Rumors of Upcoming Microsoft Cut-Backs

Posted by sumeethevans on December 23 2008, 6:26 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Rumors. Microsoft layoff and cut-backs and Reduction In Force rumors. That's all I have for you. Rumors and second-hand speculation and the comments left by the fine, good-looking folks who participate in the conversation here. So pour yourself some holiday cheer and dive in.

What have those fine folks been sharing over the past couple of posts here? Bad news on the rise and with perhaps January 15th 2009 as an interesting day for Microsoft news. Bad news. 15 Jan is a week before FY09Q2 quarterly results and it's better to share as much news, good and bad, before the results are released vs. surprising Wall Street (something I think we've learned).

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Windows 7 Beta download will be available before January 5th

Posted by sumeethevans on December 23 2008, 6:26 AM. Posted in Windows 7.

Ed Bott, a good friend of mine, recently predicted that Windows 7 Beta bits are going to be publicly unveiled on January 13, during CES. Some late night scrounging around revealed that Windows 7 could be available sooner — via download links slipped into the next Microsoft Action Pack Subscription quarterly update kit, which starts shipping January 5, 2009. Word internally is that the beta build was already baked a while ago, we just have to be patient.

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Latest search numbers not good for Microsoft

Posted by sumeethevans on December 23 2008, 6:23 AM. Posted in Windows Live.

ComScore published its November search-query share numbers on December 19. The news wasn’t good for Live Search.

ComScore’s data is for the U.S. market. Of the 12.3 billion core searches done in November, Google sites had 63.5 percent share (up 0.4 percent from October). Yahoo sites had 20.4 percent. Microsoft sites had 8.3 percent. Yahoo and Microsoft both lost share in November; Yahoo was down .1 percent and Microsoft, .2 percent, according to comScore.

In terms of number of queries performed, all three of the top search-engine vendors were down compared to October 2008. (ComScore attributed this to November having fewer days than October.) Google sites handled 7.8 billion core searches; Yahoo sites handled 2.5 billion and Microsoft sites about 1 billion. Microsoft, .2 percent, according to comScore.

In terms of number of queries performed, all three of the top search-engine vendors were down compared to October 2008. (ComScore attributed this to November having fewer days than October.) Google sites handled 7.8 billion core searches; Yahoo sites handled 2.5 billion and Microsoft sites about 1 billion.

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Microsoft explains how it missed critical IE bug

Posted by bink on December 23 2008, 3:56 AM. Posted in Internet Explorer, Security.

Microsoft's developers missed a critical bug in Internet Explorer because they weren't properly trained and didn't have the right testing tools, a noted proponent of the company's secure code development process acknowledged last week.

The bug, which Microsoft patched last week with an emergency update, had gone undetected for at least nine years.

In an insider's description on Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle blog, Michael Howard, a principal security program manager at the company, offered a postmortem analysis of the IE vulnerability and Microsoft's code-writing and reviewing process.

Howard, who is perhaps best known for co-authoring the book Writing Secure Code, said the flaw was a "time-of-check-time-of-use" bug in how IE releases data binding objects.

The vulnerability was not found by programmers because they had not been told or taught to look for them in such cases, Howard said. "Memory-related [time-of-check-time-of-use, or TOCTOU] bugs are hard to find through code review," he said. "We teach TOCTOU issues, and we teach memory corruption issues, and issues with using freed memory blocks; but we do not teach memory-related TOCTOU issues."

Microsoft's testing tools -- including "fuzzers," which are automated tools that drop data into applications, file formats or operating system components to see if and where they fail -- also missed the bug, Howard acknowledged.

"In theory, fuzz testing could find this bug, but today there is no fuzz test case for this code," he said. "Triggering the bug would require a fuzzing tool that builds data streams with multiple data binding constructs with the same identifier. Random (or dumb) fuzzing payloads of this data type would probably not trigger the bug, however."

Howard said Microsoft would update its developer training to account for memory-related TOCTOU bugs like this one.

Several parts of Windows' security tool kit didn't help protect users from exploits of this bug, Howard added, including ALSR and NX, technologies available only in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. "Even though Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 have both ASLR and NX enabled by default, Internet Explorer 7 does not opt-in to these defenses owing to compatibility issues with many common applications," Howard noted.

Before Microsoft released last week's patch, and after it had confirmed that attacks were in progress, it urged users to take countermeasures, including enabling DEP (data execution prevention), another term for NX, in IE7.

Another Microsoft defense, however, did protect users running Vista or Server 2008, said Howard, who argued that "Protected Mode" did its job. Protected Mode essentially "sandboxes" IE and its add-ons so that actions taken within the browser are prevented from accessing the operating system generally.

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Microsoft Extends XP Life Again, This Time for PC Builders

Posted by spy on December 23 2008, 2:54 AM. Posted in Windows XP.

Windows XP has risen from the grave so many times, it now has more in common with Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees than it does with other PC operating systems. Though its successor--Windows Vista--has been on the market for over two years and yet another Windows version, Windows 7, will ship in just months, Microsoft has again extended the time frame for consumers who wish to continue using the seven-year-old XP. This time around, the company is allowing custom PC builders--alternatively called "system builders" and "white box PC makers"--to continue ordering XP for their PCs through May 30, 2009.

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Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is RTM'ed

Posted by bink on December 22 2008, 9:50 PM. Posted in Office.

On the 19th of December Office Communications Server 2007 R2 was Released To Manufacturing (Build 6907), so it is in good time for the official launch on February 3rd.

We have been working with R2 since the Beta and are currently working hard to develop our material for our 4 days on-site Voice training delivered on R2 (Now based on RC, but will be updated to RTM before the first trainings start in January). Our new training will include training on all aspects of R2, but as usual with a special focus on Voice integration.


New in this version are a lot of things like telephony enhancements and new clients including the Attendant Console (A group based switchboard solution) an updated "Office Communicator for Windows Mobility R2" (Nicknamed CoMo) that includes phone state on mobile phone calls and One Number features (I will do a review of this client later), Dial-in conferencing support (Including CWA support for external clients) and of course enhancements to the overall architecture (Including a move to a 64 bit Server platform) and not least an updated CWA that now supports Desktop Sharing also for external users and non-Microsoft browsers ... and much, much more that I will talk about later (Or that you can find at other blogs).

The official launch of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 will be a soft launch and Inceptio (the company I work for) is participating as a sponsor for this event, that you can sign up for here.

Continue At Source for OCS R2 sessions at  Exchange Connections (March 15-18 2009)

Russian court clears teacher of piracy

Posted by spy on December 20 2008, 3:51 PM. Posted in Legal Issues.

I was watching the Russian news today at home and whilst I didn't understand every detail of the entire story I was able to understand that the Russian school director previously convicted of pirating Microsoft software (using it in the classrooms) was cleared by a higher court.  Further more, he was awarded damages and costs.  The end result being that the computers he deployed to the classes were donated and the software was installed on them by the previous owners.

Software piracy in Russia is a massive issue and been a point of serious negotiations between the Russian and US governments in the past.  I can only assume this will reignite those tensions.  Pirated sofware of all kinds is freely available in markets, Metro stations, even State run facilities have been known to harbour pirates.  Police often patrol these places and simply turn a blind eye to the dealings.  To be fair to the Russians they are making an effort and some progress.  Cases and rulings such as this won't help however. had previously reported on this case.  Check out these links for history...


Microsoft Says IE8 Release Imminent

Posted by spy on December 20 2008, 4:55 AM. Posted in Internet Explorer.

 Microsoft won't say exactly when it will ship the Release Candidate of its Internet Explorer 8 browser but it's "just around the corner," according to a senior company official.Dean Hachamovitch, general manger of the company's Internet Explorer team, on Tuesday called on developers to ensure a good customer experience prior to product's final release. "In short, developers, start your engines," Hachamovitch said in a phone interview.Currently, Beta 2 of IE8 is available to the general public. Hachamovitch said that Microsoft has been listening to user feedback and added improvements to the Release Candidate version. The Release Candidate represents the final test stage preceding general product release."We took the feedback from Beta 2 and we acted on it, and people are going to see that in the Release Candidate," Hachamovitch said. "The feedback from the last build has been pretty positive," he added.Despite declining to be pinned down on a precise release date, Hachamovitch previously suggested in an IE blog that it would appear sometime in the first quarter of 2009.The Release Candidate is the "call to action," he said, a signal that IE8 effectively is completed as a product. Hachamovitch added that developers should expect the final product to behave like the Release Candidate version.Microsoft says it took extra care to stay true to standards with IE8. Because of that, Web developers who designed their sites to work with earlier versions of Internet Explorer might have to address some display alignment problems when their site's markup is parsed in IE8.

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Service Pack 1 for DPM 2007 is now available

Posted by sumeethevans on December 20 2008, 4:55 AM. Posted in Data protection manager server.

The DPM team is very excited to announce the release of Service Pack 1 for DPM 2007.


What is new in Service Pack 1
DPM 2007 SP1 x86
DPM 2007 SP1 x64
SP1 videos on TechNet Edge
Upcoming Webcast on SP1on January 8, 2009

Service Pack 1 for Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 provides continuous data protection for Windows application and file servers using seamlessly integrated disk and tape media and includes the following expanded capabilities:

  • Protection of Hyper-V™ virtualization platforms, including both Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and the Microsoft Hyper-V Server, has been added to the existing set of protected workloads, building on the virtualization protection originally delivered for Virtual Server 2005.
  • Enhanced SQL Server 2008 protection, including the addition of new protection capabilities for mirrored databases, support for parallel backups of databases within a single instance, and the ability to move data from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 for migration scenarios.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 receive index protection, significant catalog optimization, and support for mirrored content databases.
  • Added protection for Exchange Server 2007 Standby Cluster Replication (SCR), enabling a complete disaster recovery solution that leverages SCR failover alongside DPM point-in-time restores.

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An Update on Messenger for Mac

Posted by spy on December 20 2008, 4:53 AM. Posted in Mac.

AI wanted to take a moment and share with you the progress we are making with Messenger for Mac. This year we successfully delivered Audio and Video (A/V) support in the corporate service (works with Office Communications Server) of Messenger for Mac 7. We are now on the path to implement A/V support in the personal service (which will work with Windows Live service), and uses the same protocol as the corporate service.I'm glad to say that the upcoming release of Windows Live Messenger, currently in beta, delivers the new A/V protocol that enables us to deliver A/V support in Messenger for Mac. It is cross-platform compatible and will work with Windows Live Messenger. This is a huge milestone that will enable us to continue moving forward with Messenger for Mac development.

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Another online executive leaves Microsoft

Posted by spy on December 20 2008, 4:51 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

As another difficult year for Microsoft's online business approaches its close, the company is losing yet another executive on that team -- Brad Goldberg, general manager of Live Search.Microsoft confirmed through its public relations firm Wednesday that Goldberg is leaving the company to pursue other interests, and that the company wished him well.Goldberg follows another executive from Microsoft's online business out the door in the wake of the announcement of former Yahoo executive Qi Lu as the new leader of the beleaguered Online Services Group (OSG), which is the division generating the least revenue at Microsoft.The TechFlash blog first reported Goldberg's move late Tuesday, saying he was leaving to become chief executive of the online business for venture capital firm Peak6. Peak6 did not immediately return a request Wednesday to confirm that Goldberg is joining the firm. 

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Microsoft Expands Exchange ActiveSync Licensing Program

Posted by spy on December 20 2008, 4:49 AM. Posted in Exchange.

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 18, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is expanding its Exchange ActiveSync Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing program, facilitated by Version 1.0 releases of technical documentation for protocols built into Exchange ActiveSync, which Microsoft posted on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) earlier this month. The posting of this documentation completes the set of Exchange ActiveSync protocols Microsoft committed to publish as part of its Interoperability Principles announced in February 2008 (“The Exchange ActiveSync IP Licensing program is another example of how we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to increased openness and collaboration,” said Horacio Gutierrez, vice president of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft. “This technology is being sought out by our partners and competitors alike because it enhances their value proposition to their customers, and we believe that to be a testament to the innovation taking place at Microsoft.”

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