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February 25, 2003--In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- DVD+RW Alliance Gets Microsoft Boost
- Microsoft Eases Windows XP Deployment
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* DVD+RW ALLIANCE GETS MICROSOFT BOOST
The DVD+RW Alliance announced yesterday that Microsoft has become the group's newest member and will join the alliance's Executive and Steering Committee. Last April during the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2002 trade show, Microsoft committed to supporting the DVD+R and DVD+RW rewritable-DVD formats in Longhorn, the next Windows release, but company executives told me at the time that Microsoft would support other recordable DVD formats as well, including DVD-R and DVD-RW. Whether this week's announcement means that Microsoft and its future products will now natively support only DVD+R and DVD+RW is unclear.
"In an effort to evaluate providing support for writable DVD and other digital-media formats, Microsoft has decided to join the DVD+RW Alliance as a core member," said Tom Phillips, general manager of the Windows Hardware Experience Group. "Microsoft is committed to convergence and compatibility in both PC and consumer electronics applications. Microsoft is happy to become a part of the DVD+RW Alliance and help promote writable-DVD standards that are aligned with the Mt. Rainier technology."
Despite Microsoft's backing, DVD+RW is losing the compatibility and sales war to competing formats such as DVD-R and DVD-RW, which the DVD Forum--Apple Computer, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer Electronics, Ricoh, Sony, Thomson Multimedia, and Yamaha--supports. Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), MCC/Verbatim, Microsoft, Philips Electronics, Ricoh, Sony, Thomson Multimedia, and Yamaha support the competing DVD+RW Alliance. Because several companies support both formats, Microsoft could also throw its backing behind the DVD Forum. Currently, incompatibilities between the formats are slowing adoption.
* MICROSOFT EASES WINDOWS XP DEPLOYMENT
Today, Microsoft released a set of updated tools and a new Web portal designed to help enterprise customers evaluate and deploy Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office XP. A Microsoft representative told me that the company understands that enterprise customers often take months to evaluate and plan desktop deployments; these updated tools and the new Web portal should make this process as simple as possible. The company estimates that the tools will help enterprise customers reduce deployment time by as much as 67 percent by streamlining key processes such as application-compatibility testing and security updates.
The new tools include:
- Windows XP Application Compatibility Toolkit 2.6--Designed to prevent one of the top XP deployment blockers, the toolkit helps administrators inventory, evaluate, and test applications for compatibility and automatically make adjustments so that recalcitrant applications will run properly on XP.
- Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) 1.1--This tool scans individual systems looking for missing security updates and identifies and reports common security misconfigurations.
- Desktop Deployment Portal--This updated Web site contains a variety of documentation, tools, and other resources designed to help enterprises roll out XP and Office XP. Users can also order a version of the portal on CD-ROM.
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