Going, Going, Greene

Diane Greene, whose name is synonymous with VMware, is out of a job, replaced by Microsoft vet Peter Maritz.

VMware founder Greene has been a good friend of the Redmond Media Group. Editor Ed Scannell interviewed Greene twice in recent months, once for a cover story in Redmond magazine and again for a cover story in Virtualization Review.

VMware is riding high, but has some huge challenges. Its biggest issue: pricing. Right now, VMware is more full-featured than Hyper-V, but also far more expensive.

The Rhodesian-born Maritz is a bit of an inside pick. His cloud computing company, Pi Corp., was recently acquired by VMware owner EMC, and it was Joe Tucci, EMC chief and VMware chairman of the board, who made the announcement of Greene's departure (er, dismissal).

I interacted a fair amount with Maritz during his 14 years at Microsoft. He always came across as intensely bright and intensely competitive. The tough-as-nails Maritz also got into hot water during the antitrust prosecution of Microsoft after reportedly threatening to "cut off Netscape's air supply," something Microsoft effectively did.

Now Maritz is on the other side, defending VMware against Hyper-V which is essentially bundled with an OS. Will Microsoft cut off Maritz's air supply? Will there be a détente? Will Microsoft buy VMware? Your answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Our best wishes go out to Diane who did an amazing job and was always kind to our group of magazines.

Office for Rent
We've been talking a lot about Microsoft's challenges in Web services. This is an area we explore in our recent Redmond magazine cover story where we conclude that on the enterprise side, Microsoft has done a fine job turning server-bound tools like Exchange into software services. We saw less progress on the consumer side -- the space where Google happily resides.

Part of Microsoft's strategy is called Software Plus Services. The idea is to take regular old hard drive applications and enhance them with a few Web goodies. This is the exact approach taken by Equipt, formerly called Project Albany.

Aimed largely at consumers, customers get a license to a low-end version of Office for three machines and Web-based security including antivirus through OneCare. Microsoft is also tossing in a bunch of Office Live services which, as far as I can tell, are already free.

Volume Licensing Tweaked
Microsoft last week added a new element to its already sprawling array of licensing options. Select Plus Volume Licensing is a new wrinkle for the Select program.

The key features? There's one ID for the entire company and, by unifying buying, it should make it easier to earn discounts.

This sounds like a good thing, but as with anything involving licensing, the devil is in the details, and the details are the devil. The problem is there are too many details.

I spent months studying Microsoft licensing and learned enough to write two cover stories, one on Software Assurance and another on negotiating with Microsoft. But I felt I never completely got it -- and that may be part of the plan. The complexity makes it harder for customers, who need it all explained -- and by whom? Microsoft?

There is help. First, Scott Braden is the man when it comes to licensing. The only man who can almost make it sound simple, he taught me 90 percent of what I know on the subject. Scott's company, Microsoft Secrets, was acquired and is now part of (NET)net; here's its Web site.

Help Run Redmond Magazine
Here at Redmond magazine, we pride ourselves on being reader-driven. In fact, this newsletter is the main way I get to know what you, the IT professional, care about and think.

Now I'm asking for even more help. What should we write about? Technologies, issues, problems?

Write me directly at dbarney@redmondmag.com and you may find your idea in the pages of Redmond magazine.

Mailbag: Just Say 'No' to Yahoo, IE 8 Security
With Steve Ballmer's continued push to overthrow the Yahoo board, Doug asked readers yesterday whether buying Yahoo is even a good idea. Here's what some of you had to say:

Should Ballmer buy Yahoo? Simple answer: NO!
-Anonymous

This makes no sense at all. You have an open source culture in one company and one of the most proprietary cultures in another. Also, the DOJ should can this deal as being bad for consumers -- one less chat system out there. For as bad as "Yahell" is claimed to be, it has features no one else has; it just doesn't leverage them via advertising very well. Then you also have overlap in the online ad industry.

This should not be allowed -- period.
-Bruce

When I bought my 100 shares of Yahoo five or six years ago and saw it split two for one a year or so later, I thought I had boarded the gravy train. I've seen nothing since. So what have I got to look forward to? Maybe it would be nice to exchange my Yahoo for MS. I'd be willing if they offered -- just to have something different now.
-Steve

And readers share their thoughts on what would make IE 8 more secure than its predecessors:

IE 8 would be several LARGE steps in the right direction if all support for iFrames, ActiveX controls and Java were withdrawn, and if JavaScripts were allowed only for browser-related actions rather than for system activity. Certainly, those are my default Internet settings in IE 6, which I override only for Internet banking and for editing my GooglePages.
-Fred

IE 8 intregration? No! I really think that anything that has the potential for compromising the system should not be tightly integrated into the OS, EVER. Browsers are the attack point of choice these days, so why would you want something you know is going to be a serious security problem to be tightly integrated with your OS?

The only reason -- and one of the reasons Microsoft has overpowered the competition -- is the features and ease of use to be gained by that integration. Microsoft's previous approach was to focus on features and ease of use even if it meant that security had to be compromised, and look where that got it. It is really exciting when a design flaw in IE allows another program, e.g., Safari, to compromise your system and open it up to attack...NOT!
-Anonymous

I gave up on Internet Explorer during the IE 6 era, when Firefox came along. To get me to go back to IE for anything other than Windows Update, it would have to be as easy to use as Firefox is. I really doubt that Microsoft can make anything that easy anymore. Vista was enough for me to realize that it has really lost sight of what the users are trying to do. Most of my home computing now is done through Linux and I am really now looking at a Mac.

Just for the record, I am one of the legion of "Mort" programmers who have worked with Microsoft products for years. Still, I find Office 7 a major pain to work with and Vista a disaster. Good luck, MS. You'll need it.
-Angus

We have applications that run fine in IE 6 but break under IE 7. I shudder to think what additional problems we might run into under IE 8.
-Thomas

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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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