Ballmer Talks Up Live Services

Ballmer Talks Up Live Services: Live Services are the most important initiative at Microsoft. Final Vista Release Candidate Available: Is all well with Microsoft and security vendors? Microsoft Goes After Adobe: Microsoft takes the gloves off in a new video comparing Visual Studio with Dreamweaver 8.

Ballmer Talks Up Live Services

As the Bill Gates era draws to a close the Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie era is not only keep up Microsoft's momentum, but accelerate the company into new areas of innovation.

That was the message at this week's Gartner Symposium IT Expo held Oct. 8-13 in Orlando, Fla. With Google and other Web service sites growing at a fast pace, does this mean the end of software? No, said CEO Ballmer. "It's a transitione from software as we have known it to a form in which it will be even better," Ballmer told a Gartner audience.
And the form of that transition at Microsoft is Windows Live, which Ballmer called the most important initiative at Microsoft.

"We're in a transition to software that is live. It will be click to run, like a Web site," said Ballmer. "We believe in evolving to click to run."

Windows Live is a growing collection of service add-ons for Windows. Some of the services are shipping, such as Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Expo online classifieds. Nearly a dozen services are currently in beta test on the Windows Live Ideas Web site.

"The most important thing is the Live platform. The next level of consumerization is coming from Internet services and Internet delivery," said Ballmer, whose comments dovetailed with a theme espoused by Gartner analysts at this year's conference: that consumer technologies such as search, podcasting, on-demand video and blogging will seep into enterprise IT infrastructures in the years ahead.

Final Vista Release Candidate Available

The light is at the end of the tunnel, and Microsoft is confident that it will open up to a beautiful Vista. What testers will see in Release Candidate 2 (RC2) is much the same as RC1, released in early September. Vista is expectetd to be released to manufacturing, partners and large customers in November and generally available to consumers in January 2007.

According to eWeek Labs tests, installation and setup routines were about the same for Build 5744, also known as RC2. As with earlier builds, it is the new security features that come to the fore. They are one of the key reasons to upgrade to Vista, yet they are causing controversy with security vendors Symantec and McAfee.

The issue is that with all of the new security features, security vendors are worried that their business could take a hit. "[Security vendors] are asking us to ship a less secure operating system to keep the patients sick so they can keep serving up the medicine; but instead of doing that they need to innovate just like we have," said Ben Fathi, corporate vice president of the Microsoft's Security Technology Unit, in Redmond, Wash.

The dispute revolves specifically around Microsoft's use of its PatchGuard and Windows Security Center features in Vista, both of which have already been offered by the software giant in other versions of its products, Fathi points out.

PatchGuard, which forbids Windows applications from accessing the Vista kernel in the 64-bit iteration of the OS, will keep security technologies such as behavior monitoring systems from working as well as they have in the past, when they have been allowed to touch the kernel, claim the security vendors.

Microsoft Goes After Adobe
eWeek Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft found a new video on Microsoft's site that signals a change in Microsoft's strategy around its development tools. The video compares Visual Studio 2005 with Adobe's Dreamweaver 8. What does Taft think about it? Click here to find out.

Getting Ready for IE 7

eWeek Labs Director Jim Rapoza is helping users get ready for Internet Explorer 7, which is due out before the end of October. Those who haven't tested the browser or made sure that their Web sites and applications work with it should start getting busy. One fairly useful tool is the IE 7 Readiness Toolkit. Of most value in this kit are the testing tools and tips for Web site developers, though as always I recommend coding to standards rather than to specific browsers.
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