Microsofts Live Isnt New

Opinion: Microsoft, with its Live software-as-a-service initiative, is late to the hosted online app game.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and newly anointed Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie last week announced a software-as-a-service initiative, dubbed Live, which is the companys long-awaited answer to challenges from the heavyweights of the Internet world—you know who they are. Unfortunately, whats new at Microsoft isnt necessarily so for users of existing service models—, for instance, which has been offering hosted online applications for some time now. Some of the Live applications are not yet alive or are still in fledgling form, writes Senior Editor Peter Galli in his coverage this week.

Microsoft, which is noting Windows 20th anniversary this month, is facing its biggest challenge, one that it thought it had wrapped up when Internet Explorer eclipsed Netscape, when, in fact, that was just the beginning.

New yet not-so-new technology, in the form of virtual machines, also is sweeping across the IT landscape. Enterprise developers are finding new ways of deploying and using virtual software. eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Jason Brooks takes a look at how two forms of VM technology work and how they can help make your IT environment more flexible and manageable.

You would think, given the popularity of services such as iTunes, that the music industry would be starting to "get it" when it comes to the nexus of music, the Internet and the PC. Not so, at least on the part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment. In Senior Writer Paul F. Roberts eye-opening story, Sonys DRM (digital rights management) software that comes on its CDs was found to employ techniques that make it virtually unremovable and undetectable to users—and a possible exploit for malicious hackers. The DRM technology prevents users from burning more than three copies of a particular song on the CD. (Sony has since offered a removal program, but it is unclear how that will affect use of the CD.)

From Sonys perspective, the logic is that if copying is limited, then pirates will not be able to flood the market with bootleg copies, thereby cutting Sonys revenue and profits. In truth, by treating customers as potential criminals, Sonys taking money out of its own pocket by giving music buyers (and musicians, for that matter) more reasons to avoid the CD medium altogether and go directly to online services. The original Napster may be dead, but the digital content revolution it started lives on.

eWEEK magazine editor Scot Petersen can be reached at


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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...