In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Microsoft And Adobe: A Fight To The Last Brick? 2. Today's Top Story - Analysts: Microsoft Has Antitrust Anxiety Related Stories: - CRN Interview: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer - The Price Of Growth 3. Breaking News - OpenOffice.org Denies Macro Exploit A Problem - Microsoft Adds New Help On Word Zero-Day - Spammer Settles For $1 Million, Goes Straight - HP Unveils Entry-Level NonStop Server - Laptop Theft Exposes Hotels.com Customer Data - IBM Upgrades Rational Tool Suite - Amid Government Data Gathering, Businesses Mull Their Options - Fight For Consumers' Attention Online Heats Up - No Honeymoon For Sun's New CEO: First Task Is Job Cuts - New Intel Chip Premiering On A Fast Track 4. Grab Bag - Medical Privacy Law Nets No Fines (Washington Post) - MPs In Digital Downloads Warning (BBC News) - HP Cuts Back On Telecommuting (San Jose Mercury News) 5. In Depth: IT Employment - IT Workers Plan Job Hunt - Study: Offshoring Impact On U.S. Jobs Overblown - China, India Produce Fewer Engineers - IT Employment Reaches Record High In U.S. 6. Voice Of Authority - The Federal Information Tax 7. White Papers - The Top Myths Of IP Communications 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day: "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." -- Richard P. Feynman
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft And Adobe: A Fight To The Last Brick? The news late last week that Adobe threatened to take legal action against Microsoft unless it stripped PDF support from Office 2007 was the second time in as many weeks that a prominent Microsoft partner rose up against Redmond. (The previous week it was Symantec, which, unlike Adobe, filed an actual lawsuit.)
The blogosphere went wild analyzing what exactly the Adobe actions (or threatened actions) meant. Was Adobe shooting itself in the foot? many asked. After all, by refusing to allow Microsoft to support PDF, Adobe could simply be driving users to Microsoft's competing XPS format.
The deal isn't good news for users, who have been clamoring for a "Save as PDF" option in Office for years. As it now stands, Microsoft intends to offer a free download of an Office add-on that would provide the promised PDF support; however, because Adobe is demanding that users pay for such a download, the two companies are at an impasse.
One obvious motivation for Adobe's actions is fear of losing Acrobat revenues. Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffrey, estimates in a research note that Acrobat accounts for about 20% of revenues. But although that's a significant chunk of change—some $393 million in fiscal 2005--the low end of the Acrobat line represents just a fraction (1 to 2%) of total income, or between $20 million and $40 million. Still, that's sufficient to raise Adobe's hackles.
It's also plausible that Adobe is afraid of losing revenues indirectly, as its ability to successfully up- and cross-sell customers who are coming to its Web site to download the low-end Acrobat applications could be seriously eroded.
Microsoft's side of the story is being put forth most persuasively by Brian Jones, a Microsoft program manager for Office. His main point: PDF is supposed to be an open standard, and there are other office suites out there that already support PDF output, with OpenOffice and Corel's Word Perfect Office being the main ones. The Apple Mac OS X also supports PDF output. So why is Adobe practicing a double standard where Microsoft Windows is concerned?
But not everyone buys the Microsoft-as-a-victim line. At least one blogger pointed out that this was a prime example of Microsoft once again attempting to win using its time-honored "Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish" strategy: First, include a PDF export function in the software, then make it kludgy and difficult to use, and finally offer customers a convenient alternative (XPS) that they'll get hooked on. That's the argument, anyway.
Jupiter Research's Joe Wilcox argues that this isn't just about Adobe—although he's been saying for months that Microsoft was gunning particularly for it--but part of a larger picture in which Microsoft has substantially ramped up competition against long-standing partners.
Wilcox is especially careful to point out that we haven't yet gotten Adobe's side of the story. So despite most of the bad press that Adobe is reaping as a result of what could be construed as poor (very poor) management of breaking news, the truth is probably much more complex than what has been reported. Let's stay tuned.
Analysts: Microsoft Has Antitrust Anxiety They say the threat of a lawsuit is what triggered the company's decision last week to pull a PDF feature from Office 2007 and to allow OEMs to yank its own electronic document format from Windows Vista.
Related Stories: CRN Interview: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer In this Q&A, Ballmer talks about the Vista challenge, how Microsoft has fared against Linux, the emerging software-as-a-service arena, and how Microsoft can become what he calls the software industry's first "N-trick pony."
The Price Of Growth Steve Ballmer has heard an earful from Wall Street lately about rampant spending and buying back more stock. But Microsoft's CEO gave little ground at an investors' conference last week.
Microsoft Adds New Help On Word Zero-Day A revised security advisory targeting an in-the-wild exploit of Word XP and Word 2003 now offers details on a protective measure and reiterates plans to release a fix on June 13.
IBM Upgrades Rational Tool Suite The ClearQuest repository will store the results of bug tracking, change orders, requirements, and early versions of a software application, as well as capture and store the results of tests on the various assemblies and compiles of an application.
Fight For Consumers' Attention Online Heats Up More companies doing business online are heading the Attention Economy—the idea that attention is scarce and valuable in an information-rich world. There's more to this than New Age hucksterism, and businesses that ignore this dynamic could be lost in the maturing noise of the Web.
No Honeymoon For Sun's New CEO: First Task Is Job Cuts It couldn't have been an easy task for Schwartz, who replaced company founder Scott McNealy as CEO in late April and immediately insisted he wasn't slipping into an executioner role—even while Sun's investors were clamoring for job cuts.
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4. Grab Bag
Medical Privacy Law Nets No Fines (Washington Post) In the three years since Americans gained federal protection for their private medical information, thousands of complaints alleging violations have been filed. Still, not a single civil fine has been imposed, and only two criminal cases have been prosecuted.
MPs In Digital Downloads Warning (BBC News) Digital content should be labeled in order to inform consumers about exactly what they can and cannot do with songs and films before they buy them, according to an influential government group in the United Kingdom.
The Federal Information Tax The most shocking thing about AT&T's surrender of its customer call data to the National Security Agency is not about violated privacy, but that AT&T sold its shareholders short—it gave away all that valuable data for nothing.
7. White Papers
The Top Myths Of IP Communications There are a number of myths about the difficulties of deploying a converged IP communications solution that includes IP telephony, unified messaging, voicemail, customer contact solutions, and audio, video, and Web conferencing. Learn the facts to help you make an intelligent decision.
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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.