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Microsoft

10 Biggest Microsoft Surprises of 2005 198

IZ Reloaded writes "The Microsoft Watch has a top 10 list of the biggest Microsoft surprises of the year. Among the surprises are Internet Explorer rising from the dead, Microsoft gets RSS and Microsoft Office team blogging. From Microsoft Watch: MS 'gets' RSS: While some folks were less than overjoyed that Microsoft was tinkering with the "little orange RSS box," Microsoft ended up looking like a company with a clue when it came to outlining its company-wide RSS strategy in 2005. RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself. Almost all Microsoft blogs and sites have RSS feeds these days. RSS is gospel in Redmond these days."
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10 Biggest Microsoft Surprises of 2005

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  • by mrRay720 ( 874710 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:19AM (#14351528)
    Steve Balmer discovered at the office party having sexual relations with Google in a storage cupboard.
  • surprises? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BushCheney08 ( 917605 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:24AM (#14351555)
    5. Microsoft refuses to take the EC seriously
    7. Redmond still can't find a way to shake its shoddy security image


    I'm not really sure why these two are considered surprises. These seem more like expectations than anything.
  • Microsoft and RSS (Score:5, Informative)

    by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:24AM (#14351556) Homepage Journal
    RSS is gospel in Redmond these days

    It must be a bit bittersweet, given that RSS is basically a sloppier version of Microsoft's "push" technology CDF [w3.org], which was introduced with Internet Explorer 4.0.
    • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:42AM (#14351659)
      What made me chuckle was: "RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself"

      "Quick! There's a feature out there that a small fraction of users find useful! Let's bolt it directly onto the OS!"

      Of course, considering the Dashboard in Mac OS X 10.4, this could just be another example of Microsoft following Apple's example.
      • by Thuktun ( 221615 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:40PM (#14352774) Homepage Journal
        "Quick! There's a feature out there that a small fraction of users find useful! Let's bolt it directly onto the OS!" Of course, considering the Dashboard in Mac OS X 10.4, this could just be another example of Microsoft following Apple's example.

        Sadly, some parts of Microsoft seem to believe that their "embrace and extend" philosophy is actual innovation.

        For the greater part, "embrace and pervert" more accurately portrays their actual behavior. For anyone who thinks this is flamebait, read up on what they did adding Kerberos to Windows 2000, for instance. It's probably debatable whether they do this deliberately or if it's plain, old incompetence.
    • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:20AM (#14351862)
      RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself

      Oh joy, another 'sploit vector into Windows.

  • I dont 'get' RSS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:25AM (#14351560)
    Is it just me or do other people not get RSS?

    It seems to me to be very limited, only useful to be able to quickly read headlines from peoples blogs.

    Sorry to piss on your blogfire, but most people have better things to do that keep up to date with blogging.

    I realise its Web 2.0 and all that, but is RSS really important enough to put into the OS?!
    • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:33AM (#14351610) Homepage Journal
      This is MS, its being put into Internet Explorer, and hence its in the OS.

      Looking properly however, I can actually see some niceness if a proper API can be developed. Things like checking for software updates, event notification, scanning the security audit logs (subscribe to the domain login failure event list for instance).

      Just because the blog world has abused it for headlines doesn't mean thats its only use.
      • Great, yet another stupid feature (like splash screens) that yet another stupid batch of applications is going to use (autoupdate).

        Windows/Linux et al need to open up the Update APIs so that only ONE application needs to update. I don't need Acrobat, Flash, MusicMatch, Office and Firefox all pinging webservers looking for updates when Windows Update, with a few tweaks and an API, is more than capable of managing it all for me, when *I* want to, and not have to deal with pop-ups and nag-ware anymore.

        God, th
    • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ClintJCL ( 264898 )
      I don't see a point in it either.

      I either run a .BAT file which opens several webpages, or "open each bookmark in this bookmark folder in a separate tab".

      If I want to add "new subscriptions", I add a line to the .BAT file or a bookmark to my folder-that-I-always-open-all-the-bookmarks-in-at - once.

      I don't want all my websites washed down and aggregated into a standardized display of headers. I like that each website is structured differently; the visual differences help provide me with site-specific c

      • Alot of this depends on the site and the reader. In both Safari and Sage (firefox extension) Engadget's feed has the front page images and htem some in the feed. So not every feed loooks the same, but agreat many do and that's due to everyone not using the latest RSS spec or all features of that spec.
      • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:5, Informative)

        by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:59AM (#14351741) Homepage Journal
        I either run a .BAT file which opens several webpages, or "open each bookmark in this bookmark folder in a separate tab".


        Sure. I can also calculate using a pen and paper, it doesn't mean it isn't useful to have a computer be able to peform them for me.

        The thing to remember is that RSS is an interface. As such it needn't, in fact, oughtn't do very much. It just has to be standardized. Since it is standardized and does just enough for the job, it can be used to bolt together information services, albeit in a limited way. This is what allows you to subscribe to podcasts in software other than iTunes, or for that matter the same rss feed that iTunes uses to update your podcast create a slashbox in your slashdot or a content box yahoo home page.

        If everything was done by creating batch files to cache unstructured HTML pages, this wouldn't be possible.
      • rss should be a good indicator that some of the sites you like have something new. You don't acutually need to read them in the RSS reader, witch I don't like also for the same reasons you listed. But a little helper, maybe a Firefox extension, that would check if any of your bookmarks (that do suport rss) have been updated since your last visit and may put a little icon besides it (a jumping'n dancing 'new' flag for old time sake, humm probably not).

        RSS are nice, they allow sites to interate with each othe
    • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:3, Informative)

      by bblazer ( 757395 ) *
      I get it... I use RSS all day, every day. I use it to feed me headlines from the news sites that I used to constantly check on. I also get updates from other sites that I don't frequent as much, but want to be informed of changes. It is a neat, simple technology. Added bonus is the lack of ads, and most WiFi networks that charge (like in airports) do not block the RSS port, so I can get my headlines and a brief story snippet for free.
      • Hmm...I thought RSS ran on port 80 as it's only a XML file. Hence WHY WOULD ANYONE BLOCK IT???

        • Never tried to use an 802.11x device at an airport, have you?

          They make you pay before allowing access on port 80. They simply redirect any port 80 traffic to their registration site until you pay.
          • Correct. But if they blocked port 80, they'd be blocking RSS as well, which makes the original post about getting "free" headlines via RSS a bit... pointless?
            • Port 80 == http => a transfer protocol.
              html ~ xml ~ rss => file formats.

              You send information over the transfer protocol, and the other end translates it. You can send whatever you want over most protocols (http and ftp especially), so stop talking about "blocking RSS." An ISP (internet service provider, which the airport is at least a proxy to) blocks HTTP, which keeps you from getting your RSS.

              • To quickly derail this thread, you're not only incorrect (or misstating yourself), but you're missing the point entirely.

                Port 80 == http
                Well, no, actually. According to the HTTP 1.1 RFC, port 80 is an [AFAIK] arbitrary port that's simply the de facto standard for HTTP traffic ("The default port is TCP 80 [19], but other ports can be used." Source [rfc-editor.org]). This argument is just like the standard /. retort to the "Let's wrest control of the DNS root servers out of the US's hands!" debate: If you don't want to use ou
      • most WiFi networks that charge (like in airports)

        Can't say i've run into many airports that charge, then again I mostly fly in the midwest and east coast... but FYI unless I'm missing something RSS=XML; runs on port 80 (thats the same as HTML...)

        -everphilski-
        • The content has nothing to do with which port it is running on - the protocol normally specifies that. RSS feeds, HTML, images from webpages etc all use HTTP to transmit the data, and HTTP normally runs over port 80.
        • Indianapolis charges. I was only in the airport around half an hour though, so I don't know how hard it would be to crack.
          • I was only in the airport around half an hour though, so I don't know how hard it would be to crack.

            Cracking WiFi in an airport might be a bad idea. Having a Starbucks barista get pissed at you for stealing WiFi is one thing. Having Sky Marshals surround you with guns drawn is yet another.
        • Salt Lake City charges according to a co-worker I was in class with and the airport's advertisements overlaid on CNN Airport.

          I didn't bother to check out Denver or Lincoln, NE (doubtful).

      • Maybe I am wrong about the port blocking. But here is how it works. When I get a connection at an airport (outside of the WorldPerks and Red Carpet lounges) I get redirected to a sign on page that wants me to pay ~ $9 for a one time connection. Any other site that I try to visit gets me back to the sign in page. Meanwhile, my RSS feeds are coming in just fine. Open them up, read the snippet and everything works fine until I click on a "read more" link, and back again I go to the login page.
    • Yeah, but that's not how they're going to market it. "Tired of missing stories? Want to see news unfold as it occurs? Use Microsoft Web Feeds!" If it seems like a good idea to many people, it doesn't matter if it's actually useful or not.

      It's not important to be put into an OS, not even a web browser in my opinion, but right now Microsoft're stuffing as many features as possible into Vista and are going to market the hell out of them to get people to upgrade.
    • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pjunold ( 860233 )
      RSS feeds for high traffic websites lige slashdot is only semi interesting.

      However for low traffic/low volume blogs/discussion fora RSS really shines. No I don't want to manually check these sites every day.

      While some discussion fora support sending a mail when a new topic is created(http://newsboard.unclassified.de/ [unclassified.de] being one of them) - I find this to be too intrusive.

      /Peter
      • Exactly. I subscribe to /. RSS just to see if anything interesting was posted over night, but mostly I use RSS feeds to get updates for blogs that only have posts once a week.
    • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:02AM (#14351762) Homepage
      It has many uses. Just not everybody needs it.

      For example, I have a Subversion post-commit script that takes the changelog, formats it, and posts it on a blog on tikiwiki. This serves as a nice permanent record, and anybody who just wants to keep track of my progress can subscribe to the RSS feed.

      Another nice use is security updates. Maybe I don't want to open the page for every distribution I use every day. It's a lot easier to see that something new appeared in the security folder.

      But yeah, if your daily usage consists in going to slashdot every day, RSS makes little sense. It's most useful when you do not want to do that.
      • Check out websvn [tigris.org] for another method to RSS a Subversion repository.
      • For example, I have a Subversion post-commit script that takes the changelog, formats it, and posts it on a blog on tikiwiki. This serves as a nice permanent record, and anybody who just wants to keep track of my progress can subscribe to the RSS feed.

        This, IMHO, is a perfect example of the usefulness of RSS. Everyone focuses on using RSS for blogs, but RSS can be used for any data that could be useful in a syndication format. RSS Weather [rssweather.com] is an obvious example, but I've also used used RSS for sound monito

    • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Achoi77 ( 669484 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:07AM (#14351793)
      The big benefit for me is speed. I can get lots of different news articles and titles consolidated undeer one app, which I can scan over real quickly and cherry pick the ones I would be most interested in. It's amazing how up to date I can be on the topics that pique my interest, and at the same time by scanning thru the headlines real quick have some cursory knowledge on information that may not normally interest me initially, but may develop into something later. The downside to this is that you have to be regularly checking your aggregator, otherwise if you take a week off it, you'll be overloaded with like 600 articles to read when you check it again. Incidentally it also slowed down my constant refreshing of /., causing me to participate less (prolly also got something to do with the way /. does it's RSS feeds - pretty slow). Today I've decided to do something different and just read /.

      Yeah yeah, I'm an RSS speed junkie. But i like my news, and I like it fast. Within 5 minutes of hitting the web, I'll know about it. I also listen to podcasts which I get fed, but I only do that at work. I do miss the discussions on /. when I just have my RSS feeds, but on the flipside, I can get a lot more work done! :-)

    • If you hate email, then RSS is The Next Big Thing

      from Winer "I hate email lists" Winer:

      "This is what the Internet is about. When Microsoft and others pick at the details of RSS, things that were decided years ago, I wish they would help as only they can help, by spreading the word far and wide, helping people make better use of the Internet, now, not when they're ready to profit from it. There are lives being wasted today, problems that urgently need solving that this technology can help solve, a technology
    • Re:I dont 'get' RSS (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smoker2 ( 750216 )
      What's blogging ? I can honestly say I've never read a "blog".

      However, I use rss all the time. For example, I have around 300 xvid files that I like to access quickly, so I wrote a perl script to create an rss feed so that each title links to (and plays via file type association) the relevant file. No internet even needed there, although I do run Apache so that my windows box can run the same files over the LAN and display them through my projector :->
      It's useful for me....

      Another useful aspect (in Fir

  • by Tominva1045 ( 587712 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:26AM (#14351567)


    Posting this article on this site is like tossing Nemo into a shark tank.

    Let us count the intellectually absent posts.. damn, where did I put that Long Integer?
  • by spacefight ( 577141 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:28AM (#14351576)
    Hu? IE was never dead, maybe development of IE but certainly not its userbase.
  • by parasonic ( 699907 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:29AM (#14351586)
    1. IE rises from the dead: After insisting that Internet Explorer was an inextricable part of Windows, Microsoft abruptly changed course and decided to develop and deliver a new standalone version of its browser, after all. Nothing like a little competition to open new doors (and windows).

    Doesn't look like much of a surprise to me. If they're going to want to compete with Google with their Web-based Office products, they're going to want to have a semi-proprietary (and predictable since they own and develop it!) platform on which to work on their competitive edge: IE.
  • by marktwen0 ( 650117 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:29AM (#14351589)
    Do they really, or is this just the fad du jour up in Redmond? It's more like Uncle Bill saw demonstration of RSS and liked it as a basis to further his vision of pervasive fee-based web services, a vision where MSFT is squarely situated as the tollbooth in the middle of everything.

    Sure, they have the feeds everywhere and have built the protocol into their core products, but that doesn't mean they "get it" in the same sense that you or I "get it." It's more like RSS it the kool-ade of the month, just like "security-security-security" was last January (or was it in 2004?), and "developers-developers-developers" was a few months back.

    I'm so disillusioned with MSFT and its leapard's spots that never change: embrace, extend, vanquish, bugify and feature-encumber with more bugs. Then churn the non-compatible and bug-rich versions to pump up revenues.

    They "get it," maybe, but only to the extent that it gets them theirs: they want to own all the tollbooths on the web-services highway.
    • by Generic Guy ( 678542 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:12AM (#14351820)

      Great post. I've never seen such a succinct and accurate post about the 'new Microsoft', which is mostly like the old Microsoft (pervasive everywhere, but now incorporating "online").

      Every few years there is enough sea change in computing and technology that Microsoft has to put on a "nice face", and that is much of what this list is about. It is simply the Embrace part of a new Microsoft cycle of embrace- extend- extinguish. RSS is just buzzword du jour which as the dominant name in computing they feel they must have a part in whilst they figure out a way to charge money for it. Similarly, their "open document" push is more of a way to compete with ODF without actually supporting ODF (publishing a tagging scheme while hiding the operation of certain tags still means its proprietary).

      Several of the items at the end of the article tie into Live services. With moderate success in Xbox Live, MS is trying to push Office and .NET into such pay per use online services. Soon we will need a "tollbooth" Slashdot icon for Microsoft articles.

      Tollbooth in the middle of all web-services, indeed.

    • The Gates "Trustworthy Security" memo was Jan-2002; it's coming up on four years old.

      Time flies when you're reviewing log files!

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:34AM (#14351612) Journal
    7. Redmond still can't find a way to shake its shoddy security image: In 2005, Microsoft spent lots of time, energy and Webcasts detailing its plans to improve security. But at the end of the year, as security expert Bruce Schneier put it so succinctly: Internet Explorer sucks. Here's hoping Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.0 improve things a bit.

    Who here honestly believed that MS would really put some effort in cleaning up the crap that is IE? Oh sure, they might make some fixes to the next version but what do you expect? The people at MS are not insane or stupid, they do not produce shoddy code on purpose. It is just the MS always adds so many features to its product that on release it turns out there are a whole lot of open holes because of all the features. The best way to make IE more secure is to rip out activex. Not going to happen.

    You can in theory do the best more secure development in the world and if you then have some idiot decide that it would be really cool if unknown code could have free access to the system (html/javascript email) none of it matters. It would be like trying to design a safe and have markelting insist on a nice clear glass panel in the outside wall so people can see how save their money is.

    • Who here honestly believed that MS would really put some effort in cleaning up the crap that is IE? Oh sure, they might make some fixes to the next version but what do you expect? The people at MS are not insane or stupid, they do not produce shoddy code on purpose. It is just the MS always adds so many features to its product that on release it turns out there are a whole lot of open holes because of all the features. The best way to make IE more secure is to rip out activex. Not going to happen.

      Exactly, c
    • Well... with Vista they are making some pretty big moves away from ease-of-use over security, which I think shows that they are at least now seriously committed about security. And instead of leaving in insecure things for sake of compatibility they are using some interesting technologies (like virtualization) to work around unsafe applications in a safe manner, instead of making an unsafe OS so it can run an unsafe application. For example, gone are the days where everyone runs as Administrator, and people
  • top ten (Score:2, Informative)

    by tezbobobo ( 879983 )
    1. IE is resurrected

    2. RSS

    3. Win FS

    4. Ray Ozzie 2 Microsoft move

    5. MS laughs at the EC

    6. No major vendor app purchase

    7. MS Security Sucks - Whats the suprise?

    8. Office embraces XML, developers blog, and etcetera

    9. Marketers are given free reighn - Whats the suprise?

    10. Hailstorm (.Net) is reintroduced
  • Live (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:37AM (#14351631) Journal
    9. No one says no to the marketers: After redefining "Project Green" as a strategy rather than an end-point, Microsoft marketers couldn't stop themselves. Now almost all the Microsoft business applications are being rechristened as "Dynamics." And most of the MSN applications and services are being switched to "Live" (as in Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Search, etc.). That's an awful lot of rebranding to pull off all at once. Just ask Microsoft's confused partners, customers and press corps.

    And the number one point of confusion?

    'So, the old stuff was Dead, right?'

    No, seriously - what the heck is 'Live' supposed to mean? Any ideas?

    • Re:Live (Score:2, Informative)

      No, seriously - what the heck is 'Live' supposed to mean? Any ideas?

      I think they're trying to use it as a synonym for things that are both 'current' and 'interactive' (yeah, I realize that doesn't help too much). It seems that everything that they are branding as 'live' is dynamic content that can change frequently, such as stock quotes, weather, news, email, instant messenging. Essentially, it boils down to anything that can be put on the internet, which again doesn't help clarify the situation. You ask
    • Re:Live (Score:4, Funny)

      by asharism ( 871606 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:45AM (#14352022)
      Live is actually E-V-I-L. Just disguised by their marketing team.
    • Re:Live (Score:2, Funny)

      by geobeck ( 924637 )
      No, seriously - what the heck is 'Live' supposed to mean? Any ideas?

      It's the same thing as saying that the Black Knight is "not quite dead yet!"

      Your security arm's off.
      No it isn't!
      What's that worm then?
      It's just a flesh wound!
      You lie!...
      (etc.)

  • RSS for traders (Score:3, Informative)

    by fontkick ( 788075 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:37AM (#14351632)
    RSS can be handy for stock watchers. You can subscribe to an RSS feed for each company you track by entering their symbol on Yahoo Finance, and clicking the RSS button. An application like RSSReader [rssreader.com] (which is free) will pull all of the headlines together. It saves a ton of time when you want to read each stock's daily news.
  • Atom (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:41AM (#14351654) Homepage
    Of course Microsoft would finally embrace RSS, when Atom reached 1.0 a while ago. Gotta keep comfortably behind the times, but still pretend that you're "with it."
  • Fanboydom Shilling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eyepeepackets ( 33477 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:41AM (#14351655)
    Hard to tell from the hyper "This is all _so_ cool" attitude of the writer, but
    every indicator I've seen in the past year says that more and more Americans
    (not sure about the Europeans) have wised up to the MS process of whipping up
    some alpha-level code, throwing it on the market all the while marketing said
    code as the greatest thing since sex. The experience of the consumer after she
    gets her pretty new Dell does not match the picture presented by Microsoft and
    Dell as to what the experience will be.

    I talk with a lot of folks from grandmas to IT people and the one constant across
    the board is that people are sick of Microsoft's junk because of unreliability
    problems, whether due to security or stability or scalibility, etc, etc. ad
    infinitum, ad nauseaum.

    The only reason Microsoft has managed to get away with pushing their junk on the
    market is because most of these folks were coming into the PC realm for the
    first time and didn't know any better. Well, they sure as hell know better now:
    They've been burned repeatedly by lousy MS junk since the middle of the
    1980's and they are actively looking for alternatives.

    Look for Apple and F/OSS to have a banner year.

    Cheers.
    • That is so 2000 of you. Everything you say used to be true, but seriously, XP and Office XP and beyond are rock solid. I am coming up on 4 years of using XP on my home computer and it has crashed a grand total of (wait for it) one time. And that was the first boot after intalling untrusted drivers from my PVR-250 (and after that reboot, nary a problem since).

      The biggest problem in my opinion with Windows is the thrid party developers who refuse to write software that will run in limited user mode - this

      • That is so 2000 of you. Everything you say used to be true, but seriously, XP and Office XP and beyond are rock solid.

        While that's very true, and I've been running it on different PCs for about the same time (with nary a problem), you have to admit, it is pretty stale. I was forced to run OS X at work for about a year and a half, and that never really did it for me either.

        I'd never set so much as a finger on a Linux distro until a few weeks ago when I downloaded an Ubuntu LiveCD for a simple partiti
      • by eyepeepackets ( 33477 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:52PM (#14352441)
        "That is so 2000 of you. Everything you say used to be true..."

        Well, let's see what the coming year has to offer and revisit the conversation
        this time next year? Since you suggest that I am out-of-date and thus
        out-of-touch with the sentiment of the PC using public, let's see what the coming
        year's results say is the reality of the matter.

        Microsoft is indeed offering up an alternative to their own mess this coming
        year, perhaps people will adopt the new/old Vista/XP in mega-droves of crazed PC
        users looking for solutions to the Microsoft mess in which they currently
        subsist. After all, everyone knows nothing works like the hair of the dog that
        bit you, eh?

        I would suggest you be careful extropolating from your own experience as
        concerns the general public's experiences. I'm not just whistling Daisy when I
        say I've spent the last year talking with a broad spectrum of computer users,
        and I'm not "extending the truth" when I say folks are sick of their PCs
        continously singing Daisy when using Microsoft's products.

        Let's call it the Year of the Measure. Who knows, perhaps Microsoft can buy a solution some where, some way, some how. Perhaps.

        Happy New Year
        • Backing up your two comments is the observation that all the members of my family using XP to connect to the Internet have/are experiencing constant problems where their machines have been hijacked by various spyware/virus/trojan applications. To the point where communicating with them over the Internet is becoming increasingly impossible. If there is one thing that will drive them to alternatives it is the desire to have their email "back".
      • by ejp1082 ( 934575 )
        I have to agree, although I think Windows 2000 was far superior to XP. Either way, I've run both for years with hardly a problem, and months between reboots.

        I'm not much a fan of MS, but honestly I think Microsoft gets a lot of undeserved flak. (They get a lot of deserved flak too, I just want to be objective for a second.)

        Face it, there's a lot of:

        1) Shitty drivers.
        2) Shitty third party software.
        3) Idiot users.

        That Microsoft has absolutely no control over and account for an awful lot of the problems so oft
        • "That Microsoft has absolutely no control over and account for an awful lot of the problems so often attributed to problems inherent to Windows. I daresay that if Linux or Mac OS X had a 90% marketshare, you'd see a lot of the same problems with those platforms."

          You've got it! Any software that has something like a 90% userbase is going to be the target for the scum of the Earth. Compare it with terrorist strikes. Do they blow up little cafes with two people inside or do they blow up trains with hundreds

  • Microsoft tried but couldn't convince Sergey and Larry to sell out.
  • by anarxia ( 651289 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:49AM (#14351692)
    The Windows Genuine Advantage validation plug-in [slashdot.org] was the biggest surprice for me. In the download page they even have step-by-step instructions with photos on how to install it on Firefox.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > The Windows Genuine Advantage validation plug-in was the biggest surprice for me. In the download page they even have step-by-step instructions with photos on how to install it on Firefox.

      I attempted to try this out on my gf's XP box earlier this month and there was no sign of a plug-in for Firefox. I seem to recall they said it was beta when the slashdot article first ran, maybe they pulled it?
  • XML---Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elecngnr ( 843285 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:14AM (#14351830)

    Although I am an dedicated Mac guy, this is not an attempt at a flame of MS....and I hope the following post proves that:

    I get a little scared everytime MS gets interested in adopting some standard. So I will be interested to see what they do in terms of XML. The reason is basically due to some of their other forays into standards. The most publicized would be Java. However, some of you may also be aware of MS's use (misuse) of the Kerberos standard. Rather than use the standard, they co-opted it slightly by using fields previously unused in Kerberos. While the jury was still out last time I checked on whether this degraded the security of Kerberos, I just do not understand why they felt the need to change it at all.....especially when they are adamant about not telling anyone what the heck they did exactly so someone--other than MS--can determine if what they did has some potential for holes or cross system interoperability problems.

    • MS was already doing their magic on SOAP many years ago when all the first sets of libraries were fresh and new. They embraced XML a while ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How on earth can Microsoft's 2nd greatest surprise of the year be addition of RSS support in IE? Blogmonsters living in their blogospherecaves don't seem to have any clue about the real popularity of RSS. Hint: it's close to zero in any scale.

    Why didn't the writer tell us about the results of MS Research http://research.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]? Or the growth of Raymond Chen's fan club http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/ [msdn.com]? Or that the notorious nitpick Jacob Nielsen gave a bit of positive feedback to Microsoft and the
  • Plus ca change (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:29AM (#14351921) Journal
    There were no surprises from Microsoft in 2005. They have ended the year as they began it: fighting, bullying and litigating. Unless Microsoft decides to do a deal with the EC and various other parties, chances are they will end 2006 in the same way too.

    The "surprises" in the article are at best changes of nuance and pretty darn piffling. So Microsoft gets keen on RSS and the Office team starts to blog? Only in a very boring corporation suffering from serious organizational arthritis would this be considered news. The proceedings of the 23rd convention of the Chinese communist party would hold more interest.

    It's hard to think there will be any surprises from Microsoft for as long as Gates, Ballmer and their supporters are in such tight charge. Mabye events or Wall Street will force some change (all those Xbox zillions pouring down the manhole cover), but until then it looks to be strictly yesterday's men and yesterday's business practices.
  • Surprises? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:33AM (#14351943) Homepage Journal
    Lets see... IE getting at last things that competitors have for years, and probably claim after that that they are invented? Mass renaming products? That after this years, still no clue on security? finally adopting RSS after everyone but them in internet adopted them? In general there are few if any "surprise" for me there.

    I hope by end of 2006 the top 10 surprises are have something like MS releasing some of their biggest apps for Linux, or had no major security problem in the entire year or promoting one or several already stablished really open source projects (something like solaris, ibm or novell are doing from some years now) or things like that... There are a lot of space for Microsoft to give us good surprises, not needing to be in the "closing doors" sense.

    But for now, and specially from the article, my feeling is just "more of the same", nothing very surprising (could be some things i didn't know, or matter, maybe, but not surprised exactly)

    • " That after this years, still no clue on security?"

      At the risk of being lables an MS Fan or apologist, I am giong to ahve to disagree with you on that statement.

      It seems to me that MS is getting a clue on security.
      Unfortuanatly, it was after 2000 came out, and towards the end of a masive brand spanking new OS was being developed. The fact that the new OS has been delayed in part to ms taking a second look at security, and making changes.

      In short, they pretty much had to divert all of their develop
  • MS gets RSS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Excelsior ( 164338 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:18PM (#14352228)
    MS 'gets' RSS: While some folks were less than overjoyed that Microsoft was tinkering with the "little orange RSS box," Microsoft ended up looking like a company with a clue when it came to outlining its company-wide RSS strategy in 2005. RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself. Almost all Microsoft blogs and sites have RSS feeds these days. RSS is gospel in Redmond these days."

    Microsoft is adding RSS features years after they have become standard in other browsers and email clients. Microsoft is blogging years after others started. MS adds RSS feeds to its websites years after others. And this means MS gets RSS?

    MS was slow to RSS just like they were slow to understand that the Internet was important. But they will probably dominate RSS just like the Internet.
  • Here's #11 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cally ( 10873 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:43PM (#14352373) Homepage
    Sadly this list was drawn up before the events of yesterday and today... a new 0day Windows vuln is out, and an exploit has been written and packaged for the Metasploit Framework. So that's an unpatched remote root with a pick-your-own payload web interface allowing you to inject it along with a reverse shell, a VNC server, or whatever else you want to try....

    A lot of people are going to get owned by this in the next few days / week, especially with so many people out of the office until next week...

    see SANS / ISC [isc] for more info.

    • You seem to be confused about security versus vulnerability. Vulnerabilities in legacy code do not equate to lack of a clue in security in new code. Nobody can make 10's of millions of lines of code secure overnight (or even within a few years), not even someone with Microsoft's resources.

      We've seen significantly more secure NEW code coming from Microsoft. We've seen the shore up security in many area's. That's a HUGE thing.

      Yes, there are going to be vulnerabilities, even for years to come. Such vulner
  • RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself. In other words sthey still do not 'get' the basic design principles of modularization and encapsulation. This could easily increase their attack surface area, opening them up for more security problems.
  • Surprise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danpsmith ( 922127 )
    It would be a surprise if Microsoft didn't take on all of Firefox's features a year later, that's always their gameplan. Someone else innovates, then they put the technology into their POS products.

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