Patch Tuesday Focuses on Office
- By Peter Varhol
Today, Microsoft is releasing
rated as critical, all of which apply to all supported versions
of Office. All of the patches fix problems involving hackers' ability to remotely
execute potentially harmful code.
Microsoft rates these patches as critical or important across the entire range
of Office releases, from Office 2000 to 2007. Mostly, they appear to focus on
Outlook, Excel and Office Web components. Because of the ubiquity of Office
and its increasingly widespread use in Web publishing, these seem like high-priority
patches to get tested and installed.
Microsoft will release these four updates as well as five high-priority, non-security
updates at the same time.
Apple Makes iPhone Business-Friendly
Partly, at least. Late last week, Apple announced several initiatives geared
at making the iPhone more palatable
to business users and enterprise IT departments, including Exchange
support, an SDK that enables third-party service providers such as Salesforce.com
to build their own custom apps, and better support in general for custom apps.
Businesses are likely to listen. Professionals, especially the younger and
more highly mobile ones, are increasingly demanding to use new technology as
a part of the silent but changing employer-employee contract.
Are you getting requests to support the iPhone? Do you have one yourself? Tell
me your story at [email protected].
IE 8 Blocks Windows Update
In preparation for my May Beta
Man column in Redmond magazine, I downloaded and installed Internet
Explorer 8 late last week. This week, in preparation for the upcoming Windows
patches, I hit the Windows Update Web page. No dice; I got this message: "To
use this site, you must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later."
Turns out I
wasn't the only one. The Windows Update page hadn't yet been, um, updated
to recognize and support the new browser. Not a big deal, but you have to wonder
why Microsoft teams can't communicate their needs to each other better.
Have you tried the IE 8 beta yet? What's your take? Let me know at [email protected].
Weekly Podcasts Detail Database
Redmond magazine freelance writers and reviewers Josh Jones and Eric
Johnson, who also run an information technology consulting firm in Colorado,
are giving weekly podcasts covering the latest in technology trends and news,
and bringing you expert interviews with key members of the information technology
community. I caught one recently; I think you'll find them informative and entertaining.
You can find out more about these podcasts by visiting http://www.cstechcast.com/.
Mailbag: The Mac Edition
Yesterday, Doug suggested that Microsoft should just
buy the Mac OS. Is he nuts? Readers are mixed:
I have to say that I think you're nuts. If anything, Apple should buy
Windows Vista; then maybe they could fix it. But seriously, competition is
what will improve MS. If it has to start being concerned with turning out
a competitive product to keep its market share, then maybe it will quit turning
out buggy stuff that aggravates people to death.
I don't think you're nuts. However, I would approach this differently.
Let's license the Mac OS as a dual-booting option for Vista machines (circa
86-DOS). Microsoft will be putting its OS out there with the competition right
next to it. Running the two in parallel or in some type of live virtual machine
would let users who want to use Windows apps still have access to the Mac
There's really a good reason why this would ultimately fail Microsoft.
If it bought the Mac OS and brought it in-house, where would Microsoft get
new ideas for future versions of their operating systems? Since it blatantly
copies features from Apple today, it would not be able to innovate anything
new in the world without Apple working on the Mac OS. Microsoft requires other
companies to innovate and then it implements those ideas poorly into its own
environments. Just look at Windows Live Search or Windows Live Mail; Microsoft
can't think of any other way to do it than the way someone else thought to
And Apple would never allow Microsoft to buy it; it has enough in its
reservoir to fight a hostile takeover.
I don't know -- it depends what you have in mind. The Mac OS and OS X
don't do much for business users. I judge this from people working in IT shops
that own Macs but use, and prefer to use, Windows at work. As a former IBM
OS guy, I don't think until Vista/Server 2008 came along that either platform
was playing with a full deck. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people judging
these products don't know what is good or bad in this type of thing, or when
something is just a bad implementation of the right idea. I'm not claiming
to be an expert, but I was trained to understand the whats and whys of how
IBM did OSes the way it did. Obviously, Windows 95 was where the marketing
needed to be, but Vista is where the product needs to be (and OS/2 was in
this respect) for today's world.
Well, that would be a hoot. But you know it would NEVER clear antitrust.
However, I've said numerous times that Apple should get smart, dump the hardware
and just sell the OS. That could make Microsoft shake.
I don't care if Microsoft buys it or not, but if you can start a rumor
that it's looking into it, it'll be the funniest thing that's happened so
far this year. I grin just picturing the iSheep screaming and crying as if
roasting on an open fire.
And Richard wants to put to rest the old "Macs are
I'm surprised to see you propagating one of the oldest myths in personal
computing: Macs are "horribly expensive." I've owned both Macs and
MS-DOS/Wintel PCs continuously since both were first introduced and I've always
found good reasons to own both. The purchase price of a Mac has always been
higher than a comparable Windows system but the cost of ownership of my Macs
have been lower than my Wintel PCs -- in my estimation, MUCH lower, since
I value my time a bit above minimum wage.
The largest factor in personal computer cost of ownership in a business
environment is not the purchase price; it is the support cost, and Macs simply
require less support. Independent research reports from the likes of DataPro
and others since the late '80s have noted this counterintuitive financial
fact about Macs and Windows systems.
I believe that anyone who decides to make the Windows choice should do
so with a clear view of the financial implications of that choice, and it
is up to thoughtful and knowledgeable industry pundits (i.e., YOU) to spread
the best information available. This will only mean something to you if you
find the data yourself. It's not hard to find -- and as they used to say on
the "X-Files": The truth is out there.
Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].
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