It Was A Brutal Year for Microsoft
Year 2000 was probably the worst year in the MS 25-year history. Gates' company got chopped in half by a grumpy judge (which was of course appealed), the supergrowth slowed to a more 'normal' pace, hackers gave MS a black eye and... oh yeah, the stock price was cut in half if you compare with Dec 30, 1999 where it was at $119-15/16.
Still there are a few more challenges ahead. This is a good thing, as
MS performs best under pressure. As you know, MS pre-announced (warns
the financial analysts that profits will be lower) that due to a slum-
ping PC market, profits would be approx. 5 percent short of earlier
estimates. It was the first time in 11 years that MS had to do this.
MS is currently caught in the trough between slowing PC sales and
companies not yet ramping up the W2K implementation fast enough.
To get MS back into a 20-30% per year growth level, W2K needs to do
a lot better. That is probably why they kicked the W9x licenses out
of the volume programs. And only when things go .Net, MS can start
charging rental fees on a grand scale but this is a few years from
now. In the mean time, they need to find fuel to feed the hungry
Two things that could bring some relief are W2K2 (code name Whistler)
and an update to MS-Office, but as we have seen in the past, the
time tables are sliding on these puppies so who knows. MS may be
counting on businesses investing in new machines for W2K but you
can bet your boots that aint gonna happen in the current climate.
In other words, it may be getting worse before it gets better. And
of course you have to keep in mind that the antitrust case could
go wrong and break it in two. However, with the Bush administration
that threat might go away in the form of some deal that will be cut.
Just this week, Ballmer said they would cut cost and increase salaries
as a compensation for stock option related losses. They need to hold
on to their staff. Like I said earlier, generally speaking people do
best in a challenging environment, and MS is a good example of that.
No More W9x Volume Licensing: Prepare Your Budgets
It was reported in quite a few IT news media this week. Volume
licensing for W95 and W98 is going away June 30, 2001. MS will take
these out of the existing programs with the idea to "make it easier"
to move to W2K Pro. The result is that W9x is going to be a LOT
more expensive for the stragglers that resist the upgrade.
The only two way you will be able to get your W9X copies is via
the normal reseller channel or as an OEM-installed copy on fresh
hardware. However I expect that during 2001 that possibility is
also likely to get difficult. Get ready for either more dollars
to maintain your standardized environment, or a massive upgrade
to NT or W2K. Your third option is possible but illegal. [grin]
If you have an existing license of course you are going to be
able to get more copies, but only until that license will expire.
If you have no volume license that includes W95 or W98 from
what I understand you have JUST THIS WEEK TO GET THEM !!
No NT4 Service Pack 7 Till Q3, 2001
On the Sunbelt sponsored NT SysAdmin List, Bob Free just mentioned
the following interesting news. In short it comes down to this:
Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 7 (SP7) is schedule to released Q3 2001.
Microsoft plans to make Service Pack 7 for Windows NT 4.0 the last
Service Pack released for the Windows NT 4.0 platform
Some more detail that came out of Microsoft regarding this:
"We have been evaluating demand for fixes for Windows NT 4.0 and
Windows 2000. The demand for Windows 2000 fixes has been far higher
than for NT4, and the pressure to release this service pack is much
greater. Microsoft is committed to delivering Service Packs approx.
every 6 months for the currently released Operating System. Windows
2000 Service Pack 2 is schedule to release Q1 2001. Customers who
are currently waiting for SP7 should move forward with SP6a plus any
additional hotfixes they determine are required for their environment.
The Active Directory Client will be made available via download
independently from SP7 early next year. Customers who require 128bit
functionality on languages other than US are encouraged to evaluate
the 128bit IE releases as a path to greater security".
Thanks for sharing this interesting news with us Bob!
Microsoft Buys Great Plains Accounting Outfit
Great Plains Software was acquired by MS. They will pay 1.1 Billion
in stock for it. Funny thing is, Sunbelt already runs on Great Plains,
and now we'll get it from MS. I think it is a good thing, from an
integration viewpoint. They will develop products that work with
Microsoft's online service for small companies, bCentral. And of
course they they'll make this puppy work within .Net the environment.
MS will have to have a better look at how Oracle works, as now MS
moves into apps that compete with their Independent Software Vendors
just like Oracle bas been doing for a while already. More here:
A Password Security Hotfix You Want To Apply
Windows 2000 Security UPDATE reported that a new patch eliminates
a vulnerability that lets a malicious user implement a brute-force
password-guessing attack against a Windows 2000 computer that's not
a member of a Win2K domain. This is an important fix to implement.
They continued with: "A flaw in the way that NT LAN Manager (NTLM)
authentication operates in Win2K lets a malicious user bypass the
domain account lockout policy on a local Win2K machine". MS has
sent out one of their security bulletins explaining what the problem
is and how to fix it. Here is the MS download page.
Obviously you want a solution in place that checks for these kinds
of holes on a consistent basis, and helps you how to plug 'em.
Check http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=899 for that.