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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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