Microsoft slugs aged care centres

Posted by spy on December 30 2008, 6:02 AM. Posted in Licensing.

MICROSOFT will rip an estimated $70 million out of the aged care sector's IT budget over the next 18 months as it forces users to pay full commercial rates for previously discounted software.Aged care providers are shocked by Microsoft's decision to revoke their not-for-profit statusAged care providers are shocked by Microsoft's decision to revoke their not-for-profit status, which gave them access to its products at a heavily discounted rate. As a result, Microsoft's Office, Sharepoint and SQL server products are firmly entrenched in the sector's IT infrastructure.The Aged Care Industry IT Council says full commercial rates would hike annual licensing fees paid by users by about 400 per cent - and swallow half of the sector's annual technology budget."Like many other industry sectors, aged care has probably a 90 per cent-plus reliance on Microsoft infrastructure, so it's not difficult for the company to say the rules have changed, the fees will now be $X," IT Council spokesman Mark Barnett said."The difficulty for aged care providers is that they've bet the farm on a Microsoft strategy that they believed was consistent and reliable in price."The providers are saying they've spent millions on Microsoft products, and if they now need to pay additional fees their "whole strategy is pretty wobbly", he said.Mr Barnett said the IT Council had been talking to Microsoft over the past six weeks to reach a resolution.The software giant granted "a stay of execution" late last week ahead of an IT Council meeting. Mr Barnett said Microsoft had agreed to take no further action on the changes before Christmas.At least three technology projects were put on hold last Friday pending the outcome of discussions.A Microsoft spokesman said a recent review had uncovered "a number of ineligible entities, including a range of commercial organisations, that were using Academic Volume Licensing programs" under the belief they qualified."As such, we are beginning the process of transitioning these customers to an appropriate licensing program," the spokesman said."Also, we are developing a charity-specific volume licensing program in an effort to support the important work undertaken by not-for-profit organisations."However, we are not yet in a position to announce final details around this program."

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Microsoft may release Windows 7 beta at show

Posted by spy on December 29 2008, 6:08 PM. Posted in Windows 7.

Attendees at next month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) could get the first public look at Windows 7, the next version of Microsoft's client OS.At its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles in October, Microsoft said it would release the beta early in 2009. Though nothing has been confirmed, signs are pointing to sometime in January and possibly the CES show in Las Vegas as a likely release date. CES is scheduled for Jan. 8-11.A member of Microsoft's public relations team in the U.K. said in an e-mail that at the show, "Microsoft will be making some significant announcements including Windows 7." She did not specify exactly what the news around the OS would be. But several blogs have reported that beta testers are expecting a Windows 7 beta any day.Furthermore, Microsoft wrote on a Web site for its Microsoft Developer Network Conferences (MDCs) that attendees of those conferences, some of which are scheduled for mid-January, can expect a Windows 7 beta DVD.

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Windows 7 beta leaks to Internet

Posted by spy on December 29 2008, 6:01 PM. Posted in Windows 7.

Pirated copies of a Windows 7 build pegged by many as the beta Microsoft Corp. will release next month have leaked to the Internet, according to searches at several BitTorrent sites today.A search on the Pirate Bay BitTorrent site, for example, returned two Windows 7 Build 7000 listings, both of which had been posted Friday.As of Saturday afternoon, one torrent on Pirate Bay showed more than 1,800 "seeders" -- the term for a computer that has a complete copy of the torrent file -- and about 8,500 "leechers," or computers that have downloaded only part of the complete torrent. The torrent is a disk image of the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate, Build 7000, according to users commenting on the site and elsewhere on the Internet.Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites, including Mininova, listed the beta build as a 2.44GB download.This is not the first time Windows 7 has escaped from Microsoft's limited testing pool. Just hours after the company unveiled an earlier version at its Professional Developers Conference in late October, the alpha edition hit BitTorrent.

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Four Things Microsoft Got Right in 2008

Posted by spy on December 29 2008, 5:49 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft generated plenty of negative headlines in 2008. We watched as it struck out in its attempts to acquire Yahoo. And Microsoft-haters grew smug when the confusing Seinfeld-Gates commercials were quickly pulled and replaced with the "I'm a PC" campaign. Microsoft's attempts to out-market Apple and reverse the negative press of Windows Vista simply didn't work out.Such debacles received the lion's share of press. But in reality the software giant had several successes. Most every other iteration of Windows had a strong year, either with good execution (Windows Server 2008, Windows XP) or good buzz (Windows 7, Windows Azure). And from the ashes of the Yahoo failure emerged some smart hires for Microsoft that could boost the company's search business and set the tone for a possible future deal with Yahoo.Here are four areas where Microsoft executed well in 2008, areas that will help set up the company for success in '09.

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New Microsoft store seeks to connect with customers

Posted by spy on December 29 2008, 5:48 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

In the midst of a holiday shopping season in which online retail sales might fall for the first time, the general manager of Microsoft's online store said sales and traffic are "really good."Then again, Larry Engel said the point of his site,, is not just to post robust sales figures. And Engel does not have much to compare this year's results with: There was no online Microsoft store last year.In mid-November, Microsoft quietly announced that for the first time all of the company's consumer products -- from "Flight Simulator X" to Windows Vista -- could now be bought directly from Microsoft online in the United States. (It launched similar sites in six other countries this year.) Most of the software is available for download. All of it is also available in a box.Engel said the store extends a "direct connection" between the company and its customers. Currently, he said, such a connection exists with Microsoft's Zune music player and its Xbox 360 video game console, which feature online marketplaces.One analyst said direct connections like those could become more important as Microsoft moves into providing services such as a Web-based version of Office to consumers, instead of just software in a package or for download."The name of the game in the end is finding ways to own the customer, to be able to not only sell them the operating system but (also) recurring revenue-based services," said Tim Bajarin, the president of consulting firm Creative Strategies.Microsoft's Engel said the company decided to open for a simple reason: Customers wanted Microsoft to launch a store."Customers have been asking us to do it for years now," Engel said. "We are responding to something our customers have asked us to offer: An option for them to purchase directly from Microsoft."

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Google, Apple, Microsoft sued over file preview

Posted by spy on December 29 2008, 5:46 PM. Posted in Legal Issues.

A small Indiana company has sued tech heavyweights Microsoft, Apple, and Google, claiming that it holds the patent on a common file preview feature used by browsers and operating systems to show users small snapshots of the files before they are opened.Cygnus Systems sued the three companies on Wednesday saying that they infringed on its patent with products such as Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome, which allow users to view preview images of documents on the computer. Mac OS X, the iPhone and Safari also infringe, the company said in court filings. Apple uses this technology in its Finder and Cover Flow Mac OS X features, the filings state.While Cygnus has sued three very high profile companies, there may not be the only vendors in Cygnus’s sites. “They were a logical starting place for us,” said Matt McAndrews, a partner with the Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro, law firm, which is representing Cygnus. “We’ve identified many other potentially infringing products that we’re investigating,” he added.Cygnus’s owner and president Gregory Swartz developed the technology laid out in the patent while working on IT consulting projects, McAndrews said. The company is looking for “a reasonable royalty” as well as a court injunction preventing further infringement, he said.The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Arizona, where Swartz resides, McAndrews said.

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Microsoft advised to lay off over 9,000 employees

Posted by spy on December 29 2008, 5:43 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

The world's top software firm Microsoft has been asked to cut its workforce by 10 per cent, or about 9,100 employees, to tell themarket that profits are more important than revenue growth in difficult times.Brokerage firm Oppenheimer & Co's analyst Brad Reback has said in a report on Microsoft that such layoff exercise "would be a healthy move for the company."The move would be well received by the market and would "signal that profitability is more important than revenue growth during this very difficult time," Reback added.Calling for a 10 per cent reduction on the company's payrolls, Reback said in his report for the institutional investors of Microsoft that this would result in an approximately 10 per cent gain in its earnings per share.The software giant had close to 91,000 employees on its payrolls at the end of July-September quarter.

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Top Issues for Microsoft Support for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V

Posted by spy on December 25 2008, 4:10 AM. Posted in Hyper-V.

 Hyper-V Beta released as part Windows Server 2008. The final release of Hyper-V happened shortly after the Windows Server 2008 release and can be downloaded here. After a few months of supporting customers, we now have enough case data to report on the top issues being reported for Hyper-V. The issues are categorized below with the top issue(s) in each category listed with possible resolutions and additional comments as needed.

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Nine year old passes Microsoft Certified Professional examination.

Posted by spy on December 25 2008, 4:05 AM. Posted in Academia.

A nine year old girl has become the Youngest Person to ever pass a Microsoft Certified Professional examination. M Lavinashree from rural Tamil Nadu has become the youngest to qualify for the exam taken by techies for better job prospects.  The exam measures problem-solving skills and Lavinashree passed it with flying colours. She broke a record held by Arfa Karim, a ten-year-old Pakistani girl. Lavinashree has a photographic memory and hit the headlines when she was three when she recited 1,330 couplets of Universal Thirukural, a Tamil classical poem composed by a Tamil sage, Thiruvalluvar, 2000 years ago. Continue At Source

Mircosoft launches Windows Vista Answers beta website

Posted by spy on December 25 2008, 4:02 AM. Posted in Windows Vista.

Years into production and in response to continued user frustration Microsoft have launched the Windows Vista Answers beta website.  It's a bit scarce on the front end but it focusing on three steps 1) Search, 2) Browse and 3) Ask the community.

 Let's see if it's a hit.

Microsoft confirms it's been working on SQL Server bug since April

Posted by spy on December 25 2008, 4:00 AM. Posted in Security.

Microsoft Corp. today confirmed that it has been working on a critical vulnerability in SQL Server for more than eight months, but declined to say whether it has had a patch ready since September, as an Austrian security researcher has alleged.On Monday, the company warned customers of a bug that could be used to compromise servers running older versions of the database software, which is widely used to power Web sites and applications."Microsoft opened an investigation for this vulnerability in April upon the initial report by the security researcher," said a company spokesman in an e-mail today. "We immediately started an investigation and have been working on this issue since that time," he added.The researcher, Bernhard Mueller of SEC Consult Security, a Vienna-based security consulting company, went public with details of the vulnerability as well as an exploit code on Dec. 9, apparently after tiring of Microsoft's lack of communication.According to Mueller, who posted findings in an advisory on the SEC Consult site, as well as to prominent security mailing lists, the bug was reported to Microsoft on April 17, 2008, and Microsoft's last message to him was on Sept. 29. After four requests for an update on a patch's status during October and November, Mueller disclosed the vulnerability.Mueller also said that Microsoft had informed him in September that it had completed a fix.

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Microsoft kicks fake security software off 400,000 PCs

Posted by spy on December 25 2008, 3:54 AM. Posted in Security.

In the second month of a campaign against fake security software, Microsoft has booted the rogue application "Antivirus 2009" from almost 400,000 PCs, the company recently claimed.December's version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), a free utility that Microsoft pushes to Windows users as part of Patch Tuesday, targeted one of the most popular phony security app, Antivirus 2009. According to Microsoft, the MSRT erased the fake from over 394,000 PCs in the first nine days after it released this month's edition on Dec. 9.Last month, Microsoft trumpeted a similar cleaning operation against another family of bogus security software that it said had purged nearly a million machines of programs like "Advanced Antivirus," "Ultimate Antivirus 2008" and "XPert Antivirus."December's campaign targeted a different family -- dubbed "W32/FakeXPA" by Microsoft -- that includes fake security software going by names such as "Antivirus XP," "AntivirusXP 2008" and "Antivirus 2009."

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Edit (Spy):  I'm really glad they've done this but it's a move that's come too late.  I've personally had to deal with trying to remove this software and it's a nightmare.  Microsoft need to be far more responsive when dealing with these threats.  If they are going to select them for removal that decision needs to be made quicker.  It's the same thing with their anti-spam offering for Exchange.  Those updates are far less regular and agressive than they need to be....IMHO!  :-)