Monthly Archives: April 2004

Channel 9 This upcoming article in Business Wee…

Channel 9

This upcoming article in Business Week, How Microsoft Is Clipping Longhorn, discusses changes in the design of the new Microsoft OS and plans for the release of Service Pack 2.

Here is a sample: “Microsoft does plan to update the current version of Windows this June with a product dubbed Windows XP Service Pack 2. It has issued service packs for Windows over the years that have garnered little notice. But it thinks this one, code-named Springboard, will be different. The key selling point: security.”

As a result of polling that reveals a lack of user loyalty to Windows XP, the company is planning a push to change all that. “Later this year, it plans to begin a new marketing campaign, dubbed internally as Windows XP Reloaded.”

“It starts when Springboard ships and continues with a broad push to convince customers to use Microsoft’s digital media technology. The company plans to release a new product, internally known as Windows XP Premium, that combines Windows XP Professional with an updated version of Windows Media Player. Premium will be available only on new PCs, not in boxes at retail.”

I discovered the link to this story while reading a blog called Channel 9, which is described by the authors (who are Microsoft employees) this way: “Channel 9 started as a personal story from one of us about fear of flying. Lenn realized after years of dealing with it, that it was actually a fear of the unknown. The fear was conquered through learning. The more transparency into what it took to fly a plane, the more the fear went away. Lenn got to know pilots who flew planes everyday, and every time he flew he turned on Channel 9 on the in-flight audio system to listen in to the cockpit.

We think developers need their own Channel 9, a way to listen in to the cockpit at Microsoft, an opportunity to learn how we fly, a chance to get to know our pilots. Five of us in Redmond are crazy enough to think we just might learn something from getting to know each other. Were we wrong? Time will tell.”

One nice feature of this weblog is its integration of videos interviews into its format. This one shows the five Microsoft employees who are doing this blog as they talk about their vision of how it will work and what it might achieve. Though many people are cynical about anything having to do with Microsoft, I, for one, am pleased to be able to have this dialog with them and to check in with what is going on there. I think it might prove to be an enlightening way to keep up with the thinking “inside” this influential company. Though it seems primarily directed at developers, we ordinary humans need to get over our “fear of flying” too and this just might help. Check it out.

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It’s funny how much difference $2B can make. This…

It’s funny how much difference $2B can make.

This article in today’s New York Times reports that Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems and Bill Gates of Microsoft have patched up their long-running spat after Microsoft agreed to pay close to $2,000,000,000,000.00 in patent claims to McNealy’s company. Who says money can’t buy you friends?

Now that they are pals, I don’t suppose we’ll hear any more of Mr. McNealy’s memorable quotes, such as the ones reported in The Times story: “Mr. McNealy has a well-earned reputation as Microsoft’s most persistent and quotable antagonist. In the past, he routinely described Microsoft’s software as an overly complex ‘hairball.’ He once referred to Microsoft’s leaders, Steven A. Ballmer, the chief executive, and Bill Gates, the chairman and cofounder, as ‘Ballmer and Butthead.'”