In compiling a list of the world's oldest software companies, one comes face to face with an inevitable question. Namely, what is it? What the heck is this thing we call "software?"
While it's easy to say that Windows or Office or even the wanton dismemberment of Dead Space 2 are obvious examples of software, where does one draw the line? Did software, for instance, exist before the advent of computers? In our minds, it did. Though the concept of altering the performance of mechanisms by feeding them independent sets of instructions has clearly become rampant in the computer age, it in fact started long before that – the early 18th century, to be exact. And that is precisely where we'll start our journey.
Stuck in the shackles of a subpar browsing experience because your boss swears by the robust feature set offered in IE6? Want IE9's HTML5 support, but can't get it because your company's still using Windows XP? Google wants to help. They've offered the "Chrome Frame" plug-in for older versions of IE as a technological band-aid for years, but you've always needed admin privileges to install it. Not anymore – the newest Chrome Frame iteration bypasses the need for admin rights entirely, allowing tech-savvy corporate computers users to give the middle finger to IT departments throughout the world.
Google has a reputation for attracting the top industry talent at top dollar, which is why when a companywide raise of 10 percent was announced last week everyone took notice of their generosity. Given the sheer number of in-house employees it’s a move that would cost the company millions, but it too has now been slightly overshadowed by executive raises that are rumored to be in the 30 percent range. This would raise the salary of the seven executive officers to a whopping $650,000 from the current $500,000. The news was filled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday.
In addition to the salary bump the Google executives are also getting new stock options which range between $5 and $20 million each. Interestingly enough CEO Eric Schmidt, and co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page declined the 30 percent raise on their $1 a year salaries, but for a very good reason. The three men combined control more than half of Google’s stock, a fortune that totals in the billions.
IBM is looking for people to break their Microsoft addiction by launching a Linux-based collection of virtual desktop applications that run on a server – without the need of desktop hardware.
Given current economic pressures, IBM predicts that this virtual route of computing could save some corporate customers up to $800 per user. This, thanks to the low price point put on the Virtual Linux Desktop. It is available today for $59 to $289 per user, all depending on what level of software and service is desired.
“Deploying your technology this way is going to save you something more than 50 percent of your total costs,” said Jeff Smith, IBM's vice president for open source and Linux. “As customers face an increasingly challenging economic situation, they're looking at everything they're spending money on.”
While the idea sounds great in theory, there are some questions that remain. Mostly, will corporate customers really go for a system that stores their data on a server instead of locally?
Microsoft this week bids farewell to Kevin Johnson, the now former president of its platfroms and services division. During Johnson's tenure, many thought he would one day succeed CEO Steve Ballmer, and together the two of them played a major role in the company's pursuit of Yahoo.
This isn't the first defelction in recent times, as earlier this year Senior VP Steven Berkowitz announced plans to leave Microsoft by the end of the summer. And with Bill Gates having gone into semi-retirement, the face of Microsoft is beginning to look much different than it did just one year ago.
Find out why Johnson's announcement comes ill-timed for Microsoft after the jump. Touché?