Those guys over in the UK Partner team have been working away on this little beauty over the past few weeks. But what is it all about you may ask? Well, primarily aimed at the Microsoft UK Partners, the portal site is a new site, aimed at providing information on all things EVO. The site provides content in the form of video's, links to resources and blogs, white papers and more, all in a very cool, Aero-glass look and feel, a-la Vista. The content doesn't just cover the three products making up the EVO wave, but also covers the Partner Program, initiatives we will be driving over the next 12 months, People-ready Business and more. If you are a UK Partner, you really won't find a better resource for all your EVO needs.
One cool point to note, is that the content won't be static - it will be regularly updated with new features and content, so you will always be able to find the information you need, through this awesome portal!
Uk Partner: Check. Interested in Exchange, Vista or Office: Check.Go:Do - Visit the EVO Microsite!
Hot on the back of the 'Get the Facts' campaign that has been running for a while now, which examines the costs and risks of both Windows and Linux, Microsoft is refuelling the argument around whether enterprises spend less money managing Windows systems than Linux systems.
The Study, commissioned from independent analyst Mercer Management Consulting, made the case that companies that implement migration programs away from UNIX systems based on the need to adopt new applications -- what Mercer calls "transformational migrations" -- now tend to choose Windows over Linux.
The full paper, gives the reason for this choice, being down to IT managers now giving considerable thought to recent IDC numbers - which the Mercer paper cited - stating Windows has a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for businesses than Linux.
Some of the other key findings from the paper:
But, on the other hand, fair's fair, there are 2 sides to every story and all that - IBM continues to cite an August 2005 study it commissioned from independent analyst Robert Frances Group, stating overall costs of Linux ownership tends to cost businesses 40% less than Windows over a three-year period. The cost of maintenance for Linux applications is still much higher, the Frances Group study contents, although that paper believes maintenance to be a lower percentage of overall TCO than hardware costs, but doesn't give a specific breakdown. The right hardware choice, the Frances paper implies, makes all the difference - and reminds readers that IBM commissioned the study.
To be honest, reading both documents, its easy to agree with the closing statement on the BetaNews site, "The fact that the IBM-commissioned study pointed to the low price of Linux-based hardware, and the Microsoft-commissioned study pointed to the advantages of being able to choose based on applications, should surprise very few"
Read the whole paper, in PDF format.
Do you love User Interface design? Are you happy with Vista's UI? Or...Does it make you unhappy? Well, we now have a place for you to have a good ol' rant and rave on what's great, or what's not so great, until you are blue in the face! Imaginatively titled 'Windows Vista Rants & Raves' is a dedicated forum over on the Shell: Revealed blog, from the guys who build the actual Core Vista UI.
Microsoft has been asking for testers to provide feedback on the user interface's "fit & finish" as it pushes toward a final release of the operating system. According to Dave Vronay, a Research Manager here at Microsoft, "Fit & Finish is really getting a big push for Vista, with lots of people spending time tracking down the minor errors and glitches that haven't historically been "ship-stopping" but certainly contribute to a feeling that things are not polished"
According to the article over on TechWeb, "One of the heaviest-trafficked threads there revolved around the "Windows Classic" interface theme included with Release Candidate 1 (RC1). "The new 'Windows Classic' isn't very classic, it looks wrong, it looks like someone just pooped it out and slapped it on the DVD," wrote someone identified as "Simon Thulbourn.""
What do you think of the UI? Feel free to leave a comment, or better still, head over to the forum and get your opinions aired! It can be something as trivial as a button's colour is abit naff, or a title bar is too big. Everything counts and I know the team would be eager to hear your views - after all, your feedback helps us to improve!
Well, it's your lucky day - you can now download it, and you don't even have to be on MSDN, CPP, TAP or any of the other programs! It's yours! Take it!
Before you go zooming off to download this little beauty, it's important that you read the following:
"This build (5728) has a number of improvements and updates from RC1, but has not been put through the same internal testing process as RC1 and therefore may be unstable in certain installations. We are making this release available for a limited time only (and only by download) in order to get broad distribution and testing in a variety of PC configurations. Please note: This build may not have the same level of support or servicing via Windows Update, and you may not be able to upgrade to the final version of Windows Vista".
To be honest though, I have been using an even newer build, 5732, for a few days now, and it's sweet as a nut. No problems so far, and my machine is so packed with Beta software it's unreal, and it still manages fine. Everything runs smoothly, quickly, all the drivers are in there - I don't think you will have any problems.
"Installation notice: Users of Toshiba models M400, M4, and M5 should choose to do a clean install (not upgrade) of this build. Before upgrading from Beta 2, please install any Critical Updates from Windows Update for Beta 2. Go to Start, All Programs, Windows Update, and click the “Check for Updates” button"
A couple of new things you do get with the 5728 are some funky new wallpapers, and a new boot animation! If you are interested in how this release is on a different path to the RC1 release, head on over to Long Zheng's blog. Long writes some great stuff about Vista, so take a look. The image below is taken from Long's post, where he got the chance to chat with Paul Donnelly, the Microsoft Windows Vista beta program manager, to ask about the development process for Windows Vista and branching.
You can also go along to Long's blog and try to win a Vista Mousemat! Cool!
Get along to the download site to start downloading straight away! you can download it in two ways:
Bear in mind, that you can only download the 32-bit version for now, and it comes in ISO format, so your DVD-Burning skills will need to be up to scratch to take advantage of your huge download!
For those of you who would prefer to go with the supported 5600 RC1 build, you can still get your hands on it, here. Enjoy! :-)
See - your feedback does work!
Over the last few weeks, it's been flying round the web that we were going to include a default sound that would play when you boot up Windows. Many of you out there wanted at least an ability to turn it off if you wanted to. Well, it's in there. As Nick says over on the Windows Vista Team Blog, "your collective voice truly made a difference in this matter, as we've incorporated a way for users to turn off the start-up sound when it's more appropriate to boot silently - be it when you're mobile, at home or in the office".
Have a glance at the screenshot below - I kid you not! :-)
Now there are many people out there who don't like Microsoft, for a variety of different reasons, which I'm not going to go into here - after all, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but, no matter how positive or negative your opinion is, there is no denying that Microsoft, as a company, has given a hell of alot to try to improve people's lives all over the world. In this case, I'm talking about the $2.5 billion that we, as employees, and as a company, have given to charities since 1983.
"The $2.5 billion total, equal to less than 1 percent of the company's sales during the past decade, includes software and other in-kind contributions, employee donations and company matching funds. The total does not include donations made through private foundations, such as the $30.1 billion Gates has endowed to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation"
I have a some friends, Steve Woonton, Mark Deakin & Steve Marsh to name but a few, who have taken time out of their personal lives to do something great for charity. Steve ran the London Marathon, and both Marshy and Deaks took part, and completed, the London to Brighton bikeride. I know this for a fact, because Marshy was walking funny for most of the week after. Anyway, my point, they tried to raise as much money, through friends and family, colleagues, and others, for charity, knowing full well, that whatever they would raise, Microsoft, as a company, would match it. This display of citizenship, and commitment to making people's lives better, not just through software, is what makes me proud to work where I do.
Sure, other companies may offer similar charitable donations, but $2.5 Billion? I don't think so. You may not like Microsoft, but you have to admit, we care.
Read the full details over in the Seattle Times. Read more about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Are you a Microsoft Partner, and if so, would you like to be kept in the know as to what our plans are for the next year? I thought so.
Well, the Virtual Partner Conference is a new concept that we've developed as a way to provide you, our partners, with the latest information on our plans in each business area. It is their chance to hear about the UK market perspective, our FY07 business plans, the opportunities that exist, and much more. We have a broad range of video presentations given by execs and managers from around the business, as well as external speakers. The conference is delivered in an interactive online format - giving you the opportunity to watch as much as you like!
The Virtual Partner Conference goes live on 26th September, and will then be updated quarterly to ensure that you always have the latest information on our plans! Cool hey!
What are some of the things you can expect?
One of the highlights, and I'm not trying to blow our own trumpets here (!), is the video that James and I made, entitled 'Vista in 10', which gives a whistle-stop tour of the business value of Vista. Added bonus - you get to hear the delightful tones of my northern accent, along with the joyful sounds of James 'Queen's English' Senior ;-) Joking aside, the content is pretty good, and if you just want a quick 10 minutes on what's cool in Vista, for businesses of every size, check it out. I will no doubt get a copy on this blog anyway, for non-partners to indulge in. The exact description for the video is:
"James and Matt take you on a 10 minute journey through the key business scenarios addressed by Windows Vista, including Finding and Using Information, Enabling a Mobile Workforce, Improving Security and Compliance, and Optimising your Desktop Infrastructure."
If you are not a Microsoft partner, there are a number of benefits to becoming one. For further information about any subject covered on the Partner site, please call the AskPartner Hotline on 0870 60 70 700 or email email@example.com
Go-do: Visit www.microsoft.com/uk/partnerconference from the 26th September to start building your own conference!
Are you an ISV? Would you like to be as happy as this fine chap? If you'd like to be so happy, that you could do the YMCA whilst simultaneously doing the Limbo, read on....
Vista's coming, don't you know. As an ISV (Independent Software Vendor), it represents a signifcant potential opportunity for you. Here at Microsoft, we want to help you take advantage of this opportunity and assist you in developing and delivering Windows Vista compatible software faster, more cost effectively, and with greater market segment impact than ever before.
Here are the things that you need to do to get ready for Windows Vista:
So, what are these logo's all about? Well, the first one, on the left, shows your customers that you are certified, increasing their confidence and satisfaction with your products. When you use this logo on your product packaging and promotions, customers will know at first glance that your software will provide the highest quality Windows Vista experience. Find out more information about the 'Certified for Windows Vista' logo.
What about the other logo, on the right? Well, this 'Works with Windows Vista' logo will help you communicate to your customers that your applications are supported and meet baseline standards of full functionality on Windows Vista. Good to know, me thinks! Find out more information about the 'Works with Windows Vista' logo.
Go-Do: Start testing your applications on Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) and help ensure compatibility with the final major pre-release of Windows Vista. Windows Vista RC1 is now available to MSDN Subscribers and through the Customer Preview Program (CPP). Get Windows Vista RC1 and start testing today!
Rubbish title. I know. But, if you’d have driven the 6 hour journey (I know, it should be 3, but traffic was shocking!) from Reading to Manchester this weekend, just to see Manchester United be beaten, at home, by our resident French Premiership team, Arsenal, you’d have a rubbish title too!
So, what does the title mean? What is the link? Clear, Confident, Connected? Man Utd’s midfield was certainly (easy to) Clear, definitely dis-Connected and Confidently poor. Vista 1 – 0 Manchester Utd. If only Man Utd could improve at the rate Vista is. I’m not bitter. ;-)
Anyway, enough of the moaning – Seriously, I’ve been sitting (not literally) on a few different articles which have been flying around recently, all about Vista, and the impact it will have on different areas of our society, in particular, business in the EU. They really are pretty interesting to read, and I hope to convey some of what I have found in this curiously-titled post.
The first of these articles, from MSNBC, talks about the security features in Vista, and in particular, the fact that the EU, yet again, are warning Microsoft that it may have to remove some of its security features from Windows Vista, effectively not shutting out rivals in this arena. I seem to recall this has happened before, with Windows Media Player, where rival companies, have brought it to the EU’s attention, Microsoft has been forced to act, bring out an adjusted product, in this case, XP minus the Media Player, and subsequently, no one bought it. While we do want to launch Vista in a fully lawful manner, complying with the EU in every way we need to, our customers have demanded a more secure operating environment, and that is what we are providing. Just because Vista has a wealth of security features built in, doesn’t mean a consumer’s choice is restricted. If an Enterprise has some kind of licence agreement with a major Anti-Virus provider, and they also wish to purchase Windows Vista across the organisation, do you think they are going to cancel their current agreement because of what Vista offers? I don’t think so. I still believe that they will stick with their original Anti-Virus offering, at least until their current agreement runs out – but anyway, in terms of security, Vista doesn’t come with Anti-Virus protection in the box; sure it has an excellent firewall included, but XP did after SP2, so it’s not a new concept we are bringing along here.
The result of the EU intervention? “Microsoft has threatened a delay in the launch of its next-generation Vista operating system in Europe because of the new standoff with EU regulators”. Surely this further delay, caused by the EU’s intervention, would result in a loss of revenue in the EU as a whole? For example, an IDC study, over on ZDNet has found that Vista could create up to 50,000 jobs in Europe. The delay would obviously impact this.
“In the six countries studied, more than 150,000 IT companies will produce, sell or distribute products or services running on Windows Vista in 2007 and will employ 400,000 people, IDC said. Another 650,000 will be employed in the IT departments of businesses that rely on Vista”
And it isn’t just about the jobs that Vista will bring. Obviously, revenue has to play a part, but how big a part?
"Moreover, for every Euro of revenue that Microsoft makes, companies within the IT ecosystem will, on average, make more than 13 Euros, IDC found. In the U.K., hardware companies are expected to see 7.24 Euros of revenue, software companies 3.64 Euros and services companies 2.74 Euros per Euro of Microsoft's Vista revenue, for a total of 13.62 Euros”
A delay would obviously impact this too. So, what about the flip-side; say Microsoft took the Windows Media Removal road, that they took with XP, creating and shipping a version of XP which had no Media Player. As soon as your sparkly new Vista PC hits the net, regardless of the ‘safe’ sites you may be visiting, sooner or later, with no protection at all installed, you are going to be in trouble. Is this a good thing? Would the EU prefer to ship the product minus a firewall, malware protection, anti-virus etc, and expect the average user to realise this (which eventually they would thanks to the warnings from the taskbar), surf the net or visit PC World and purchase, separately, all the different products to become secure, by which time, the PC could already be infected? I think, perhaps, the better idea would be to include them as standard in Vista, but somehow make the user aware that they are not restricted to the included protection, and that other protection providers out there, will work perfectly well with Vista, and provide the level of protection that they require, and if you want to, go and buy it.
“Windows Vista is not just a product of Microsoft. In the marketplace, it will be a constellation of solutions and services delivered by an entire ecosystem”
I think that David Mitchell from Ovum hits the nail on the head:
"There has been very little uptake of the version of Windows XP that excludes Media Player functionality. A version of Vista that removes security-related functionality has the potential to be an even greater turkey. Security is a major concern for the European market and needs to be addressed on multiple different fronts. If the EU is going to ask Microsoft to remove security-related functionality then it needs to be very precise in its request and very clear about why it is making it. It has the potential to cause a major market disruption, with no benefit whatsoever for the end-consumer. Appropriate and timely regulatory intervention may benefit the consumer, but only if that intervention reflects real consumer preferences in the market and recognises the overall market evolution that is underway."
This is discussed further over on CNet News where Microsoft again is seeking clarity on what the EU want, whilst firmly stating that Vista is on track to launch on time. I really hope it does – it is going to bring huge, positive changes in the new world of work.
Like the guys at eWeek say, “Vista delay in Europe will hurt Partners, Consumers...Microsoft and European Community regulators need to find common ground when it comes to Windows Vista, and do it soon, industry watchers are saying”
In an update to a recent post, Microsoft has released more information about this sexy piece of kit. Feel free to have a play with the cool flash demo below, before reading on!
For those of you interested in an overview of the product, you can find that information here, whereas, for those of you interested in even more of the features, check out the list below, which I've taken directly from this page. On the overview page, you will find a number of different views of the keyboard, for those of you who want to see it from every angle!
To me, this looks really cool, and the different fuctions that the keyboard provides, yeah, they may not all be new, like buttons to open certain programs etc, but the way it will integrate with Vista will ensure an excellent user experience, and building on the button functionality, is the backlighting, intelligent power usage, USB ports, and bluetooth technology mean it really is an excellent keyboard, empowering the user to get more done, with less effort.
Features to expect? Well, how about the following:
Rechargeable Mouse and Keyboard - First ever rechargeable backlit keyboard and mouse solution. Microsoft’s exclusive charging hub allows you to recharge both the mouse and keyboard in one easy-to-use place.
4 USB Ports - Integrated USB ports in the charging station give you the flexibility to download images from your digital camera or plug in your thumb drive or other USB device - right from your desktop.
Wireless Freedom - Give yourself room to move - wireless mouse and keyboard products let you work without worrying about tangled wires.
Battery Status Indicator - You'll know when power is low when the batter status indicator senses battery life is running out.
2.4 GHz Bluetooth® Technology - Connect wirelessly right out of the box with First Connect Technology for up to 30 feet with virtually no interference.
4-Way Mouse Scrolling - Scroll four ways for greater efficiency and comfort with Tilt Wheel Technology.
High Definition Laser Technology - Microsoft® High Definition Laser Mouse products are more precise, more responsive, and deliver smoother tracking.
Instant Viewer - Too many open items on your desktop? Click the scroll wheel button to instantly display your open windows, then point and click to select.
Magnifier - Point and click to enlarge and edit detail using the Magnifier.
Brushed Aluminum - The sleek, symmetrical design features an authentic brushed aluminum that feels as good as it looks.
Windows® Start Button - Press to launch your Start menu and search your PC or the Web if you have Windows Vista installed.
Ultra-thin Comfort Curve Design - Place your hands naturally and work comfortably using the distinctive and ergonomist-approved Comfort Curve design with quiet touch keys.
Navigation Pad - Command your PC from your lap or the comfort of your sofa with the integrated cursor control.
Windows® Live Call Button - Just press this button to access your Windows Live Messenger buddy list; then select an Online Contact and start a video conversation.
Compact Industrial Design - This sleek design reduces clutter on your desk, fits on your lap and complements your flat screen monitor.
Windows Gadgets Button - One-touch access to gadgets such as weather information, news updates, traffic maps and slide shows of online photo albums.
Media Center Start Button - One touch access to Windows Media Center.
Ultra-thin Keyboard - Experience true comfort with the ultra-thin Comfort Curve keyboard plus quiet touch keys.
Intelligent Backlighting - Backlighting comes on automatically when you approach the keyboard and turns off when you’re away - and backlit keys only glow when the lights are low, saving valuable battery life.
Media Controls - Media Controls allow you to easily navigate to next track, previous track, play, pause and volume control.
"My Favorites" Hot Keys - Access the folders, files, and Web pages you use most with one-touch “My Favorites” Keys.
Intelligent Power System - Adjust battery life depending on performance needs.