Merger or No, Users Need Some Direction

Which will end first, the Microsoft and Department of Justice travails or the Hewlett-Packard and Compaq melodrama?

Which will end first, the Microsoft and Department of Justice travails or the Hewlett-Packard and Compaq melodrama? While most would point to the upcoming March 19 shareholder vote on the HP-Compaq proposed merger as an end point, I think this one could stretch on longer than the Microsoft-vs.-DOJ smack down.

I dont know how the HP vote will go, although Id guess it will be razor thin and the subject of even more dispute than the Florida presidential election results. I do know that, as weve written in the past and we report on this week, users would like a conclusion and a direction from the two companies. It is interesting that the somewhat-neglected stepchild of HP, the printing and imaging unit, has become the big star in the merger tug of war. Executive Editor/News Mike Zimmermans interview with the units president, Vyomesh Joshi some of the possibilities that could result if the merger goes through. I do have to admit I cant get all that excited over hearing about the great margins and profits in the printing business every time I have to shell out $35 for a printer replacement cartridge that probably costs about a buck to manufacture. Wheres open source when you need it?

Should Microsoft have to offer a stripped-down version of Windows as part of an antitrust settlement? I dont think you can find any user support for this idea, but this is one proposal being thoroughly hashed about in the court system. How about this idea? Microsoft will be forced to provide both a buggy and a bug-free version of Windows. Systems integrators and resellers could be sure to use the buggy version to provide lifelong job security.

If you want to skip worrying about the vendor soap operas and concentrate instead on your paycheck and job security, read Lisa Vaas article, "Riding Out the Storm." This article on IT skills certification not only describes why certification is more important than ever but also includes the results of our poll on the top 10 certifications that can save your job. Be sure to see the accompanying article by Lisa on how to sign up for free tests and training.

The deployment of handheld and wireless networks in a company is one of the most backward jobs in IT—in the sense that the company president walks into your office with his new handheld and asks you why he cant get his e-mail on his new $500 investment. If this situation sounds familiar, where the device is self-deployed by execs and then it is up to you to figure out the wireless infrastructure, we offer help. In this installment of our ongoing IT Agenda series, eWeek Labs Technical Analyst Jason Brooks explains the best way to build a mobile infrastructure and includes a set of best practices.

Whatll your Windows pick be: buggy or bug-free? Write to me at eric_lundquist