IT directors should demand Microsoft speeds up the delivery of software products to allow corporate users to safely take advantage of the growing number of software products available as services via the internet, according to analysts.
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Microsoft's failure to keep up to speed with these emerging software services was highlighted last week in leaked internal memos from chief technical officer Ray Ozzie, who said the company did not have technical leadership in key internet technologies.
Coming a week after Microsoft announced plans to launch its Windows Live and Office Live products, Ozzie's memo discussed the need for Microsoft to offer services that match rivals Google and Skype.
Within the next month Intel will extend the security in its, the Trusted Computer Platform hardware, which analyst Gartner believes will fundamentally change the architecture of the PC.
But Gartner has questioned how the next generation of PC virtualisation technology being developed by Microsoft will support the Intel technology, which is required to run software services safely within a virtual PC.
"CIOs cannot wait until 2008 when Microsoft is expected to support [PC] virtualisation technology," Steve Prentice, chief of research at Gartner said.
He recommended that users put pressure on Microsoft to work with Intel, AMD and the rest of the IT industry to rapidly deliver secure virtualisation technology for Windows.
Vista, the next version of the Windows operating system, will support the Trusted Computer Platform. But Microsoft could not this week confirm how far the next release of its products will go to secure desktop software services.
Richard Edwards, research analyst at Butler Group, said IT directors faced being caught in a trap. "IT directors will need to support these services or face challenging questions from end- users."
If they accept, rather than ban the use of software services, they could could open potential breaches in their network security, he warned.