Weekly News Kickoff: Microsoft Turns 40 - (Archived)

Happy 40th birthday Microsoft. Like many who have reached that milestone age, 40 years under the belt is a good time to reflect on successes and failures, and look toward a bright and happy future. And tune into Federal News Radio at 3:00 today as “Amtower Off Center” host Mark Amtower interviews Lisa Dezzutti and Monica Mayk of MarketConnections on the changing landscape of marketing to the government. Welcome to the weekly news kickoff. Enjoy these highlights.

Microsoft Turns 40
Four decades and three CEOs later, Microsoft has evolved into an empire that continues to dominate personal computing around the world. There may not be a computer in every household around the world, but Microsoft is markedly closer to achieving this goal than it was upon its inception. In honor of Microsoft’s 40th birthday, InformationWeek reflects on the successes, failures, and lessons learned that built the company as it stands today.

Budget Cuts Overwhelm the IRS this Tax Season
Have you filed your taxes yet? Hopefully you don’t have any questions that need answers before you do so: Internal Revenue Service employees have been able to answer fewer than 40% of the taxpayer calls received this year, according to a statement the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) released last week. The statement says budget cuts have left the IRS understaffed, FierceGovernment reports.

Attacks Reveal China’s “Great Cannon” Cyber Weapon
Researchers say China has developed a powerful new cyber weapon capable of extending its censorship efforts, along with targeted cyberattacks, around the world, DefenseSystems reports. Citizen Lab released a report that says China used the tool late last month to conduct large-scale distributed denial of service attacks on websites and servers run by GreatFire.org. These servers and websites were trying to provide access to blocked Chinese websites. The tool, co-located with the Great Firewall, can hijack a computer and put it to use in a DDOS attack, the researchers said, and could easily be adapted to inject malicious code into any system that communicates with a website in China while not using encryption.

The “Tipping Point” of Innovative IT Acquisition
IT failure has become a way of life in the federal government, according to an article in FedScoop. In February, the Government Accountability Office’s 2015 High Risk Report called out the government for spending “billions of dollars on failed and poorly performing IT investments which often suffered from ineffective management.” As federal IT investment failures continue to stack up, innovators are coming out of the woodwork and banding together to reform antiquated acquisition.

Army Releases Cloud Computing Strategy
On Thursday, Gary Wang, Army Deputy CIO/G-6, released the Army’s Cloud Computing Strategy, FederalTimes reports. Wang said that transitioning to cloud-based solutions and services advances the Army’s long-term objective to reduce ownership, operation and sustainment of hardware and other commoditized IT. Procuring these capabilities as services will allow the Army to focus resources more effectively to meet evolving mission needs, he added.

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