Microsoft Dials in Windows Phones
The mobile phone business is nothing if not competitive. Vendors are a who's who of computing, including Google, Apple and Microsoft (I'd like to see all three of these in a room talking about standards!).
Microsoft got into the market a bit late, and early efforts were flakier than a Hostess pastry. Then the software got better and some pretty dang cool Windows phones came out. Even Palm worked with the software.
My understanding is the most recent mobile OS is pretty good, so I expect that Windows Mobile 6.5, which is imminent, is even better. The rev includes a new touch interface, a Web site where developers can sell their wares and better syncing for data, contacts and mail.
Redmond and Red Hat: Virtual Buds
Microsoft and Novell these days are better friends than Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza. Redmond recently reached a new détente with VMware owner EMC, and just this week Microsoft made nice with Red Hat.
The Red Hat deal makes sure that Linux runs as a host under Windows Server and that Windows Server runs as a host under Linux.
Technically speaking, this isn't a big deal. What is a big deal is each company's acknowledgement and agreement of support. It may seem minor, but agreements like this are a pretty big deal. Congrats to both parties.
Windows Bully Pulpit
In the mid-1980s I covered Microsoft for Computerworld. I remember Steve Ballmer telling me -- and expecting me to tell others -- that customers should move from MS-DOS to Windows to prepare for the ultimate migration to OS/2 and its GUI component Presentation Manager. Ever since, it seems that Microsoft has pushed IT not to skip OSes but move one step at a time, in tandem with Microsoft releases.
Now Microsoft is warning of the perils of skipping Vista. Apparently, there's a very real danger that if you stick with XP, somehow your key apps will no longer be supported. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can lease you.
Your Turn: Microsoft's Economic Stamina
Microsoft had a tough last quarter. Revenue and profits were down and the company announced 5,000 layoffs. I'm working up an essay that looks at how Microsoft technologies may see it through tough times.
Do you think Microsoft has the stuff to make it through economic calamity? What are the strongest parts of its portfolio: Azure, Live Mesh, SaaS, Visual Studio, Windows 7?
Shoot your best supply-and-demand analyses to email@example.com.
Mailbag: More Is More with Windows 7?
One reader sees those six planned versions of Windows 7 and raises you a dozen more:
Why so few? They should give you choices as follows: For the Home versions, Home Real Light (no Internet), Home Light (with Internet), Home Medium (no Internet but peer-to-peer), Home Premium (with Internet and peer-to-peer) and Home Ultra (has everything but costs more).
For the Professional versions, there should be Professional Real Light (more bells and whistles than Home but no Internet); Professional Light (same as Real Light but with Internet); Professional Medium (no Internet but sharing); Professional Featured (Internet and sharing); Professional Premium I, II and III (Internet, sharing, can interface with Enterprise and costs more); and Professional Premium Ultra (Internet, sharing, can interface with Enterprise, costs more and crashes less).
For the Enterprise versions: Enterprise Entry (more bells and whistles than Premium Ultra, somewhat unstable), Enterprise Medium (more bells and whistles than Enterprise Entry but only crashes occasionally) and Enterprise Ultra (rarely crashes, but when it does...).
And then, Ultra Ultimate Windows 7, which would have all the bells and whistles, is better than Enterprise Ultra and, like Mac OS X, what's a reboot? And what's a crash? Because it's a licensed copy of Mac OS X, and what you should've purchased in the first place for much less money.
And Marsorry, writing form Namibia, thinks it doesn't matter how many versions of Windows 7 there are -- it's still just another Vista:
I wonder why there's such a general consensus that Windows 7 should be called "Windows 7."
A major version number should constitute a major upgrade. Since Windows 7 is still effectively Windows Vista (6) with the big bugs fixed, it should really be called Windows 6.1 or 6.5. Looking at the screenshots and feature set, there's nothing revolutionary about it. Vista changed the communication system and the presentation system, among others, while possibly biting off more than it could chew. Windows 7 doesn't quite do that. If anything, it's cutting back on what it needs to run, tightening the belt while providing minor tweaks here and there.
This is not a major upgrade. Microsoft would like us to believe so, but it's just confirming what Microsoft has been saying all along: Vista was a good operating system that did only a few things wrong. Now Microsoft will sort out the few wrong things and give Vista right back to us.
Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send 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.