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Doug's Mailbag: Cloudy and Patchy Microsoft Forecast

One reader discusses why Microsoft's success relies on them going "all in" with cloud technology:

Of course Microsoft is "all in" when it comes to the cloud. The company doesn't have the strength to bend steel with its bare hands anymore. The cloud is the IT services delivery model for the 21st century. Microsoft has to be there or risk becoming irrelevant. Mr. Ballmer understands this and he made it very clear to Microsoft's partners during their confab in Washington, D.C. this summer.

Azure's success depends on how quickly and how many of Microsoft's independent software vendors move to Azure and .NET in the cloud. So let's hold off any hyperbole about "killer" platform for the time being. Mr. Ballmer thinks it will be several years before Microsoft will see any profit from Azure. Microsoft's cloud data centers cost over $1 billion each and they are building six of them. But then again, the company does have $35 billion in cash sitting around.

And along the way to the cloud Microsoft needs to keep those Windows and Office license fees coming in for as long as they possibly can. Mr. Ballmer hopes there is a future for "fat" clients for a few more years. Personally, I think they will be fading away and Windows 7 could be the last of Microsoft's "fat" clients we will ever see.

With 16 patches for October, a reader gives his thoughts on the security of MS products:

I am somewhat amazed that anyone believes that Microsoft is at all diligent in securing their products, even now that the number of issues that need patching is a bit mind boggling. Back in the '80s when they were working on an early version of Windows they actually had it evaluated for security by Orange Book standards. The result was a C4, a middle of the road rating, and they were a bit taken aback when told that C4 would only apply to a standalone system. If they connected it to a network in any way it would have to be reevaluated to determine its new rating, but they were assured that it would be lower.

I remember reading an interview with Gates not long before Office 2000 was going to be released where he was asked if they were going to drop ActiveX and the tight integration between the various Office products given that these had led to so many viruses at the time. His response was something to the effect of "No, that would make our products too hard to use."

Here you have a company that, through their own neglect, has spawned an entire industry to do little more than address security issues with their products. I find this ludicrous.

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Posted by Doug Barney on 10/18/2010 at 1:18 PM


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