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June 10, 2008  4:02 PM

Next from Dan Bricklin: A wiki-spreadsheet combo

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Spreadsheet pioneer Dan Bricklin is at it again. The father of VisiCalc is now working to bring the spreadsheet’s productivity to workgroups.

Bricklin, in his trademark flannel shirt (it’s nearly 100 degrees out!) said hello before heading into Ross Mayfield’s Enterprise 2.0 keynote. Mayfield is chairman, prez and co-founder of Socialtext— the company working on Bricklin’s “Social Spreadsheet.” Continued »

June 6, 2008  10:55 PM

Atrion: Beyond the network, it’s all about applications

Heather Clancy Heather Clancy Profile: Heather Clancy

What the heck does a network integrator intend to do with a interactive multimedia company?

That was my first reaction when I heard the news that network integrator and managed service provider Atrion Networking (based in Warwick, R.I., and a company I know well), is buying Shazamm (a company I’ve never heard of—but one that is apparently an Atrion neighbor in Providence, R.I.) I have no idea what Atrion paid, but after thinking about the whole situation for a few minutes late tonight and checking out the Shazamm Web site, I think I do know what Atrion is after: Shazamm’s digital signage management and distribution application called Z-One and a Web asset management system called Z-Media. Continued »

June 6, 2008  2:03 PM

MySQL road show stresses enterprise cred

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

MySQL execs took to the road this week, talking up the database’s increasing relevance to big businesses.

The message at a Boston event Tuesday night, was that Sun Microsystems’ buyout of the open source database company gives MySQL easier entry into very large accounts. Continued »

June 6, 2008  12:54 PM

Hey Microsoft: Keep it simple, stupid!

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Earlier this week, a partner asked Microsoft the following question: If Software Assurance expires on Small Business Server 2003, will the client lose the right to install SBS 2003 on new hardware?

Seems like a simple enough question, right? Wrong. On the Microsoft SMB Community Blog, it takes Microsoft senior manager Eric Ligman nearly 650 words to answer.

Continued »

June 4, 2008  9:41 AM

Icahn accuses Yahoo of sabotage, seeks Yang ouster

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

The Microsoft-Yahoo acquisition saga may not be over. In fact, the real juicy part may be just beginning.

Carl Icahn Jerry Yang sabotageBillionaire investor Carl Icahn is already trying to take control of Yahoo’s board of directors. Now he’s telling The Wall Street Journal that he’ll get rid of Jerry Yang — who’s not only the Yahoo CEO, he’s also a co-founder — if his proxy bid is successful.

“It’s no longer a mystery to me why Microsoft’s offer isn’t around,” Icahn said. “How can Yahoo keep saying they’re willing to negotiate and sell the company on the one hand, while at the same time they’re completely sabotaging the process without telling anyone?”

Icahn made these latest comments after a Delaware court unsealed a lawsuit that shareholders filed against Yahoo earlier this year. The suit says Yahoo rejected a $40-per-share offer from Microsoft way back in Janaury 2007, then set up a generous severance plan for employees who would lose their jobs in the aftermath of an acquisition — a deterrent for any potential suitor.

Yang has taken most of the blame for Microsoft pulling its offer, but he does have supporters — or at least people who see his point of view. BusinessWeek, for one, gives some “reasonable justifications” for the actions of Yang and his board (namely, holding out for more money).

And Icahn isn’t exactly the most popular guy in the tech world, either. Information Week blogger Eric Zeman asks if Icahn is the “biggest egomaniac ever” and questions his real motivation for sticking his nose in Yahoo’s business.

When Microsoft first made its offer, partners wondered if the potential Yahoo acquisition would become a distraction. There’s been a lull for the past month or so, but it looks like those questions will be on the rise again.

June 3, 2008  2:45 PM

Ballmer Bot debuts at TechEd

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

A dextrous-armed, Wi-fi-equipped “Ballmer bot” wheeled itself on stage to join Bill Gates at his TechEd 08 keynote today.

A rotating torso capped with an LCD bearing Steve Ballmer’s face, the robot re-enacted Ballmer’s famous “developers, developers, developers!” rant.

Ballmer Bot’s dextrous arms can “even throw eggs,” Tandy Tower, general manager of Microsoft’s Robotics Lab chimed in helpfully. (Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was recently “egged” at a European event. Whatever you think of Ballmer, his recovery from the flying eggs was priceless: “That broke my train of thought.”)

It was hard to tell from the streaming video whether Ballmer Bot was greeted with laughter or screams or indifference.

Full video of the TechEd keynote is here. Ballmer Bot is about an hour and 20 minutes in.

June 3, 2008  11:16 AM

Some takeaways from Bill Gates’ finale

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Bill Gates just finished what Microsoft has billed as his last public speech as a company full timer. Gates is stepping down from day-to-day involvement as of July 1.

At TechEd 2008 part one (for developers) Gates hit on some familiar themes and presided over demos of upcoming modeling, database, and development technologies. Continued »

June 3, 2008  9:34 AM

Forrester: Windows 7 neat, not revolutionary

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Waiting for Windows 7 to swoop in and save your business from poor Windows Vista sales? Don’t hold your breath, according to Forrester Research.

In a blog post yesterday, analyst Benjamin Gray wrote that Windows 7, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system, is “clearly going to be an evolutionary update, not the revolutionary update that many are hoping for. So the challenges that organizations are experiencing with Windows Vista today will also occur with what’s coming next.”

Continued »

June 2, 2008  9:49 AM

Dynamics AX 2009 debuts

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Microsoft’s new Dynamics AX 2009, now available, targets multinational companies. This release lets companies combine multiple time zones and currencies in a single ERP instance. — something that should suit mid-sized and even large companies with sites in multiple countries, according to Kees Hertogh, Microsoft Dynamics product manager.

Also new: Bi-directional support for Arabic languages. That means that PC screens in Arabic-speaking offices will read right to left with the appropriate character set while other offices can retain their screen look-and-feel. Continued »

May 29, 2008  7:48 AM

Dell vs. Jobs: Steel cage match

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

So it’s come to this: Michael Dell, asked at AllThingsD if he could vanquish Steve Jobs in a fight summed it up: “I could take him.”

Engadget ran with the bit under the headline: “Oh no he didn’t!”

Given that Jobs is credited — fairly or not — with being a creative force in tech while Dell is seen –fairly or not–as a logistics pro, there’s bound to be some bad blood. A few years back, Dell was asked what he would do if he were in charge with Apple and he said he’s shut it down.

No response yet from Steve Jobs, Fake or Real.

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