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Microsoft: The Hands-Down Winner For Most Disappointing Product Of 2006

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft: The Hands-Down Winner For Most Disappointing Product Of 2006
2. Today's Top Story
    - How Microsoft Botched Marketing The Ultra-Mobile PC—And Why You Might Want To Buy One Anyway
3. Breaking News
    - Former Rocketboom Host Amanda Congdon Launching New Video Blog
    - Vista Issues Bedevil Firefox
    - Google Takes Blogger Out Of Beta
    - YouTube Helps Canadian Police Find Murder Suspect
    - Microsoft Rereleases Mac Office Patches
    - IBM Breakthrough Paves Way For Optical Computers
    - 2007 Tech Policy Agenda
    - Microsoft Loses More Ground In Online Search
    - Vonage To Fight Baltimore's Effort To Tax Its Internet Phone Service
    - Scotiabank Mexico Outsources To IBM
    - Largest Indian Outsourcing Deal Ever: Tech Mahindra Wins $1 Billion Pact From BT
    - USA Today Adds Foreclosure Listings To Real Estate Web Site
    - FCC Looks To Free Up Additional Spectrum For Public Safety Providers
    - Accenture Posts Strong Quarterly Growth, Raises 2007 Outlook
    - Seagate Extends Storage Offerings With EVault Acquisition
    - Opera Lands Samsung Licensing Deal
    - Internet Archive Claims Progress Against Google Library Initiative
4. In Depth
    - Spam Volume Jumps 35% In November
    - Boeing Rep Speaks Out On Laptop Thefts And Security
    - German Net Scammers Sentenced To Four Years
    - MPA Reports Progress In Reducing Piracy In China
5. Voice Of Authority
    - Principle Rears Its Ugly Head At The FCC
6. White Papers
    - Track Real Estate Data In Real Time
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Chanukah is that special time of year between Christmas and Misgiving when all the bestest holiday shows are on TV." -- Rugrats


1. Editor's Note: Microsoft: The Hands-Down Winner For Most Disappointing Product Of 2006

Many tech newspapers and magazines have year-end wrap-ups of the best products of the year, and at least one does a wrap-up of the biggest vaporware of the year, but I don't know anybody who's doing a wrap-up of the most disappointing products of the year—products that were hyped like crazy and (unlike vaporware) actually materialized, but proved to be duds once the vendor showed us what was actually behind the velvet curtains.

If there were an award for the most disappointing product of the year, the "Origami" would certainly top the list. This was a hugely hyped product in the first quarter of the year, but when it finally came out, you could almost hear the entire computer-using community breathe a puzzled, "Huh?" Our own Andy Dornan wrote a caustic blog post in March, comparing it to Bob—Microsoft's cutesie-poo 1996 attempt at a nonthreatening Windows user interface—and said, "The most interesting thing about Origami is how Microsoft manipulated bloggers and journalists into hyping it. Far from the Transformer gadget hinted at (Eight toys in one! Changes from iPod to camcorder to computer and back!), the device is just a small Tablet PC."

And yet the Origami—which became the Ultra-Mobile PC when it was released—has its loyal fans, and one of them, James Kendrick, writes to defend it.. He says the size, about that of a big paperback book, makes a nice compromise in portability and convenience between, on the one hand, a Tablet PC or notebook computer and, on the other hand, a PDA or smartphone.

He makes some good points. Anybody who's ever attempted to view the Web on a PDA or smartphone display knows how frustrating that can be. On the other hand, a Tablet PC or notebook computer is a lot to lug around and takes awhile to get started using.

Read James' arguments, and make up your own mind.

James is author of jkOnTheRun,, a very good blog devoted to mobile computing, with the best tagline ever: "... using mobile devices since they weighed 30 lbs."

How about you? Got any computing products that you love and find highly useful, even though the rest of the world thinks those products were stupid flops? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Weblog and let us know.

And, by the way, see here for our sister publication CRN's opinion on best product of 2006, covering Web development tools, security products, networking hardware, and more. It's proven to be a hit, so I think you'll like it.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

How Microsoft Botched Marketing The Ultra-Mobile PC—And Why You Might Want To Buy One Anyway
Microsoft's mobile product code-named Origami generated a lot of buzz when it was just a rumor, but consumers lost interest when it hit the streets as an Ultra-Mobile PC. Here's why a UMPC in your holiday stocking is better than a lump of coal.


3. Breaking News

Former Rocketboom Host Amanda Congdon Launching New Video Blog
The vlog, called "Starring Amanda Congdon," goes live Friday. It will document life in Los Angeles.

Vista Issues Bedevil Firefox
A total of 34 Firefox bugs related to Windows Vista have been collected in the Mozilla Bugzilla database; 20 of the bugs remain unfixed.

Google Takes Blogger Out Of Beta
The new features provide more flexibility in layout by enabling drag-and-drop positioning of most elements on the page, and more options are given for colors, fonts, headers, and the sidebar.

YouTube Helps Canadian Police Find Murder Suspect
A video posted on the ultrapopular Web site YouTube has helped Canadian police find a man they believe is responsible for a murder.

Microsoft Rereleases Mac Office Patches
Microsoft rereleased the Office 2004 and Office v. X updates; the former adds improvements to PowerPoint and Entourage, while the latter includes stability enhancements for PowerPoint.

IBM Breakthrough Paves Way For Optical Computers
IBM is using micro-ring resonators to force the light to briefly circle in the same spot, delaying its travel and allowing storage of up to 10 bits of optical information.

2007 Tech Policy Agenda
CompTIA releases its top seven priorities for '07.

Microsoft Loses More Ground In Online Search
The number of online searches made on Microsoft Windows Live Search fell 12% in November to 8.2% of the total number of Web searches, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Vonage To Fight Baltimore's Effort To Tax Its Internet Phone Service
More than three years ago, Vonage won a court battle in which a federal judge ruled that its service was an information service, not a telecommunications service.

Scotiabank Mexico Outsources To IBM
IBM will provide mainframe computer and midrange server support, help desk services, and large-scale printing services.

Largest Indian Outsourcing Deal Ever: Tech Mahindra Wins $1 Billion Pact From BT
The deal is the latest indication that Western businesses now view India's low-cost outsourcers as viable alternatives to global giants like IBM and EDS for comprehensive services engagements.

USA Today Adds Foreclosure Listings To Real Estate Web Site
The site offers searching by state, ZIP code, or a foreclosure ID number, and costs $9.95 a week.

FCC Looks To Free Up Additional Spectrum For Public Safety Providers
The FCC is seeking comments on a proposal to reallocate 12 MHz of the 700-MHz public-safety spectrum from wideband to broadband use.

Accenture Posts Strong Quarterly Growth, Raises 2007 Outlook
Based on the strong quarter, Accenture raised its earnings outlook for 2007 by 3 cents, to between $1.80 and $1.85 per share. The company said it expects revenue for the year to increase by 9% to 12%.

Seagate Extends Storage Offerings With EVault Acquisition
The hard-disk drive manufacturer will acquire EVault for $185 million in a deal expected to close in Seagate's fiscal 3Q 2007.

Opera Lands Samsung Licensing Deal
The South Korean electronics maker will use Opera Mobile in as-yet-unspecified advanced cell and/or smartphones.

Internet Archive Claims Progress Against Google Library Initiative
The Internet Archive, which objects to Google's plans to scan public-domain books in a proprietary format, scored a $1 million grant to fund scanning books in several of the United States' best-known libraries.

All Our Latest News


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

Windows Vista: Ready, Set, Go?
Learn how nearly 700 business technology professionals are planning to adopt Vista in InformationWeek Research's report Windows Vista: Ready, Set, Go?

2006 InformationWeek 500 Report
The newest InformationWeek 500 report examines the best IT and business practices of the most innovative users of technology, the InformationWeek 500.
To preregister for the 2007 InformationWeek 500 list

-----------------------------------------


4. In Depth

Spam Volume Jumps 35% In November
The volume of spam surged in November to an average of 85 billion messages a day during two periods, IronPort says.

Boeing Rep Speaks Out On Laptop Thefts And Security
The aircraft behemoth is dealing with the third stolen company laptop in two years, despite new security policies, employee education, and technology.

German Net Scammers Sentenced To Four Years
The two men were part of an Internet auto-dialing scam that netted them more than 12 million euros, or $15.8 million.

MPA Reports Progress In Reducing Piracy In China
The Motion Picture Association and other groups said the National Copyright Administration of China agreed to cooperate to stop the distribution of illegally copied movies, television shows, and literary works.


5. Voice Of Authority

Principle Rears Its Ugly Head At The FCC
David DeJean says: The Federal Communications Commission under Republican chairman Kevin Martin has been a government regulatory agency driven by principle—the principle most often being, "whatever Big Business wants, Big Business gets." Unfortunately for Martin, he was prevented from giving AT&T what it wants most—approval of its extremely dubious merger with BellSouth.


6. White Papers

Track Real Estate Data In Real Time
Stop & Shop/Giant Foods needed a better property management and lease administration application, as well as a centralized, integrated database. The company chose AMTdirect because it integrates data across functional areas and provides extensive management reporting.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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