Archive for July, 2010
It time to virtualize Microsoft Exchange but not with Hyper-V
Microsoft isn’t accustomed to being in second place in any market, but that’s the situation it has had to accept as it challenges VMware for supremacy in the x86 virtualization world.
Microsoft MCTS Training has undoubtedly made significant progress in the last couple of years, bolstering its virtualization and management capabilities with Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Microsoft thinks it offers enterprises everything they need to virtualize mission-critical workloads, but not everyone agrees.
Microsoft’s 2010 software presents “most complicated lock-in decision in years”
At the Burton Group Catalyst conference this week, analysts told an audience of IT pros that they should be virtualizing Microsoft Exchange – but not with Hyper-V. The recommendation isn’t likely to sit well with Microsoft, whose officials have already disputed the Burton Group’s claim that Hyper-V is not enterprise-ready. But the analysts are standing firm.
VMware and Citrix are the only two virtualization vendors that meet every one of the Burton Group’s criteria for running enterprise workloads. The analyst firm has more than two dozen requirements, and Microsoft has steadily been meeting more and more of them, including the ability to perform live migration of virtual machines across physical servers.
But there is still one feature missing in the area of disaster recovery. Hyper-V does not let IT pros assign priority status specifying which virtual machines get restored first in the wake of a hardware failure.
“The most critical workloads should restart first following a physical server outage, and the Hyper-V R2 platform has no way to prioritize VM restarts,” explains Burton Group analyst Bill Pray.
Many customers have decided they can live with this limitation, and expect Microsoft to fix it eventually, and so have gone ahead and virtualized Exchange with Hyper-V anyway. But Burton Group analysts recommend that only VMware and Citrix be used for Exchange and other mission-critical apps.
This is becoming a more important issue, because new features in Exchange 2010, as well as advances in hypervisors and hardware, make virtualization more viable and cost-effective. Exchange 2010 does a better job handling I/O performance, making it possible for customers to virtualize without sacrificing speed, and even letting them make do with cheap storage systems.
“One of the things we did as a big investment in the latest version of Exchange is to move to an environment where you don’t need high-end storage for the underlying storage subsystem,” says Mike Neil, general manager of Microsoft’s server virtualization and Windows Server division.
In the past, Exchange performance on virtual servers “drove some customers crazy,” Pray said. The high I/O performance required by email still makes it important to “supersize the server,” he notes. But IT should now consider virtualization of Exchange the default option, he said.
“Now the technology is in place,” he said. “You should be moving your Exchange server to virtualized environments to get those benefits.”
The question of which hypervisor to use remains a source of dispute between Burton Group and Microsoft.
Although Hyper-V doesn’t include the exact disaster recovery feature the Burton Group considers necessary, Windows Server 2008 R2’s failover clustering has settings that “address some of the scenarios that assignable restart priority addresses,” a Microsoft spokesman says.
For example, Microsoft’s “VM Auto Start” setting lets customers decide which VMs will automatically restart after failures and which will not. Secondly, a “persistent nodes” feature “will attempt to place a VM back on the node that it last ran on and if not feasible place the VM on other nodes.”
Neil said he was surprised the Burton Group recommended against using Hyper-V, and argued that the higher price of VMware’s products are not justified by the VMware feature set, especially after the various improvements made to Hyper-V.
Microsoft did not say when it will add the one “missing” feature, but Microsoft MCITP Certification customers seem to be confident that the functionality will be added sooner or later.
“That feature has not stopped our clients from deploying the product,” said Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf.
Microsoft sets emergency Windows patch for Monday
Microsoft today said it will issue an emergency patch for the critical Windows shortcut bug on Monday, August 2.
The company said it is satisfied with the quality of the “out-of-band” update — Microsoft MCTS Training term for a patch that falls outside the usual monthly delivery schedule — but also acknowledged that it has tracked an upswing in attacks.
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“In the past few days, we’ve seen an increase in attempts to exploit the vulnerability,” Christopher Budd, a spokesman for the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), said in a entry to the team’s blog. “We firmly believe that releasing the update out of band is the best thing to do to help protect our customers.”
Budd said that Microsoft would release the patch on Monday at approximately 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT.
Two weeks ago, Microsoft confirmed a flaw in how Windows parses shortcut files, the small files displayed by icons on the desktop, on the toolbar and in the Start menu that launch applications and documents when clicked. By crafting malicious shortcuts, hackers could automatically execute malware whenever a user viewed the shortcut or the contents of a folder containing the malevolent shortcut.
The bug was first described in mid-June by VirusBlokAda, a little-known security firm based in Belarus, but attracted widespread attention only after security blogger Brian Krebs reported on it July 15. A day later, Microsoft admitted that attackers were already exploiting the flaw using the “Stuxnet” worm, which targeted Windows PCs that manage large-scale industrial control systems in manufacturing and utility firms.
Exploit code has been widely distributed on the Internet, and Microsoft and others have spotted several attack campaigns based on the bug.
One of those campaigns apparently tipped the scales toward an early patch.
The Microsoft group responsible for crafting malware signatures to defend customers using the company’s antivirus products, including the free Security Essentials, said that an especially nasty malware family had added exploits of the unpatched shortcut flaw to its arsenal.
“Sality is a highly virulent strain … known to infect other files, making full removal after infection challenging, copy itself to removable media, disable security, and then download other malware,” wrote Holly Stewart of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, on the group’s blog Friday. “It is also a very large family — one of the most prevalent families this year. ”
Sality’s inclusion of the shortcut exploit quickly drove up the number of PCs that have faced attack. “After the inclusion of the [shortcut] vector, the numbers of machines seeing attack attempts combining malicious [shortcuts] and Sality.AT soon surpassed the numbers we saw with Stuxnet,” said Stewart.
“We know that it is only a matter of time before more families pick up the technique,” she added.
Other security researchers had spotted Sality exploiting the shortcut bug earlier this week. On Tuesday, Trend Micro reported that the shortcut vector was being used not only by Sality, but also by other malware clans, such as the Zeus botnet-building Trojan.
Last week, security researchers had argued over Microsoft’s ability to quickly patch the vulnerability, with HD Moore, the chief security officer of Rapid7 and the creator of the well-known Metasploit hacking toolkit, betting that Microsoft MCITP Certification would fix the flaw within two weeks. Moore’s prediction was nearly on the dot.
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All versions of Windows contain the shortcut vulnerability, including the preview of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), and the recently retired-from-support Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000.
Microsoft Gmail like a Jaguar with vinyl seats
The annual Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting today in Redmond featured the usual numbers crunching about its financials, a promised beta of IE 9 by September and CEO Steve Ballmer’s bombast and optimism, tempered by annoying vagueness, about when Microsoft MCTS Training will introduce a tablet-style computer — “As soon as we can,” he said. But one interesting part of the daylong program was a point-by-point challenge to five of Microsoft’s top competitors from Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner.
Turner went straight after Google first off, taking on Microsoft’s nemesis in cloud computing. Google has been nipping away at Microsoft’s enterprise software market share with cloud offerings such Google Docs and Google Mail, trumpeting customer wins from Microsoft’s on-premise software suites.
Turner showed his audience of analysts for various investment firms an ad in Business Week magazine of Google’s “Gone Google” campaign boasting how the luxury car and SUV makers Jaguar and Land Rover had converted to Google Mail, presumably from Microsoft Exchange. Then Turner showed quotes from a Business Week article of employees of those firms, including this: “It’s funny. At Jaguar and Land Rover, we sell ourselves as best-of-breed, but we install the IT equivalent of vinyl seats.”
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Turner said, delightedly, adding that Google Mail is now introducing features Microsoft has had for more than 13 years, and that Microsoft is already winning back some customers from Google.
Next, he turned to VMware, which had the virtualization hypervisor market almost to itself for many years until Microsoft introduced the Hyper-V Server 2008 two years ago. Since then, Hyper-V has risen from zero market share to 15.2 percent in 2010, about half the 30.9 percent share of VMware’s ESX hypervisor, according to IDC.
Turner also did a price comparison of a Hyper-V system and a VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus installation, one that I suspect VMware people are scrutinizing for discrepancies. But Microsoft argues their system costs under $10,000 to VMware’s $58,000. Other hypervisor vendors, though, have hit VMware on their pricing.
Linux, the longtime open source challenger to Microsoft’s proprietary server operating system, was up next. Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008R2 grew its market share over the last two years by 3.7 points to 76.8 percent in 2010, while Linux dropped 1.7 points to 21.1 percent, Turner noted. But come to think of it, if I were Linux and one out of five servers ran my stuff, I think I’d be pretty content with that.
Turner then took on Oracle, the database leader, citing faster growth rates. Microsoft SQL Server revenue rose by 6.2 percent between 2008 and 2009, while Oracle’s grew by only 0.6 percent and IBM’s fell by 2.7 percent. Turner essentially warned Oracle to look in its rear-view mirror to see them closing.
Microsoft wants to seize an opportunity to migrate Oracle customers to SQL Server “because customers don’t want to be locked into Oracle.” “We’re here to save you. Here’s a life preserver,” he said.
Lastly, Turner took on longtime competitor IBM, noting that over the last four years, more than 1,900 enterprise customers, representing a total 16.3 million seats, have migrated from IBM Lotus Notes to Microsoft MCITP Certification Exchange Server. Microsoft, he said, is on a mission to “save those customers who are stranded on a Lotus Notes island.”
Post a comment if you think Microsoft’s disses have merit or warrant a “yeah, but” qualification.
Microsoft 2010 software most complicated lock-in decision in years
Microsoft’s 2010 software suites present “the most complicated lock-in decision in years,” and many customers will be justified in sticking with the 2007 versions of Office, Exchange and SharePoint, Burton Group analysts said this week at the Catalyst conference.
Microsoft MCTS Training is pushing its weight around in 2010 by offering numerous tools that used to be provided only by third-party vendors, and embracing the virtualization and software-as-a-service delivery models, analysts said.
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“Microsoft wants more of your money,” said Burton Group analyst Guy Creese. “This is going to be a pretty complicated decision, one that may lead to lock-in. … If you go forward with all of the 2010 products you will be a Microsoft shop for the foreseeable future because the offering is so monolithic.”
That’s not to say being a Microsoft shop is a bad thing, but the lock-in aspect should be considered before any deployment, he said.
For companies running the 2003 versions of Microsoft software, upgrading to 2010 will be a relatively easy decision. But companies on 2007 may find that the benefits in the 2010 products, which in some cases are minimal, do not justify the time and expense required to upgrade.
The decision three years ago to upgrade from 2003 to 2007 was simple, essentially involving just a few pieces of software and some third-party add-ons, Creese said. But now the product lineup includes new pieces like the FAST Search Server, telephony, and picture and video editing.
And the decision to upgrade includes not only installing client software but also potentially virtualization and cloud services such as Office Web Apps. While Google is luring enterprises with Web-based software only, Microsoft is pushing three delivery models in on-premise software, virtual machines, and software-as-a-service.
“We do not believe Google’s pronouncement that software-as-a-service is the way of the future, that the world will ultimately be in the cloud only. That’s too limiting,” Creese said.
Most enterprises will go for a mix of the delivery models, he said. The good news with Microsoft is that customers can get everything from one vendor and the tools all fit together. But that doesn’t make upgrading to 2010 an automatic decision. Burton Group analysts offered several issues to think about before deciding whether to upgrade.
When it comes to Exchange 2010, enterprises should upgrade if they haven’t already optimized their 2007 Exchange deployment, if they are aiming to lower e-mail costs, and if they will likely run a combination of on-premise and SaaS software. Enterprises should not upgrade to Exchange 2010 if they have already gone through the trouble of optimizing their 2007 software and if they believe a transition would be too expensive.
Exchange 2010 has been re-architected to provide greater economies of scale and multi-tenant support, and can be seen as Microsoft’s response to Google’s consumerization of e-mail, Burton Group analysts say.
New tools include role-based administration, federation tools, and optimization of I/O and storage performance, which makes virtualization more viable. Outlook Web Access has also been improved to include calendar sharing, rights management, and support for Firefox and Safari. Outlook 2010 includes a conversation view that brings Gmail-like capabilities to Microsoft e-mail customers.
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SharePoint 2010 has new search capabilities and social software, a REST API, extranet capabilities, and unprecedented integration with Office 2010, Burton Group said. SharePoint also incorporates the Office ribbon interface within the browser. New metadata management services centralize descriptions of content and enable new features such as social tagging.
As a general rule, it’s time to move off of SharePoint 2003, but if you have a 2007 deployment that works well and your organization doesn’t require the 2010 features, there’s no reason to upgrade immediately, said Burton Group analyst Larry Cannell.
Although SharePoint and Office have received richer integration, IT pros cannot assume that the integrations will work out of the box. IT needs to create and manage metadata and taxonomies, and work with end users to take advantage of the integrations.
If done correctly, the integrations can provide a much better experience, with Office users able to access SharePoint capabilities without leaving Office.
“The whole Office suite has become the rich client for SharePoint,” Cannell said.
Customers that want to take advantage of both the 2010 upgrades and Microsoft’s hosted Exchange and SharePoint, as part of the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), should consider waiting until early next year because Microsoft’s cloud-based Exchange and SharePoint hasn’t been upgraded to the 2010 servers yet.
Although Office 2010 has benefited from SharePoint integration, the new Office is really a “tweak release,” not a groundbreaking change, Burton Group analysts said.
Microsoft is essentially bolting Office to SharePoint to prevent customers from moving to other office products, Creese said. Microsoft MCITP Certification is also providing Office Web Apps access in the enterprise version of Office, and the core Office suite now includes the OneNote collaboration software. But whether the new user-friendly features “fully justifies a multi-million dollar investment is questionable,” Creese said.
Data deduplication: Reducing storage bloat
One of the great features of virtual machines is that admins can stop the VM, copy the VMDK file, and back it up. Simply restart the machine and you’re back online. Now what happens with all of these backup copies? That’s right — a lot of duplicated files stored on a file server. Admins keep “golden images” of working virtual servers to spawn new virtual machines — not to mention the backup copies. Virtualization is a fantastic way to get the most out of CPU and memory, but without deduplication, virtual hard disks can actually increase network storage requirements Microsoft MCTS Training.
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Straining backup systems How do you back up all this data? Old tape backup systems are too slow and lack the needed capacity. New high-end tape systems have the performance and capacity but are quite expensive. And no matter how good your tape drive is, Murphy’s Law has a tendency to jump all over tape when it comes to restoration.
VTLs (virtual tape libraries) provide a modern alternative to tape, using hard disks in configurations that mimic standard tape drives. But at what cost? Additional spindles equal additional cost and additional power consumption. VTLs are fast and provide a reliable backup and restore destination, but if there were less data to back up, you’d have lower hardware and operating costs to begin with.
Data glut compounds the difficulty of disaster recovery, making each stage of near line and offline storage more expensive. Keeping a copy of the backup in near line storage makes restoration of missing or corrupt files easy. But depending on the backup set size and the number of backup sets admins want to keep handy, your near line storage can be quite substantial. The next tier, offline storage, is composed of tapes or other media copies that get thrown in a vault or sent to some other secure location. Again, if the data set is large and growing, this offline media set must expand to fit.
Many disaster recovery plans include sending the backup set to another geographical location over a WAN. Unless your company has deep pockets and can afford a very fast WAN link, it would be beneficial to keep the size of the backup set to a minimum. That goes double for restoring data. If the set is really large, trying to restore from an off-site backup will add downtime and frustration.
Defining data deduplication and its benefits Simply put, deduplication is the process of detecting and removing duplicate data from a storage medium or file system. Detection of duplicate data may be performed at the file, bit, or block level, depending on the type and aggressiveness of the deduplication process.
The first time a deduplication system sees a file or a chunk of file, that data element is identified. Thereafter, each subsequent identical item is removed from the system but marked with a small placeholder. The placeholder points back to the first instance of the data chunk so that the deduped data can be reassembled when needed Microsoft MCITP Certification.
This deduplication process reduces the amount of storage space needed to represent all of the indexed files in the system. For example, a file system that has 100 copies of the same document from HR in each employee’s personal folder can be reduced to a single copy of the original file plus 99 tiny placeholders that point back to the original file. It’s easy to see how that can vastly reduce storage requirements — as well as why it makes much more sense to back up the deduped file system instead of the original file system.
Data deduplication: Reducing storage bloat
Data storage needs continue to grow unabated, straining backup and disaster recovery systems while requiring more online spindles, using more power, and generating more heat. No one expects a respite from this explosion in data growth. That leaves IT profession­als to search for technology solutions that can at least lighten the load Microsoft MCTS Training.
One solution particularly well-suited to backup and disaster recovery is data deduplication, which takes advantage of the enormous amount of redundancy in business data. Eliminating duplicate data can reduce the amount of storage space necessary from a 10:1 ratio to a 50:1 ratio and beyond, depending on the technology used and the level of redundancy. With a little help from data deduplication, admins can reduce costs, lighten backup requirements, and accelerate data restoration in the event of an emergency.
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Deduplication takes several different forms, each with its own approach and optimal role in backup and disaster recovery scenarios. Ultimately, few doubt that data deduplication technology will extend beyond the backup tier and apply its benefits across business storage systems. But first, let’s take a look at why data deduplication has become so attractive to so many organizations.
Too much data, too little time Duplicated data is strewn all over the enterprise. Files are saved to a file share in the data center, with other copies located on an FTP server facing the Internet, and yet another copy (or two) located in users’ personal folders. Sometimes copies are made as a backup version prior to exporting to another system or updating to new software. Are users good about deleting these extra copies? Not so much.
A classic example of duplicate data is the email blast. It goes like this: Someone in human resources wants to send out the new Internet acceptable use policy PDF to 100 users on the network. So he or she creates an email, addresses it to a mailing list, attaches the PDF, and presses Send. The mail server now has 100 copies of the same attachment in its storage system. Only one copy of the attachment is really necessary, yet with no deduplication system in place, all the copies sit in the mail store taking up space.
Server virtualization is another area rife with duplicate data. The whole idea of virtualization is to “do more with less” and maximize hardware utilization by spinning up multiple virtual machines in one physical server. This equates to less hardware expense, lower utility costs, and (hopefully) easier management Microsoft MCITP Certification.
Each virtualized server is contained in a file. For instance, VMware uses a single VMDK (virtual machine disk) file as the virtual hard disk for the virtual machine. As you would expect, VMDK files tend to be rather large — at least 2GB in size, and usually much larger.
LG expects to launch a few Windows Phone 7 mobiles this year
South Korea’s LG Electronics will launch its first smartphone designed around Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 software by the end of September and will follow with more by the end of the year, a company representative said Wednesday.
Photos of one of the LG smartphones have already been shown off by a number of enthusiast blogs. That phone is ready to go, according to LG.
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“We have a deep relationship with Microsoft MCTS Training so expect to have a couple by the end of this year,” said Ken Hong, an LG representative in Seoul.
The company also expects to pour more money into research and development around other mobile phone OSs, including Android and other Linux distributions, he said.
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On Wednesday LG reported troubling financial results at its mobile phone division, including an operating loss and a 30.8 percent drop in sales revenue compared to the same time last year. Handset shipments increased 2 percent year on year to 30.6 million units.
Average selling prices dropped as a result of the company’s emerging markets strategy, according to Hong. Sales of low-end handsets were strong in emerging markets, but high-end handset sales lagged, he said.
LG will continue to follow its long-term strategy by investing aggressively to expand in emerging markets this year, he said.
LG is the world’s third-largest mobile phone vendor, behind Nokia and Samsung Electronics, according to Gartner. The market researcher said LG held an 8.6 percent share of the mobile phone market in the first quarter of this year Microsoft MCTS Certification.
The IDG News Service is a Network World affiliate.
Microsoft: No money for bugs
Microsoft will not follow the lead of Mozilla and Google in paying researchers for reporting vulnerabilities, a company executive said today.
“We don’t think [bug bounties] are the best way for us to compensate researchers,” said Mike Reavey, director of the Microsoft MCTS Training Security Research Center (MSRC) in an interview Thursday.
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Reavey was responding to questions about recent moves by Google and Mozilla to boost payments made to outside researchers who report flaws, and whether Microsoft would follow suit.
Last week, Mozilla hiked Firefox bounties for bugs rated “critical” and “high” to $3,000. A few days later, Google matched Mozilla’s raise by increasing the top-dollar payment to $3,133 for reported Chrome flaws.
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But Microsoft won’t dive into the same pool.
“Not all researchers are financially motivated,” Reavey said, an argument that flies in the face of what some of the best-known researchers say, as well as against the grain of security vendors that claim profits inspire most hackers who craft and launch attacks.
Reavey also said that Microsoft MCITP Certification compensates security researchers in other ways. He ticked off the security conferences Microsoft sponsors or co-sponsors — it’s one of seven top sponsors of next week’s Black Hat conference, for example — its Blue Hat gathering on its Redmond, Wash. campus, and employment opportunities for researchers as contractors and members of its security team.
“There are lots of ways we work with the [researcher] community,” said Reavey, that don’t involve handing out money directly.
But that’s exactly what Microsoft should be doing, several well-known bug finders said today.
“Sure, I’d like to see [bounties by Microsoft] happen,” said Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer at White Hat Security. Grossman will be demonstrating a vulnerability in Apple ‘s Safari browser next Thursday at Black Hat.
“What difference does it make to Microsoft if it pays, $1,000, $3,000, $5,000, even $10,000 to buy a vulnerability?” Grossman asked. “They make billions in profit.”
Researchers have argued that buying vulnerabilities is a sure way to remove the threat of early disclosure, saving a vendor like Microsoft the time and money it consumes to investigate a problem that suddenly pops up, or if the bug is leaked before a patch is available, helping protect its customers.
“Large vendors like Microsoft have been historically adverse to bounties,” said Dino Dai Zovi, a New York-based security consultant and vulnerability researcher. “I would love it if they followed [Google’s and Mozilla’s] model.”
Last year, Dai Zovi, along with fellow researchers Charlie Miller and Alex Sotirov, launched an effort they dubbed “No Free Bugs” that proposed researchers should be paid for their work because vulnerabilities have value, both to the vendor whose product was at risk and on the black or gray market.
Without payments for work done, vendors essentially lose the skills of the researchers most likely to find and report vulnerabilities, Dai Zovi said. “Researchers who report vulnerabilities for free do this as they build their reputations,” he said. “But as they become more experienced, that tapers off because they have paying clients. You still try to do what you can, but it’s unfair to my paying customers if I’m giving away to a vendor what [those customers] are paying for my time.”
Microsoft sells 10 Windows 7 licenses per second
Microsoft sold nearly 10 copies of Windows 7 every second over the last month, according to numbers the company released Thursday.
Yesterday, Peter Klein, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, told Wall Street analysts of the latest Windows 7 milestone. “With 175 million licenses sold to date, it is the fastest selling operating system ever, and now runs on over 15% of all PCs worldwide Microsoft MCTS Training,” Klein said during an afternoon earnings call.
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A month ago, Microsoft announced that it had sold 150 million Windows 7 licenses.
By Microsoft’s numbers, the company sold 25 million licenses during the 29 days between June 23 and July 21, a pace that represents sales of 9.97 copies of Windows 7 per second.
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On Tuesday, Microsoft credited strong sales of Windows 7 , as well as the introduction of Office 2010, for pushing its second quarter revenues to a record $16 billion — a 22% jump over the same quarter in 2009. Windows revenue grew by more than $1 billion, to $4.55 billion, according to the company.
As it has several times in the past, yesterday Microsoft called Windows 7 “the fastest-selling operating system ever.”
The OS has certainly outperformed its predecessor , Windows Vista.
According to data from Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications, which tracks operating system usage share by monitoring 40,000 sites that use its Web metrics service, Windows 7 held a 14.4% share as of July 21, nine months after its release. Vista took 22 months to reach the same mark Microsoft MCITP Certification.
Klein’s statement that Windows 7 now accounts for 15% of the in-use operating systems worldwide not only differed from Net Applications’ numbers, but also from those of Irish analytics firm StatCounter, which pegs Windows 7’s current global share at 17.6%. It was also muddied by a competing claim by Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc, who said that the new OS now powers 16% of all PCs .
On Friday, Microsoft said that Klein had misspoke, and that 16% was the accurate number. A company spokeswoman said that Windows 7’s usage share was derived from internal data.
Microsoft clarifies: No official list of WP7 device makers yet
After divulging a list of five Windows Phone 7 in recent weeks, Microsoft late yesterday moved to clarify those statements.
“Microsoft has not made an official announcement on device partners for Windows Phone 7 at general availability,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said late yesterday Microsoft MCTS Training.
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Her comments came after Computerworld and other Web sites reported that Microsoft had chosen Asus, LG, Samsung, Dell and HTC to manufacture WP7 phones .
According to a July 18 Microsoft blog post , Asus, LG and Samsung are providing nearly 1,000 prototype devices for developers.
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In addition, Andy Lees, senior vice president of mobile communications at Microsoft, named HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell as WP7 device makers in a keynote address at the recent Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington. Microsoft also named those four at Mobile World Congress in February Microsoft MCITP Certification.
All five of those manufacturers, and others, could well be the final companies that make WP7 phones, but one or more of those initially listed by Microsoft could drop out by the fall or be eliminated by Microsoft, noted analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.
“I’m sure Microsoft is positioning itself so that if one or more decide against WP7, they will be covered,” he said. Also, if Microsoft said any of the five were definite now, and then one decided to bail out, Microsoft could be sued, Gold added. Any one of the five could have second thoughts, because all of them are also making Android devices and may decide against porting to another OS, Gold added. He said he believes HTC and Samsung are committed, but officials there could not be reached to comment.