More Monster Stories

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-11-02 Print this article Print

If youve been reading some of what eWEEK.coms competition has been writing about recent Microsoft developments, you may be under the illusion that "Windows Live" are in some way first steps to Microsoft offering Web-based applications. Wrong.
As my buddy Mary Jo Foley points out, all that stuff is more about rebranding MSN and trying to bring HailStorm (aka .Net my services) back to life.
And here I thought Halloween and Frankenstein monster stories were over for the year. Silly me. But Business Portal Lite really is an attempt to get into the business ASP territory that has proven can be profitable. Will it work? Frankly, Ive never been crazy about this approach. My concerns with any thin-client/ASP approach are 1) security, can you trust your data is safe with your host? Can you trust that it wont be compromised during its transmission? 2) Stability, if the server or the Internet connection goes down, your work goes with it. And, 3) Speed, no matter how fast your broadband connection is, its never as fast as the connection between my display and my hard drive or my Fast Ethernet-connected network drives. These arent Microsoft issues. I have these issues with any ASP/thin-client set up. Unfortunately, for Microsoft, if the new Windows Live portal is anything like Windows Live, it doesnt work well with any browser; no, not even Internet Explorer. If you go over and visit Windows Live, youll find that it breaks rather easily under IE 6 and IE 7 Beta 1. The site also says that "Firefox support is coming soon." Well, theyre right, Firefox doesnt work either. Nor does Safari, Mozilla, Opera ... you get the idea. In particular, try making a search, then read an article found in that search. Done? OK, now trying going back to the search results page with the back-arrow key. See what I mean? Youre back at the search page, and your results are gone. That was clever. Microsoft can share this code all it likes; goodness knows it needs help. And, if Microsoft plans to run ERP on this same technology ... well, lets just say that losing a search is annoying, losing expense reports would be cause to throw Business Portal Lite into the trash heap with all the other portals. Ziff Davis Internet Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been working and writing about technology and business since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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