Random roundup 20th August 2007

sorry been a busy week but here's the wheat without the chaff - frankly I was bored by most of the stuff in my inbox this week but there a few glimmers here:


Office 2007 sp1 has gone out to beta testers.  Seems to be stable and does make things feel a bit pacier apparently.  I have downloaded it but haven't had time to install it yet.

Forrester report into Office 2007 positive:

The Office 2007 reports were much less mixed; they found that, for example, more than 75 percent of information workers and more than 70 percent of IT decision makers variously found Office 2007 is easy to learn, allows people to work more efficiently and more effectively, makes it easier to create high-quality documents, and generally has an improved look and feel.
Advanced users were more likely to strongly agree with positive statements about Office 2007. About 60 percent of respondents said Office 2007 has made them more productive than Office 2003.
There is a bit of a learning curve with Office 2007, as the new "ribbon" user interface does away with the menus many Office users have become accustomed to in exchange for ribbons of buttons and icons.
Forrester found that it usually takes about two weeks for average users to feel comfortable enough with Office 2007 to acquire the same amount of productivity they had had with Office 2003, though IT decision makers estimate that it takes less than that.

MP3 lawsuit dropped - judge overturned decision, vindicating Microsoft from patent infringement.

NASA and Microsoft's Photosynth technology to release a downloadable viewer that includes hundreds of space shuttle pictures stitched together.  This lets you walk around the shuttle.  Sounds cool but I couldn't find it on www.nasa.gov yet.  I believe they use Exchange Server on the space shuttle too for astronauts to send email back home.

Massachusetts adds Ecma Open XML to their list of approved open document formats.

Mac Office 2008 delayed into Jan 2008 - the official blog post on macmojo here.  This is disappointing.  I think we could have done better here.  Having seen the early prototypes, this will be a great product but having to comply with the Apple regulations on application user interface design creates big challenges. It isn't as cool as the PC version which looks fresh and well 014designed IMHO.

Ad-funded Works.  With version 9 we will pilot a free version of Works funded by  adverts.  This will be available to OEMs in 9 countries (including UK) who can then choose to pass the saving on to users.  The idea is you can pay to remove the ads.

New Microsoft small business blog launches.  This is to complement the Microsoft Small Business Centre website.

MOSS sales go through the roof and the UK leads the pack.  Good quotes from Rob.

UK sales grew by 38 percent in the financial year 2007, compared to worldwide growth of 35 percent according to Rob Gray, SharePoint product marketing manager for the UK.

Gray said that the growth in revenue from SharePoint had exceeded Microsoft's estimations. "We were thinking of $500m (£241m) a year by the end of the quarter and instead it was $800m (£394m)," he said.

He puts the growth down to internal efforts but also to the strength of the company's partners. "They have really taken this on board," he said.

One of those partners is the government health website, NHS Direct. "They have really adopted SharePoint," he said. "The areas which have really grown quickly have been Enterprise Content Management and Enterprise Search."

Talking of profits, I thought this was an interesting take on why Office 2007 keeps turning in the profits. It talks about how we removed the restriction for Student and Teacher edition to be for people in education, making it available to all home users in Home and Student edition.  Turns out this did not erode sales of other skus but just created greater uptake from people.  Also in this ft interview with Raikes it quotes:

The latest version, launched earlier this year, contributed to a 19 per cent jump in revenues from the business division in the most recent quarter, to $4.6bn.

Ballmer defiant:

"We are going to be an advertising company and a devices company," he said.

A stunning tidbit from Ballmer, who spent his childhood in Detroit: Some time next year there will be more computers running Windows than automobiles on the road. Persistence sometimes pays off nicely.

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