In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 1, 2009 / 7 Iyar 5769

Microsoft's Headaches, and Ours

By Mark Kellner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The impressive news last week that Microsoft Corp. had its "first ever" decline in year-over-year quarterly sales - the third quarter of the current fiscal year for Microsoft was worse than the same period last fiscal year - and that revenues fell six percent, has set many tongues wagging in the tech world.

"Microsoft's Model is Not Working Anymore," thundered trade journal InformationWeek. "Netbooks hammer Windows revenues for second straight quarter," declared Greg Keizer of ComputerWorld, another respected trade weekly.

The netbook phenomenon is interesting: the tiny little portable computers, with eight- to ten-inch screens, run either a low-cost version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system (lower in licensing price than any of the Windows Vista configurations) or some flavor of the open-source Linux operating system, which is either free or much, much cheaper than even Windows XP. Either way, a lower-cost or no-cost operating system on a netbook means a dig into Microsoft's revenue stream. Other consequences flow from that, however. If you have a tiny portable with, say, limited RAM and a small-ish hard disc drive of 120 Gigabytes or so, you're not as likely to fill it up with some of the "bloatware" typically found on notebook and desktop PCs, some of which may bear the Microsoft name. Instead of the Office 2007 "suite," you might go for Microsoft Works, which includes an older version of Microsoft Word, a simpler spreadsheet, and so on. Or, you'll jump to OpenOffice.org's office suite, which is free. There's no tech support number to call, but you can find answers online.

Another scenario involves using Web-based tools such as Google's Documents suite to create word processing and spreadsheet files, or Adobe's Buzzword, or ThinkFree Office, all online tools, of which there are a growing number. Do your computing "in the cloud," as they say, and you're not buying Microsoft's software, either.

While such scenarios may not be attractive in many large enterprise settings, consumers are finding them more and more attractive, it seems, otherwise why would there be a drop in Microsoft's sales and revenues?

The more important question is what can Microsoft do to change things? I'm no insider, but I have a couple of decades' experience with the firm and its products under my belt. Some educated guesses and ideas follow.

First, the company needs to get Windows 7 out there as soon as possible. This has been discussed here twice in the past month; suffice it to say there's a lot of enthusiasm for a Windows OS that isn't crash-and-problem prone.

Second, move Office online, and soon. There have been some elementary moves towards this: Microsoft Exchange users can access a version of the Outlook e-mail client online via a Web browser, and what used to be Microsoft Publisher is essentially an online service.

What I'd like to see, however - and what I might pay for - is a feature-rich, full-spectrum office suite online, and, while we're at it, let's make it browser independent, please. Example: if you use Microsoft's Internet Explorer to access Outlook/Exchange via the Web, you get more-or-less the "complete" desktop Outlook experience. Use Mozilla's Firefox or Apple's Safari, you get a "light" version.

Microsoft does this, I'm guessing, to drive users towards Internet Explorer. Fair enough, but as we've seen with Vista-versus-netbooks, it's a losing strategy. Better still to engineer a robust Web-based experience and charge a little more, than cut corners and upset your customer base.

By contrast, for example Kerio Mail Server, which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux servers, offers what seems to be a rather consistent user experience across platforms: it looks, and acts, the same in any Web browser, on Mac or Windows.

The final thing Microsoft should do is buy something, and quick: outbid Oracle for Sun Microsystems and they'd get an entrée into open-source markets; buy Adobe and, after dodging antitrust concerns, they could beef up Office into an unstoppable force.

I'm not a Microsoft insider, but I'm guessing there's hard work going on at the Redmond, Washington, headquarters of the firm, seeking ways to avoid oblivion. It's been a great ride for Microsoft, and I don't think they want to stop just yet.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.


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