In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Free Advice To Gates, Ballmer On Vista 2. Today's Top Story - Ballmer Hints That Vista Might Slip Its Deadline--Again Related Stories: - Gates Says Next Windows, Office Will Show The PC's 'In No Way Standing Still' - Microsoft's 'Centro' Midmarket Server Nears Beta 3. Breaking News - Data Security Could Be Potent November Election Issue - Review: 2007 Microsoft Office Beta 2 Is Up And Running - HP's Livermore: Acquisitions On Road Map - Hundreds Collared In Global Net Scams - Motorola Plans Major 'Mobile WiMax' Deployment - Symantec Suit Against Microsoft Symbolizes Security Shift - CSC Reports Big Gains In Sales To Feds, DoD - Intel's Investment Arm Bumping Up Its Profile - Nokia Opens Browser Code To Developers - SAP Turns Up Heat On Retail - IBM To Ship Tivoli Change And Configuration Management Software - Review: Casio EX-Z850 Camera 4. Grab Bag - Schools Crack Down On Inappropriate Blogs (Chicago Sun-Times) - Apple, Nike Exercise iPods To Track Workouts (USA Today) - Web's Inventor Fears Two-Tier Plan (The Herald) 5. In Depth: Online Advances - Search Service Warns Of Risky Google, MSN Sites - Gannett Takes USA Today To The BlackBerry - Microsoft Adds Traffic Reports To Online Maps - Salesforce.com Moves Microsoft Excel To The Web 6. Voice Of Authority - The Hunt For Terrorists 7. White Papers - The Remote Access Imperative In Disaster Recovery 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day: "I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice and then going away and doing the exact opposite." -- G.K. Chesterton
1. Editor's Note: Free Advice To Gates, Ballmer On Vista Bill Gates maintains that the PC isn't standing still, as evidenced by the 250 million PCs that are expected to be sold this year. To underscore his point, Microsoft staffers gave advanced technology demonstrations with Vista during Gates' keynote at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.
The hardware platform may not be standing still, but Vista, the next release of Windows that will control the functions of the PC for years to come, doesn't appear to be moving ahead too swiftly. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted fairly strongly that more delays are in the offing. Ballmer said Microsoft will take feedback from the just-released Vista Beta 2 and decide "in the next few weeks" whether to stick to the current January delivery timetable or push it back. He also noted that since Vista's already missing the fourth quarter and holiday sales season, it would be smart to wait until the next "machine cycle" to release it en masse. "What we are discussing ... with hardware partners is when they would really like it—early January, late January, February," Ballmer told a French wire service. "We are on track for shipping early in the year."
Business and individual users have come to expect these sorts of delays and coy answers about shipment dates from Microsoft. But given the delays that have already taken place, and the confusion that generally surrounds such major releases, it'd be better for customers if Microsoft just came clean on any additional delays, so customers looking to be on the leading edge of deployment can lock down their Vista plans. The most accurate possible delivery date—rather than posturing, hypotheticals, and optimistic claims about its importance—is the best thing Microsoft could give customers right now.
Early indications about the latest Vista beta, meanwhile, are mixed. Preston Gralla, our Vista reviewer, notes in his blog that the newest beta includes a nice yet incomplete collaboration tool called Windows Meeting Space. His gripe: As a collaboration tool, it should play nicely with other collaboration-oriented systems, including Skype and instant messaging programs, since they're becoming so prevalent in business and personal interactions. "Windows Meeting Space would be far more powerful if people could use Skype to talk to one another via VoIP from within the meeting, for example. Or if the tool could use Skype presence features to set up meetings," he notes.
Microsoft's response: That kind of integration isn't happening today, and may never happen. Read Gralla's full commentary here. Also, by week's end, we'll have a more complete analysis by Gralla taking a hard look at enhancements featured in Beta 2. His preliminary analysis finds that Beta 2 makes the User Access Control feature far less intrusive and more usable under a normal user account. He's upbeat about Vista's advanced search, noting it's fast, available everywhere, and context sensitive, so it's a big time saver. Conversely, he finds the Vista firewall somewhat confounding. Stay tuned for this deep-dive review coming by Friday, just in time for you to sink your teeth into it over the long holiday weekend.
Microsoft's 'Centro' Midmarket Server Nears Beta Much like Microsoft's popular Small Business Server, Centro will offer customers an integrated suite of servers unified by a common management console, including the Longhorn server, Exchange 2007, and ISA 2004.
3. Breaking News
Data Security Could Be Potent November Election Issue Fewer than a fifth of adults surveyed believe that existing laws can protect them from fraud, identity theft, and other crimes on the Internet, and more than two-thirds want Congress to pass strong data-protection legislation.
HP's Livermore: Acquisitions On Road Map Hewlett-Packard will look to mergers and acquisitions, as well as its own research, to beef up software, especially for the enterprise, says Ann Livermore, executive VP of HP's Technology Solutions Group.
Hundreds Collared In Global Net Scams Police arrested more than 560 people in the past 15 months in "Operation Global Con," charging them with bilking nearly 3 million people out of more than $1 billion in schemes including bogus investments, fake lotteries and sweepstakes, and phony credit cards.
Symantec Suit Against Microsoft Symbolizes Security Shift Several years of negotiations over Microsoft's right to use Symantec's Volume Manager software boiled over last week when Symantec filed a lawsuit that threatens to keep Microsoft from further developing and distributing Vista and Longhorn.
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Web's Inventor Fears Two-Tier Plan (The Herald) The British scientist who invented the World Wide Web expressed fears it could become a two-tier service. Sir Tim Berners-Lee said attempts by telecom companies in the United States to try to charge for different levels of online access were not "part of the Internet" model he envisaged.
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5. In Depth: Online Advances
Search Service Warns Of Risky Google, MSN Sites Dubbed "Scandoo," the service lets users search using either Google's or MSN's engine. As results are displayed, Scandoo posts color-coded icons to note safe, questionable, and hazardous sites before they're clicked.
Gannett Takes USA Today To The BlackBerry People can request top news stories, sports scores, weather forecasts, movie times, and other information, which will then automatically open on a Web page in the BlackBerry.
Salesforce.com Moves Microsoft Excel To The Web JotSpot Tracker is an online, collaborative spreadsheet that can import Microsoft Excel files. Though it lacks the depth of Microsoft's software, it offers basic spreadsheet functionality and unique mash-up and sharing features.
6. Voice Of Authority: The Hunt For Terrorists
Terrorist Connections: Find Them Yourself From J. Nicholas Hoover: There's little doubt in my mind the NSA is actively mining huge stores of data and performing social network analysis to produce complex maps of terrorist networks in the hunt for al-Qaida, and if it does it right, it could see some success. It's not like social network analysis of al-Qaida hasn't been done before, even by yours truly (though I admit I don't think I've ever caught a terrorist).
7. White Papers: Disaster Recovery
The Remote Access Imperative In Disaster Recovery As organizations prepare a disaster recovery plan, it's important to include remote access as a fundamental part of the disaster recovery infrastructure. This document explores best practices for disaster recovery and the role of SSL VPNs in that process.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.