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E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

How Secure Is Windows Server 2003?

In essence, the system's great flexibility may itself be a problem. "The documentation lays out best practices, but the reality is these things can be so complex it's almost like a system that can't be managed," Yankee Group senior analyst Dana Gardner told the E-Commerce Times. "And that's where vulnerabilities crop up." ...

Microsoft To Debut Office Beta; Sun Bows New StarOffice

Publisher 2003: A new design application for creating marketingcommunications FrontPage and InfoPath combine what Microsoft describes as "the world'sfirst" graphical XSLT (extensible stylesheet language transformations)editor. XSLT acts a bridge between an XML database on the back end anduser-input features on the front end. Hitting the Right Note Much of the analyst buzz surrounding Microsoft Office System is focused onOneNote. Though it might seem like a small add-on, rather like Notepad isattached to Windows, this program points to a new paradigm of front-endcomputing. "OneNote has been developed to address tablet computing," Rob Enderle,research fellow at Giga Information Group, told the E-Commerce Times. "It fits thetablet metaphor and enables users to categorize, search for and find theirthoughts better than with pen and paper." Unchanging Market Share Meanwhile, although Sun's announcement coincided with Microsoft's, Yankee Group senior analyst Laura DiDio said Microsoft's key competitor is not StarOffice. "StarOffice will have appeal for the SOHO [small office and home office] market, but the overall market share won't change appreciably," she told the E-Commerce Times. Microsoft's marketshare of the office productivity field is at least 90 percent. "Microsoft's biggest competitor is itself," DiDio added. "With the economicdownturn and the quality of Microsoft's earlier products, the challenge willbe to get customers, even those who would absolutely love to migrate, up andrunning. Customers simply might not have the cash." DiDio predicted a 15 to 20 percent adoption rate during the first year, andshe emphasized that the fate of Windows Server 2003 will play a part in Office System's penetration curve. Enterprises still using Windows NT 4 on the back endmight see Server 2003 as a compelling upgrade opportunity, and they could scoopup Office System at the same time to realize the full potential of a more unified system. New Paradigms While the commercial fate of Office System remains to be determined, thereis universal agreement that Microsoft is aiming high with this product. "This is a pretty important and substantial release," Yankee Group senior analyst Dana Gardner told the E-Commerce Times, "because it really changes the file structure and the ability of files to be shared. Given the wide adoption of XML in this product, Microsoft has given its software developers the opportunity to use Office applications as front ends in a way they didn't have access to before." Giga's Enderle noted that Office System is the first version of Office thathas gone through the advanced security testing adopted by Microsoft nearlytwo years ago. "Substantial work has been done on Outlook," he said. "It is more reliable and less susceptible to network problems." Backward Compatibility However, though network integration and streamlined information flow are positive developments, a question of compatibility exists. Microsoft is including server elements in its Office System beta 2 distribution -- but those elements will not be included in the final product, and enterprises will have to purchase them separately if they want a full upgrade of the front and back ends. Microsoft Office System is backwardcompatible with previous servers, however. "The server upgrades are required to achieve the system's full potential,but [Office System] is, by itself, a vastly improved product," Enderle noted.

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

Which E-Business Portal Is Right for You?

"All of these vendors are fighting mightily in this market right now. There's no runaway leader," Aberdeen Group research director Dana Gardner told the E-Commerce Times. "It's rapidly changing and consolidating. And as a customer, you can get some attractive deals because [the portal companies] are all fighting over market share."

E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT

Should Enterprises Dump Outlook?

Aberdeen Group research director Dana Gardner concurred, invoking a Spy-vs.-Spy scenario in which Microsoft battles hackers, staying barely a step ahead. He also told the E-Commerce Times that Outlook-related security issues have not been as severe lately as in the past And wi...

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