WinInfo Short Takes: Week of July 8

An irreverent look at some of the week's other news...

Judge Issues Preliminary Ruling in Microsoft Settlement
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has issued a preliminary ruling in the Department of Justice (DOJ)/Microsoft settlement, indicating that her full decision on the agreement is imminent. The judge decided that Microsoft's disclosures of its congressional lobbying during the settlement process were adequate and met a Tunney Act requirement about revealing all government contacts during such an event. Critics had accused Microsoft of hiding and understating such contacts, and although the judge agreed that Microsoft's disclosures "could have been more fulsome," they passed muster with the law. Now the judge must decide whether the settlement is in the public interest; a decision is expected soon. A later decision will deal with the so-called nonsettling states and their more aggressive remedy proposals.

Cost Of Securing Microsoft? $100 Milllion. Getting Anyone To Believe It Worked? Priceless .
According to Microsoft Group Vice President David Thompson, in February and March the company spent more than $100 million to train more than 5000 developers to create more secure code. "Every developer feels it is now a matter of pride ... to write secure code," Thompson said at Tech Ed Europe this week, leading us to wonder why writing secure code wasn't a matter of pride all along. But a bigger question is how the company expects 2 months of training and code review to overcome years of security neglect. The proof is in the pudding: A year from now, if we see far fewer Windows-related security vulnerabilities, Thompson and company will be vindicated. If not, the company's critics have a particularly nice vat of tar and feathers waiting.

Apple Attacks the Rumor Sites
After warning the plethora of rumors Web sites devoted to Apple's products to back off in January, Apple has reportedly now issued an ultimatum: Apple will deny press passes at MacWorld New York to any site that prints rumors about the Mac--or even links to rumors on another site. I can't believe Apple would actually do such a thing; to prove this theory, I present the following Mac links, and yes, I'm going to MacWorld New York. See you there in 2 weeks!
   - Inside Jaguar (Think Secret)
   - MWNY: New Enclosures, PC iPod (
   - iMac Speed Bumps (MacOS Rumors)

Microsoft Recalls Optical Mouse
Microsoft is recalling certain IntelliMouse Explorer and IntelliMouse Optical mice because of problems with intermittent response issues. But the hilarious aspect of the recall (and let's face it, there's always a hilarious aspect to these stories) is the language Microsoft uses to describe the problem. After all, the company doesn't want any misunderstandings. "If your computer stops responding or hangs without moving the mouse, this is unrelated to the condition described herein." You see, Windows causes that condition, and that ain't our problem. Oh wait ... But seriously, folks, if you have problems with your optical mouse, visit the Microsoft Web site for the recall notice.

Microsoft Releases Java Tool, No One Notices
Microsoft has released Visual J# .NET, an unnecessary tool if there ever was one. You might recall that Microsoft wasn't going to make any more Java tools, but Visual J# .NET is designed specifically for the Microsoft .NET Framework, meaning that applications and services written in that language run only on Windows. Sound familiar? The company says that the tool is designed specifically to let its 16 remaining Windows-based Java developers move into the Microsoft .NET world, after which time, presumably, they'll migrate to C$, excuse me, C#, Microsoft's Java-like programming language. Confused? Imagine what it's like to be a developer these days.

Xbox Gets $200,000 Bounty for Linux Compatibility
An unnamed donor contributed $200,000 to the Xbox Linux Project, with the intention of awarding that money to any programmer who can make Linux run on the Xbox by the end of 2002. The Xbox is what we lovingly call a closed, proprietary system; its hardware and software hooks prevent outside code from running on the device. Before the financial gift, people saw the Xbox Linux Project as yet another goofy weekend pastime for hackers with too much free time on their hands, but now the project has taken on a new level of visibility in the open-source community. Will anyone succeed? I bet someone will.

Microsoft Now Only Tech Company in Top 10
A few weeks ago I mentioned that Microsoft is now the world's largest company (when measured by market value). But with falling tech-stock prices knocking down IBM and Intel, Microsoft is now the only high-tech company in the top 10. Here's the list:
   1. Microsoft: $285 billion
   2. General Electric: $283 billion
   3. ExxonMobil: $276 billion
   4. Wal-Mart: $242 billion
   5. Pfizer: $212 billion
   6. Citigroup: $198 billion
   7. BP: $191 billion
   8. American International Group (AIG): $175 billion
   9. Johnson & Johnson: $152 billion
   10. Coca-Cola: $140 billion
Incidentally, even the top 10 companies aren't doing great. Microsoft's market value has fallen 50 percent since last year, and the top 10 companies lost a combined $310 billion of market value in the first half of 2002. Yikes.

Itanium 2 Ships Monday, But Dell Waits for Next Train
On Monday, Intel will announce the immediate availability of 900MHz and 1GHz Itanium 2 processors, with systems shipping from several companies, including Fujitsu, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard (HP). But some high-profile companies won't be supporting Itanium 2, at least not initially, because of the failure of first-generation Itanium systems to attract any serious sales. The world's largest PC maker, Dell, which bailed from the Itanium market just months after releasing an Itanium-based server line, is chief among these companies. Dell tends to be fairly conservative, however, and I think it's safe to say that the company will eventually jump on board the Itanium 2 train. Maybe company spokesperson "Stevie" will come along for the ride, too: "Dude, you're getting a rack-mounted, 64-bit, hyperthreaded, multiprocessing Dell Server!"

No Newsletter Thursday, Friday
As you might have guessed when you saw Short Takes appear on a Wednesday, we won't publish WinInfo Daily UPDATE tomorrow or Friday because of the July 4th holiday in the United States. However, if anything important happens, I'll post it on the WinInformant Web site. Have a great long weekend!

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