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IE7 Vs. Firefox 2.0: Why This Browser Battle Matters To Businesses

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Tech Disasters Are Just Waiting To Strike Your Organization
2. Today's Top Story
    - IE7 Vs. Firefox 2.0: Why This Browser Battle Matters To Businesses
    Related Stories:
    - 8 Internet Explorer, Firefox Features That Matter Most To Businesses
3. Breaking News
    - Microsoft Opening Up Vista Kernel To Security Vendors
    - Microsoft Shuffles Security Teams
    - Exploit Exposes PowerPoint Zero-Day Vulnerability
    - Got A Question? Microsoft's Newly Acquired Software May Have The Answers
    - Microsoft Eyes Another Chance To Be A TV Player
    - Google Sees The Future Of Web Video
    - AT&T Offers Concessions To Get FCC Approval On BellSouth
    - New Sony Walkman Looks To Challenge iPod Nano
    - Palm Launches New Phones Aimed At Casual Users
    - AMD Acquisition Of ATI Gains Shareholder Approval
    - U.S. Forces In Iraq To Test IBM Translation Device
    - Full Transcript: Carly Fiorina Q&A
    - Excerpts From Fiorina's New Book, Tough Choices
4. Grab Bag
    - Google Faces Copyright Fight Over YouTube (The Guardian)
    - Upcoming Features In Firefox 3.0 (Mozilla.org)
    - Firefox: Mission Accomplished (BusinessWeek)
5. In Depth
    - IT Flops—And Their Consequences
    - More Blunders: An IT Rogue's Gallery
    - Poll: Have You Ever Worked At An Organization That Has Engaged In A Multimillion-Dollar IT Blunder?
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Printer Ink—The New Black Gold
7. White Papers
    - Secure Enclave: Security And Resiliency For The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated." -- Poul Anderson


1. Editor's Note: Tech Disasters Are Just Waiting To Strike Your Organization

"Can't anyone here play this game?" That's what Casey Stengel famously asked about his hapless 1962 New York Mets. The same question might be posed to those running big-time corporate and government IT projects, given the frequency with which such efforts end in tears. In Monday's InformationWeek, we put the spotlight on eight infamous tech disasters that resulted in major financial losses, damaged careers, and abrupt interruptions in business operations for those involved. Things have obviously gotten better for the Mets lately. But the winning percentage for grandiose tech initiatives remains anemic. What the heck is going on here?

The consensus is that in most cases overly complex IT makeovers are doomed to fail because their success depends on too many unpredictable variables falling nicely into place. That rarely happens in the real world. When one link in the chain snaps, problems mount in a hurry.

Change management failure is also a common theme that runs through our horror stories. A number of the featured players were in the midst of application upgrades, hardware refreshes, course corrections in business technology strategy, or other disruptive about-faces. We came across one publicly traded firm that somehow unplugged its accounting system for three months during a merger, and an insurance company that lost $20 million buying, and then selling, an offshore outsourcing unit within the space of a year.

What's needed are more meticulous business case analyses, sound strategies for change management, and workable back-up plans if the big one happens. Speaking of the latter, the IRS earlier this year tried to implement a new anti-fraud system in time for the 2006 tax season. Bugs kept it from going live, which was too bad because the tax agency had already trashed the older version. You and I are likely to be paying for that one for the next few years.

So the IRS joined our list of organizations that, through lack of communication, poor planning, outsized ambition, or just plain incompetence, have suffered through embarrassing IT disasters. But it's more than just human fallibility at play here. Increasingly, we're delegating to computers more responsibility for carrying out the day-to-day functions that keep our businesses, governments, schools--indeed our whole civilization--running smoothly. But Murphy's Law trumps even the most sophisticated forms of automation every time. What can go wrong is still going wrong. And as IT takes on a more central role in, well, everything, things are going wrong on an ever grander scale when systems do pack it in.

What's the upshot for CIOs at businesses that depend on technology for their very survival? In deference to the World Series, think of it this way: With so much at stake, you want to take your playbook from the 2006 New York Mets, not the 1962 version.

What's the best way to avoid a spectacular IT catastrophe? Have you learned about catastrophes the hard way? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Weblog and let us know.

Paul McDougall
paulmcd@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

IE7 Vs. Firefox 2.0: Why This Browser Battle Matters To Businesses
At last, Microsoft is back in the ring. And Firefox is making a tougher case for companies to let it on their desktops.

Related Stories:

8 Internet Explorer, Firefox Features That Matter Most To Businesses
Remote management, tabbed browsing, enhanced security, and other new capabilities make upcoming versions of the two leading Web browsers sweeter to enterprises.


3. Breaking News

Microsoft Opening Up Vista Kernel To Security Vendors
Microsoft has compromised with security vendors that have been demanding Vista kernel access so that they can update their security offerings, two analysts confirmed Friday.

Microsoft Shuffles Security Teams
The changes will take place after Vista is released to manufacturing next month and are part of the overall reorganization of the Windows group, which began earlier this year.

Exploit Exposes PowerPoint Zero-Day Vulnerability
The exploit successfully attacks PowerPoint 2003 even when fully patched with all the fixes, including the four released Tuesday.

Got A Question? Microsoft's Newly Acquired Software May Have The Answers
Microsoft acquired Colloquis, which makes software that allows users to pose natural-language queries to applications via instant messaging. Microsoft plans to use the software for Xbox support at first, with other applications to follow.

Microsoft Eyes Another Chance To Be A TV Player
The success or failure of Microsoft's Internet Protocol TV initiative could determine the fortunes of a number of telephone companies betting billions that the company can help them encroach on cable television operators' home turf.

Google Sees The Future Of Web Video
The YouTube acquisition will test Google's ability to navigate copyright issues and push its technology infrastructure in new ways.

AT&T Offers Concessions To Get FCC Approval On BellSouth
The FCC was scheduled to vote on the $80.6 billion acquisition Thursday. However, the vote was postponed until Friday while Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin tried to broker a deal on conditions sought by the two Democratic commissioners.

New Sony Walkman Looks To Challenge iPod Nano
Like the latest iPod Nanos, Sony's new Walkman products are available in multiple colors, including violet and pink, and feature built-in noise canceling technology embedded in both the player and the headphones.

Palm Launches New Phones Aimed At Casual Users
Looking to cash in on the nonsuit crowd, the new Treo 680 goes beyond a regular cell phone, allowing users to receive e-mail and play digital music.

AMD Acquisition Of ATI Gains Shareholder Approval
ATI shareholders gave approval of the move on Friday, and final court approval is expected by the end of the month.

U.S. Forces In Iraq To Test IBM Translation Device
The technology could help the military overcome a major hurdle in Iraq—the inability of most troops to speak Arabic beyond basic phrases.

Full Transcript: Carly Fiorina Q&A
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO talked with InformationWeek for nearly an hour about what she learned at HP, what she contributed to the company's turnaround, and how it's positioned to take advantage of Dell's troubles. This is the uncut interview.

Excerpts From Fiorina's New Book, Tough Choices
Excerpts include the day Carly Fiorina had a meeting in a strip club, her dismissal from HP, and her recollection of the conversation when Walter Hewlett said he would oppose the Compaq acquisition.

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4. Grab Bag

Google Faces Copyright Fight Over YouTube (The Guardian)
Dick Parsons, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, fired a shot across the bows of Google, saying his group would pursue its copyright complaints against the video-sharing site YouTube.com.

Upcoming Features In Firefox 3.0 (Mozilla.org)
Mozilla.org says: "We are currently in the early development stage for Firefox 3, and would like to collect all the ideas for feature enhancements in a single place. Our goal is to create a single index that lists what sorts of things we're thinking of doing, with links to more detailed ideas about implementation specifics or concerns, and targets for inclusion in the project."

Firefox: Mission Accomplished (BusinessWeek)
When the folks from Mozilla prepared to launch their open source Firefox 1.0 browser two years ago, their hope was to gain enough market share to compel Web sites to adopt open standards—rather than standardizing on Microsoft's proprietary Internet Explorer browser technology. Job done.


5. In Depth

8 Worst-Ever IT Blunders
Our rogues' gallery of tech failures includes McDonald's $170 million ERP fiasco, an electric-company software bug that wiped out power to much of the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, and more. Get the sordid details and find out how you can avoid a disaster of your own.

More Blunders: An IT Rogue's Gallery
From privacy breaches to ERP blunders and everything in between, there are lessons to be learned.

Poll: Have You Ever Worked At An Organization That Has Engaged In A Multimillion-Dollar IT Blunder?


6. Voice Of Authority

Printer Ink—The New Black Gold
Barbara Krasnoff says: I don't know about you, but every time that "ink low" warning comes up on my printer driver, my day gets a little bleaker. Ink and toner cartridges (known as "consumables"—probably because printers eat 'em up like candy) are one of those expenses that few of us can avoid. You have a printer? You need ink. And the printer manufacturers are happy and eager to sell you some—in fact, one of the reasons so many printers have dropped in price lately is that consumables are the great cash cow of the printer industry.


7. White Papers

Secure Enclave: Security And Resiliency For The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise
Focusing on perimeter-based network protection (i.e. firewalls and intrusion detection) is grossly inadequate, leaving networks continuously exposed to attacks from compromised devices. To confront these threats, organizations must have a reliable, end-to-end view of all the assets that interact with the network.


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