In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: IT Analysts Duke It Out In Cyberspace So Why Should You Care? 2. Today's Top Story - Windows Vista Beta 2 Launches With Security Fixes - Windows Vista Beta 2: An Improvement? Related Stories: - Microsoft Posts Bits For Office 2007 Beta 2 - Microsoft Sketches Virtualization Plans, Confirms Softricity Buy 3. Breaking News - Dell CFO Admits Service Blunders, Vows Rebound - Seagate Lays Off 6,000 As It Closes Maxtor Deal - New E-Mail Software Lets You Send 1-Gbyte Attachments - Pay-As-You-Go PC Scheme Heralds Another Step In PC Security - Judge Approves Sony DRM Settlement - Patent Office Reviews Patent For Online Test-Taking - AMD To Unveil Low-Power Desktop Platform - Microsoft Working On Word Patch - NASA Upgrades Communications To Prepare For New Hurricane Season - Online Baseball Tournament Launches - NYC's Ban On Cell Phones In Schools Sparks Challenge - Verizon To Sell Motorola's BlackBerry Competitor 4. Grab Bag - Making Money Selling Music Without DRM: The Rise Of eMusic - Requests For Corporate Data Multiply - The Virtual Moneylender 5. In Depth: PCs For The Underprivileged - Intel To Power Low-Cost PCs In India - Special Laptops For A Special Price - Microsoft, Intel Debut Pay-As-You-Go PC For Emerging Markets - Dell Aims High, MIT Targets $100 Laptop - Negroponte Applauds Linux, Knocks Bill Gates 6. Voice Of Authority - Vonage IPO: Only For Suckers? 7. White Papers - Error-Free Web Services: Developing A Secure Service-Oriented Architecture 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
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1. Editor's Note: IT Analysts Duke It Out In Cyberspace So Why Should You Care?
Pay attention: there's a free-for-all happening among IT analysts.
Controlled by a handful of major analyst houses--which suck up 80% of a market that rakes in $2 billion a year in revenue--the industry is being turned upside down by a swarm of upstarts who are using blogs, podcasts, and open online forums to propagate their opinions about vendors, technologies, and products.
So why should you care one iota about this turf war?
Because as Larry Greenemeier points out this week, what leading IT analysts say about technologies and vendors matters. It matters a lot. It shapes what your company buys, for starters. It shapes your organization's long-term IT strategies. It can lead you to IT nirvana--or down the garden path, with disastrous results.
Perhaps most importantly, the analyst community directly molds the future direction that technology takes. As Greenemeier reports, many vendors simply won't go ahead with development of new products without first consulting one of the big research houses such as Gartner, Forrester, or IDC. Now that's power.
All the more reason to celebrate the fact that a significant challenge to the old order is under way. These young Turks (a misnomer, as many of them are in their 40s and 50s and beyond) may just be what we need to keep the traditional analysts on their toes--and to push them to be more transparent in how they make their very influential proclamations.
To get more background, take a look at the original article written by Greenemeier and Paul McDougall back in February on the credibility of IT analysts. In the piece--which caused an absolute furor in the analyst community--the writers point out that the advice provided by leading analyst firms, although unquestionably valuable in many cases, needs to be treated with caution.
At issue: Such firms rake in millions providing services to the very same companies they monitor. Perhaps--as Rob Preston pointed out in his column--it wouldn't hurt to have in place legal or regulatory safeguards that would force analyst firms to separate their content and sales organizations, much like financial services companies are required to build walls between their investment banking and research practices.
Actually, with this new force in the marketplace, maybe that won't be necessary. Although I have (serious) reservations about a free-market philosophy applied to everything that moves, the influx of serious independent bloggers into the IT research sphere is an excellent thing and may just solve many of the problems with the way things currently work.
What do you think? Does your company rely on established industry analysts to make important IT investments? Have you investigated any of these new bloggers who put their often-irreverent opinions out for commentary? Let me know by responding to my blog entry.
Judge Approves Sony DRM Settlement The legal uproar over Sony's use of rootkit-based digital-rights management software in its music CDs is coming to a close, as a federal judge has granted approval of a proposed class-action settlement.
AMD To Unveil Low-Power Desktop Platform The dual-core AM2's low power consumption will enable building PCs that eliminate noisy fans so system builders can deliver quiet high-end performance in emerging markets such as the digital home.
Microsoft Working On Word Patch The Microsoft Word bug surfaced last week, when numerous security companies said that an active exploit was using an unpatched vulnerability in Word 2003 and Word XP to drop a backdoor Trojan onto a limited number of PCs.
Online Baseball Tournament Launches Netamin aims to create a virtual sports league and community through its contest, which will let sports fans and gamers play a virtual version of baseball in real time on any PC with a broadband connection.
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Requests For Corporate Data Multiply (Wall Street Journal) Since 9-11, attempts by law enforcement agents to get access to corporate data about customers has escalated to the point that some firms have been forced to dedicate full-time personnel to process such requests. Robert Block reports that the phone company scandal is just the tip of the iceberg of what's going on.
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5. In Depth: PCs For The Underprivileged
Intel To Power Low-Cost PCs In India Although India is a globally recognized software developer, PC penetration rates are abysmal because of high prices and the absence of reliable power in vast parts of the country.
Special Laptops For A Special Price Here's an innovative idea: Build a laptop that costs less than $100 so more than 150 million children around the world can use computers to learn.
Dell Aims High, MIT Targets $100 Laptop In unveiling its "Lexus" line of PCs that are priced as high as $6,000, Dell is targeting the carriage trade, while MIT's $100 hand-cranked laptop PC is designed for the other end of the economic spectrum.
Negroponte Applauds Linux, Knocks Bill Gates Nicholas Negroponte snaps back at Gates' recent criticism of the $100 laptop Negraponte is developing for poor children. He also takes aim at the growing bloat and complexity of new hardware and software releases, including Linux.
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