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Microsoft To Google: Size Does Matter

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft To Google: Size Does Matter
2. Today's Top Story
    - Steve Jobs Beats Beatles In Battle Over Apple Trademark
3. Breaking News
    - E-Mail Is Exhibit A
    - iPods And Memory Sticks: Are The Benefits Worth The Security Risks?
    - Questions To Ask During A Job Interview
    - Tech Workers Get Bigger Raises
    - Survey: Security Hot, Paychecks Not
    - SGI Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
    - Fingerprint Authentication Unveiled For WLANs
    - Papadopoulos Could Be The Real Change Agent At Sun
    - Time To Doff H-1B Cap?
    - Down To Business: Job 1 For The U.S. Economy: Build A Tech Workforce
    - SAP, Microsoft Ready Product For Data Integration
4. Grab Bag
    - Nearly 40 DIRECTV Techs Fired After Speaking Out Against Employer (Local6.com)
    - Q&A: Sun's Radia Perlman (Network World)
    - The RFID Hacking Underground (Wired)
5. In Depth: Data Quality
    - Hamstrung By Defective Data
    - Customers' Data Quality Needs Make Vendors Acquisitive
    - Avaya Group Safeguards Internal Information Quality
6. Voice Of Authority
    - The Credibility Of Technology Analysts
7. White Papers
    - 9 Steps To Building A B2B Business Case
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"We've done some good work, but all of these products become obsolete so fast...It will be some finite number of years, and I don't know the number—before our doom comes." -- Bill Gates


1. Editor's Note: Microsoft To Google: Size Does Matter

Has Microsoft's corporate spam filter malfunctioned? To judge from the recent news, it might have succumbed to one of the most common, er, "offers" making the rounds of mailboxes around the world. You know the one I mean.

Yes, the software giant is determined to supersize itself by building the mother of all data centers (time to buy Cisco stock), dramatically upping its investment in MSN, and taking no prisoners in the launch of its new advertising initiative, AdCenter, into the already-shark-invested waters of the search advertising marketplace. Everyone agrees: All this is aimed squarely at Microsoft's new nemesis, Google.

Reaction to the vast sums involved ($6.2 billion in research this fiscal year; $7.8 billion next year) has been mixed. Wall Street punished Microsoft by pummeling the stock (it dropped 11% on April 27, when the projected reduction in income was first announced). As one friend of mine said, "Microsoft could do more good burning all that money—at least it would help alleviate the energy crisis." But other commentators welcomed the news of the increased investment.

There's no doubt, either, that both firms have the cash reserves to throw money into the ring. (Microsoft has a mind-bending $35 million; Google has about $10 million—nothing to sneeze at.) But is this really about money?

The question comes down to, will Microsoft out-Microsoft Google? Or will Google out-Google Microsoft? No, I'm not just trying to be clever. Despite the tech industry's awkward habit of making verbs out of nouns, these are two valid questions. In the end, it's not about money. It's about culture.

Try this exercise:

1) List all the things that Microsoft has invented. I think you'll find it hard, even impossible, to think of anything significant. Copied, oh yes. Improved upon, yes (sometimes brilliantly). But actual hard-core innovation? It's just not in Microsoft's DNA. Microsoft's hallmark? An inexorable, glacier-like grinding of competitors to dust. Fierce competitiveness. Also ruthlessness. Not necessarily admirable, but (until now) very very effective.

2) Now think of what Google has invented. Better grab a pencil—you probably won't be able to remember all the things you'll come up with. Those folks in Mountain View can really jam. And although Google's vulnerabilities have been examined through a variety of microscopes, the company's sheer creativity and passion for innovation—as quirky as they seem sometimes—are never in question.

In my mind, the question comes down to whether Microsoft can copy its way out of its current competitive challenge. Will brute force prevail? Or is some fundamental change required in the way it operates? To quote Bill Gates himself: "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."

What do you think? Let me know by providing feedback to my blog.

Alice LaPlante
alaplante@aol.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Steve Jobs Beats Beatles In Battle Over Apple Trademark
A U.K. judge rules that the computer maker's iTunes online store doesn't infringe on trademarks held by the music label.


3. Breaking News

E-Mail Is Exhibit A
As more legal cases revolve around E-mail evidence, companies are turning to new tools to better monitor and manage E-mail usage.

iPods And Memory Sticks: Are The Benefits Worth The Security Risks?
Few companies have taken steps to secure such devices, and some security vendors claim they can help.

Questions To Ask During A Job Interview
When discussing a new job, make sure to ask enough questions to find out whether that opportunity really is a good fit.

Tech Workers Get Bigger Raises
Wages for tech workers continue to rise faster than nonfarm hourly wages nationwide, according to the Yoh Index of Technology Wages.

Survey: Security Hot, Paychecks Not
The people riding the security wave aren't exactly raking in the dough, a new Dark Reading survey suggests.

SGI Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
Once a high-flying maker of servers, workstations, and visualization systems, SGI has seen its business wane for several years.

Fingerprint Authentication Unveiled For WLANs
To gain access to the network, users swipe their finger across a sensor connected to their desktop, notebook computer, or PDA, says vendor Silex Technology.

Papadopoulos Could Be The Real Change Agent At Sun
He's reviewing all Sun's R&D, making sure it fits with computing trends like software-as-a-service.

Time To Doff H-1B Cap?
With Congress bogged down debating far-reaching immigration reform, a new bill proposes separating the issue of whether to raise the annual limit on H-1B visas given to foreign technologists and other professionals.

Down To Business: Job 1 For The U.S. Economy: Build A Tech Workforce
That's the unanimous answer from five industry CEOs. Are they on the mark, or just motivated by self-interest?

SAP, Microsoft Ready Product For Data Integration
Duet makes it possible to funnel data from SAP's enterprise applications into Microsoft's Outlook.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In this edition:

John Soat With 'More News, Less Snooze'
Microsoft to release three security bulletins on Patch Tuesday, the Unites States still leads the online revolution, Apple Computer defeats the Beatles, and more.

Eric Chabrow With 'Quantum Encryption'
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology create unbreakable encryption using principles based on quantum physics.

John Soat With 'The Demand For Video'
Robert Redford talks about how advances in IPTV will change business practices.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----
Sound Off About Your Outsourcers
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NEW WEB SITE!—TECHSEARCH.COM
Search more than 60 CMP technology sites, read blogs, and find the best tech content from across the World Wide Web--all in one place.

Podcasts
Get the best technology audio and video delivered at our new Podcast Central page, including The News Show, the InformationWeek Daily News Podcast, and Dr. Dobbs' .Net Casts.
-----------------------------------------


4. Grab Bag

Nearly 40 DIRECTV Techs Fired After Speaking Out Against Employer (Local6.com)
More than three dozen DIRECTV installers were fired this week after giving on-camera interviews about a company policy they say forced them to lie to Florida customers by telling them phone lines are necessary for successful installation of DIRECTV systems.

Q&A: Sun's Radia Perlman (Network World)
The distinguished engineer frequently referred to as the "Mother of the Internet" answers the question, "What have you done for us lately?"

The RFID Hacking Underground (Wired)
RFID thugs can do more than just steal your smart card. Wired's Annalee Newitz gives us five horror stories from the RFID underground.


5. In Depth: Data Quality

Hamstrung By Defective Data
Business information that's redundant, outdated, or flat-out wrong trips up organizations large and small—but there are fixes in the offing.

Customers' Data Quality Needs Make Vendors Acquisitive
Business Objects, IBM, and Informatica are among the big software firms that have bought their data quality management capabilities through acquisitions of smaller firms.

Avaya Group Safeguards Internal Information Quality
The center's two dozen employees are responsible for implementing data quality management practices, such as avoiding the creation of duplicate records.


6. Voice Of Authority

The Credibility Of Technology Analysts
Larry Greenemeier, who has been preparing Part 2 of a series on whether IT analysts can be trusted, muses on how enterprises can weed the wheat from the chaff when seeking reliable information.


7. White Papers

9 Steps To Building A B2B Business Case
Create a compelling business case and get quick executive approval for your B2B initiatives by following these nine steps.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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