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Microsoft, VMware earnings news; Virtualization needs security

Headlines: Microsoft, VMware post worrisome earnings; Virtualization could bring operational risks; other IT channel news. news in brief for April 24, 2009

Microsoft, VMware post worrisome earnings

Microsoft on Thursday reported its first year-to-year decline in revenue since going public 23 years ago.

For the period ending March 31, 2009, Microsoft's revenue fell 6% to $13.65 billion compared to $14.45 billion for the year-ago period. Profit was $2.98 billion, or 33 cents a share, down 32% from $4.39 billion and 47 cents per share from last year's period.

The company's cash-cow client business was hurt by slow PC and server sales worldwide, company executives acknowledged. Revenue for the client business, which includes Windows Vista, fell to $3.40 billion from $4.03 billion for the comparable period last year.

For its closely watched online business, where Microsoft faces off against Google, the company lost $575 million on revenue of $721 million. A year ago it lost $226 million on revenue of $843 million.

Last week, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said on Intel's first-quarter earnings call that the worst of the PC sales drought was over, but Microsoft execs did not echo his sentiments. Intel said its profit fell to $647 million, or 11 cents per share, from $1.44 billion, 25 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter. Overall sales hit $7.1 billion, down 26% from $9.67 billion for the corresponding 2008 quarter.

Virtualization kingpin VMware also showed stagnation. Revenue for its most recent quarter grew just 7% this quarter compared with the same quarter in 2008, to $470 million. In fact, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, VMware revenues were down by almost 9%, from $515 million.

Virtualization could bring operational risks

Cloud computing experts said that a virtual infrastructure could introduce more operational issues and security risks, according to

Chris Hoff, technical director of the Cloud Security Alliance, speaking at the 2009 RSA Conference said that he expects the latest virtualization platforms will make it more difficult to define who has control of virtual machines.

RSA panelists also agreed that virtualization security will get murkier when vendors start adding switching capabilities into CPUs.

vSphere unveiled

VMware formally launched its new vSphere 4 virtualization platform Tuesday, along with new pricing and packaging for vSphere 4, bringing the total number of vSphere editions to five, up from three. VMware also described introductory promotions to prompt existing customers to move quickly to the new version, which is slated to be generally available this quarter, according to

New IBM DB2 due in June

IBM says its next release of DB2, code-named Cobra, will pack more data into less space, and will save up to 75% on related storage costs. It will also support business analytics for relational and XML data at the same time. DB2 release 9.7 and InfoSphere Data Warehouse 9.7 are due in June.

Check out yesterday's IT channel news briefs.

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