Windows Users: "No Bang For Big Bucks!"
Paid big bucks for Redmond's Software Maintenance? Don't see a
lot of return? Looks like you are not the only one. Or are you?
MS is really having trouble here, as MANY of the customers are
thinking twice about renewing software maintenance contracts that
will expire by July.
End users are in an optimum position to renegotiate their
contract, as MS's balance sheet is exposed due to decline in
deferred maintenance. Scott Matthews, CTO for Digitech Systems in
Greenwood Village, Colo. spent $30,000 in June 2002 on a software
maintenance contract for SQL Server under Microsoft's new annuity
licensing program called Software Assurance. The program was
introduced two years ago to reduce Microsoft's tangle of software
maintenance offerings to a single plan. He's "not amused" with
the results up to now. There is a good story on Network World's
website if you are interested:
And if you want an extensive report about MS Maintenance options
and how you can save mega budget dollars, get yourself this
report for a lousy 149 bucks: The MS 6.0 Licensing Report. It's
got one of these Sunbelt "no-good-money-back" guarantees.
Redmond Plans Update Release of W2K3
Yup, it was bound to happen. Another update! They are planning to
bundle a set of add-on components they had been putting out
separately since last April. Stuff like Windows SharePoint
Services for example, but they have not decided yet exactly what
they will throw in the new version.
Other modules that might make it in the new version include
Digital Rights Management services, Automated Deployment
Services, Real-time communications services, the Group Policy
Management Console, iSCSI support and Virtual Server technology.
It will definitely be before the next planned release of the
Windows server technology (current code name LongHorn), but
later than the first Service Pack for W2K3, which will further
improve security-related feature of the OS. They cannot say yet
how it will be released, Service Pack, Update Pack or another
form like "Windows 98 Second Edition".
Windows XP Reloaded
MS plans to release significant enhancements to Windows XP after
SP2 and before Longhorn as part of a project known as Windows XP
"There are no current plans to do a new version of Windows or a
[Windows XP] Second Edition, but we're looking at all of our
options," said Greg Sullivan, lead product manager for Windows
client, confirming that that Windows XP Reloaded is the working
name for the project. "There's an effort under way to look at
all work being done on Windows and how we add value and bring
that to market. We're discussing all the options. We're trying
to get SP2 in the can."
SP2 will integrate all the new security features and fixes in
the upcoming service pack, plus new multimedia features. What
"reloaded" essentially will look like is XP with SP2, include
Windows Media Player 10, and likely more modules.
Now, the skeptic in me thinks that this possibly may be just
a marketing campaign, like Windows 98 Second Edition. For OEM's
it would be new Gold disks, but for consumers it might be a
download. I'm sure we'll see more detail about XP Reloaded
after XP SP2 ships.
MS May Make It's Software 'Behave'
Security is still headache Numero Uno for Redmond. They talked
about another way to block bad guys last week. The new stuff is
called "behavior blocking". Could be something good. It's a
technique for protecting applications and operating systems
from worms and other attacks by recognizing when computers
aren't acting like themselves. Think of it as complementing
signature-based anti-virus tools.
BillG outlined it as follows:
"You can really think of this as taking the notion of secure-by-default to the next level," said Gates, who along with other MS
executives has been talking tough about security for the past
two years under an initiative called Trustworthy Computing.
"The system will truly know what actions are allowed for
operating-system components and the applications that are
He described how it could help prevent the spread of worms that
take advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in MS apps. "For
example, the Blaster worm caused the RPC service to open a back
door and download some malicious code on the machine. In this
case, behavior blocking would recognize that this behavior is
out of the ordinary for the RPC service and block it," he said.
No idea yet when this will see the light. MS acquired this
technology by snarfing up Pelican Security last year. You
may perhaps see this in server code at the earliest by year