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Shock, horror: Microsoft gets clued up

Jan 20, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

* Three recent Microsoft events give us that warm, fuzzy feeling

There may be hope for the people in Redmond after all. Someone there saw that “Windows .Net Server 2003” was a phrase that didn’t trip off the tongue and wouldn’t fit well in a 30-second TV commercial. So the new and improved name for the operating system that actually started life as Windows NT 6 is now simply Windows 2003. Well, technically it’s “Windows Server 2003”, but I’ll wager that “Server” gets dropped real soon. We’ll call it Win2K+3 until someone comes up with a better moniker (and that shouldn’t take long).

This way, even the brain-dead among your colleagues would see that this new server operating system is the successor to the Windows 2000 server operating system you’re currently running. They’ll still want you to install it as an upgrade to their Windows ME machine (give them XP Pro instead – they’ll love it), but you won’t have to beat them unmercifully to get across the point that this operating system is only for servers.

Another sign that clue is making a rare appearance at the Microsoft campus is the recent (apparently successful) settling of the Sun/Java lawsuit. Successful in that it’s over and done with. Not so successful in that Microsoft needs to ship Java with its operating systems. But that’s something most customers want anyway, so being a customer-driven company it only makes sense to do what the users want and get out of court before the lawyers’ meters ring up another billion or so in charges.

After all (another victory for the thinking people), Microsoft is seriously considering paying dividends to its shareholders (something the investors have been clamoring after for years). It needs to scrimp on its legal bills if it wants to help out the “widows and orphans” (an old, sarcastic Wall St. term for those who live off the dividend income of their stock portfolio) who actually own the company.

There was one other sign that the madness may be over when Microsoft announced a willingness to share its source code with government agencies so that their IT people could examine it for security flaws. Since a number of governments were going to make this a requirement for doing business with them, this could be seen as Microsoft protecting its assets rather than doing what it should have been doing all along. But we’ll just take it as a sign that there’s been a new, well, paradigm shift at Microsoft and that greed and ego are finally ready to take a back seat to the ideals of better technology for everyone while profiting the shareholders. It does give one a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Who knows, maybe next fall Microsoft will come up with a new licensing scheme that actually saves you money.