Hot Topics: IT Hiring, Windows Phone 7

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 11-08-2010

Hot Topics: IT Hiring, Windows Phone 7

While happenings in the mobility sector dominated the news again last week, it's the outlook for IT jobs that leaves us the most optimistic. Indeed, it seems tech job openings are on the rise in just about every major U.S. city. Meanwhile, for those of us handicapping the ongoing smartphone battles, the latest news shows Windows Phone 7 sold out in Europe even as the BlackBerry OS continues to dominate market share in the U.S. Other big news? Microsoft's efforts to appeal to small businesses with a new server offering, and the latest zero-day exploit hits Internet Explorer. Read on for the week's five hot topics.

Tech Job Openings on the Rise

Tech job openings are becoming more common, according to online job board Dice. In Silicon Valley alone, there has been a whopping 61 percent increase in new openings. Tech job growth has also been witnessed in Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, and several other places around the U.S. All told, job vacancies are on the rise just about everywhere.

The CIO Insight

This bodes well as an indicator of overall business confidence. Indeed, tech jobs are pacing well ahead of overall national unemployment figures. However, with the pool of talent available and the pace of technological change taking place in many IT organizations, some CIOs are turning to contract or temporary tech hiring.  The reason? To keep their operations as agile and scalable as possible.

Windows Phone 7 Sells Out in Europe

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is performing extremely well in Europe  In fact, in some areas, devices running Microsoft's latest mobile operating system are sold out. Windows Phone 7 has yet to hit U.S. store shelves, so it's tough to say how it will perform here, but it certainly seems that the company's mobile OS is off to a good start.

The CIO Insight

Exactly what that means for you and your company is anyone's guess. Dell has already stated that it will be migrating its smartphone users from the BlackBerry OS to Windows Phone 7. Of course, the tech vendor has a big stake in the game: Dell is one of several manufacturers marketing new Phone 7 devices. Microsoft's platform seems to be more consumer-focused than enterprise-focused. However, Microsoft has said that Windows Phone 7 will integrate well with Windows. So, it's at least worth considering if you want to switch from the phones your company's employees are currently using.

BlackBerry OS Reigns Supreme in U.S.

RIM might be facing some issues competing in the mobile market with Apple and Google, but the company can find solace in the fact that its operating system is still tops. Market-research firm ComScore found that RIM's BlackBerry OS has 37.3 percent market share in the mobile market. It's being trailed by Apple and Google with 24.3 percent and 21.4 percent market share, respectively.

The CIO Insight

RIM's success in the mobile market, though waning, is very much a reflection of the value the enterprise sees in the company's BlackBerry operating system. The company is also courting business uers with the offer of free software for its BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express that enables uers to access IBM Lotus Notes. Going forward, the big question will be whether you and your colleagues continue to see value in BlackBerry OS. Given Apple's recent efforts to be more enterprise-friendly with iOS, the iPhone might be more enterprise-viable than ever.

Microsoft Unveils Pricing for Small Business Server

Microsoft has finally given names and pricing to its Small Business Servers.  The first option, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, will retail for around $545. That product can be accessed from the Web, and includes backup and file-restoration. Small Business Server Standard will retail for $1,096. According to Microsoft, Essentials will be available in the first half of 2010, while the Standard option will launch in February.

The CIO Insight

Chances are, you've been waiting for pricing on the Small Business Server options Microsoft was touting all these months. Overall, they look quite nice. And since the Essentials option includes access to Office 365, it might be a fine solution if you don't necessarily need all the bells and whistles of the Standard version.

Zero-Day Exploit Hits Internet Explorer

Security experts have found a zero-day exploit affecting Internet Explorer. According to Symantec, which first uncovered the issue, the exploit allows a remote program to run on the affected person's computer without their knowledge. It's delivered as people browse to a seemingly legitimate Web site that has been compromised.

The CIO Insight

Internet Explorer security issues are nothing new. And it's clear that Microsoft has a long way to go to improve the security of its browser. Remind employees to be cautious when using Internet Explorer and to not click on links that they don't necessarily believe will lead them to a trustworthy site. Unfortunately, we've been down this road with Microsoft many, many times before.