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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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May 2, 2006 5:53 PM

Fun with Microsoft code names

Posted by Brier Dudley

Microsofties are doing that self-critical thing over code names, specifically cool code names that never make it onto final products. It began with a post by software design test engineer Chris Smith, who was commenting on Nintendo's decision to change its new console's name from "Revolution" to "Wii":

Before I act too harshly on Nintendo for having a cooler codename than product name, here is a list of Microsoft codenames which would make for some pretty interesting products:


Bulletproof - Microsoft mail remote client
"The" Duke - Microsoft Xbox controller
Gandalf - Microsoft Encarta 93
Idaho - An early Windows prototype after XP (I'm from Idaho, so it's cool :)
Nemesis - Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.0
Omega - An early version of Microsoft Access
Tarantula - Microsoft personal web server (IIS for Windows 95)
Thunder - Microsoft Visual Basic v1.0
Zamboni - Microsoft Visual C++ v4.1

Smith's posting was picked up by Robert Scoble, who drew an interesting response this afternoon from Microsoft naming czar David Webster.

Webster said he's not trying to be the "fun police," but the company has to be really careful with names. His comment suggests that code naming could eventually be phased out.

My first and primary point is that we should be creating our real product names much sooner, thus reducing the need for codenames in the first place. The equity built in codenames is generally wasted. Buzz is built, communities develop, attachments form and then we switch the name to something new. This isn't a good thing.

So my main pitch to marketers across Microsoft is to drive naming timelines from disclosure dates, not RTM dates as has been the practice. If they do this early enough, no code name needed.

That would draw a hailstorm of protest, from journalists, at least.


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May 2, 2006 5:21 PM

SAP-py Duet

Posted by Brier Dudley

It's big news for both Microsoft and SAP that they'll deliver their joint Duet software next month. But it's hard to get worked up about a product they announced a year ago.

That said, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this newspaper uses Duet to add a Microsoft interface to its SAP expense management system. The SAP interface is so strange and awkward that I avoid doing my expenses for months, leaving my money in someone else's pocket.

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May 2, 2006 4:50 PM

Van Oppen's new position?

Posted by Brier Dudley

What's going to happen to ADIC Chief Executive Peter van Oppen after the Quantum merger? It would be tough to move from Mercer Island to San Jose, Calif.

Perhaps van Oppen will join his pal and fellow Whitman College alum John Stanton at Trilogy Equity Partners, the low-profile venture firm Stanton started after selling Western Wireless to Alltel for $4.4 billion. After selling ADIC for $770 million, van Oppen merits at least a window office.

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May 2, 2006 12:47 PM

Vista slipping again?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Tech consultancy Gartner believes Vista may be slipping further into 2006, but Gartner clients shouldn't care -- the company has been telling them to wait until 2008 before they upgrade from XP.

"Microsoft's track record is clear; it consistently misses target dates for major operating system releases. We don't expect broad availability of Windows Vista until at least 2Q07, which is nine to 12 months after Beta 2,'' the report said.

Microsoft insists that Gartner is wrong and Vista will still be available to enterprise customers in November and everyone else in January.

Rick Sherlund at Goldman Sachs said the schedule should become clearer after the second beta version of Vista ships sometime by June, but slipping another month or two wouldn't hurt the stock as much as the last delay that pushed wide release beyond the 2006 holiday season.

Either way Microsoft should perhaps thank Gartner, for giving MSFT stock another blow while Microsoft is accelerating its stock buyback program.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.