05:40 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl

Editor's Note: Google, Microsoft: Go Behind The Curtain

Mystery can be exciting and riveting, say, in a good novel or a movie. It also can be a bit unsettling, say, when it comes to food. Mystery also can be frustrating to journalists who crave details, details, DETAILS! Let's look at Google for a minute. These days, it might be easier to ask what business the company is NOT in, what with search, video, NASA research, voice technologies, and so much more. Yet there are many unanswered questions about the company's overall strategy and how it intends to connect all of the dots (in this case, very large, very innovative dots). The company isn't entirely forthcoming about such information, and that's understandable with competitive secrets and all. But there are some things we think readers need a little more clarity on, so this week we've set out to explore eight key questions, rumors, and ideas swirling around Google ("Google Secrets").

Changing gears for a minute: That other big software company north of Google is becoming less and less mysterious about its forthcoming and highly anticipated new operating system. Microsoft is set to release Beta 2 of Vista this quarter to enterprise customers and will have it in the hands of millions of consumers in the second quarter. The goal: get all the bugs out before a year-end release. Unlike past operating-system releases, the company finished the feature set before the second beta.

What's the big deal? That gives people like you more time to test the quality, the performance, and the application compatibility, and more time for Microsoft to fix all of the problems, rather than focusing on additional cool stuff (and there's plenty of cool stuff in Vista, I can assure you). It's the most transparent the company's ever been about a forthcoming product, Microsoft execs say.

Want to learn more? Tune in to a chat that John Foley and I had with Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's platforms, products, and services division, last week in New York. You can find the video at

Stephanie Stahl, Editor-in-chief
[email protected]

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