The first comments posted to last Friday's story about the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) licensing program were of the “Microsoft is screwing us again” variety. That doesn't seem to be the case, but there are other reasons why the idea of a new license for old hardware doesn't make much sense.
The early commenters jumped to the conclusion that Microsoft was somehow going to charge them for a new Windows license if they tried to sell a PC that already had Windows on it. Only down toward the end does a more rational commenter mention what seems to be the real issue -- corporate site licenses.
Corporations bought site licenses because they were a less expensive, more flexible way to manage a lot of PCs -- at least as long as the PCs could do their jobs. The problem comes when the hardware inevitably falls behind the software, when a PC is just too old, too slow, its hard disk is too small -- and, particularly, I suspect, when Microsoft brings out a new operating system that obsoletes most of the hardware in the shop.
What do you want to to bet that the MAR program is primarily a public-relations program -- that Microsoft is trying to find a way to calm down some really big customers who are really, really angry about how much they face spending for new PCs that will run Windows Vista, while their current hardware inventory has been rendered worthless -- even worse than worthless, because the machines can't be resold with an operating system installed.
The MAR license is interesting for a couple of reasons. It's for XP Home or XP Pro, for one thing, not Vista, so its lifespan is limited. But then, it would have to be XP, because the reason these PCs are being refurbished in the first place is that they won't run Vista. And any refurbishment that would bring them up to Vista-ready would probably be as expensive a new PC.
Microsoft is in a sort of Catch 22 situation: it might have made more points with its customers if it had offered to pay the recycling costs of PCs covered by site licenses -- but while that might sell some Vista, it could cost more than it would pay. It could have announced that as part of the MAR program it was extending support for XP for yet another year -- but that would have reduced the pressure on corporations to upgrade to Vista, which Microsoft sees as an absolute necessity. I liked the suggestion of one of the commenters: The most effective program might be for Microsoft to offer corporate customers a free Ubuntu disk to install on every old PC it takes out of service to replace with a new corporate desktop running Vista. It's logical, but somehow I just don't think it sounds likely.
Virtualization At The Desktop?
Examine how more than 250 companies plan to adopt server virtualization technology in this recent InformationWeek Research report, Server Virtualization.
The BI Explosion
Examine the business intelligence strategies of 500 companies, including deployment drivers and challenges, spending plans, and vendor selection, in this recent InformationWeek Research report.
My Own Linux Distro: The Beginning
Here's a project I've been thinking about for a good long time, and which I've finally decided to get under way in public: I'd like to try and build my own custom Linux distribution.
Morgan Stanley IT Exec Departs
Morgan Stanley IT veteran Guy Chiarello has left the brokerage firm. Chiarello's departure comes in the wake of Morgan Stanley's failure to make e-mail records available when required by the courts and financial-industry regulators -- and the embarrassing exposure of internal e-mail that did not reflect well on Chiarello and colleagues.
Android Puts The Screws To S60
I assume by now everyone has checked out the video demos of Google's Android platform. If not, you can watch them here. One thing I noticed about the slick user interface is that it marches right past S60's usability. What can S60 do to prevent Google from eroding its market share?
Facebook, Feds, Close In On Online Privacy
On Oct. 23, Donald Kerr, who is second in command as the deputy director of national intelligence, gave a speech at the GEOINT Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, that seemed calculated to inflame civil-liberties activists and privacy advocates. In it, Kerr basically said "Fuhgeddaboutit" when it comes to protecting your privacy online.
Want video for your Web site? Think outside the YouTube box.
Social Networking With A Point
Is there a real point to social networking? It is a lot of fun, and it can be a useful way to establish contacts. But it's usually a black hole of time -- a lot of chat without a lot of substance. However, there's at least one new site that's trying to offer social networking with a social conscience.
Why Is Gates Still Number One?
The tech rank-and-file rate Bill Gates as the most influential person in the history of IT. The question is -- why? And do CIOs see it differently?
Get Better Results from your IT investments In today’s environment, you need to get the most out of your assets and people … all the while serving the strategic needs of your business and dealing with growth and acquisition issues. In addition, it is critically important to quantify results of those investments for leadership and accurately track service level agreements.
ECM Finally Comes to the SMB Market: New Market Trends & Research Until recently, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was an expensive technology reserved for large corporations – and large budgets. Join industry expert Dan Elam as he shares some new research for Kodak on the SMB market for ECM and provides insight and commentary about the findings.
SOA: Syndication-Oriented Architecture? -- KnowNow, Inc.
Is Facebook the future model of enterprise information management? A significant transition is occurring within the enterprise: Applications are being enabled with an enterprise-class syndication infrastructure that connects employees, partners, and customers to critical information, instantly.
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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.