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12/13/2002
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Editor's Note: Things Are Tough All Over

As I was riding the uptown N train last week, I was surprised to find myself not 20 feet away from the Academy Award-nominated actor Willem Dafoe. Sgt. Elias of Platoon. Max Schreck of Shadow Of The Vampire. The Green Goblin of Spider-Man! Sure, it's not unusual for folks walking the streets of New York City to have a "celebrity moment," but before this my underground sightings had pretty much been limited to minor soap-opera actors and off-off-off-Broadway bit players. Anyone above that, I'd always assumed, would take a taxi.

Now it may well be that Mr. Dafoe rides the subway regularly because it's faster, or maybe he's researching a new film role. I'd hate to think things have gotten so bad that one of the stars of the year's top-grossing movie is strap-hanging to save a few bucks.

Then again, things are tough all over--a fact many business-technology executives might like to remind Microsoft as the vendor prepares what could be as much as a 12.5% server operating-system price hike for some editions of Windows .Net Server. All this comes hard on the heels of Microsoft's License 6.0 program, which some charge has raised their costs. In this issue, InformationWeek senior editor-at-large John Foley assesses the challenge the vendor faces to get cost-sensitive customers to upgrade and keep them from defecting to Linux.

Microsoft customers aren't the only ones who may find themselves facing new costs. In the third part of our series on patents and intellectual property, senior executive editor John Soat looks at how holders of E-commerce patents are enforcing them. Such enforcement could have huge repercussions for some of the best-known names in E-commerce, such as Amazon.com and eBay--and perhaps for your company, too.

Jennifer Zaino
Executive Editor, News
jzaino@cmp.com

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