Why Is Greene Gone?

Yesterday, we talked about Diane Greene's departure as the head of VMware. I suspected intrigue and it seems I was correct. Our reporting is now showing a rift between the independent-minded Greene and EMC execs, who actually own the company.

We don't have all the details, but a sticking point appears to be just how separate VMware should be from the EMC mother ship. Greene seemed to want total freedom, while EMC was looking for a bit more oversight.

It will be interesting to what changes happen now. Will there be more integration between EMC storage and VMware? Will the branding change at all? And if EMC takes more control, will it damage the relationship with Microsoft?

If you have any answers, or just more questions, send 'em to me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Xen and Gone?
A random blogger recently made a rather stunning prediction: That Xen is as good as dead. His logic? Citrix, which bought Xen, is so wedded to Microsoft that it will kill Xen in favor of Hyper-V.

I interviewed Citrix chief Mark Templeton for the premiere issue of Virtualization Review magazine (you can check out the article here). The interview came just as Microsoft and Citrix were announcing a multiyear cooperation agreement over virtualization. The deal calls for both companies to support each others' hypervisors, Hyper-V and Xen, and work on interoperability.

I asked Templeton how can he support Microsoft's Hyper-V and still give his full weight to Xen. It's a delicate balancing act, but Templeton explained that he would leave it up to customers. He also made it clear that he wouldn't be at all shy about pushing Hyper-V.

That is the kind of talk that got Brian Madden, the blogger, speculating that Xen was ultimately dead.

Virtualization Review Editor Keith Ward took on the issue in his own blog.

My take? Citrix and Microsoft have had complementary and competitive products in the thin client space for years. And Xen, more than anything, is an open source tool that helps Citrix build relationships with the likes of Sun, IBM and Novell. I don't think it's going anywhere.

Windows, Take 7
If you're a news junkie, you probably know all about the memo from Microsoft VP Bill Veghte. But news reports don't have the good, old Barney attitude and analysis. The memo was a lesson in both candor and obfuscation. Here's what I picked up:

Bill says Vista is basically awesome, and that we should all move to it as quickly as possible. He also says that some customers may experience compatibility problems. "Some" and "may"? This is the very definition of understatement. The memo skips over Blue Screens and doggish performance.

He does concede that there may be apps you need that won't run on Vista, and here customers can downgrade to XP. Here's the rub: If you buy a new computer and want to use XP, you have to buy the more expensive versions of Vista -- either Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. Lower-income families and companies are stuck with Blue Screens and doggish performance. On the corporate side, if you have a volume agreement, you have the privilege of sticking with XP.

Then Bill gives some advice on moving to Vista (taking upgrade advice from Microsoft is like getting liposuction advice from a plastic surgeon: the answer is always yes). He argues that with service pack 1 and more drivers and app upgrades, the time is right to move to Vista.

Bill then gives a glimpse of Windows 7. Actually, he says two things about it that are actually interesting. First, he says Microsoft plans to ship Windows 7 in about a year-and-a-half. Given that it's not in wide testing, I'm more skeptical than a Zimbabwean voter.

Second -- and this is the first such official proclamation -- Veghte stated that Windows 7 is based on Vista. For those avoiding Vista and waiting for Windows 7, this means you're simply avoiding Vista to wait for the next version of Vista. It's also the case that Microsoft is betting its OS future on a good, old-fashioned fat client.

Is that your future? Let us all know by writing to me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Lost in Licensing, Leave Yahoo Alone!, More
Confused about Microsoft licensing? You're not alone. Robert is, too -- and he thinks that's all part of the plan:

I agree with your conclusion: Microsoft's volume licensing is complex and made so intentionally. While I've attended several MS workshops on licensing, in the end I find myself asking the Microsoft salesperson what I should purchase after explaining my needs. The move to sell the software disks separate from the license has always elicited a raised eyebrow from my clients and invariably generates an ambience of distrust of the corporation's marketing division. My target community has always been the non-profit sector. While discounts are available to this market, that does not change the situation.
-Robert

Count Hans as one of those who think Microsoft would be better off trying to improve itself than buying up Yahoo:

I think Ballmer should be more concerned about his company (Microsoft) producing bug-free, high-quality products rather than trying to bully his way into another company. In my opinion, Ballmer, Icahn, et al should pursue other ventures such as may be currently on the drawing board at MS.
-Hans

Readers chime in on Internet Explorer security, and why it is the way it is:

Until IE is severed from the OS, it will never be more than a convenient gateway for malicious coders into the core OS.
-D.

There's a good reason why IE was built into the operating system: help files, which are fundamentally hypertext. Before HTML became popular, help files (.HLP) were often produced using a set of Word macros (or you needed some other way to make some weird markup in an .RTF file). A .HLP file was hard to produce and check, so a lot of applications shipped without online documentation.

When HTML became popular, it became much easier to make hypertext files, and MS suddenly found lots of people using and making them. When it introduced the newer compiled HTML help files (CHM), the developers could use their choice of HTML editor and have all the links checked, eliminating many problems with the old .HLP files. Third-party developers could reasonably make online help -- even if they rarely do. But in order to use HTML as your online help format, you need to make sure there's an HTML reader, and that it works as expected. So you almost need to embed some sort of HTML reader into the OS.
-Greg

And finally, at least two of you weren't offended by that Nick Hogan reference:

I will keep this short and simple. I understand political correctness; don't offend people. But where do you draw the line? Did anyone die as a result of your joke? No. I laughed and enjoyed it. Tell an apple what it is: an apple.
-D.W.

I agree with you 100 percent. Chris needs to learn that the truth may be painful, especially if you are a fan of crap TV and bullsh*t celebrities. They are scum.
-Alfred

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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