Channel Marker

July 20, 2007  11:37 AM

Microsoft financial results show Office cloud success, potential of other strategies

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

After all the sturm und drang around Microsoft’s games and “software plus services” game plans at and after the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference last week, it still should come as no surprise to active Microsoft solution providers that the engine of the company’s growth and profit continues to be boring old Office and Windows.

All those billions cover a multitude of miscues. The $1-billion-plus-change charge Microsoft had to take on Xbox warranties for example.

The Microsoft Business Division (MDB) — home of Office — logged a hefty $3 billion in profit for the quarter ending June 30. That’s up from $2.5 billion for the year-ago period.

The client business, earned $2.8 billion for the period, up from $2.5 billion for the comparable quarter last year. Yikes.

Meanwhile, Entertainment and Devices, (games) lost $1.2 billion this quarter compared to a $423 million loss last year. Overall, Microsoft raked in nearly $4 billion in profits, compared to nearly $3.9 billion for the year-ago period.

One attendee of the recent Microsoft partner conference engaging in the “who will be the next CEO” game said that if people thought games-guy Robbie Bach could be a dark horse candidate, that billion-dollar write down might fix that, fast.

Meanwhile, speaking of Microsoft Business Division: That group now encompasses all the ERP and CRM products; so, with business apps all wrapped up with Office revenues, it’s gonna be tough to gauge the health of the ERP and CRM business going forward.

Also does anyone find it weird that Bob Muglia’s Server & Tools group is now in MBD? One former Microsoft exec says taking that from Kevin Johnson (president of the platforms and services division and former head of marketing and sales) frees the latter up to concentrate on executing the company’s search and advertising effort and make sure its purchase of online advertising agency aQuantive (another anti-Google tactic) bears fruit.

July 20, 2007  7:53 AM

Channel news: VMware/NetApp in cahoots; SAP sees boost in midmarket

badarrow Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

VMware and NetApp in cahoots? Network Appliance strives to tighten the integration of its software –particularly its snapshot capabilities — with VMware virtualization. [

SAP sees bright future in midmarket The company makes buoyant claims for its midmarket product, expected this fall. [eWEEK]

Bharosa to give Oracle users transaction security Oracle’s acquisition of Bharosa Inc. will fill a key hole in Oracle’s security lineup, according to experts. []

Microsoft’s profit rises despite Xbox charge Microsoft said it eked out a gain in net profit despite taking a $1 billion charge to pay for repairs to its Xbox 360 game consoles. [NYT]

New hires, datacenter investments evident in Microsoft earnings There are lots of meaty bits buried in the Microsoft Q4 2007 and year-end fiscal 2007 balance sheets — including the cost of rapidly growing headcount across various divisions, as well as the huge expense Microsoft is incurring to build out its datacenters to support its Live strategy. [All About Microsoft]

Oracle/SAP lawsuit fuels third-party maintenance argument The care and feeding of business software is a touchy topic. Now, a high-profile lawsuit forces the software maintenance issue to raise its ugly head — again.[]

Oracle vs. SAP lawsuit: Five questions answered Get answers to some common questions about Oracle’s lawsuit against SAP and its TomorrowNow third-party support division.[]

Cheap flash sinks SanDisk’s profits Misty margin-filled memories. [TheReg]

The desktop — time to say goodbye? When it comes to the corporate customer, desktops are still king, particularly because they’re the easiest and least expensive to upgrade with fast, power-hungry components. Yet one researcher predicts it will be five to seven years before only the “die-hard” desktop users are left. Is it time for you to make the switch? [Computerworld]

Apple ties Gateway for third in US PC shipments, looks to steal the bronze While many have criticized Apple for giving the iPhone more priority than the Mac, it looks like sales aren’t suffering because of it. Presumably due to the halo effect, Apple’s US PC shipments for Q2 of this year landed them in a tie with the once mighty Gateway in terms of market share. [Engadget]

July 19, 2007  7:34 AM

Channel news: Dell buys MSP ISV; court allows warrantless snoop

badarrow Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Dell Shakes up MSP market Michael Dell has been evaluating the managed services market for several months. Now, he’s finally making his move. Dell Inc. today acquired Silverback Technologies, an MSP platform provider. The deal shakes up the fiercely competitive MSP market and the channel. [TechIQ]

Court ruling allows government to snoop without warrant A controversial court ruling has attorneys and groups like the EFF up in arms. [DailyTech]

EMC, HDS kick off thin provisioning cage match EMC, trailing HDS with thin provisioning, is sniping at HDS’s offering. Meanwhile, users increasingly tune out the soap opera and look to emerging vendors for new features. []

Continued »

July 18, 2007  1:24 PM

Google adds paid SMB search to portfolio

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

To borrow from Ronald Reagan’s lexicon, there Google goes again.

Amping up its business push, the Web search giant on Tuesday unveiled a hosted search service tailored for SMBs.

Money text from the release: “Custom Search Business Edition starts at $100 a year for searching up to 5,000 pages, and extends to $500/year for up to 50,000 pages. Larger volumes of pages are supported through Google’s enterprise sales group.”

Nowhere is there mention of how anyone other than Google can make money off this offering, although Google in the past few years did garner some Microsoft SharePoint partners for its “for pay” search appliance effort.

Continued »

July 18, 2007  8:32 AM

Report: Server security best practices not followed

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

A new Forrester Research report predicts a lot of opportunity for VARs and integrators in the server security market. According to the report, “Best Practices: Server Operating System Security,” most IT managers fail to implement best practices in server patching, server hygiene and access control. Based on surveys with 137 firms, analyst Jennifer Albornoz Mulligan says these are the best practices they should be following:

Server patching: Plan how and when you will triage, apply, and validate new patches.

Server hygiene: Repeatedly check to ensure that server security options are set properly with tools and standardized methodologies.

Access control: Hire the best and brightest, but keep track of what they do and what they have access to.

Channel companies  should educate their customers on what they should be doing to keep their servers secure, then help them develop the right policies and deploy the right systems to enforce those policies. For more resources, check out’s project guide on Patch Management Services and SearchSystemsChannel’s all-in-one guide for Blade Server Resellers, which includes a section on security.

July 18, 2007  7:55 AM

Channel news: Critical Firefox flaws fixed; MSFT UC overwhelms IT

Bcournoyer Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Critical Firefox flaws addressed by Mozilla Mozilla attended to eight flaws in Firefox, fixing three critical and two high-impact vulnerabilities that could be used by an attacker to gain access to sensitive information. []

Microsoft unified communications overwhelms IT managers IT shops find the long list of features in Microsoft’s unified communications platform to be daunting and unnecessary, at least for now, say the company’s partners.[]

Oracle’s July 2007 CPU has 45 security fixes Oracle stuffed 45 security updates into its July 2007 CPU, fixing flaws across its product line attackers could exploit remotely to compromise corporate databases. []

Continued »

July 17, 2007  11:05 AM

Microsoft’s COO Turner to Microsoft Partners: Help us beat Google

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

As partners heard over and over (and over again) at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver last week, Microsoft wants partners to get on the stick vis-a-vis software as a service (or software plus services as as Microsoft prefers to describe it).(Here is the URL for fanboyz who want to get cracking on this.)

Earlier in his keynote, Turner hammered home that Microsoft, unlike Google, built its dominance, with an active partner community. Google, on the other hand, is more a go-it-alone SaaS play.

Said Turner:

“The question I would have for all of you is, you should look at the ecosystem that Google has for partners. And if there’s not a monetization model there for you, then you should deduct, perhaps they could be a competitor, and join the fight.
. . . . .
That’s a challenge I would have for you. Ask the hard questions. And when you don’t get the right answers, make the right decision, make the right decision for your business, and do it in the right way,

(For the full transcript, click here.)

Earlier in the week, Microsoft’s enterprise search guys acknowledged that Google had some success hand picking SharePoint partners for its search appliance, but Microsoft has since reversed the trend.

Microsoft enterprise search guy Jared Spataro said most partners want to work with software, not a “black box” a la Google’s Search Appliance

In fact, at the show, Microsoft trotted out BearingPoint search lead exec Chris Weitz, probably Google’s highest-profile integration partner, as one of Microsoft’s premier search partners. Hmmmm.

Integration experts like BearingPoint can parlay their expertise in even the most esoteric back end applications and systems to bring a single search view of corporate (and Web) data to the enterprise. What Microsoft offers is a software platform and tools to do so vs. the aforementioned Google black box.

July 17, 2007  7:07 AM

Channel news: WinServer, not Vista is hot MSFT seller; IBM in $1.4B deal

badarrow Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Here’s what Windows IT shops are buying today Despite all the hype about Microsoft’s new Vista desktop, it sits on the shelf. Microsoft partners say their big sellers are Windows Server 2003 and SharePoint. []

IBM in $1.4B services deal IBM Corp. said Monday it has won a $1.4 billion outsourcing contract from AstraZeneca PLC, a seven-year deal aimed at helping the British pharmaceutical company manage its internal technology operations. [AP]

Zero-day auction site complicates security efforts, IT pros say WabiSabiLabi, the eBay-like marketplace for zero-day flaws, will make it tougher for companies to ward off attackers, some IT security professionals say.[] Continued »

July 16, 2007  7:03 AM

Channel news: Vista report card: Oracle plans security updates; zero-day auction raises fears

badarrow Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

6 months later, a report card on Vista Chris Pirillo leaned away from his webcam and pointed to his printer/scanner/fax machine, which stopped scanning and faxing after he installed Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows Vista operating system. [AP]

Oracle plans 46 security updates for database, software Attackers could tamper with database servers and host operating systems by exploiting flaws across Oracle’s product line.

Zero-day auction site complicates security efforts, IT pros say WabiSabiLabi, the eBay-like marketplace for zero-day flaws, will make it tougher for companies to ward off attackers, some IT security professionals say.[] Continued »

July 13, 2007  11:33 AM

The word on Microsoft Server 2008

badarrow Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

At it’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver Colorado,  Microsoft recently announced that Windows Server  2008 is to be launched with Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 on February 27.

So should businesses choose to upgrade to the server also known as Longhorn?

The Microsoft marketing machine touts its newest server as one that simplifies Web server management, simplifies virtualization (which is built in to the system), provides supreme security ( “the most secure server ever” ) and one that provides a rock solid foundation for business work loads.

I decided to go find the word on the web and I didn’t find a whole big bunch of opinion  – but what I did find was overwhelmingly positive:, a site that exists to provide impartial reviews, says “Longhorn is what
Vista should have been, as most users are looking for a fast, secure and easy to use OS,”
calling it the “best server operaating system that Microsoft has ever released.” It also says that Longhorn may set the standard for server operating systems.

Tom Yager of InfoWorld writes, “…Window’s Server ‘Longhorn,’ … looks like its been hit with a mega-dose of growth hormone since beta 2. And I mean that in a good way.”

What Yager appears to mean is that the new server provides stronger versions of features that were “wobbly” in prior releases and new across the board functionality. He touts the addition of PowerShell – Microsoft’s first scriptable command-line shell, its security measures – the firewall and the built-in virtualization.

The one criticism I found was that of Barbara Darrow, a SearchSystemsChannel contributor who wonders if Microsoft’s 2008 release date is more “marketing ploy than true launch.”

Perhaps Microsoft has ironed out Vista wrinkles (security problems, confusing interface) with Windows Server 2008. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you!


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