New USB 2 Beta Drivers For WXP
MS just released its very first drivers for USB on WXP. A lot of
people were waiting for this, as there are a tremendous amount of
USB peripherals out there already. This version 2.0 boosts the
available bandwidth, to a whopping 400 Mbs from a paltry 11Mbs.
You can read more about it over here at the Wininformant site:
MS Faces Some Hurdles With Windows XP Progress
This release is going to be a massive one with a Billion dollars
set aside for marketing by MS and its partners. But it's getting
flak already from different sides, even though it has not even
gone RTM (Release To Manufacturing) yet. This is expected some
where between August 15 and 30-th.
WXP faces continued legal challenges from the Department of Justice,
and now a legislator is starting to make noise. New York Senator
Charles Schumer, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, is preparing to call for congressional hearings into
MS's "anti-competitive practices". Now, keep in mind that AOL
after the merger with Time Warner, moved its HQ to New York.
Schumer was accusing MS of appearing to engage in anticompetitive
practices against AOL Time Warner and Eastman Kodak, also a NY
company. AOL declined to discuss whether they had lobbied Schumer.
Schumer held a press conference on Tuesday to call for committee
hearings to investigate Microsoft and "demand that Windows XP allow
users to choose their media player, messenger service and other
applications instead of being forced to use Microsoft applications".
Schumer discussed the possibility of enjoining (that is put a legal
stop on) the release of Windows XP. It said he had written a letter
to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demanding changes to Windows XP.
But everyone on Wall Street and in Microsoft circles agrees that WXP
is the one chance the currently comatose PC market has of getting a
pulse again in 2001. Another party complaining about WXP follows:
InterTrust Technologies is a developer of Digital Rights Management
technology, and announced that they will modify its existing lawsuit
against Microsoft. They claim that Microsoft's "product activation"
/anti-piracy technology that is used in WXP, Office XP and Visio 2002
infringes InterTrust patent claims.
Ed Fish, President of InterTrust's MetaTrust Utility Division said.
"Microsoft's 'product activation' technology prevents a user from
continuing to use Windows XP unless the user has 'activated' the
software, meaning that the user has received electronic authorization.
InterTrust anticipated these DRM processes many years ago and our
issued and pending patents serve to protect our ingenuity and
investment in them."
And in a move that I had hoped (and was pushing) for, MS let the
world know that it will loosen up the Windows Product Activation
WPA scheme in WXP. The result will be that you do not have to
reactivate WXP so often when you change hardware on your boxes.
If you have a volume agreement, you'll get a key that can unlocks
all WXP machines that you own, but you cannot get WXP without the
WPA protection. How to get these unlock keys distributed is an
internal organizational headache of course, it's a one-time
A lot of users (including me) complained that WPA was too restrictive
and that some common changes in their hardware would require a new
product activation. That normally gets done via a call to MS and
basically is a headache. So, they backed down and made it more
friendly. Thank you. For more on the technical background, read:
Information Week Survey: MCSE Base Salaries Down
Hmmm, perhaps you have not noticed this yourself, but a new job
might pay less than you are getting now. If you're an MCSE your
yearly pay is dropping. A new survey by the Wilson research group
shows average base pay for an MCSE dropped 7% over last year. The
numbers went from $67,800 to $63,400. But the silver lining is that
if you have your W2K Cert, your average yearly pay is up $4,400
over an NT Server 4.0 cert. Dang, now where are those books again?
MS: Lower Profits But 13% Higher Sales
They took a massive almost 4 Billion write-off for losses in their
current investments, but the basic software business was solid and
looks good for the coming year. However, they warned that the current
quarter could be a bit slow. The main boost came out of sales from
the W2K OS. MS gets about 30 bucks more for W2K from OEM's than for
instance W98. And I'm sure that WXP will also be a bit more expensive
for OEM's. Microsoft has a lot of "pricing power". (Meaning they can
ask what they want).
Another source of revenues was Office XP, boosted by increased
agressiveness in enforcing the licenses. Their "Enterprise Software
and Services" business surged 20%. So, from the business perspective
things looks fairly healthy in the Microsoft camp. Their total sales
were 10% over their last year. Win2K Pro sales accounted for 41% of
all 32-bit operating sales, up from 35% in Q1.
On the legal front of course they are not out of the wood yet. The rest
of the industry has mixed results. Sun posted their first quarterly net
loss in 12 years, Gateway slumped but Dell stayed on track and met its
New MS Licensing: How Will It Affect Me?
I just came off a Giga teleconference with Laura DiDio and Rob Enderle
of Giga Information Group and a special guest, Mr. Bill Landefeld,
Vice President of World Wide Licensing and Pricing at Microsoft. We
discussed the impact of the new licensing will impact your business.
The upshot: the majority of the customers may benefit, but your own
situation will depend. So look into this!
Migrating existing Enterprise Agreements to the new one scheme may
be cost prohibitive for your organization. It's definitely time to
talk to your MS-Rep and dig into this. The actual program will be
launched October 1-st, 2001. There will be a transition period until
end of Feb 2002.
The long term goals of the new plan were something that was easier to
understand and administer. Microsoft stated that the plan has been
received well. It looks like it will be easier to determine what the
total cost will be for you. If you are not interested in upgrading,
You can stay current through the "Software Assurance" program. OS
upgrade SKU's will still be available.
Another change is that channel partners will be compensated via a fee
afterward the transaction. MS takes their customers direct instead of
letting the transaction go via their Large Account Resellers. Some
people are not going to be happy about that I'm sure. But the one
line that jumped out to me out of the whole conversation, was the
matter of fact statement "MS will evolve to Software As A Service".
Better get used to the idea you'll pay them something out of your
budget every year. Or vote with your feet.