Feb 28, 2008 (10:02 AM EST)
Microsoft Upgrades Server Products

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InformationWeek Daily - Thursday, Feb 28, 2008


Editor's Note

Starbucks Takes Coffee Break, Makes Customer Satisfaction Gaffe

Starbucks can send me an e-mail when they reload my card -- yeah, I know I'm a sap for giving them an interest-free loan, but it's convenient -- and they can pepper me with communications when they've got a sale to promote. So how come they can't bother to clue me in when they're planning to shut their doors for three hours? Not very Web 1.0 of them, huh?

The "Web 1.0" reference is deliberate, and that's just my point. I'm not expecting Starbucks' chief bean -- that'd be CEO Howard Schultz -- to stream me a video or text-message my BlackBerry with the news that he planned to lock his doors from 5:30 to 9 pm on Tuesday. (My response would of course be, "WTF?") However, I do expect some notification (a simple e-mail, maybe) that Schultz was planning the downtime, in hopes of getting his "baristas" to reconnect with coffee by training them to make better espresso.

My reason is simple enough -- Tuesday evenings are my Starbucks night. I repair there for a couple of hours, while my daughter is in her dance class. Put aside the fact that it's insane to close your stores during a prime customer period. Just focus on the fact that, like I said above, if you pepper your customers with "push" communications (i.e., crap they don't want), it's incumbent upon you to proactively reach out to them when you're got some real news.

Like, they're not gonna be able to get their preplanned caffeine jolt.

Starbucks' stumble hammers home the point that, these days, customer satisfaction kudos will go to companies who know how to use the Web (more specifically, Web- and smartphone-based communications) to their advantage.

I've long been on a rant about Starbuck's declining customer service (see my recent post, How Dell Is Far Too Much Like Starbucks) and this latest gaffe certainly doesn't fill me with hope for Starbucks' return to its days as a provider of an unparalleled customer experience.

So here's what I suggest, Howard: Wake up and smell the coffee.

What do you think? Did Starbucks spill the coffee on this one? Leave a message on my blog and let us know.

Alexander Wolfe
awolfe@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com

Quote of The Day

"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale." -- Arthur C. Clarke

YouTube Video Of The Day

Today's Video: "Star Wars, Reviewed By 3-Year Old Girl." "Kind of like a garage sale, but they're selling robots... It's an exciting movie."

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Top Stories

Microsoft Launches Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer outlined the company's strategy for enterprise IT and the benefits it sees in the latest versions of its major enterprise products.

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Internet Evolution

Former FBI Agent: We Need To Get Another Internet
Former FBI Agent Patrick J. Dempsey warns that the Internet has become sanctuary for cyber criminals and the only way to rectify this is to create a second, more secure Internet. Dempsey issues this call for a restructured Internet because he claims various legal systems are unprepared for a serious fight against global cyber crime.

White Paper

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The Bell Labs research, presented at the OFC/NFOEC conference, brings 100 Gbps transmission closer to reality.

Dell Builds Out Web-Hosted Support Services

Among the services Dell plans to make available are patch management, anti-virus, anti-spam, online backup and recovery, asset discovery, asset tracking, e-mail continuity, e-mail archiving, and image management.

Congress Considers Wireless Consumer Rights Bill

A House Subcommittee hearing on the issue comes at a time when U.S. consumers are increasingly frustrated by their cell phone service.

Oracle Cleared To Complete BEA Acquisition

The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have given Oracle fast-track clearance to buy the middleware vendor.

Microsoft Launches Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer outlined the company's strategy for enterprise IT and the benefits it sees in the latest versions of its major enterprise products.

For Sale: Passwords To Fortune 500's Servers

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The five 45-nanometer processors carry a seven-year support life cycle, instead of the standard five years.

Microsoft Restores Downed Hotmail Service

The bug affected Hotmail, Windows Live, Xbox Live, Windows Messenger, and other Web sites and services that rely on users' Windows Live IDs for logins.

Microsoft's 'Openness' Pledge A Potential Patent Trap, Gartner Warns

Open source developers who want to use Microsoft's documentation still require a patent license from Redmond if the work is for commercial distribution.

IBM More Confident About U.S. Business In 1st Quarter

IBM said Wednesday it is more confident about its U.S. business so far this year than in the fourth quarter, countering fears over slowing corporate spending.

Students Simulate Mission To Mars

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AT&T Sees '08 Revenue Up In Mid-Single Digits

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In This Issue


Community

Poll: Benign Worms
Readers nearly unanimously think that a Microsoft proposal to use benign worms to distribute security patches is a terrible idea. Some 97% of responders oppose the proposal. In the forum, reader George says: "Wonderful, just what we all need, a more insidious ActiveX like capacity to infect my PC. No wonder I'm thinking to moving to an iMac. This is really a premature April 1st joke - right?" Let us know what you think: Take our poll or leave a message on our forum. Or, what the heck, go crazy! Do both!

The latest research, polls, and tools

Virtualization At The Desktop?
Examine how more than 250 companies plan to adopt server virtualization technology in this recent InformationWeek Research report, Server Virtualization.

The BI Explosion
Examine the business intelligence strategies of 500 companies, including deployment drivers and challenges, spending plans, and vendor selection, in this recent InformationWeek Research report.

Latest InformationWeek Blog Posts

VMware Moves To Protect Applications Living On The Hypervisor
On the heels of a file sharing flaw uncovered earlier this week by a security firm, and the announcement of a number of security patches, virtualization leader VMware says it plans to release an API for third-party security applications.

From 'Energized' To Not So Interested
The little do-si-do between Congress and the White House over missing e-mails is apparently over. Cynics might predict the next steps will be a digging in of heels, followed quickly by threats to launch (and bungle) an investigation, or worse, appoint a special prosecutor.

Talk To Me, Openly
It's a cliche to say that open source breaks down barriers, but every day I learn about a new way that's happening. Here's one barrier that open source can help to bring down, incrementally: the language barrier.

Apple To Host iPhone SDK Launch March 6
This morning Apple started sending out invitations to an event to be held Thursday, March 6. The topic? The long-awaited iPhone SDK. The invitation read: "Please join us to learn about the iPhone software road map, including the iPhone SDK and some exciting new enterprise features." Finally!

Microsoft-Yahoo Merger Perfectly Timed For A Recession
Although I still have a lot of doubt that Microsoft and Yahoo will ever consummate a marriage, Microsoft continues to pursue the deal with a lot of enthusiasm. I don't know how loudly I can say this, but Microsoft: It's a trap! There's a reason why some major Yahoo shareholders are suing to make this deal go through, pronto. They think you're crazy and they want to get the money before you sober up.

Google Offers Provisioning Toolkit For Enterprises
So you're taking the leap and deploying Google Apps across your enterprise. Rather than add users one by one, Google is giving IT admins a new way to create user accounts: the Apache 2.0 licensed Open Source Google Apps Provisioning Toolkit.

Vignette Gears Up For A Better Web Experience
I caught up with Vignette as details were emerging about its updated Web content management tools. This week, we learned a little more about the Web Experience Platform, the company's new and improved approach at managing your content.

Google Lends Its Voice To Opera, Yahoo Sings The Blues
The mobile search wars continue, and Google just won an important tactical victory over rival Yahoo. Opera, maker of mobile Web browsers, has switched its default search from Yahoo to Google.

Chronicle Of A Startup: The Kernel Of An Idea
I have an idea for a new venture that seems promising to me. Is it? I'm on my way to Silicon Valley to find out.

An Ounce Of Virtual Prevention
Security researchers found/punched a new hole in one of VMware's products this week, and from some quarters, it's being written about as if virtual machinery had never been a target for malicious code before. Those in the data center know differently.

Technology And The Big Foot Problem
Michael Specter's article "Big Foot," in the current issue of The New Yorker, examines some common assumptions about carbon emissions and how technology is going to have to step on the gas to tackle the climate change problem. It's worth a close read.

White Paper

Real-World SOA: Definition, Implementation and Use of SOA with CentraSite
Web services are having a dramatic impact on improving enterprise architecture and application development practices. This paper highlights three sample case studies illustrating how Fujitsu's CentraSite delivers SOA solutions.

Forrester Consulting: Unified Communications Delivers Global Benefits
This Forrester Consulting study shows how Unified Communications (UC) makes it simpler to contact others over any device in any location, enhancing business agility, cutting costs, and boosting employee productivity. Forrester finds that UC is already delivering major savings for organizations around the world in retail banking, manufacturing and education. Download the full report for free.

Software as a Service Research Report
No longer a niche software delivery model, software as a service (SaaS) can help small and midsize companies get access to enteprise-class software functionality without having to commit enterprise-level capital resources. Download the full report for free.

The Internet & the Developing World
The evolution of the Internet has been full of surprises – surprises that have sometimes resulted in radical changes in the commercial landscape, such as the arrival of Amazon, eBay, Google, YouTube, and Skype. Could one of the next big surprises turn out to be linked to developing countries? Read the full report for free from InternetEvolution.com

Job Listings

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For more great jobs, career-related news, features and services, please visit our "Career Center.

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