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Archive for September, 2008

Microsoft taps JQuery for Visual Studio

Posted by comtech3 on September 29, 2008

September 28, 2008 7:23 PM PDT
Sample JavaScript using JQuery.

Sample JavaScript using JQuery.

(Credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft said Sunday that it plans to ship the JQuery JavaScript library with its Visual Studio developer tool suite.

The software powerhouse said that jQuery would be one of the libraries used to implement higher-level controls in the Ajax Control Toolkit, and would also have a role in new Ajax server-side helper methods. The 15KB JQuery JavaScript library will be distributed as is, with no forking, and files will continue to adhere to the JQuery MIT license.

In addition, Microsoft said that it would contribute tests, bug fixes, and patches to the JQuery open-source project and that later this year it would extend product support to JQuery.

The announcement came in a blog post by Scott Guthrie, a vice president in Microsoft’s developer division, who described the library’s attraction:

A big part of the appeal of jQuery is that it allows you to elegantly (and efficiently) find and manipulate HTML elements with minimum lines of code. jQuery supports this via a nice “selector” API that allows developers to query for HTML elements, and then apply “commands” to them. One of the characteristics of jQuery commands is that they can be “chained” together – so that the result of one command can feed into another. jQuery also includes a built-in set of animation APIs that can be used as commands. The combination allows you to do some really cool things with only a few keystrokes.

Guthrie also pointed to a newly posted tutorial on Scott Hanselman’s Computerzen blog about integrating JQuery with Ajax.

Writing on the JQuery blog, John Resig said that mobile phone heavyweight Nokia also is adopting JQuery as part of its application development platform. As is the case with Microsoft, he said, Nokia isn’t looking to make any changes to the library, and its developers will contribute to the JQuery project.

Resig, a lead developer of JQuery, wrote:

Nokia is looking to use jQuery to develop applications for their WebKit-based Web Run-Time. The run-time is a stripped-down browser rendering engine that allows for easy, but powerful, application development. This means that jQuery will be distributed on all Nokia phones that include the web run-time……The jQuery test suite is already integrated into the test suites of Mozilla and Opera and this move will see a significant level of extra testing being done on Internet Explorer and WebKit – above-and-beyond what is already done by the jQuery team.


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Apple, AT&T speed up iPhone 3G buying over Web

Posted by comtech3 on September 24, 2008

September 23, 2008 3:27 PM PDT

Posted by Tom Krazit

Apple has figured out a way to let prospective iPhone 3G buyers get a few of the steps out of the way at home.

The activation process is still not quite as smooth as the one that greeted new owners of the original iPhone, but Apple and AT&T seem to have figured out a way to make things a little easier while keeping the unlockers at bay as much as possible. A visit to an Apple or AT&T store is still required, but some of the preliminary details can now be completed via the Internet.

For instance, you can enter your billing information to generate the credit check required for a new contract, pick a rate plan, and make an appointment to pick up an iPhone 3G. The phone still needs to be activated in the store, which is Apple and AT&T’s way of trying to deter those who wish to unlock the phone and resell it for a profit.

This may not apply to everyone, such as those who have business accounts or other special discounts, but should streamline the process a bit for everyone else. Piper Jaffray thinks Apple will have sold 5 million iPhone 3Gs in the current quarter, and this process could make it a little easier for holiday shoppers toward the end of the year.

Apple and AT&T have figured out a way to shave a few minutes off the iPhone 3G purchasing experience.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET News)

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How big is Microsoft threat to VMware?

Posted by comtech3 on September 22, 2008

September 21, 2008 12:37 PM PDT

The talk of this year’s VMworld conference in Las Vegas was how much of a competitive threat Microsoft, which weeks earlier announced the free release of its hypervisor product, will prove to virtualization leader VMware.

The theme behind Microsoft’s push into the virtualization market, as exemplified by guerrilla marketing campaigns at the VMworld event, is that it can offer much of VMware’s basic capabilities at a fraction of the price.

The software giant is giving away its Hyper-V hypervisor product to any purchasers of Windows 2003 or 2008 server editions. It’s an offer that hasn’t gone unnoticed by end users.

VMWare logo

Michael Tran, chief technology officer at Digital Sense, a new data center operator, has been considering both the Microsoft and VMware paths, visiting Microsoft in Seattle six weeks ago and VMware this week in Las Vegas.

He had some positive things to say about Microsoft’s entry into the market.

“Microsoft’s main pitch is that anyone with Windows could have the hypervisor for free, so the net cost of the software is zero,” he said. “Anything else is going to look expensive against it.”

The Microsoft product “is very cost-effective for smaller organizations and very powerful,” Tran told “It’s probably not up to the same level as VMware on many aspects, but then again it has some things that are ahead. Hyper-V is, for example, extremely easy to deploy.”

Is price important?
VMware CEO and president Paul Maritz says he is not particularly concerned about competing with Microsoft on price. The price of software is important, he said, “but only up to a point.”

“We are in a competitive market, we can’t charge whatever we would like,” he told on the sidelines of VMworld. “Every software vendor has to deal with the reality of competition. It comes from direct competitors and it comes from the open source movement.”

“One of the fabulous things about the open-source movement is that they are the ultimate enforcer of fair pricing. If you don’t evolve, they will clone your software, and take away your value.”

Such a threat, Maritz says, motivates commercial vendors to “constantly renew their value proposition” with new features.

“We have to make sure that what we offer really offers value for money, and that changes over time,” he said. “VMware won’t sit still. We have new functionality coming, we’re going to double-down our bets, we’re going to go in some places fundamentally (in the case of the virtual data center operating system) where Microsoft is uncomfortable going.”

Serguei Beloussov, CEO of Parallels Software, competes in some markets with both Microsoft and VMware.

“I don’t see VMware losing sales to Microsoft because Microsoft is cheaper,” he told, adding most large customers look beyond the cost of individual components when determining price.

“For them, the total cost of ownership is important, the cost of the virtualization software itself is only a small portion of all of it.”

IBRS analyst Kevin McIsaac agrees. He says the price argument is “misunderstood.”

“VMware has a lot of advanced functionality for optimising memory and getting more out of a processor,” he said. “If the VMware software is a bit more expensive, but is more efficient and means less hardware to solve the overall problem, it in conceivable that as a total cost of ownership it might actually prove to be cheaper.”

“Rather than looking at the cost of the hypervisor, you have to say, if I were to run my set of applications on VMware or run it on Microsoft, what would the total cost of all the hardware, the software and the storage be?”

Tran balks at VMware’s pricing at times, but in building a large-scale data center, he believes the potential return on investment from virtualization technology cancels such costs out.

Bogomil Balkansky, senior director of product marketing at VMware, says most VMware customers see a return on investment within six to nine months. “Our experience so far has been that customers are generating so much value for customers that price is not a major objection in our sales cycle,” he says.

Two distinct markets
McIsaac says on a feature-function basis, Microsoft’s hypervisor “does not compare” with the market leaders.

“It’s not as proven to be robust, not as proven to be as scalable, it doesn’t have live migration,” he said. For that reason, he expects VMware to continue to appeal to the upper end of the market: service providers and large businesses, while Microsoft’s price proposition will appeal to smaller businesses.

“The two will have an interesting battle space,” Tran agreed. “For a lot of smaller players, VMware will be out of their reach, whereas Microsoft Hyper-V will be in reach. Hyper-V will have its uses in smaller organizations that can’t afford enterprise-class storage systems and blade servers and the like,” he continues.

“But for enterprise clients, clients that are looking for the best level of support, redundancy and maintenance, VMware have definitely got it. At that level of enterprise-class infrastructure, when you’re talking blade servers and fiber channel storage arrays and iSCSI products, really the (virtualization) software is not that expensive.”

The verdict
Beloussov expects Microsoft to gain ground on VMware over time. “Microsoft will have a full platform for virtualization,” he said. “Maybe it will take two years, maybe five years. But it’s going to happen.”

But McIsaac still has his bets on VMware.

“VMware will still win out,” he said. “There will be some very Microsoft-orientated shops that will say, we like the Microsoft vision, we want to go down that track. But for most organizations today, VMware’s is the right strategy to pursue.” Maritz meanwhile, is trying his best to sound unconcerned.

“If you look at what Microsoft announced last week, what they have basically said is that VMware has exactly the right list of features, we’re going to knock ’em off one by one, we’re gonna sell them to you at half the price, and we’ll have them ready for you in two years time,” he said.

“If we (as VMware) can’t make hay with that, we don’t deserve to be in business.”

Another executive leaves
Meanwhile, VMware said Friday that Paul Chan, senior executive in charge of product development at the software maker, is leaving the company. That marks the latest in a recent string of executive departures.

On September 9, the company announced the resignation of its chief scientist, Mendel Rosenblum. A co-founder of the company, he is also the husband of co-founder Diane Greene, who was replaced as chief executive in July.

And on September 2, VMware disclosed that its top executive for product development, Executive Vice President for Research and Development Richard Sarwal, had less than a year left after being recruited away by Oracle.

Brett Winterford reported for ZDNet Australia.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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SanDisk on Samsung buyout offer: Not so fast

Posted by comtech3 on September 17, 2008

September 16, 2008 4:13 PM PDT

Posted by Charles Cooper

Time was when SanDisk, the world’s biggest supplier of flash storage cards, was one of the hottest tech stocks this side of the Milky Way. Of course, those also were the days when companies like Lehman and Merrill Lynch were living large on Wall Street.

These days SanDisk is hardly the high-flying company it was a couple of years ago. Against a backdrop of weakening consumer demand and with flash memory prices falling, SanDisk’s stock has reflected the company’s changing fortunes, plummeting from a 52-week high of $55.98 to finish at $15.04 on Tuesday. It’s not just SanDisk feeling the pinch; five of the seven top flash memory producers suffered declines or flat sales during the second quarter.

But after the close of trading Tuesday, Samsung Electronics confirmed earlier rumors and disclosed it had made a unsolicited $5.8 billion cash offer to buy SanDisk after what it said were four months of inconclusive talks. SanDisk was quick to rebuff the offer as inadequate.

In after-hours trading, shares of SanDisk soared to nearly $23 a share. In a statement, SanDisk rejected the $26 a share offer, arguing that it undervalues the company. That’s pretty much standard operating procedure in any negotiation, though SanDisk also charged Samsung with “an opportunistic attempt” to exploit a depressed stock price, as well as “the uncertainty resulting from the unresolved patent cross license agreement renewal with Samsung, and general equity market conditions.”

The rejection of the offer also served as an opportunity for SanDisk to air dirty laundry, suggesting that Samsung’s offer might be “a calculated negotiating ploy or an attempt to gain leverage in the ongoing licensing negotiations between the companies, particularly in light of the fact that the parties have met over 10 times on this issue since June 2007.”

SanDisk is not closing the door to future talks with Samsung. Irwin Federman, the company’s lead independent director, said SanDisk remains willing to enter into “good-faith discussions” but did not get more specific.

But now that Samsung has put SanDisk in play, other well-capitalized would-be acquirers may begin sniffing around. Speculation centered on Toshiba, which operates a 300-millimeter wafer plant with SanDisk. What’s more, the executive in charge of Toshiba’s semiconductor business said the company may make a move in order to prevent a rival from controlling SanDisk. “We need to take preventive steps, if (SanDisk) looks like it’ll be acquired,” Corporate Senior Vice President Shozo Saito told reporters at the Industry Strategy and Technology Forum in Yokohama, Japan.

It’s unclear whether he was sending out a message of real intent or simply playing to the microphones. While Saito said that Toshiba “was interested” he said there were no talks with SanDisk about a possible acquisition.

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