Sunday, June 04, 2006

Vista, PDF, and The Microsoft Code - Links

Things over the past week that landed on my "hmm..." radar:

Vista / Office:

PDF-me not:

Mr. Brian Jones put up two posts describing the feature removal of PDF generation support within Office 2007. All I can say to this feature pull-out: Machiavelli claps. Well done. That's the kind of Microsoft aikido moves I can appreciate.

The Microsoft Code:

I don't know where Mr. Adam Barr is going with his serialized story placing The DaVinci Code within a Microsoft setting, but I like it, I like it! Mr. Barr, any chance (sheepishly tracing an arc with my toes in the dirt) I could have a cameo? 8-) Perhaps one where Scoble finally ensures he's packing heat and not a banana:

Mini-Microsoft:

Mini-Microsoft Mr. Ballmer on the Defense - Links : in general, folks aren't too happy with Mr. Ballmer's presentation. Especially that part where Ballmer states that the stock price doesn't fit into the morale and motivation of Microsofties.


59 comments:

Anonymous said...


[...] feature removal of PDF [...]. All I can say to this feature pull-out: Machiavelli claps. Well done. That's the kind of Microsoft aikido moves I can appreciate.

Mini, would you care to elaborate? All Mr. Jones says about why is what appears to have read out of the WSJ. The fact is that no one seems to have the straight dope on what's going on.
I'll appreciate MS's akido re:XPS as soon as ISO signs off on it and we can read the spec without a license agreement.

Anonymous said...

"It looks like Adobe wanted us to charge our customers extra for the Save as PDF capability, which we just aren't willing to do"

So Adobe told MS "We want you to charge your customers extra for the PDF feature"? Or did Adobe ask MS for a fee to include the feature, and it was up to MS to bury in the already hefty Office cost or pass it along, and Jones just reflexively spins this to make it an "Adobe wants us to charge YOU, the customer, and we FOUGHT BACK to keep Office as cheap and affordable as its always been" ?

Adam Barr said...

Well, normally such blatant pandering would get you kicked out of the script...but in fact if you study the last line of Chapter 4 carefully, you will see that your wish has already been granted.

- adam

AnonBlueBadge said...

> All I can say to this feature pull-out: Machiavelli claps. Well done. That's the kind of Microsoft aikido moves I can appreciate.

Mini, can you please clarify?

Anonymous said...

"Or did Adobe ask MS for a fee to include the feature, and it was up to MS to bury in the already hefty Office cost or pass it along, and Jones just reflexively spins this to make it an "Adobe wants us to charge YOU, the customer, and we FOUGHT BACK to keep Office as cheap and affordable as its always been" ?"

They asked for a fee when their own partner documentation clearly states that PDF is an open standard that ANY entity can implement free of charge (providing they follow certain rules like ensuring the spec is compliant) and numerous entities (AAPL, OpenOffice, etc,) already have? Um...okay. Face it, Adobe is upset about Metro/XPS and this is the fallout. Unfortunately for them, making the case that they can charge MSFT but not anyone else for their "open standard" should be something that even MSFT's 0:500 legal team ought to be able to win.

Anonymous said...

I call shenanigans on not shipping PDF export. After all, any OS X application can print to PDF easily, so I'd love to hear Adobe's side of Microsoft's story. What, suddenly Microsoft is afraid of legal action or licensing fees? Something that Apple can afford but Microsoft can't? Something does not smell right here.

My guess is that Microsoft is just being a pain in the arse with their usual "Not Invented Here" syndrome, and is finding some technicality with Adobe to shift the blame.

By the way, what kind of idiotic option checkbox is "ISO 19005-1 compiliant (PDF/A)"? What the heck is an average user supposed to do with that? A user would want to uncheck this box why, exactly? (What? The users didn't read the ISO 19005-1 spec? Well, then, they're not bright enough to deserve PDF support!)

Maybe that's part of the trouble: Adobe would rather see PDF unsupported out of the box than to have it done badly and reflect poorly on them.

Very disappointed, Microsoft. This was the only thing I was looking forward to in the Office upgrade.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that? It sounds like... no.. it can't be.

People are defending Microsoft and singling out Adobe (albeit with "I never thought I'd be defending Microsoft, but...")

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Very disappointed, Microsoft. This was the only thing I was looking forward to in the Office upgrade.

Good. Now you can go back to your parents' basement and continue the Star Trek marathon on DVD.

Anonymous said...

Very disappointed, Microsoft. This was the only thing I was looking forward to in the Office upgrade.

Did you read the linked entries? You can still download the same functionality. Evidently Adobe just doesn't want it bundled in with Office.

Anonymous said...

all those calling out MS, ha! even as a softie, I am a cynic, but come on. this is clearly ADBE trying to keep their only foot in the door with "enterprise" (read PDF) alive. losing the "PDF key" means ADBE stays out of enterprise. Yes, even with cold fusion, graphix server, etc, etc.

ne1 remember the ADBE and Russian "hacker" fiasco back in the day? first he's arrested, then he's let free? why not hire the guy??

Anonymous said...

Check out an insiders post about Vista's issues

here
.

imo, the types of issues mentioned there are not limited to the windows org.

former softie (there > 10 years)

Anonymous said...

Could it be that either Adobe has a previous agreement with Microsoft that they don't want to waive, or they reminded Microsoft of what anti-trust law means?

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=187463&cid=15472279

(I'm not the poster of that comment, but I find it interesting).

You guys are the biggest players, and your lawyers failed to prove otherwise. That means you get special rules! Lucky you!

Anonymous said...

Vista-Type Delays? Never Again, Ballmer Says

"Look, we have one product—it just happens to be our most famous product—that has a bigger gap than it will ever, ever, ever have again in its release cycle. That will never happen again. I know how we got there, I'm not going to go through all that. I know what we're going to do differently. I'm not going to go through that. It'll never happen again," Ballmer said.

That's our Steve - vainly try and minimize any mistakes because we can NEVER just acknowledge fuckups (no matter how visible to all) for what they are. And then be long on future promises and short on details. You also have to love how bringing in Sinofsky years after the project went off the rails, is being positioned as forceful management resolve. LOL.

Offtopic but re that extensive Tom's Hardware review that you linked to, could the final conclusion have been any lamer? Yikes. If that's the conclusion of someone who took a detailed look...

Anonymous said...

The Tom's Hardware conclusion is pap. It comes across like someone complimenting their friends ugly newborn. Vista may not be all bad, but the review's conclusion is kind of silly and lacks any substance. Is it a case of "don't bite the hand that feeds"?

Redeemed said...


Check out an insiders post about Vista's issues

here
.

imo, the types of issues mentioned there are not limited to the windows org.

Let us hope that the culture of telling people what they want to hear (vs the truth) has not permeated to the finance organization, or we have an Enron waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

New 52-week low and breached $22 on the day. Not good. Looks like Steve dared analysts and investors who weren't happy with the current strategy/leadership to sell and that's exactly what they're doing. Meanwhile, NO response or action from the company to try and stem the bleeding.

Very oversold currently so could see a bounce especially if the market can rally. But looks like that will likely be short-lived and we'll eventually break the 5 year low and I suspect, head to $19 something. Unfreakingbelievable. Great job Steve.

Anonymous said...

That's our Steve .....
.........
Offtopic but re that extensive Tom's Hardware review that you linked to, could the final conclusion have been any lamer?.....


Wolf in Sheep clothing, heh heh... Your conclusion exposed you as an open source eunuch. Try again.

Anonymous said...

That's our Steve - vainly try and minimize any mistakes because we can NEVER just acknowledge fuckups

==

true

it happened in W2k, happened partially in XP and seriously happened in Vista...

whats different? Nothing

Anonymous said...

I had to shake my head a couple of times during the SteveB EE keynote. Maybe he needs to get his foot hurt more often. SteveB talked some pretty practical stuff imho and I liked what I heard. I think the concerns raised here and elsewhere -- like departing Microsofties -- are being addressed.

The last question had a great response when SteveB threw the question back as the poor soul who wondered which product groups should be cut. Mini, was that you?

Which product groups would you cut?

Anonymous said...

Mini,
This is a great question that (unless I have missed it)has not been address or suggested previously?
Who stays and who goes if you had your druthers?
What software offerings hold best promise for continued future support? 5 -10 yrs?
Purely for investment purposes of course...

Customer

Thras said...

The Visual Tour chart is strange with the ratings it gives various operating systems. I haven't used Mac OS X extensively; maybe it is true that it's head and shoulders above everything else. But who can possibly claim that Windows 2000 is the equivalent of Linux? Or that Windows XP barely eeks it out over that?

I'm an admin for a large network of dual-boot computers, Fedora Core and Windows XP, and I know what gets used by people -- the Windows boxes. (Our Macs get used a little too, but barely at all in comparison to the rest.)

When I'm working on computers or programming computers, I generally prefer Debian or some other Linux. When I'm doing non-computer stuff (writing, reading, playing games, watching movies, surfing the web), I like Windows.

That said, I got bored of Windows Vista pretty quickly after trying the Feb CTP. It's prettier. I like the fact that it stops programs from putting themselves into Start Up unless I let them (I rarely do).

Beyond that, meh. The Vista engineers have somehow gotten the idea that the root user has something to do with the Unix security or stability success. It doesn't -- root is only the proper security model for a multi-user system. Unix has a clean security record for entirely different reasons than root privilege separation.

I'm just hoping that Vista doesn't break too much software. Right now it looks like Windows ME -- a skipable generation of the Windows OS.

Anonymous said...

I'm just hoping that Vista doesn't break too much software. Right now it looks like Windows ME -- a skipable generation of the Windows OS.

Go ahead and skip. See ya!

Anonymous said...

Man, I swear some people are REALLY being dense about this PDF thing.

There isn't some contract or liscense BS that Microsoft and Adobe couldn't work out. Adobe didn't want liscense fees or any such nonsense.

They just wanted us to charge EXTRA for the functionality. They didn't want money from us, they just wanted our product to cost more.

FWIW, they also aren't happy with the download solution (because we're not charging anything for the functionality).

They made it very clear that failure to comply with their demands would result in anti-trust complaints being filed in the EU. Not a lawsuit over some contractual bull or some crap about patents, an anti-trust complaint.

Why are their panties in a knot? The ability to output a PDF from Word will cut about 20% of Adobe's revenue. They will not be satisfied with any solution that makes Office w/PDF support a better bargain than Office + Adobe PDF tools.

Period. End of story.

What's even more disgusting is that we can't even support our OWN damn format without evoking an anti-trust complaint from Adobe.

This crap really pisses me off.

Anonymous said...

> Go ahead and skip. See ya!

I certainly hope you're not a Microsoft employee. With that attitude, it's no wonder your stock is tanking.

Anonymous said...

>Unix has a clean security record for entirely different reasons than root privilege separation.

How quickly people forget. Despite its descent from older multi-user OSes, Unix (or rather the various Unixes) actually had a rather poor security record during its early adoption. (Relatively speaking, of course; the Internet was a much smaller place back then.) It took a couple of decades before it matured enough to be considered robust and secure.

Considering that it descended from a single user windowing environment and had stringent backwards compatibility requirements, I would say that Windows is doing fairly well for the circumstances it evolved in.

>Go ahead and skip. See ya!

Hit the approve button by accident, Mini?

Anonymous said...

I think you must differ servers and workstations/home computers as regard to security. The weakest security link on a workstation/home computer are the users, especially teens.

You could as easy get some malware downloaded and run from Firefox on *NIX that emptys you home-directory with a simple "rm -rf".

It probably doesn't affect the rest of the system, but what good are a uptime of 99% a year when all your work or mp3's are gone?

As far as the PDF debate goes, aren't the software industry just marvelous? Can't we all just get along?

Now how about MSFT open up smb and fat16 and Adobe let go of PDF and SUN of Java? Proprietary "industry standards" are good, everyone should have one...

Anonymous said...

What would you throw away? That depends on what you want Microsoft to be.

Version 1 of the future of Microsoft: MS continues to grow at the historic rate. This requires making "big bets", because they're the only ones that can pay off big enough to provide the necessary growth. This has been the game plan, and it hasn't worked, because the "big bets" haven't paid off.

Version 2: Microsoft scraps everything but Windows and Office, and accepts that all it is, and all it ever will be, is two cash cows. Microsoft becomes a very boring place to work. It leads to a "mini Microsoft", all right, because a lot of people are redundant. Frankly, I don't see this ever happening, at least not while Bill Gates lives and breathes. It would destroy his ego, his idea of his place in the world.

Version 3 is something between the two extremes. Replace the big bets with smaller bets, and forget the dreams of big-time growth. Settle for smaller growth, but don't just milk the two cash cows. Kill the big bets that aren't working out, and realistically are never going to work out. Unfortunately, this requires honest evaluation rather than political self-defense at the upper levels.

What I'd say: Kill off (or, better, sell off) all the "big bets", and stop making them. Look for realistic chances of success, rather than trying to knock it out of the park with every swing. But I honestly don't think that the acceptance of reality is present (yet) at the top management level, so it ain't gonna happen.

MSS

Anonymous said...

Here's another one for your "Hmm" file. Why hasn't Gates been selling lately? Normally, he sells every quarter like clockwork and would have been busy dumping away in May. But nada since Feb. Even more interesting is that the argument used to defend his dumping is always that it's on a regular [pre-defined] schedule. Apparently, that's not exactly true. Is Bill just saving up for a double dump in June/July or did Steve go to Bill and say "Bill, my job is on the line, give it a rest for a quarter or two will ya"? Alternatively, is something else in the wind that would make Bill hold off? Here's a really outlandish thought: could Bill finally be thinking that MSFT really is too undervalued to sell or even about to do a Michael Dell and actually plunk down some serious cash to buy his own stock? [Whack] Sorry, was just dreamin there for a second...

jamie said...

http://c9park.wordpress.com/2006/06/08/googlepark-the-revenge/

Anonymous said...

> Go ahead and skip. See ya!

I certainly hope you're not a Microsoft employee. With that attitude, it's no wonder your stock is tanking.

Who are you to say what causes MSFT stock to tank or not when our CEO himself doesnt know that??

Share your secret with him, will ya? Maybe he wont act so stupid the next time around...

Anonymous said...

An entire book can be written about all the bad things that Microsoft HASN'T done to Adobe over the years. While big chunks of the industry were incinerated by the withering agression of Redmond, Adobe never drew much attention. We could have laid our ears back and gone after them years ago, but for some reason didn't. That said, Adobe is not about to repay our years of kindness now by letting customers view our offering and theirs side by side. Pick an annual report, any annual report. What format is it produced in? The enterprise has a certain love affair with Adobe and it will take some strategy on our part to upset that. Expect another big land war here, with lot$ of attrition.

Anonymous said...

Curious to hear what others think about the EE TwC Forum. From some of the side conversations, it sounds to me that good, ship-experienced execs like ChrisJo and BrianV could have shipped Vista on time -- if it weren't for Bill; and that senior folks are skeptical of future planning efforts -- because of Bill. Thoughts?

Who da'Punk said...

Administrivia: Blogger has been having some pretty severe hardware etc problems, so things have either been slow or non-responsive.

http://status.blogger.com/

Feel free to comment when everything is back up and stable...

Anonymous said...

So who there, or which Team is working on an ad campaign to counter the new Mac advertisements?
Surely someone somewhere there has an idea?
Not to start a new Windows vs Mac flame but...

Customer

Anonymous said...

"Who are you to say what causes MSFT stock to tank or not when our CEO himself doesnt know that??"

Balmer knows exactly what drives the stock price: earnings, earnings growth, yield and confidence. If he's saying he doesn't, then he's simply lying. Right now, earnings are okay but not great, earnings growth is relatively anemic thanks to next year's surprise spending plans, the dividend is now just market and only then because of the massive recent stock decline and confidence is non-existent. The latter is taking the biggest toll currently because the selloff has exceeded any rational adjustment that should have taken place based on the reduced earnings guidance. Not helping matters is that the chart is now badly broken technically and is pointing to a break of the 5 year low and an eventual $19'sh stock price. And of course, not a peep from management who could put a floor under the stock by doing any number of things including increasing the dividend or announcing an immediate buyback.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

2 things:

==========================
Check out an insiders post about Vista's issues

here
http://blogs.msdn.com/philipsu/archive/2006/06/05/617988.aspx

imo, the types of issues mentioned there are not limited to the windows org.

former softie (there > 10 years)
==========================
Hmm, link is no longer available. Wonder what it said

==========================
An entire book can be written about all the bad things that Microsoft HASN'T done to Adobe over the years. While big chunks of the industry were incinerated by the withering agression of Redmond, Adobe never drew much attention. We could have laid our ears back and gone after them years ago, but for some reason didn't. That said, Adobe is not about to repay our years of kindness now by letting customers view our offering and theirs side by side. Pick an annual report, any annual report. What format is it produced in? The enterprise has a certain love affair with Adobe and it will take some strategy on our part to upset that. Expect another big land war here, with lot$ of attrition.
==========================

So we should be grateful that MS failed to attack ("gone after") Adobe?

I'm not sure what this means in terms of software development, but it speaks petabytes about the mindset of MS.

Anonymous said...

Sooo....the twice-yearly Partner meeting is coming up in about 14 days. What'ya suppose the main topic of conversation will be? Vista slippage, stock price erosion, employee morale in the toilet, or perhaps how many millions of dollars in stock each of them is going to get for doing such a "great job" over the last year?

TomEUS said...

"IT is the gatekeeper for upgrades" well, it is today but should not be tomorrow.

I have for a long time spoke to many global IT departments about the fact they need to stop being cops - policemen who decide what their prisoners/users can or can not do. The only way how to get ITs from the shithole (excuse my french) where they are being viewed as slow, expensive, non effective bunch of clowns is when they will start doing things that the users need/want, that the business tells them will help the bottom line, that they are willing to do real work, instead of saying can't.
And believe me, I know what I am talking about - I spent the past 12 years as IT manager/director.
My hope can only be Vista/O12 will accelerate this much needed change.

The ViewMaster! said...

Mimi! L@@Ks-Like U R Da'Man, Now...

Blogger Scoble Leaves Microsoft For Small Podcasting Start-Up
By Rebecca Buckman
Word Count: 486 | Companies Featured in This Article: Microsoft
SAN FRANCISCO -- Robert Scoble, a Microsoft Corp. employee who became one of the best-known corporate bloggers, is leaving the software giant to take a job at a small podcasting start-up.
Mr. Scoble will become a vice president for media development at PodTech Network Inc., a small Menlo Park, Calif., company that produces and distributes podcasts -- audio programs available on the Web that can be downloaded to computers or personal music players, such as iPods. Many podcasts are now evolving to include video as well, and Mr. Scoble, 41 years old, said he will be working on ...

I NEVER Liked Scoble, AnyWay...

Anonymous said...

Scoble is leaving Microsoft

Da Shadow said...

Re: PDF in Office 2007. From the end user Enterprise perspective this is a must have since sending Word docs that can be editted is a big legal no-no where my check is writ.

It's also a differentiator between Windows and OS X. One wonders if Apple didn't ask Adobe to play hard to get with Microsoft on this. Not that Adobe isn't capable of being a punk on their own.

Anonymous said...

ballmer had an unanounced 'town hall' meeting. You can view it internally at
http://studiosmedia/0606/27886/Day1/SteveB_500K.asx

I found the following particularly interesting:

- he avocated a great people, great company cycle, but I fear he was referring to a select few

- great people will come to work on bold visions, etc. - why not just pay them well? It's true that the most elite can be paid very well anywhere, and so other factors come into play, but for the majority of 'great people' pay is still a good motivator

- he talks of great leaders, at 16 minutes into the presentation. He acknowledges improvement is needed there, but gives no hint of suggestion that he might need improvement (or replacement)

- from their it focuses on the the nature of innovation, why it's good to invest, etc.

- his body language is interesting, especially for the first third or so of the presentation

- it was very polished - I'm wondering if it's the presentation he made to the investors

- the discussion is focused on investor-related issues from 30 minutes and beyond

Anonymous said...

Mini - Wake up man! Please update the comments we have been posting...

By now everyone must have read this - Scoble has left the building!

Here is the slashdot article...

"A few weeks ago Mini-Microsoft decided to stop tweaking his corporate masters, having won the astounding victory of getting free towels returned to the locker rooms in Redmond. Now uber-blogger Scoble is moving on to work with a podcasting startup, having apparently tired of his supposed role as Vista evangelist and self-appointed corporate revolutionary. The company still has 3,000 bloggers left, but Microsoft has apparently figured out how to keep them safely within the rules, blogging about the wonders of product renaming and coming features instead of anything that might challenge the party line. There's a lesson here for those starry-eyed adolescents who think the power of the blog is going to triumph over the power of the boardroom."

More at http://slashdot.org/articles/06/06/11/1648211.shtml

Anonymous said...

WTF, Mini? Comments still broken, or are you taking that vacation you keep threatening to take?

Anonymous said...

scobble quit (leaves, removed who knows)..

http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/06/10/correcting-the-record-about-microsoft/#comments

AnonBlueBadge said...

Mini, any comments on Scoble leaving MS?

Anonymous said...

Scoble leaving the company!

http://online.wsj.com/wsjgate?subURI=%2Farticle%2FSB115005020216177197-email.html&nonsubURI=%2Farticle_email%2FSB115005020216177197-lMyQjAxMDE2NTEwMjAxNTIwWj.html

Anonymous said...

Mini, Scoble left Microsoft. This was a hot blogging topic for the whole weekend. How come you did not chime in? Loss of Scoble is more severe loss to Microsoft than a senior VP leaving the company. Chime in. Because in blogging world a weekend is worth a year.

Anonymous said...

Mini, Scoble is leaving Microsoft!! Aren't you going to write a post about it?

Anonymous said...

stock at 21.70 (52Wk Low) good time to buy or goodbye?

Anonymous said...

stock at 21.70 (52Wk Low) good time to buy or goodbye?

I would wait and see what the company has to say during the July 27th financial analyst meeting. The stock will continue to fall unless there is some good news between now and then.

Take the summer off and come back during the last week in August. Wall street will be back from vacation by then and you can see a nice bounce in the stock price.

Anonymous said...

Cheers to Scoble. He (and channel 9(thanks Lenn!)) were/are good for Microsoft. He was a company man, but was not afraid to give 'insight' to management from time to time. Will be interesting to see what other MS blogs step into the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

"Sooo....the twice-yearly Partner meeting is coming up in about 14 days. What'ya suppose the main topic of conversation will be? Vista slippage, stock price erosion, employee morale in the toilet, or perhaps how many millions of dollars in stock each of them is going to get for doing such a "great job" over the last year?"

They'll talk about the business issues you mention but all the partners will really be thinking is "blah, blah, blah....sure hope I get that SPSA before MSFT cracks the teens".

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
El Fly said...

I'd say that the checkbox that provides the full compliance with the standard is the key.

The fact is, that if that checkbox is not checked, you are not really saving to a pdf, but to some file that looks like a PDF, but that will look like ass in Acrobat Reader, but good in Office.

And you can bet your life that the checkbox is not checked by default. Why is it even there? Not standards = Not a PDF. Period.

Adobe just didn't want to be the victim of another embrace and extend attack, and they were the wiser on spotting this one early.

Manseta said...

If Google can use PDF for online spreadsheets then Why MSFT can't add that for Office 2007.
Reference:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/new-spreadsheets-fun.html#links
See new stuff from Google Spreadsheets.

Anonymous said...

Feature removal of PDF from MS Office 2007. All I can say to this feature pull-out: Check out this 3rd party solution, PDF Vista from PDFLogic, http://www.pdflogic.com/pdfvista.html

Sundaram said...

Another freeware PDF creator and converter for Windows Vista. It installs as a virtual printer driver and can create customized searchable PDF files