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IT Analysts Under The Microscope

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: IT Analysts Under The Microscope
2. Today's Top Story: Kama Sutra Worm
    - Microsoft Won't Issue Advance Kama Sutra Fix
    - Kama Sutra Worm Hits India, Peru Hardest
3. Breaking News
    - Firefox Slides In U.S., IE Gains Ground
    - Microsoft Unveils IE 7 Public Beta
    - Nullsoft Fixes Critical Winamp Bug
    - Mass. Names New CIO, Hardens OpenDocuments Policy
    - Visto Sues Good Technology Over Mobile E-Mail
    - ABC News, AOL Offer 'People's State Of The Union'
    - Itanium Machines Face Challenges
    - Philadelphia, EarthLink Agree On Citywide Wi-Fi
    - IBM Targets SMBs With i5 Servers, Software
    - Sprint Nextel Sues Firm For Obtaining, Selling Customer Data
    - EBay Faces Groundbreaking Case In Tiffany Counterfeit Suit
4. Grab Bag: Skype Ring Tones
5. In Depth: Security Vulnerabilities
6. Voice Of Authority: Tech-Driven Changes
7. White Papers: Customer Data Management
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"For every credibility gap there is a gullibility gap." -- Richard Cobden, English politician (1804-1865)


1. Editor's Note: IT Analysts Under The Microscope

How much can customers of the big IT research firms trust what they read and hear? After all, analysts sometimes write reports that have been funded by technology companies, and they appear in Webcasts and at trade shows for fees. We've set out to answer the credibility question in a story we'll be publishing in the Feb. 6 issue of InformationWeek. We interviewed dozens of IT vendors, users, and executives at the top analyst firms. The resulting brushstrokes from each conversation helped paint a picture of an analyst industry that's tapped into an almost desperate need that businesses have to stay on top of emerging technology and a community of IT vendors even more desperate to make the sale.

Somewhere along the line, IT vendors and their customers both became beholden to the big analyst firms, to the extent that they consume large quantities of Gartner Magic Quadrant reports and IDC market projections, even if they sometimes question the reliability of these reports. Regardless of whether Gartner actually tests the products it places in its Magic Quadrant reports, IT executives want to know who's on the list and how they stack up. For most vendors, a positive placement in a Magic Quadrant or a Forrester Wave report means product sales, whereas exile to "challenger" or "niche player" status could mean a trip back to the drawing board.

The reluctance that vendors and end users have in publicly questioning analyst firms tells us all we need to know more about the clout that these firms have. Even IT vendors that no longer subscribe to analyst services are hesitant to criticize these firms. This is because those vendors may someday find themselves branching out into new markets, a particularly vulnerable time when support or lack thereof from the analyst community could make or break a career or a company.

What's your view on the objectivity of the work put out by IT research firms? Does it pass muster? Please weigh in at my blog entry.

Larry Greenemeier
lgreenem@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story: Kama Sutra Worm

Microsoft Won't Issue Advance Kama Sutra Fix
Infected PCs will be in danger on Friday. Microsoft said its next scheduled set of fixes--on Feb. 14--will detect and remove the worm

Related Story:

Kama Sutra Worm Hits India, Peru Hardest
The worm set to overwrite important Microsoft and Adobe documents has struck India five times harder than the United States, and Peru three times harder.


3. Breaking News

Firefox Slides In U.S., IE Gains Ground
Bucking other reports that Internet Explorer is continuing its downward trend, a Dutch metric company says IE gained market share in the last two months, while Firefox slid.

Microsoft Unveils IE 7 Public Beta
Microsoft on Tuesday released the first generally available beta for Internet Explorer 7, as well as Windows RSS Platform, a for-developers set of APIs for creating RSS-enabled applications.

Nullsoft Fixes Critical Winamp Bug
Nullsoft late Monday fixed a critical flaw in its flagship Winamp music player that could have allowed attackers to grab control of PCs.

Mass. Names New CIO, Hardens OpenDocuments Policy
The Bay State has named Louis Gutierrez to fill the position of CIO in the Information Technology Division and, at the same time, reiterated its support for a previously announced plan to implement the OpenDocument format in state agencies in January.

Visto Sues Good Technology Over Mobile E-Mail
Visto, which recently sued Microsoft for patent infringement regarding mobile E-mail technology, said it has sued Good Technology on similar grounds.

ABC News, AOL Offer 'People's State Of The Union'
ABC News and America Online have created an "electronic town square" that will deliver citizen feedback to President Bush's State of the Union address.

Itanium Machines Face Challenges
There's a new crop of startups that could give the Intel-based line trouble in the $75,000 to $200,000 range, one analyst says.

Philadelphia, EarthLink Agree On Citywide Wi-Fi
EarthLink will build and maintain the network, but the city's Wireless Philadelphia unit will have some say in its operation.

IBM Targets SMBs With i5 Servers, Software
IBM adds faster processors and an enhanced integrated operating system to make the System i5 product line more appealing to small and midsize businesses.

Sprint Nextel Sues Firm For Obtaining, Selling Customer Data
All Star Investigations obtained customers' cell-phone records through illegal means, Sprint charges, and then sold the data. It's the second such lawsuit Sprint has filed in the past week.

EBay Faces Groundbreaking Case In Tiffany Counterfeit Suit
Tiffany & Co. claims the online marketplace has failed to take adequate steps to remove fake Tiffany jewelry from the site. The suit could force a major change of eBay's business model.

All our latest news

Watch More News

In the current episode:

A discussion with Microsoft's Jim Allchin

Eric Chabrow with "VC + IT = ?"

Laurie Sullivan with "Earthquake Watch"


4. Grab Bag: Skype Ring Tones

Madonna Meets Skype (MSNBC)
It's a move that makes sense on the surface: Warner Music Group is teaming up with eBay's Skype to sell original music ring tones to users of the popular online chatting service. Then the obvious hits you: Folks who may be too cheap to pay for conventional phone service are also likely to be too cheap to pay for high-end wireless phones with digital download capability.

Chief: Microsoft Must Prove Innovation (Washington Post)
The European Union's antitrust chief says Microsoft cannot charge licensing fees for software blueprints that it's offering to share with competitors unless it can prove the computer code is innovative.

Net Giants Beware: Freedom May Not Last (The Australian)
What happens when business interests clash with ethics? That is occurring in China--not only to Google, but to Microsoft and Yahoo--and it ought to make them worried.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

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5. In Depth: Security Vulnerabilities

Kama Sutra Worm Hits India, Peru Hardest
The worm set to overwrite important Microsoft and Adobe documents has struck India five times harder than the U.S., and Peru three times harder.

'Extremely Critical' Exploit Hits Winamp
The popular music player suffers a zero-day vulnerability that attackers can use to take over a user's system. The flaw is already being exploited.

Cisco Warns Of Vulnerability In VPN Device
The vulnerability in the VNP 3000 Series concentrators could allow malicious users to launch a denial-of-service attack.

Linux Vulnerabilities Spur Enterprise Warning
Although most business customers don't officially use "raw" Linux products and so aren't in imminent danger, security experts say the situation makes it worth double-checking your software version levels and making sure the techies aren't bringing unpatched Linux products onto the network.


6. Voice Of Authority: Tech-Driven Changes

Business Technology: Industry Changes Lead To Difficult Choices
Bob Evans asks, are you prepared to answer the tough questions that changes in technology are bringing?


7. White Papers: Customer Data Management

A Commonsense Approach To Customer Data Management
Customer data is the foundation of every business. This white paper addresses data quality issues, since the accurate data directly impacts customer loyalty and business planning.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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