Microsoft Exam Prices Go Up: Your Thoughts?

I knew Microsoft would kick up exam prices at some point. I just didn't think it'd take that long. Well, just this morning Microsoft Learning Group finally announced a price increase on selected Microsoft exam by $25 in the U.S., with increases in other areas worldwide based on region. The increase happens July 1 (and Aug. 1 in India).

What amazes me is that it's been nine years since the last increase. We've been through two presidential terms, a protracted recession and three major updates to the Windows OS since then and still prices didn't go up. What eventually had MLG cave to price pressure was what certification director Don Field is calling customer-requested improvements to the program. That is, that extra revenue will help pay for things like newer, better questions, new question types, new tracks to keep up with changing technology, and improving exam security and integrity (to name a few).

We're sure it's money you could use to fill your tank or to fund your next iPad purchase, but it's also a matter of priorities and sacrifice if your goal is to remain technologically relevant in your IT career.

So, what do you think of the price increase? We'd love your thoughts here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/22/2011 at 11:59 AM8 comments


Windows 7 By the Numbers: 350M in 1.5

That's a lot of Windows 7: 350 million licenses in 18 months. The TechSpot blog where we espied that latest data from Microsoft also said that Windows 7 has 20 percent of the overall OS market (TechSpot is citing numbers reported at ars Technica, from -- guess who? Net MarketShare).

Let's put it into perspective. Okay, so I'm pretty certain those licenses aren't all being deployed. We'll assume that much. Even so, those licenses are out there, out of Microsoft's hands and in OEM boxes or elsewhere, so they're somewhat active licenses. Now, assuming that much, if we conservatively price Windows at US$100 per license (which is $19.99 below the Home Premium upgrade version; full version is $199.99 and other versions are even higher), Microsoft made a mint.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/22/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Microsoft Exam Price Calculator, By Country

I was searching for some immediate reaction to the Microsoft exam increase on Twitter and in a strange left turn that took me to TechNet, I found this Exam Pricing Look-up Tool for Microsoft Certifications. Punch in your country, and you'll be able to tell whether or not your exam prices will go up or remain unchanged. Tip of the hat to Feras Mustafa, who blogged about the pricing calculator here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/22/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


MCP Exam Prices Go Up, But Discounts Abound

Microsoft's Ken Rosen blogs at Born2Learn about the various improvements and services that the Microsoft Learning Group has been adding to the program, with many of the offerings having been put into service way before the price increase.  

Rosen also talks discounts, and some tips for taking advantage of current pricing and discounts (hint: certification packs) way last July 1, when the retail exam pricing goes into effect.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/22/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Jobs (Steve), Jobs (Hiring) and Other Stuff Related to Jobs

We know you're busy. You're an IT admin, after all. So, here's some stuff you might be interested in checking out online when you actually have a free moment (or as an alternative to updating your Facebook status):

Microsoft Celebrates Feynman 50-year Anniversary (Microsoft Research, via Slashdot)

Something we already knew about Steve Jobs, but wanted to hear straight from Paul Allen's lips (Business Insider)

You can leave Microsoft, but only if you don't jump to Google or Salesforce. Matthew Mizsewski found this out the hard way. (The Seattle Times)

Speaking of working for Microsoft, few people want to do that because the money isn't there. Microsoft is thinking of changing that. (Reuters, and a tip of the hat to Lee Pender at RCPmag.com for this one)

One more job thingie: jobs may be scarce all over, but not at Google and Microsoft. (CRN Australia)

Last week was Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. It came with a twist: third-party flaw reporting. (CNET).

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/21/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


This Week in IT History: The Original Browser

Firefox 4 was released to Web recently. Microsoft is showing IE 10 in preview form. Safari? Well, I've seen it on a G4 and it looks just kind of like the one I'm more familiar with on my iPod Touch. Well, these and some of the browsers you might be familiar with all have some relation to the mother of all Web browsers, Mosaic, of which version 1.0 was released this week in 1993.

What's your primary browser these days? I'm on Google Chrome most of the day, but I switch it up once in a while and use Firefox, then IE 8. How about you?

 

[Editor's Note: Corrected name of original browser to Mosaic. Thanks to anon for pointing this out.]

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/21/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments


See? The Cloud is a Failure

Just peering at my Facebook updates, I'm seeing several sites downed and they're all tied up in Amazon's cloud. The Amazon forums have been lighting up with messages about many of the cloud instances having problems, and some media organizatons and the typical commenters of doom on the social media networks are writing about Amazon's problems like it's the end of the world or, at the very least, the end of cloud services. (Jeffrey Schwartz has a news piece on the problem here, if you want to read our news on the situation.)

Like any aspect of computing, the cloud isn't perfect and will have its share of problems.

Does your company use cloud-based services? Which ones? And have you been affected by the Amazon problems? Comment here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/21/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


PowerShell is Kids' Stuff

There's a saying that goes something like this: If you don't learn your PowerShell, you're doomed to repetitive admin tasks. Or something like that. It's what Jeff Hicks has been teaching all along in his Prof. PowerShell column. Even so, some folks come to it with a bit of apprehension. That's where "Climbing Mt. PowerShell" comes in. Yes, a comic book for techies. Techies and comic books. That's gotta be right in your sweet spot.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/20/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Other Stuff That Might Be Interesting (Or Not)

There's always some interesting stuff out there that I'd like to share with you, but I've run out of time, so here ya go. Let me know your thoughts on any of this:

Bing slices off a bit more of Google's search shares (LA Times)

I'm a Vista user, so that leaves me out for checking out the IE 10 preview, for now (Neowin)

Speaking of IE 10, Microsoft demoed it on a Windows machine running ARM. Yes, system on a chip. (MaximumPC)

Okay, one more from MIX: Kinda scary demo of the Kinect for Windows SDK in which someone programmed the Kinect to listen to what you're saying. (I Programmer)

My PC at work is indestructible, but I have seriously thought about this. (Okay, IT...not really.)

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/14/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Windows Phone, IE, Azure in the MIX

If Angry Birds proves popular on the Windows Phone platform, maybe I'll have more confidence in Gartner's predictions that Windows Phone 7 will play runner-up to Google Android in 2015 (yes, pushing Apple's iPhones to #3).

The toolset for building Windows Phone apps is getting more sophisticated and the news coming out of MIX in Las Vegas this week seems to indicate the growing interest in developing for that platform is real and substantial. The Mango platform is an ambitious one, with gobs of support for various HTML5 feature such as listening, and video, as well as native support for SQL Server Compact Edition. Even more awesome, really, is fast app switching.

Speaking of MIX,, if you can't be at the show and want find out more about Windows Phone 7, IE 10 (it was previewed there on an ARM box) and new stuff for Azure, check out the keynotes and whatnot as they happen here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/13/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Exams for Lync Server Experts

Lync Server novices (is there such a thing?) need not apply for this exam; the certification is fairly specialized. BTW, if you do consider yourself a Lync expert and can write, we're looking for a reviewer. Send me a note rather than adding a comment here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/12/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


Like April Showers, Patches Rain Down

As Jabulani Leffall reports in his usual security missives, IT folks will have to deal with some 64 fixes in the 17 bulletins that Microsoft issued this week. Yes, that's quite a bit of work, but it's what happens when the output has been fairly insignificant the first few months to start 2011.

Dan Goodin at The Register reports that one of the fixes is for a flaw exposed during the CanSecWest Confab's Pwn2Own contest.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/12/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments


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