the end of this year.

But heck, the hotel is booked, the execs are scheduled, the appetizers are ordered -- so Microsoft is going ahead with the launch, anyway.

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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