Taking Back IT

October 6, 2011  9:26 AM

Interop pays tribute to Steve Jobs

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

NEW YORK — This morning’s Interop keynote began with a tribute to Apple’s Steve Jobs, who passed away last night after battling cancer.

Steve Jobs with iPhone at D5John Lennon’s “Imagine” played over the speakers as a black-and-white photo of Jobs appeared on the screen. Interop General Manager Lenny Heymann then spoke about Jobs, saying, “You’d be hard-pressed to find one person who had as much influence on so many people as anyone in our history, really.”

Heymann also praised Jobs’ work on developing consumer-friendly PCs, smartphones and tablets.

“Each of these platforms have his mark on them, which is amazing to me,” he said.

In addition, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels discussed Jobs’ legacy at the start of his keynote speech.

“His relentless focus on the customer … that is something that we should all aspire to,” he said.

Photo (cc) by David Geller and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

October 5, 2011  1:42 PM

BlackBerry vs. Microsoft: Who will survive?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

NEW YORK — There’s room for a third vendor to succeed alongside Apple and Google in the mobile OS market. Who that vendor will be — Microsoft or RIM — is up for debate.

Analysts discussed the future of the market during an Interop session this morning. Research in Motion (RIM) has dominated in the business world with its BlackBerry smartphones, but its long-term outlook isn’t so rosy, thanks to employees buying iPhones, iPads and Android devices and using them for work.

Even if RIM as a company doesn’t survive this shift, the BlackBerry will still maintain a strong enterprise presence, said Rohit Mehra, director of enterprise communications infrastructure for IDC.

“BlackBerry’s going to be around, in terms of the install base, for a long time,” he said. “Things don’t change that fast in our industry.”

But Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, said Microsoft is in a better position, thanks to Windows’ huge install base among business users.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see what Microsoft does in this space over the next year,” he said. “They already have multiple hooks in the enterprise.”

Andrew Borg, senior research analyst with the Aberdeen Group, called Microsoft a “force to be reckoned with” because of its Windows Phone OS. The latest version, Mango, features a unique design that will set Microsoft smartphones apart, Borg said.

“They are not imitating iOS,” he said. “There are many that think that Android is a clone of iOS. You can’t argue that with Microsoft.”

September 30, 2011  11:43 AM

Dunder Mifflin unveils The Pyramid on ‘The Office’

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

With the iPad, TouchPad, PlayBook, Kindle Fire and Android devices flooding the market, does the world really need another tablet? Sabre Corp., the parent company of Dunder Mifflin, says yes.

We got a glimpse of the company’s tablet, The Pyramid, on last night’s episode of “The Office.” The three-sided device weighs three pounds (including the battery pack) and runs on 50 L of memory. Check out The Pyramid’s unveiling at Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton, Pa. office:
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/3GDSL-89cEg” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]

September 30, 2011  11:21 AM

Amazon Kindle Fire tablet debuts: News in brief

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet got a lot of hype this week, but it might not make inroads among business users.

My fire - kindlingThe Kindle Fire tablet boasts a 7-inch color touchscreen and promises strong integration with Amazon’s cloud services (everything from EC2, for speeding up Web browsing, to its streaming media library). Its $199 price tag is also alluring, especially when you consider the cheapest iPad costs $499.

Most of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet pitch, however, focuses on media and entertainment: watching movies and TV shows, reading books and magazines, playing Angry Birds, etc. Its only available connection is via Wi-Fi, and there’s no camera or microphone. Sure, you can check email and view documents, but the business user does not appear to be Amazon’s target audience for the Kindle Fire.

Amazon may be taking another approach in the enterprise market; VentureBeat reported Thursday night that the company is in talks to buy Hewlett-Packard’s WebOS operating system.

Continued »

September 28, 2011  11:31 AM

Welcome to the mixed-infrastructure nightmare

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Managing heterogeneous environments is a huge pain.

That’s one of the major lessons I learned over three years of covering the virtualization market. Lots of vendors say they can manage mixed infrastructures, but they all have shortcomings. The platform vendors have limited features for managing competing platforms. The small ISVs do a few specific things well, but they don’t do everything. And the big systems management tools can be costly and complicated.

Desktop admins haven’t really had to worry about this problem. Most shops run Windows exclusively, using well-established, Windows-specific tools for management. But that’s all changing.

You may have noticed that Windows PCs aren’t the only enterprise endpoints anymore. These cool little gadgets called smartphones and tablets are infiltrating the workplace. Lots of them. Made by different vendors. Running different OSes. With different levels of security. And if you think you can pick just one to support, you better think again.

Continued »

September 27, 2011  3:58 PM

VMware eyes MVP in Android kernel

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The new SlideRocket and Socialcast iPad apps aren’t the only news from VMware today.

The company is also working to make its mobile hypervisor part of the Android kernel, CTO Stephen Herrod said at the GigaOM Mobilize show, according to GigaOM.

By putting its Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) on every Android device, VMware would have a big leg up on competitors … if any major competitors existed. That might be a sign that mobile virtualization is a futuristic technology, and VMware is just far ahead of the curve. Or it might be a sign that nobody else thinks mobile virtualization is a worthwhile approach.

Continued »

September 27, 2011  1:27 PM

New VMware iPad apps: SlideRocket Player, Socialcast

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The portfolio of VMware iPad apps is growing.

VMware today announced new iPad apps for SlideRocket and Socialcast, two services the company acquired earlier this year. SlideRocket is a hosted presentation application similar to Microsoft PowerPoint, and Socialcast is a collaboration platform designed to bring social aspects to enterprise computing.

The free SlideRocket Player iPad app lets you view and download SlideRocket and PowerPoint presentations, and it provides analytics about who else has viewed your shared presentations. With the Socialcast iPad app, which is not yet available, Socialcast users can update their status, send messages and share files even when they’re not at their desk. (VMware also plans to update the Socialcast Android app to include the same features.)

Continued »

September 22, 2011  4:53 PM

HP fires CEO Apotheker: News in brief

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Hewlett-Packard has told CEO Leo Apotheker to hit the bricks after less than year on the job. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman will replace him.

Apotheker was under fire for the failure of HP’s TouchPad tablets, his idea to spin off the company’s successful PC line and the $10.3 billion acquisition of software vendor Autonomy. Thanks to those moves and repeated cuts to HP’s sales forecasts, the company’s stock has dropped nearly in half since Apotheker became CEO in November.

The news came a day after The New York Times reported that most HP board members had never met Apotheker before voting to hire him. But they’ve all met Whitman; she’s been on the board since January.
Windows Phone 7 Mango update due soon

Windows Phone 7.5, code-named Mango, will be out “in the next week or two,” Microsoft said Wednesday. The Mango update process will also deliver specialized firmware for each Windows Phone 7 device, developed to make sure all phone features and apps work with the new OS.

The Windows Phone 7 Mango update will bring multitasking capabilities, support for 4G networks, threaded email and advanced messaging and social networking features.

McAfee focuses on mobile

McAfee laid out its security strategy for mobile devices this week. The company’s approach focuses on securing devices themselves, along with the apps they run and the data they store. Antivirus, application scanning and even systems management technologies are part of McAfee’s strategy, highlighted by its Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) product. EMM is designed to give admins the same level of control over mobile devices that they have over corporate PCs and laptops.

Layoffs hit PlayBook manufacturer

Quanta Computer, manufacturer of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook, is laying off 1,000 workers because of the tablet’s poor sales. DigiTimes reported that Quanta’s Taiwan-based PlayBook production line started with more than 2,000 employees, so these layoffs mean a 50% staff reduction.

Given the enterprise dominance of BlackBerry smart phones, hopes were high that the PlayBook could have similar success in the tablet market. But the phones’ major selling point, corporate email access, didn’t carry over, because for some reason the PlayBook doesn’t have a native email client.

RIM shipped only 500,000 PlayBooks in the second quarter of this year, and that number dropped to 200,000 last quarter. RIM’s profits plunged 59% last quarter as well, and Wednesday its stock price reached at a five-year low.

Photo (cc) by joyosity on Flickr and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

September 21, 2011  1:44 PM

Mobile device security risks: More than just data loss

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Data loss isn’t all you have to worry about when granting corporate access to mobile device users. You could also expose your organization to legal trouble up the wazoo.

As reported by SearchSecurity.com, Constellation Energy compliance officer A. Spencer Wilcox warned IT security pros about these mobile device security risks this week at the (ISC)² Security Congress in Orlando, Fla.

Wilcox suggested that all organizations create mobile security policies and require employees to sign them before granting any corporate access on their devices. If not, he said, the law may not protect organizations if an employee steals or inappropriately uses corporate data.

Wilcox also warned against other legal risks regarding mobile devices, involving photos taken on phones and even liability for accidents caused by employees using devices behind the wheel.

Photo (cc) by Paul Oka and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

September 21, 2011  9:39 AM

iPhone 5 launch date Oct. 4, report says

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The iPhone 5 launch date will be Oct. 4, according to AllThingsD.

The report on the iPhone 5 launch date cites “sources close to the situation” as saying that Apple will hold its “next big media event,” hosted by new CEO Tim Cook, on Oct. 4.

The iPhone 5 will include the new iOS 5 operating system; Other expected iPhone 5 specs include a dual-core A5 processor and 8-megapixel camera. Rumor has it the iPhone 5 will also be available on the Sprint network for the first time, in addition to AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Apple has not officially announced the iPhone 5 launch date yet. Other media outlets have reported different iPhone 5 launch dates in the past, from late September through mid-October.

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