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November 30, 2006

Vista, Office, and Exchange Launched

Posted by David Hunter at 11:44 AM ET.

Microsoft today staged a rolling launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 , and associated products starting in Sydney, Australia and wrapping around the world through Asia and Europe to Steve Ballmer in New York who is still speaking as I write. The launch event so far has been as devoid of excitement as expected, but the important thing is that Microsoft at long last got Vista out the door.

Update: For the sake of completeness, according to the press release linked above, the full set of products launched today was:

Products Released

An * below indicates the product is available now.

Client upgrades
• Windows Vista Business *
• Office Professional 2007 *
• Office Project Professional 2007 *
• Office Visio Professional 2007 *
• Office InfoPath 2007 *
• Office OneNote 2007 *
• Office Communicator 2007

Client enterprise editions
• Windows Vista Enterprise *
• Office Enterprise 2007 *

Server upgrades
• Exchange Server 2007 *
• Office SharePoint Server 2007*
• Office Project Server 2007 *
• Forefront Security for Exchange Server *
• Forefront Security for SharePoint *
• System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Server Enterprise editions
• Windows Rights Management Services *
• System Center Operations Manager Enterprise 2007
• Unified Messaging Services for Exchange *
• Excel and Forms Services for SharePoint *

New products
• Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance
• Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 *
• Office Forms Server 2007 *
• Office SharePoint Designer 2007*
• Office Communications Server 2007
• “Voice Call Management” for Office Communication Server 2007
• Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
• Forefront Client Security
• Office Sharepoint Server for Search 2007 *
• SQL Server 2005 Data Mining Add-ins for Office 2007
• System Center “Desktop”
• Office Groove Server 2007*
• Office Groove 2007 *
• Exchange Hosted Services*

Filed under Configuration Manager, Exchange, Executives, Forefront, Forms Server, Groove, Groove Server, Hosted Services, InfoPath, Microsoft, OS - Client, OS - Server, Office, Office 2007, Office Communications Server, OneNote, Operations Manager, PerformancePoint Server, Project, Project Portfolio Server, Project Server, Servers, SharePoint Designer, SharePoint Server, SharePoint Server for Search, Steve Ballmer, Visio, Windows Rights Management Services, Windows Vista

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November 29, 2006

Tomorrow’s the big day for Vista, but does anybody care?

Posted by David Hunter at 8:43 PM ET.

The launch event for Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007 is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:35 AM EST in Times Square in New York City, but it seems like folks are feeling a bit jaded.

Maybe it’s because Exchange isn’t really quite ready and Vista and Office will only be released to volume purchase customers. Or maybe it’s because there have already been launch events held in other countries with pride of place, as far as I can tell, going to the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 19 where it was interestingly dubbed the Love campaign (Launch of Office, Vista and Exchange). On the other hand, maybe it’s because Microsoft has forgotten how to market even their cash cows or because they needn’t bother. John Dvorak:

It’s possible that some buzz will evolve, but it’s beginning to look like a pretty standard news story rather than anything like the marketing events we’ve seen in the past. I have to assume that the promoters who put on a worldwide show for Windows 95, for example, have long since left the company.

It looks like the best Microsoft can do is provide us with an incredibly bland façade that seems more like something coming from General Electric during the announcement of a new afterburner technology for a jet engine. As an example of how peculiar this all is, can you look at the Microsoft Vista Web site and determine the message? See the Microsoft site.

The site, if you were uncertain as to the nature of the product, looks like an advertisement for an expensive prescription drug for constipation. Seriously, that’s exactly what it looks like.

While there is no way that Vista will be a flop, since all new computers will come with Vista pre-installed, there seems to be no excitement level at all.

Rather less flamboyantly, Mary Jo Foley hits the same nail:

Unless you’re a student of Microsoft buzzwords, you might have a little trouble cutting through the Microsoft rhetoric expected as part of the November 30 launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007.

The facts are straightforward: Starting tomorrow, businesses will be able to get the final Vista and Office 2007 bits. They will be able to take shipment of the final release of Exchange 2007 by mid-December.

But the wording around those facts is likely to be wrapped in lots of Microspeak. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to tie together in his messaging two of Microsoft’s favorite themes: “People-Ready Business” and “Better Together” in the “New Day for Business” event in Times Square tomorrow.

Of course, “People-ready” is comedic gold, but strictly of the “laughs at” instead of the ”laughs with” variety. Well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I’m anticipating an anticlimax.

Filed under Exchange, General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Office, Office 2007, Public Relations, Servers, Windows Vista

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Zune edges SanDisk in 1st week sales

Posted by David Hunter at 5:41 PM ET.

Microsoft’s much maligned Zune personal media player got some good news today when market research firm NPD reported that in their sample of brick and mortar store sales it had edged the SanDisk Sansa products to claim the number 2 spot after Apple’s iPod. Todd Bishop at the Seattle PI:

After a bunch of negative reviews and one particularly awkward moment on national television, there’s a sliver of good news for Microsoft’s Zune initiative today. But it might be fleeting.

In its first week, Zune secured the No. 2 spot among portable media players, well behind iPod, but edging out previous second-place holder SanDisk, according to data released by the NPD Group today. Zune won 9 percent of the U.S. market, measured by unit sales, and 13 percent of dollar volume for the week ended Nov. 18, NPD reported.

The iPod represented 63 percent of unit sales and 72.5 percent of dollar volume for the week.

And the reason why the good news may be fleeting is that the general belief is that while the launch on Nov. 14 stirred interest in the Zune, it has been downhill from there.

Also, even the first week’s news isn’t unalloyed according to David Ellis at CNNMoney:

Another research agency, Current Analysis, reported a somewhat similar sales reading during the same week. For the same week ending November 18, 2006, the Zune took 7 percent of the MP3 player market, falling behind both Apple and Sandisk.

While the two reports look strictly at sales at major U.S. electronics retailers, online sales of the Zune appear not to be as favorable.

The verdict on Zune’s debut will more properly be delivered when the full holiday shopping season numbers come in, but I suspect we’ll see plenty of interim prognostications between now and then.

Other Zune news:

Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, Microsoft, SanDisk, Zune

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Google Answers folds

Posted by David Hunter at 11:26 AM ET.

The demise of Google Answers was officially announced here but visit Danny Sullivan for some traffic statistics and analysis. Like Danny, I’ve been dubious of these Web “question and answer” services, but Yahoo has clearly found the right approach – free and social:

But in June, I had to admit that my being dubious in terms of Yahoo Answers was off the mark. The service kept notching up tons of traffic, and Yahoo continues to put its weight behind it, to the point of even more integration last week of Yahoo Answers material into regular results.

Look Out Wikipedia, Here Comes Yahoo Answers! from me is my long look at the service and some of the factors in its success. Unlike Google Answers, it doesn’t charge. And unlike Google Answers, there are a lot of “answers” that are more discussions happening rather than searches being fulfilled.

Even if there’s a lot of chatting going on, I think there’s no denying that Yahoo Answers turned into the social success that Yahoo hoped its 360 service or My Web would be. There’s a entire active community taking part in Yahoo Answers, and some of those are going to translate into Yahoo searchers.

That action’s not lost on Microsoft, which kicked off its Windows Live QnA service in August. I haven’t seen a ton of buzz like with Yahoo coming out of it, so maybe lighting only strikes once, in this case.

I mentioned the August Windows Live QnA launch here. In terms of traffic, the QnA team clearly has their work cut out for them since according to the latest Hitwise numbers shown by Sullivan, QnA has less than half the traffic of Google Answers which has only about 4% the traffic of Yahoo Answers. As for Google, maybe they’re learning when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

Filed under Coopetition, Google, Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows Live QnA, Yahoo

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