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Friday
Dec062013

2-in-1 PCs Brighten Holidays

 

Cool new hybrid laptops, a bit of tablet fatigue and some pent-up demand could make this the best holiday season for the PC market since before the iPad.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct022013

To iOS or Not to iOS

Microsoft finally has given us a sign that the company understands its enterprise hegemony is at risk – and that it intends to do something about it. At their financial analyst gathering last month, executives dropped strong hints that the company is developing Outlook for the iPad and Android, although they didn't come right out and say so.

No question that such a move is long overdue. Office dominates business productivity, though it's under attack from Google Docs and other cloud-based services. And the longer it takes to protect that turf with moves like porting Office to other platforms, the larger the threat becomes.

But in fairness to Microsoft, the issue is so knotted up in a web of competing company interests that I'm surprised that executives are able to do anything. Indeed, one of the more difficult challenges any executive faces is how to make and manage decisions that benefit one internal group at the expense of another. The rational option, at least from a pure market potential point of view, is usually pretty apparent. The difficulty comes in trying to navigate all the beehives around the organization that you'll be poking with your chosen direction. Imagine telling one of your kids that you love his sister more than him. If you can picture saying that -- and what it would do to your day -- then you've got a feel for management's challenge.

The dilemma for Microsoft with its Office decision is that versions for iOS and Android would weaken Windows' market position because it would hand to competing tablet platforms what today is an exclusive benefit that comes with choosing Windows. And it's not as though Windows' place in computing is so secure that in can afford to lose that. Many of its problems have been self-inflicted, yes. But the onslaught of tablets undoubtedly has contributed to the platform's state, which is shakier now than at any time since a superior DOS from Digital Research threatened the transition to Windows.

So what to do? Prop up Windows or let Office address the entire market?

Read the entire column HERE.

Tuesday
Sep102013

Great Time in IT for a Shopping Spree

Most IT managers are well aware that they have barely 200 shopping days to replace the remaining Windows XP systems in their fleets before Microsoft stops supporting the 12-year-old operating system. The good news is that if you've waited this long, you'll be rewarded for waiting at least another couple of days because there's a truly great class of systems that starts to come available later this week.

All of the major OEMs will begin rolling out these systems on the heels of news from the Intel Developer Forum, which opened today in San Francisco, that Intel's enterprise-ready Haswell processors -- fourth-generation Core chips with built-in vPro, the company's security and manageability package -- are now available.

The newest Core processors boast an impressive jump in power management along with a corresponding bump in performance. That's well understood by now, given that Intel's fourth-generation Core chips were launched in June. What's new this week is that Intel is folding its enterprise-class vPro technology into the lineup.

Intel's added a few things to the vPro bundle, with a new twist. VPro's always been all about making IT's job easier. Now this new vPro makes life easier for the rest of us too.

Read the entire column HERE.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug262013

Ballmer Couldn't See the Desktop For the Tiles

It should come as no surprise that Steve Ballmer is out as Microsoft CEO. The company's vision for client computing is miserably off base, and that's on him. How could he have blessed such a misguided strategy for client devices?

On Ballmer's watch, Microsoft rolled out Windows 8, a product that is destined to go down as one of the most colossal missteps in computing history. I wouldn't be surprised to see it morph one day into a verb for undermining your own product. Like, for example, "the way they eight their core product like that, it's no wonder they went belly up."

Any first-year b-school student would tell you that Microsoft disregarded the basic tenets of business expansion with Windows 8. Find out how and why HERE.

Sunday
Jul282013

Time for a Plan B at Intel?

It is time for Intel to begin placing bigger bets on Windows alternatives.

Let me assure you that I’m not schizophrenic, although I do understand why you might be wondering about that right now. Yes, I do remember the advice I gave to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in my last column, Don’t Give Up on the PC. And now I’m suggesting he invest more heavily in Windows competitors. I know it sounds contradictory. But it’s not.

As Intel’s new top executive continues to evaluate the company’s strategic priorities, he’d be foolhardy not to give Windows every shot at success. The company’s PC Client Group, or PCG, generates far more sales and profit than any other business unit – and the lion’s share of those spoils comes from Intel chips inside Windows machines. Hence the don’t-give-up message.

The flipside is that, on an annual basis, PCG’s revenue and operating income have been declining every quarter since Microsoft released Windows 8 to manufacturing. Coincidence? Unless you’re the kind of person who needs those pre-flight seat-belt fastening instructions, you don’t need me to answer that.

OK, so don’t put all your eggs in the Windows basket. Check. Now for the tough part: where to incubate the rest of those eggs?

Read the entire column HERE.