IT Channel News Briefs, Dec. 1

Today's headlines: Microsoft Live Cashback backlash, and Dell gets into the 0% financing game.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Monday, Dec. 1, 2008.

Microsoft Live Cashback dead on arrival

The reviews are in on Microsoft's much-touted Live Cashback promotion, and they aren't raves. Several online news sites reported that the Microsoft site, which promised big discounts to Live Search users who purchased goods on Black Friday, was down much of that day. Microsoft and top partner Hewlett-Packard hosted a joint promotion, promising rebates of up to 40% on HP products ordered Friday. The only problems were: a) The site was down for a good chunk of the day and b) When it did allow orders, the discounts didn't happen as advertised. Some buyers said their rebates were just 3%. Several Twittered (or is it Tweeted?) and blogged about their problems. It was not an auspicious omen for Microsoft's proposed cloud-based services.

On a more positive note for Microsoft, the latest Comscore numbers show that search queries for Microsoft, a perennial also-ran to Google, actually grew faster than Google's numbers in October. The Microsoft-associated search sites showed 8% growth in queries from September to October 2008, compared to 7% for Google. Of course, Google started with a much, much bigger base -- over 10 billion queries for that period, compared to Microsoft's 1 billion. Also interesting: Beleaguered Yahoo search inquiries also grew 8%, just as fast as former (and future?) suitor Microsoft.

Dell offers financing, leasing options

Dell last week took steps to help customers weather the economic storm. The company announced 0% financing for large businesses, leasing programs and deferred payment options. Dell also cut prices on its Latitude E6400 and E5400 PCs as well as select PowerEdge servers.

Layoffs show need for Active Directory security

As tens of thousands of employees get laid off across the nation, IT managers need to be on top of their security game and have full control of Active Directories to protect against attacks from disgruntled former staff members, SearchWinIT.com reported today. Laid-off employees could have had access to corporate repositories, so IT managers need to be clear on who is in charge of these directories and who has super user privileges. In fact, as soon as layoffs occur, IT managers are advised to set up a skeleton crew of administrators focused solely on shutting off terminated employees who may have super access, according to Earl Perkins, a vice president at Gartner.

Check out last week's IT channel news briefs.

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