WinInfo Short Takes: Week of October 7

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

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

Don't Believe in XP Licenses? How About Actual Usage Figures?
For the critics who find Microsoft's claim of 46 million Windows XP licenses sold since last fall a bit suspect, here's an interesting stat proving that WinXP is making headway with actual PC users: According to WebSideStory StatMarket, a Web-based market research firm, WinXP is now the second most popular operating system used to access the Web, behind only Windows 98. WinXP accounts for 20 percent of all Web surfers, while Windows 98 is in use by almost 37 percent. But Win98 usage is slipping dramatically due to gains by XP, and "it's only a matter of months before it overtakes Windows 98 as the most widely used OS on the Web," says Geoff Johnston, the vice president of product marketing for StatMarket.

Yes, Virginia, DRM Is A Good Thing. And Yes, Microsoft Is Innovating Here
I am so freaked out by the clueless reactions people are having to Microsoft's implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that I'm probably going to write something up about this topic very soon. But the short version goes like this: Microsoft is the first company to create a viable and successful DRM scheme, and the reason it's important is that movie, music and other content publishing companies will never embrace the Internet as a delivery medium until their content can be protected. DRM is not anti-consumer. It's designed to protect intellectual property, and it will eventually be applied to other data, including email and Office documents, in the near future. In other words, it will someday soon protect your intellectual property as well. And here's a little heads-up. Apple--the company most pundits hold up as the ultimate consumer-friendly technology company--isn't anti-DRM. They just haven't embraced a DRM scheme, or created their own, yet. They will. It's the future. It's happening. And it's not a bad thing.

Palladium Is Not DRM. DRM Is Not Palladium
Speaking of DRM, one common misunderstanding many people have, and this includes those same clueless pundits who are so busy praising Apple Computer that they can't see the real world happening around them, is that Microsoft's upcoming security and privacy technology, code-named Palladium, is not a DRM scheme. As Mario Juarez, the Group Product Manager for Windows Trusted Platform Technologies at Microsoft told me succinctly yesterday, "Palladium Is Not DRM. DRM Is Not Palladium." Instead, Palladium is a basically a trusted runtime environment for upcoming PC hardware that will likely be released in the Longhorn timeframe. DRM technologies could run on top of Palladium, and in fact Palladium will be a great DRM platform, since it will offer better security than a normal PC, which offers only software-based encryption. But the two technologies really have nothing in common. So the next time you read someone complaining about DRM, and the subject of Palladium comes up, sleep well knowing that the author of that article has no idea what they're talking about. Don't believe me? Until last week, I was under the same misconception, and had often lumped DRM and Palladium together. They are not the same thing.

Browser Wars II, the Quickening
New browsers from Mozilla.org and Netscape have made serious markets hare jumps recently, leading some to call for the return of the browser wars. But it's not that exciting, at least not yet: Most of the non-Internet Explorer (IE) browsers out there are still in the dumpster, with market share in the single digits or even less. Mozilla, for example, now claims 0.8 percent of the market, a big jump, percentage-wise, since June when it commanded just 0.4 percent. Netscape's new browser, Netscape 7, meanwhile, controls 0.5 percent. However, the number one browser, IE 6, also grew in the same time period, and IE 6 now owns 52.3 percent of the market, up from 46 percent in June. When you lump all of Microsoft's IE browsers together, the company has sewn up almost 95 percent of the Web browser market. Browsers wars II? Not quite.

Dell to Do Better than Expected in Third Quarter
In these less-than-rosy financial days for the tech industry, it's nice to see one company bucking all the trends. That company, of course, is Dell Computer, which had managed to increase market share and cut prices in an era when virtually all of its competitors are struggling. To add insult to injury--at least from its competitors' standpoint--Dell even announced this week that it's upcoming quarterly results will be better than previously expected, and the company also expects to regain its number one spot from the combined HP and Compaq, which temporarily took the crown from Dell when their merger was finalized.

IDC: PC Market to Recover in 2003. Seriously.
And speaking of the not-happening tech sector rebound, market researcher IDC says that the global software market will finally rebound in 2003, and will return to annual growth rates of 10-12 percent by 2006. "A slow recovery will begin in late 2002, and we are optimistic about growth opportunities moving forward," says said IDC senior vice president Tony Picardi. Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle remain the top three software vendors, unchanged from the previous year.

Mistake: Gateway Goes for New Logo
Struggling PC maker Gateway removed the one endearing symbol of the company, the cool little cow spot-patterned box logo the company had been using for several years. Now replaced with a boring corporate logo that vaguely resembles a cow spot pattern, the old logo is gone, along with whatever was left of the company's soul. Boo! Hiss!

DOJ's Chief Flopmeister Moves On
He was the Bush administration's chief negotiator for the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the man who publicly announced that the DOJ would not seek a breakup of Microsoft during the company's antitrust trial, thus removing the one serious bargaining chip the government had in its bid to settle the case favorably. A brilliant strategist? Not exactly. But Charles James, who held the office of assistant attorney general for antitrust at the DOJ for just over a year, is resigning his post to join ChevronTexaco as vice president and general counsel in December. Hopefully, James will bring his amazing negotiation tactics with him to his new job and leaving the flubbing of the most important antitrust case in US history in more capable hands. Microsoft declined to comment on James' departure, but I'm sure the company will remember him fondly. I suggest a Charles James wing at the Microsoft Museum in Redmond. And before anyone complains that this opinion is too harsh, I'm not the only one wondering about James' short visit with the DOJ: The Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on antitrust brought James in for a rebuke recently, complaining about their "growing sense of unease about the direction of the antitrust division," and a "sense of skepticism" about the "decline in actions taken by the division." Back in late 2000, people wondered whether the corporate-friendly Bush administration would water down the case against Microsoft, and with cronies like James in place, temporarily, doing just that, I think there's a case to be made that this is exactly what happened.

HP Plans New iPaqs for the Holidays
It's beginning to seem a lot like Christmas, and HP is there to fill your stockings with expensive new electronic gifts. The company introduced two new Pocket PC offerings this week, iPAQ models that will address both the low-ends and high-ends of the market. One model will retail for about $300, the official new price of all entry-level Pocket PCs, while a new high-end model will add integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections and a fingerprint reader, and retail for about $600. The two new iPAQs will hit stores in November, the company says.

WSJ: Microsoft Faces Unprecedented Number of Patent Infringement Suits
You know, someone should note the irony of Microsoft, a company getting flack from users and the press for protecting company's intellectual property (IP) through the use of DRM, being repeatedly accused of violating the IP of its partners and competitors. Oh wait, I just did. Anyway, according to an interesting Wall Street Journal report, Microsoft has been accused of patent infringement at least 35 times in the past four years, compared to just seven suits in the previous 22 years. This year alone, the company has at least 8 patent infringement suits awaiting trial. But Microsoft has done well in such cases, and has only lost one patent infringement suit, against Stac Electronics, back in 1994. Are companies pursuing litigation over competition, or are these cases valid protection of core company assets? I guess time will tell.

Steve Jobs Resigns ... From the Gap Board
Now close friends Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Apple CEO Steve Jobs have yet another thing in common: They've both been forced to resign from a company's board of directors because the corporate buddy-buddy days are over in the wake of the Enron, Worldcom, and AOL accounting scandals. Jobs abruptly resigned from the board of Gap, Inc., less than a week after a Business Week article called the board among America's worst, because such companies have "too many company insiders as members, and \[failed\] to notice or stop abuses that were happening under their noses." Ellison also abruptly left his position on Apple's board of directors, another company that was, coincidentally or not, listed as one of America's worst.

Apple Switcher: iPhoto Product Manager Leaves for Windows Photo App Company
Here's an Apple Switcher advertisement you'll never see on TV: John Santoro, who spearheaded the creation of Apple's iPhoto software left the company this week to join PreClick, a maker of Windows-based photo software. Why would he do such a thing, you ask? Let's let John answer that question in his own words: "I joined this team for two reasons: it built the fastest and easiest photo organizer and the most innovative business model," he says. But I thought iPhoto was the fastest and easiest photo organizer?

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

Don't Believe in XP Licenses? How About Actual Usage Figures?
For the critics who find Microsoft's claim of 46 million Windows XP licenses sold since last fall a bit suspect, here's an interesting stat proving that WinXP is making headway with actual PC users: According to WebSideStory StatMarket, a Web-based market research firm, WinXP is now the second most popular operating system used to access the Web, behind only Windows 98. WinXP accounts for 20 percent of all Web surfers, while Windows 98 is in use by almost 37 percent. But Win98 usage is slipping dramatically due to gains by XP, and "it's only a matter of months before it overtakes Windows 98 as the most widely used OS on the Web," says Geoff Johnston, the vice president of product marketing for StatMarket.

Yes, Virginia, DRM Is A Good Thing. And Yes, Microsoft Is Innovating Here
I am so freaked out by the clueless reactions people are having to Microsoft's implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that I'm probably going to write something up about this topic very soon. But the short version goes like this: Microsoft is the first company to create a viable and successful DRM scheme, and the reason it's important is that movie, music and other content publishing companies will never embrace the Internet as a delivery medium until their content can be protected. DRM is not anti-consumer. It's designed to protect intellectual property, and it will eventually be applied to other data, including email and Office documents, in the near future. In other words, it will someday soon protect your intellectual property as well. And here's a little heads-up. Apple--the company most pundits hold up as the ultimate consumer-friendly technology company--isn't anti-DRM. They just haven't embraced a DRM scheme, or created their own, yet. They will. It's the future. It's happening. And it's not a bad thing.

Palladium Is Not DRM. DRM Is Not Palladium
Speaking of DRM, one common misunderstanding many people have, and this includes those same clueless pundits who are so busy praising Apple Computer that they can't see the real world happening around them, is that Microsoft's upcoming security and privacy technology, code-named Palladium, is not a DRM scheme. As Mario Juarez, the Group Product Manager for Windows Trusted Platform Technologies at Microsoft told me succinctly yesterday, "Palladium Is Not DRM. DRM Is Not Palladium." Instead, Palladium is a basically a trusted runtime environment for upcoming PC hardware that will likely be released in the Longhorn timeframe. DRM technologies could run on top of Palladium, and in fact Palladium will be a great DRM platform, since it will offer better security than a normal PC, which offers only software-based encryption. But the two technologies really have nothing in common. So the next time you read someone complaining about DRM, and the subject of Palladium comes up, sleep well knowing that the author of that article has no idea what they're talking about. Don't believe me? Until last week, I was under the same misconception, and had often lumped DRM and Palladium together. They are not the same thing.

Browser Wars II, the Quickening
New browsers from Mozilla.org and Netscape have made serious markets hare jumps recently, leading some to call for the return of the browser wars. But it's not that exciting, at least not yet: Most of the non-Internet Explorer (IE) browsers out there are still in the dumpster, with market share in the single digits or even less. Mozilla, for example, now claims 0.8 percent of the market, a big jump, percentage-wise, since June when it commanded just 0.4 percent. Netscape's new browser, Netscape 7, meanwhile, controls 0.5 percent. However, the number one browser, IE 6, also grew in the same time period, and IE 6 now owns 52.3 percent of the market, up from 46 percent in June. When you lump all of Microsoft's IE browsers together, the company has sewn up almost 95 percent of the Web browser market. Browsers wars II? Not quite.

Dell to Do Better than Expected in Third Quarter
In these less-than-rosy financial days for the tech industry, it's nice to see one company bucking all the trends. That company, of course, is Dell Computer, which had managed to increase market share and cut prices in an era when virtually all of its competitors are struggling. To add insult to injury--at least from its competitors' standpoint--Dell even announced this week that it's upcoming quarterly results will be better than previously expected, and the company also expects to regain its number one spot from the combined HP and Compaq, which temporarily took the crown from Dell when their merger was finalized.

IDC: PC Market to Recover in 2003. Seriously.
And speaking of the not-happening tech sector rebound, market researcher IDC says that the global software market will finally rebound in 2003, and will return to annual growth rates of 10-12 percent by 2006. "A slow recovery will begin in late 2002, and we are optimistic about growth opportunities moving forward," says said IDC senior vice president Tony Picardi. Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle remain the top three software vendors, unchanged from the previous year.

Mistake: Gateway Goes for New Logo
Struggling PC maker Gateway removed the one endearing symbol of the company, the cool little cow spot-patterned box logo the company had been using for several years. Now replaced with a boring corporate logo that vaguely resembles a cow spot pattern, the old logo is gone, along with whatever was left of the company's soul. Boo! Hiss!

DOJ's Chief Flopmeister Moves On
He was the Bush administration's chief negotiator for the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the man who publicly announced that the DOJ would not seek a breakup of Microsoft during the company's antitrust trial, thus removing the one serious bargaining chip the government had in its bid to settle the case favorably. A brilliant strategist? Not exactly. But Charles James, who held the office of assistant attorney general for antitrust at the DOJ for just over a year, is resigning his post to join ChevronTexaco as vice president and general counsel in December. Hopefully, James will bring his amazing negotiation tactics with him to his new job and leaving the flubbing of the most important antitrust case in US history in more capable hands. Microsoft declined to comment on James' departure, but I'm sure the company will remember him fondly. I suggest a Charles James wing at the Microsoft Museum in Redmond. And before anyone complains that this opinion is too harsh, I'm not the only one wondering about James' short visit with the DOJ: The Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on antitrust brought James in for a rebuke recently, complaining about their "growing sense of unease about the direction of the antitrust division," and a "sense of skepticism" about the "decline in actions taken by the division." Back in late 2000, people wondered whether the corporate-friendly Bush administration would water down the case against Microsoft, and with cronies like James in place, temporarily, doing just that, I think there's a case to be made that this is exactly what happened.

HP Plans New iPaqs for the Holidays
It's beginning to seem a lot like Christmas, and HP is there to fill your stockings with expensive new electronic gifts. The company introduced two new Pocket PC offerings this week, iPAQ models that will address both the low-ends and high-ends of the market. One model will retail for about $300, the official new price of all entry-level Pocket PCs, while a new high-end model will add integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections and a fingerprint reader, and retail for about $600. The two new iPAQs will hit stores in November, the company says.

WSJ: Microsoft Faces Unprecedented Number of Patent Infringement Suits
You know, someone should note the irony of Microsoft, a company getting flack from users and the press for protecting company's intellectual property (IP) through the use of DRM, being repeatedly accused of violating the IP of its partners and competitors. Oh wait, I just did. Anyway, according to an interesting Wall Street Journal report, Microsoft has been accused of patent infringement at least 35 times in the past four years, compared to just seven suits in the previous 22 years. This year alone, the company has at least 8 patent infringement suits awaiting trial. But Microsoft has done well in such cases, and has only lost one patent infringement suit, against Stac Electronics, back in 1994. Are companies pursuing litigation over competition, or are these cases valid protection of core company assets? I guess time will tell.

Steve Jobs Resigns ... From the Gap Board
Now close friends Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Apple CEO Steve Jobs have yet another thing in common: They've both been forced to resign from a company's board of directors because the corporate buddy-buddy days are over in the wake of the Enron, Worldcom, and AOL accounting scandals. Jobs abruptly resigned from the board of Gap, Inc., less than a week after a Business Week article called the board among America's worst, because such companies have "too many company insiders as members, and \[failed\] to notice or stop abuses that were happening under their noses." Ellison also abruptly left his position on Apple's board of directors, another company that was, coincidentally or not, listed as one of America's worst.

Apple Switcher: iPhoto Product Manager Leaves for Windows Photo App Company
Here's an Apple Switcher advertisement you'll never see on TV: John Santoro, who spearheaded the creation of Apple's iPhoto software left the company this week to join PreClick, a maker of Windows-based photo software. Why would he do such a thing, you ask? Let's let John answer that question in his own words: "I joined this team for two reasons: it built the fastest and easiest photo organizer and the most innovative business model," he says. But I thought iPhoto was the fastest and easiest photo organizer?

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