Microsoft Corporation

The Editor’s Take
September 1, 2008

As the editor-in-chief of a publication that follows a rather small business niche, I often get an inferiority complex when reading mainstream publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek. By in large, if your company isn’t public and/or doesn’t take in more than a billion dollars a year, you rarely show up on their radar screens. Take the article I read in the July 23 issue of The New York Times that talked about a new direct mail green movement. The headline was “Direct Mail Tries to Go Green. No, Really.” I figured, surely there’d be references to

All Circuits are Busy
February 1, 2008

Approaching $8 billion in total sales and $559 million in profit for its most recent fiscal year, CDW’s roots are in cataloging in case you forgot. The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based provider of technology products and services for business, government and education was, and still is, a B-to-B cataloger, but a far cry from a mom-and-pop startup. For the past decade, CDW (which stands for the company’s original moniker, Computer Discount Warehouse) recognized growth opportunities within the tech industry and sought a multichannel approach to reaching its customers. Using vehicles such as television, radio, Internet, in-house magazine publications, webinars, seminars, sponsorship events and catalogs,

Look Out!
November 1, 2007

Rather than the awe-inspiring equivalent of a moon landing as Microsoft had hoped, the rollout of Outlook 2007 instead has been greeted by the business community as a giant leap backward for e-marketing. That’s because Outlook 2007 regularly mangles most higher end image- and animation-dependent marketing e-mails, due to Microsoft’s decision to “dumb down” Outlook’s design and image-rendering capabilities. “Microsoft has taken e-mail design back five years,” says David Greiner, co-founder of Campaign Monitor, an e-mail tool provider. The problem’s been further compounded by the rollout of Vista, Microsoft’s new Windows operating system. It has forced consumers and businesses to adopt Outlook 2007 whether they want to

E-commerce: A Solution to the Comparison Shopping Engine Hassle
October 10, 2006

Does your company market products through comparison shopping engines? Comparison shopping engines (CSEs) are sites such as Yahoo! Shopping,,, Pricegrabber, NexTag, MSN Shopping, Google Base and Shopzilla. CSEs aggregate SKU data from retailers for online shoppers. Some retailers avoid CSEs due the technical hassle of sending product data to the engines and retrieving corresponding advertising cost reports. But today, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced a new data format intended to simplify communication between retailers, agencies and CSEs. The beta test of the standard took place last week when engineers at Channel Intelligence used the format to submit product data for

Is JDF the Future of Catalog Print Production?
March 1, 2004

The printing and publishing industry’s transformation into a computer-integrated manufacturing platform continues unabated. “The artificial intelligence that’s being incorporated into technology reduces makeready times, reproduces color consistently and provides feedback on performance — ensuring the finished product is of the highest quality,” says George Ryan, executive vice president and COO of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF). The artificial intelligence communication protocol Ryan is referring to is known as the Job Definition Format (JDF). And it’s a term you are sure to hear more about in the future. What is JDF? JDF is based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a standard