Microsoft Loses Out Again

In Fortune magazine's just-released annual list of the 20 most-admired companies, Microsoft comes in at a respectable (but ultimately losing) No. 16.

It's a losing position because the most respected company is Microsoft's frequent adversary, Apple, whose iPhone, iPod and Mac computers (plus OS X) give it a lineup that's both highly profitable and way cool. Microsoft has the profitable part down, but few have ever accused Redmond of coolness.

To add insult to injury, holding position No. 4 is Microsoft's second adversary, Google, a company Fortune claims is widely seen as the protector of the Web.

Is this a fair shake to Microsoft? Or is it overly generous? Sound off to me at [email protected].

Microsoft Cuts Retail Price for Vista
As Doug wrote in yesterday's Redmond Report, Microsoft has said it will be cutting prices for the Windows Vista operating system -- although that announcement may have been overshadowed by the Windows Server launch last week.

Most of these price cuts will take effect once Vista SP1 ships, although some may be applied earlier. In developed countries, Microsoft is mostly cutting prices for retail upgrade versions of Vista Home Premium and Ultimate. These cuts appear to be quite minor. In developing countries, however, the price cuts can effectively lower the price of some Vista editions by as much as 50 percent.

Is this a competitive action against continued use of XP, or even against desktop Linux in countries where the retail price of Vista represents a large sum of money? Or does Microsoft have something else in mind? Send your thoughts to [email protected].

Google Launches SharePoint Competitor
In yet another shot fired across the bow of Microsoft, Google has announced the availability of a Web-based environment that seemingly goes head-to-head against SharePoint.

This tool lets anyone easily set up and update a customized Web site featuring a wide array of material -- including pictures, calendars and videos -- for group use. Unlike SharePoint, which is a (fairly) expensive product, this Google tool is free and hosted on the Google Web site, so no site administration beyond content is required.

Would you use Google rather than Microsoft for your content portal? Let me know at [email protected].

Wikileaks Back Online
Last month, Wikileaks, a Web site that lets people anonymously post documents and other evidence that demonstrate wrongdoing by an institution or government, was ordered shut down by a federal District Court judge at the request of a Swiss bank that found documents on the site implicating it in a money laundering scheme.

The Julius Baer Bank brought its complaint to a judge, who issued an injunction ordering Dynadot, the domain-name registrar, to turn off the DNS pointers to the Wikileaks Web site. This, however, accomplished the exact opposite of the desired effect: Within hours, these documents were copied to hundreds of different Web locations, and the story became known around the world. Of course, the original Web site itself is still accessible through its IP address, if not its name.

Fortunately, at the end of last week, the judge had second thoughts and dropped the ineffective and possibly indefensible injunction. As of yesterday, Wikileaks was back online, as were the bank documents in question.

Our courts may lack a fundamental understanding of the Internet, but at least they have the ability to change their minds. What's your takeaway from this tale? E-mail me at [email protected].

Doug on VSLive!: Programming Not Just for Programmers Anymore
Today, we're wrapping up with a note from Doug Barney on our upcoming VSLive! conference:

Microsoft has a new set of development tools that I believe is moving programming beyond the code monkeys and propeller heads (to my mind, these are both compliments) to a full range of IT hotshots.

Silverlight makes writing the Web easier than crafting a college senior thesis. Meanwhile, Visual Studio 2008 supports the creation of stable, secure, full-function corporate and commercial apps.

Whether you're a programming guru, or just looking to dip you toes, we have the event for you -- VSLive!

On March 30-April 3, join us at VSLive! at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. If you can't make that, we'll be in Orlando on May 12-16. Bring the family! --Doug

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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