What Microsoft should do

Before this week’s Lockheed Martin network breach story intervened, I wrote a column about the strategic dilemma faced by Microsoft from downward trends in both product pricing and new installations for its flagship Windows and Office products. That’s on top of an overall market transition to mobile where Microsoft does not seem to be playing a leading role. What’s Steve Ballmer to do? I think that to thrive Microsoft has to turn itself into a very different company. Fortunately there are archetypes — other companies that have faced similar pressures yet gone on to reach even great corporate success. I think the time is fast coming for Microsoft to emulate Warren […]

By |May 28th, 2011|2011|110 Comments

InsecureID: No more secrets?

Update — Though I chose to keep secret the identity of the defense contractor to limit the damage it was subsequently revealed by Reuters to be Lockheed-Martin. There was one additional detail presented at the end of a story in Saturday’s New York Times.

Back in March I heard from an old friend whose job it is to protect his company’s network from attack. “Any word on just what was compromised at RSA?” he asked, referring to how the RSA Data Security division of EMC had been hacked. “I suspect it was no more than a serial number, a seed, and possibly the key generation time. The algorithm has been known for years […]

By |May 25th, 2011|2011|137 Comments

Steve Ballmer's Nightmare

The upcoming 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows, which Microsoftologists have taken to calling Windows 8 because Redmond has yet to announce an official name, has been appearing here and there and getting some press in the process. Microsoft has made a few statements, demonstrated early version of the OS, and some alpha code has even escaped into the wild. And the image that’s emerging is of Windows 8 as Microsoft’s take on the mobile transition, with the new OS running on everything from smart phones to server clusters. It also may represent Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s last chance to preserve his company’s digital dominance.

Ballmer confirmed back in January that the next major version of Windows […]

By |May 25th, 2011|2011|122 Comments

Charlie Ergen's War

A third of the readers of this column are not in the USA and I can’t claim anymore that America is on the cutting-edge of all things Internet so I’ll just fall back on the argument that this is happening here and could just as easily be happening in your country, too. Which brings us to today’s story of Charlie Ergen’s plan to dominate the distribution of TV content to America in an all-IP, post-broadcast, post-satellite future. John Malone and Reed Hastings beware!

Echostar owns Dish Network, America’s second-largest satellite TV provider. Charlie Ergen is Echostar’s iconoclastic founder, CEO, and largest shareholder. Just as John Malone does with DirecTV, Charlie runs Dish any old way he […]

By |May 23rd, 2011|2011|58 Comments

Netflix too big to fail?

The Intertubes are alight this week with old news — that Netflix is the largest user of U.S. Internet bandwidth. Most stories cite a Sandvine report I won’t link to because you’d have to subscribe and I like you too much for that. Better still, look at the very interesting graphic above, courtesy of Arbor Networks. This chart has been floating around the net for a couple of months and shows the result of an Arbor study of several U.S. ISPs illustrating how we Americans spend our Internet bandwidth. There are three lessons I think we can learn from this chart: 1) that BitTorrent is no longer (or perhaps never was) the threat were were […]

By |May 19th, 2011|2011|51 Comments