Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Microsoft and Suse Renew $100 Million Linux License

Microsoft makes Windows, a closed source platform. Suse builds open source Linux distros aimed at enterprise users. On the surface, these two would appear the unlikely couple, but the two companies just renewed a pact dating back to 2006 that has Microsoft purchasing and reselling Suse licenses. As part of the four-year contract extension, Microsoft has agreed to invest $100 million in new Suse Linux Enterprise certificates for Microsoft enterprise customers receiving Linux support from Suse.

"Our collaboration with Suse not only helps customers to achieve success today, but also seeks to provide them with a solid foundation for tomorrow," said Sandy Gupta, general manager of the Open Solutions Group at Microsoft. "Through our continued engagement on the technical side, an outstanding support offering from Suse and our ability to provide mutual IP assurance, we feel confident that we will be able to deliver core value to those running mixed-source IT environments well into the future — and into the cloud.”

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Get 400 MS Points Free with Games for Windows Purchase

Microsoft is shelling out MS Points for those who purchase a Games for Windows title from this week.

To celebrate the (sad) merging of Games for Windows Marketplace and, Microsoft is giving away 1,000,000 free Microsoft Points starting July 25 and ending August 1. The only requirement is to make a Games for Windows online purchase between those dates. Consumers will then receive an email code for 400 Microsoft Points.

"Games for Windows Marketplace is open to millions of Xbox LIVE gamers around the world," Microsoft states. "Log in with your Xbox LIVE account and enjoy a single unified identity across Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows — LIVE. It’s the same gamertag, friends list, achievements and gamerscore on both platforms. Games for Windows Marketplace delivers great games at great prices and gives you access to Games for Windows – LIVE, a free online gaming service that lets you connect and play with your friends and millions of Xbox LIVE members!"

Microsoft moved the Games for Windows Marketplace over to back on July 11. "All of the same content from will be available on so members of communities across Xbox 360 and Games for Windows can purchase and get details on their favorite games, all in one place," explained a spokesperson. "All account information will remain the same and community members can still take advantage of their Xbox Live profile in their Windows games and stay connected to friends who are playing on the PC."

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Firefox at 64-bit: Do You Care?

Mozilla has begun collecting feedback on what appears to be a more serious approach to move Firefox for Windows from 32 to 64 bit. 

Taking the step from 32-bit to 64-bit has been much more difficult than many had anticipated and has been in the workings for close to a decade - compare that to the relatively quick transition from 16-bit to 32-bit in the mid 1990s. Of course, there are hurdles that need to be overcome and the benefits of a 64-bit app are only now becoming much more mainstream with more vendors now motivated to think about a transition.

Mozilla's product manager, Asa Dotzler, just posted a somewhat careful question to the Firefox community and asked users what they would expect from a 64-bit version. The question by itself may be confusing as the perception of a technology may not be aligned with its potential. However, Dotzler's post indicates that very little research has been done on Mozilla's side to figure out what the opportunities of a 64-bit Firefox really are as he tells his blog readers that "any help is appreciated."

Of course, Mozilla has done some research and was out quite early with a 64-bit version of Firefox. Firefox 3.1 was the first 64-bit version of Firefox and was released in fall of 2008. "Released" is an overstatement as Windows Firefox 64-bit builds have never made it past the developer channel and are even today only offered via a nightly build download (now in version 8.0). Last week, Mozilla announced much more serious test builds of Windows 64-bit builds as it installed Windows 2008 servers "that can generate the 64-bit version of Mozilla Firefox."

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Windows 8 Will Play Very Nicely With Windows 7

Over 400 Million Windows 7 Licenses Sold!

Kicking off Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Steve Ballmer today thanked partners for helping make Windows 7 the fastest-selling operating system in history, now with more than 400 million Windows 7 licenses sold in less than two years.

Echoing that point, Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Windows and Windows Live, emphasized that Windows 7 is the path to Windows 8. Noting that there are still more than 200 million PCs running Windows XP, which was launched in 2001, Reller told partners they have a real opportunity to deliver more value to customers in the short term and "set them up for the future."

In providing an overview of the road ahead with Windows, Reller told partners that despite the record growth and success of Windows 7, there is tremendous Windows 7 deployment opportunity now and well into the future. "We see a future with a heterogeneous enterprise environment of Windows 8 devices and apps alongside Windows 7 PCs and apps," she said.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

5 reasons to embrace Microsoft Office 365 (or at least some of it)

Last week, I offered you 5 reasons why you should avoid Office 365 -- the new cloud service from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). This week, I want to offer the flipside of the coin. Let's see the glass half-full in The Long View...

Office 365 is a replacement for (and superset of) Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), its previous cloud collaboration offering. The two key components of BPOS are cloud-hosted versions of Exchange Server 2007 and Sharepoint Server 2007.

Office 365 updates the software to the latest versions, and adds additional functionality. Much of my criticism last week was aimed at how the new functionality presents itself. However, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the parts of Office 365 that are inherited from BPOS have some killer advantages over the competition.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bad IT management habits: Break them before they break you

A little introspection and an action plan for overcoming bad habits may be all that's standing between you and on-the-job awesomeness.

Computerworld - Every worker develops a few bad habits -- maybe more than a few -- as the years on the job add up. IT pros are no exception: They lose focus or jump to conclusions or put off niggling tasks that could be finished in minutes.
Frustrated tech worker

It doesn't have to be that way. Identifying and understanding bad work habits might require a bit of soul-searching, but the benefits of such introspection can be myriad, workplace experts say.

By taking the time to step back and understand their particular stumbling blocks, IT managers stand to improve not only their ability to work productively, but also their job satisfaction, says Michael Ehling, a business consultant and a career coach with Balance Coaching in Toronto.

"Stepping back gives you 'soak time' to think, dream, consider, ponder. Instead of running around fighting fires all the time, you get time to focus on the bigger picture," says Ehling, who has a background in IT and coaches mostly technology executives and managers. And that, he says, can spur tech managers to "develop more constructive habits that will improve productivity and effectiveness."

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chrome makes gains in browser race; tablets jockey behind iPad

If web browser usage trends continue, it will be only months before no major browser holds the majority of the market.

My CNET colleague Stephen Shankland helpfully points out this morning that Google’s Chrome browser is making headway in the browser scrum, increasing from 12.5 percent in May 2011 to 13.1 percent in June, according to figures from NetMarketShare.

But market share is a zero-sum proposition, and that gain came at the expense of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which dropped from 54.3 percent to 53.7 percent — almost the same amount.

Mozilla’s Firefox browser continued to defend its place, preserving 21.7 percent share, while Apple’s Safari browser and the Opera browser duked it out on the low end: Safari increased from 7.3 percent to 7.5 percent while Opera decreased even further, from 2 percent to 1.7 percent.

Look at the big picture, and the web browser market is slowly trending toward more equal distribution. But make no mistake: IE continues to have a huge hold on the market.

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