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Microsoft's Former CEO Won't Replace Ballmer Any Time Soon

It seems the din keeps getting louder, with at least one or two tech journos a week pondering Ballmer's replacement. And many of them have Gates as an option. But they can all forget about that. Here's an excerpt from an interview that ran in The Daily Mail:

Will he ever return to helm Microsoft?

'No. I'm part-time involved. But this is my job now.'

You heard it there first.

Speaking of Ballmer leaving, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out what his legacy will be. He's been at the helm for 11 years so far, but what will he be known for? And while you're answering that question, ponder this one too: Who would you nominate to replace Ballmer, if he were to leave?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/23/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


Exchange Online Flickers

As I've been culling the results of this year's Redmond Salary Survey (results will be available in August; read the MCPmag.com one with certification-laden info here), one of the questions I asked had to do with some of the concerns survey respondents had in regard to the cloud. Probably the biggest is service disruptions (like the outage that happened to Exchange Online recently), and that seemed bigger than the issue of security.

Really? Physical systems go down all the time and when they do, we all visit the break room until we get an all-clear from IT that systems have come back online. So, how is the cloud version any different?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/23/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


IE Team's Friendly Gesture to the Mozillans

Neowin blogs about Microsoft's IE team sending a cake to the Firefox team after it got Firefox 5 out the door officially. Nice, but I've always been warned never to eat something sent by the competition.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/23/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Windows 7 Migrations Continue

It's good news, bad news time. First, the good news: A Forrester Research report says that the number of enterprises migrating to Windows 7 has doubled in the past year. The research firm said that 20 percent of all corporate PCs run the OS. The data comes from visitors who hit the Forrester Web site.

Now, the bad news (same report): One, Apple Mac usage has risen nearly two points, to 11 percent, since the last survey. Two, IE use has dropped to 87.6 percent. It'll be interesting to revisit this a year from now, to see if Google has any impact on either statistic.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/23/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


Reminder: Exam Prices Going Up, Exams Retiring

True fact: It takes about $125 to fill a new Chevy Suburban at some southern California gas stations (I was just reminded of that by my Suburban-owning mechanic as I was getting my 4Runner serviced). That's right, a Suburban tank is the same as a Microsoft exam. Okay, so that fact is true for about a few more weeks, as Microsoft exam prices will be going up to $150 starting July 1.

Of course, that fact might come true once again if there's predictions of gas prices over the summer heading nearer to $5 territory. Ouch! Microsoft exams seem like the better bargain in the long run.

On a related note, the end of the month is also the end for a slew of Microsoft exams. Microsoft announced those retirements back in December, and we told you about that here. In any event, Emmett Dulaney over at CertCities lists the exams here. If you're planning to take those exams before prices go up, you really better hurry (and some may not even be available at your test center).

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/15/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments


Who are the Highest Paid Microsoft Certified Professionals?

If you have BizTalk expertise and the certification to match it, is your salary in the six-figure range? Well, it's what the average MCTS: BizTalk title holders said they made on average last year.

Only two other certifications exceeded the six-figure ceiling: MCITP: BI Developer and MCPD. You can check out details in our brand new MCP-specific salary survey for 2011, now online here.

So, you might be thinking, "What about about those high-level certifications, like the Microsoft Certified Master or the Microsoft Certified Architect?" There's an easy answer for that: We didn't get enough data points to get good results on those certifications. There isn't a large population of them who subscribe to the MCPmag.com mailing lists, so when we do a random select of the list, we're likely going to snag very few MCMs and MCAs, let alone ones who will respond and fill out the survey.

It does beg the question: Who among you are regular readers of MCPmag.com and have an MCM or MCA title? (I suspect I won't see too many hands raised on this one.) A better question might be: Who among you have legitimate, mapped out plans to achieve those titles? Anyone?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/15/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments


Office 2010 in 2011

It's been a year since Microsoft released Office 2010, and one Microsoft CVP blogs that it's the "fastest selling Office version ever," and it's selling at five times the rate that its predecessor did in its first year. One interesting tidbit: 20 percent of total sales of Office 2010 is to consumers. I wonder how many of those were sold in Microsoft retail stores.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/15/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Patch Tuesday Will Be a Scorcher with 16 Fixes

The heat wave that is baking the eastern half of the U.S. is a lot like the Patch Tuesday that Microsoft has planned for release next week: hot, hot, hot! There are 16 fixes in all, with some of the usual Windows remote code executiion stuff, and of the fixes also correcting a few Office, SQL Server, and Visual Studio flaws discovered in the past few months.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/09/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Windows 7 Grows, Windows XP Shrinks

Recent data from StatCounter shows a see-saw effect between Windows 7 and XP. Windows 7 now has a third of the OS market, and that growth is at the expense of Windows XP usage shrinking. From Microsoft's perspective, though, that isn't necessarily a bad thing: It's Microsoft's hope that most companies will eventually migrate as official support for the older OS gets closer to the end.

I'm curious to know: By percentage, how many XP machines are you still supporting at your company? Comment here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/06/2011 at 11:59 AM9 comments


'Windows 8' Looks Revolutionary, Risky

I hadn't really had time to digest Kurt Mackie's sneak peek at Windows Next or Windows 8. (Windows Next is an utterly bad code name, since it's just too close to the core, so to speak.) Well, I've see the screen grabs and all I could think was that Ballmer is finally stamping his name on the company and OS. The changes seem pretty risky and will have us either wishing Gates was back at the helm or hoisting Ballmer on our shoulders for...ahem...thinking different.

Sure, you'll be able to revert to a classic interface (why tick off your enterprise constituency who's been supporting you all this time?), but the Windows Phone-like tile interface is leaps and bounds a new direction. By comparison, Aero appeared to be just more of the same, but spiffed up, glassy, and OS X-ish. I wonder if Windows 8 (or Windows Phone 7, for that matter) had ever been scrutinized by the Microsoft UI feedback loop where it would have raised dozens of eyebrows? I'm sure someone in a focus group raised a hand and suggested that the company call the new OS 'Tiles' because it's that obvious and different, even Zune-like.

But I'm not making any unique observations and who cares what I think anyway? What matters is your opinion out there in IT-land, where you may or may not switch to the new OS when it's out in the not-too-distant future. Yes, that soon.

Based on the interface preview alone, do you think Microsoft's OS is going in a new direction or will it eventually usher Ballmer into retirement? Would love your comments here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/03/2011 at 11:59 AM5 comments


Google, Apple, Windows 8 and the Shiny New Tablet To Come

Who would have guessed that Google and its Android platform are slowing developing a case of the Microsofts (that is, ruling the OS realm, in all its fragmented and malware-prone versions), while Microsoft stares into the mirror longingly, wishing it were like Apple (for starters, MS wants to control the hardware that will run 'Windows 8')? And to clarify the latter, I love Gavin Clarke's take at The Register.

On a somewhat-related note, do you like what you see of the upcoming 'Windows 8" and tablet (possibly, in the singular)? Comment here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/02/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Windows and SQL Server Exam Crams in a Day

Find out how well you've prepared for that first exam: Next week, June 8, MLG will be hosting a series of 13 exam cram-sessions online for Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and SQL Server exams. You must register for the event, because even if you miss it, the exam crams will be available on-demand for a limited time thereafter. Find out more here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/02/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments