Stories by Galen Gruman

  • After Bill Gates, five possible futures for Microsoft

    For most people, Bill Gates and Microsoft are one and the same. Gates has led Microsoft to global dominance in the 33 years since its founding, combining a strong opportunism -- getting the code for DOS to sell to IBM for the first PC and aping Apple's visual interface for the first Windows are the two best examples of Gates' moving where the wind was soon to blow -- with a steady vision of desktop computers being as powerful as the mainframes that captured techies' imaginations in the 1970s.

  • How to make the new iPhone work at work

    With the release of Apple's iPhone SDK now come and gone, and the enhanced IT-oriented capabilities planned for the next major iPhone device and software update now unveiled, it's clear that iPhones are going to be corporate mainstays. Still, at its heart, the iPhone is a consumer device, so IT leaders still have to ensure that the iPhones that come in the door fit their data management and security strategies, even with Apple's new enterprise security capabilities.

  • Green Grid's metrics sow seeds for IT sustainability

    About a year and a half ago, executives at several companies were bemoaning the high energy costs and the difficulty of getting enough energy electricity to their datacenters. It's not an uncommon concern among IT execs, but this group did more than kvetch. They banded together and sought other companies to join them. In February 2007, the Green Grid was born, and in less than a year grew to more than 100 members.

  • Why 'no Macs' is no longer a defensible IT strategy

    Once confined to marketing departments and media companies, the Mac is spilling over into a wider array of business environments, thanks to the confluence of a number of computing trends, not the least among them a rising tide of end-user affinity for the Apple experience.

  • Microsoft's really tough strategic challenge, and the straitjacket it created for itself

    Open source has grabbed a big part of the server and app dev market. Apple has redefined the mobile device market and rendered Windows Mobile devices beyond passe. Firefox has blunted Internet Explorer's dominance, reversing the ActiveX hegemony for interactive Web apps, and removing one more barrier for widespread Macintosh usage. Vista is a dud -- "a piece of junk," one Gartner analyst called it yesterday in an interview.

  • iPhone is already the top mobile browser

    It's been on the market for just six months, and already the iPhone (plus its Wi-Fi-only variant, the iPod Touch) is the most used mobile browser for Internet access in the US, according to Irish researcher StatCounter. At No. 2 is the Symbian OS used in Nokia's devices. Globally, the two positions are reversed. In either case, Windows Mobile -- in all its versions -- is just a blip.

  • Virtualization's secret security threats

    Almost any IT department worth its salt is deploying virtualization technology today to reduce power usage, make server and OS deployments more flexible, and better use storage and systems resources. But as virtualization technology gains in popularity, it may bring with it new risks, said Don Simard, the commercial solutions director at the US National Security Agency (NSA), the electronic intelligence and cryptographic agency once so secret its very existence was a secret. At the same time, virtualization technology may bring new protections, he noted.

  • Managing Vista security requires IT effort

    Jeff Dimock, vice president of Microsoft solutions at the IT consultancy Dimension Data Americas, expects IT organizations will like Windows Vista's tighter security. That's true even though it requires a change in both user behavior (to acknowledge the User Account Control, or UAC warnings when installing potentially harmful applications), and an update in applications (to run in user mode rather than administrator mode). "It's a lot more robust security model, but it does come at a price," he says.

  • Vista tools ease deployment and management

    For IT, perhaps the biggest advantage to deploying Windows Vista is its capability to create a unified installation image that selectively loads the needed drivers and applications onto users' computers -- saving IT from having to manage lots of install images as with Windows XP or to rely on the PC-model-specific OEM installations whose "bloatware" then needs to be removed from each system. Microsoft provides the Windows Automated Installation Kit as a free download to give IT that unified-image capability, so IT can use a single Vista installation image for all PCs, with drivers and applications loaded as needed for each user.

  • Picking the right time to deploy Vista

    Windows Vista is known for its much higher resource requirements than Windows XP, such as needing a minimum of 2GB of RAM, a fast processor, and a recent video card. That's why most analysts suggest that a Vista deployment be paired with a hardware refresh.

  • How to deploy Windows Vista

    Although many organizations have not yet been ready to adopt Windows Vista, at some point nearly everyone will need to migrate to the new Windows OS, as the tide turns from today's compatibility deficits in Vista to a state in which XP-based PCs will lack the drivers and application support that IT will need to have deployed. After all, as Gartner analyst Michael Silver noted, Microsoft will keep refining Vista and both hardware and software makers will eventually treat it as the default operating system for their products.

  • Is Microsoft turning over a new leaf?

    When Microsoft announced on Thursday that it was changing its business practices to be more open -- specifically to release documentation on its APIs and protocols -- many people reacted with disbelief. The European Commission, which has battled Microsoft for a decade over anticompetitiveness, said in very blunt terms that it didn't believe Microsoft was sincere. After all, Microsoft has made the "open" promise before but never delivered.

  • Time to dump Windows?

    The "Save XP" petition asking Microsoft to keep Windows XP available indefinitely, not end most sales on June 30 as currently planned, has prompted many readers to suggest that maybe the best answer for those who don't like Vista is to switch to another operating system completely.

  • Vista deployment secrets

    Vista adoption in business has been slow (and at this writing more than 75,000 people have signed InfoWorld's petition asking Microsoft to keep Windows XP available indefinitely). Nonetheless, thousands of businesses worldwide have already adopted Vista.