Microsoft Virtualization Tool Done
Microsoft yesterday shipped a new
management tool for virtual machines
, especially those spawned by Microsoft's
own Hyper-V. So what's the snappy new name for this snazzy new tool? System
Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (while the product is virtual, the name
is really, really long).
This rev of System Center has a familiar MO: It can manage both physical and
virtual servers, something virtually every systems management vendor has told
me in the last six months. The Microsoft tool can also oversee ESX VMs.
VMware should take heed. I believe the company must adopt all its tools to
work across all major hypervisors -- and not just its own. If not, VMware could
ultimately become a marginal player. If it goes multiplatform, the sky is still
very much the only limit.
Does VMware need to support Hyper-V and Xen to survive? Business advice welcome
Yahoo or Yikes?
Yahoo hasn't done particularly well since Microsoft's unsuccessful hostile takeover
this past February. That same month, Yahoo laid off a thousand workers, but
then hired back more to fill their places. Now Yahoo promises to print up to
1,500 pink slips -- this after announcing a 64 percent earnings decline to $54.3
million in the latest quarter.
Moves like this have driven Yahoo's stock down to the point where it's almost
affordable. In fact, shareholders are pining for the days when Microsoft offered
almost $45 billion for the company. The offer was for $33 a share. Yahoo, last
time I checked, was trading for around 12 bucks. Yikes!
So does this mean Microsoft should offer $15 billion now for Yahoo? Even at
that price, I think it's a bad idea, a me-too play aimed at Google but one that
lacks innovation and punch. Is a $15 billion Yahoo a bargain? Financial acumen
welcome at email@example.com.
And you can find the LA Times story on Yahoo's woes posted at our new
Web site, RedmondReport.com.
Microsoft To Censor on the Fly
I'm sure you've watched G-rated versions of R-rated movies -- the ones where
the curse words are replaced with reasonable facsimiles, like Samuel L. Jackson
calling someone a "mother-loving mother lover" before blasting away.
Microsoft now has a patent that could allow online gaming dialogue to be cleaned
up on the fly -- without need for an expensive Hollywood video and voice
What has the free speech folks up in arms isn't so much the censorship, but
the fact that the curses are replaced on the fly, and that those listening may
be deceived into thinking those are the real words.
Is this invention a great move toward a more polite society, or an invasion
of our rights? And how would you use such a thing in your home, office, the
subway or maybe a professional football game? Keep it clean and send your answers
Mailbag: OpenOffice.org Thoughts,
Doug recently asked readers about their thoughts
on OpenOffice.org, which just released version 3. Most of you had positive
things to say:
I have been using OpenOffice since its inception (actually, before that
with StarOffice) and I like it. I use Microsoft Office 2007 in the workplace
as that is the business standard, and I use OpenOffice 3 at home as it can
do everything I need and more. Your beef that it's big, complex and not exactly
fun may be true, but when has an Office suite been fun? Free, useable and
does 90 percent of what MS Office does sounds very, very good to me.
I have used it for years in an effort to decrease spending in our IT
department. So far, everyone has adjusted well for their needs. I would like
to see more VBA or macro support. I give it two thumbs up!
I've recommended OpenOffice for both home and office use with good results.
My only caveat is "it's better than Office, but it ain't Office."
If you require total compliance with a bit of VBA code thrown in, then pony
up for Office. If you're interested in getting the job done and don't have
the compatibility worries, OO is more than capable.
A number of years ago, when I had retired from Microsoft, I took a serious
look at the desktop Linux efforts and OpenOffice. What bugged me in general
about them was that they were so busy trying to emulate Windows and Office
that they weren't doing anything innovative. Their value proposition is "You
don't have to pay Microsoft a licensing fee," and that's about it. And
note that I didn't say they were free or even cheaper, since training, compatibility
and other cost of ownership issues far outweigh licensing costs. From my perspective,
they just totally blew the opportunity.
So what is the opportunity? It was to create completely different and
more compelling experiences than what Microsoft had done. Where was the new
thinking in UI? Where was a new paradigm for information work? Basically,
the open source community shows a complete lack of imagination and innovation
on the desktop. The world doesn't need cheaper software -- it needs revolutionary
With each release, OpenOffice has grown and matured and got better. OK,
so it doesn't have all the features of MS Office, but the features it does
have generally work as you expect. It doesn't have as many dedicated books
as Office 2007 (but, hey, I don't need a book to use it). Office 2007 has
thousands of features...but once I can type text, insert images, put in a
table of contents and print out labels for my Christmas cards, I'm happy.
If it can open my late 1980s files, it's good (newer versions of Word forgot
the backward-compatibility thing). If it can do a PDF, better (and I have
a utility for that, anyway). If I can open a 60-page .DOC, put comments on
it, e-mail back to the sender, I'm delighted (with 3.0, commenting works more
like Word 03 so that box is now ticked).
The negatives: PowerPoint import can be tempramental (for me, this is
not an issue but I can see how it will affect some). ODF is not fully supported
at work (so I save as PDF/DOC). Sometimes -- and far less than before -- complex
DOC formatting is a bit messy. There's still an expectation in business that
DOC/XLS files will be exchanged and businesses may pay for the security of
knowing MSO will open/close these 100 percent of the time.
For me, it's a simple choice. In my company I use Microsoft OS products
to run critical applications -- but we are not wed. I'm grateful to the Microsoft
market for generating work for me. I run a virtual or real Windows OS (or
two) to support some critical products (mostly Adobe) and run Linux and Mac
OS X for everything else.
With that as context, I don't find the features offered by MS Office
worth the license fee. Looking forward, I prefer the product that will do
what I need and save documents in a format that conforms to an open standard.
I'm really tired of the format lockdown game. My impression is that Microsoft
adopts standards only after every means to thwart them are exhausted.
One reader thinks not enough has been said about the price of Microsoft Office:
Hmm...for some who regularly gripes about the price of a Mac, I am surprised
you have not commented on the price of Office. Oh, that's right, you probably
got someone else to pay, so it did not occur to you that the rest of us have
to actually buy it.
I have to admit, I've never actually paid for it either, as I have always
managed to wrangle a copy from my employer, and did experience sticker shock
when I saw the price. At a suggested retail of $400, that's almost half the
price of an "overpriced" Macbook.
Speaking of "overpriced" Macbooks, this reader thinks that as long
as people keep buying, Apple shouldn't change a thing:
I think Apple has one of the smartest marketing strategies in the free
enterprise system! It is no wonder that all Apple users are thrilled with
their platform. Why wouldn't they be when, for less money, they can switch
to the alternative? That pretty well ensures that all Apple users will be
happy, loyal customers. How many other companies wish they could be in that
As long as Apple is meeting its profit goals and, at the same time, ensuring
a base of 100 percent-satisfied customers, why should it change? Cadillacs
are just Chevys in fancy clothes, but Chevys take heat all the time. When
was the last time you heard anyone complaining about a Cadillac?
More reader letters coming tomorrow! In the meantime, leave us your thoughts
by writing a comment below or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.