Behind the headlines: What next-gen IT really needs to know

From Microsoft Surface to Apple iCloud security, the media keeps missing main concerns for next-generation IT pros

These days, the business and IT trade press seems to be missing some basic and obvious questions. From the Microsoft Surface to Yahoo to cloud break-ins to the ongoing demise of the personal computer, tech news or analysis has been leaving a lot of fundamental stones unturned.

Some of the currents and concerns behind these stories are integral to the changing face of IT, so missing key questions does you a disservice. To that end, here are the missing questions and how they're relevant to next-generation IT (except for a few that aren't, but annoyed me too much to ignore).

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With that in mind, here is an IT geezer's perspective on the latest headlines, complete with questions I'm pretty sure most of you have wondered about -- especially as they pertain to IT moving forward. I'll even provide some answers.

The real litmus test for Microsoft Surface

If Microsoft has accomplished anything by announcing Surface, it is that for the first time ever people are thinking of Microsoft as a serious tablet contender, with significant potential for next-gen IT. If Windows 8 turns out to be a decent tablet OS, its integration into the enterprise architecture will be orders of magnitude easier than any non-Windows-based alternative.

But the big uncovered story about the forthcoming Microsoft-branded Windows 8 tablet is that its success hinges almost entirely on Microsoft's App Store attracting developers willing to sell their wares for the sub-$10 price tag Apple has established in its App Store. After all, without Apple's App Store, the iPad would be little more than a very pricey and inefficient mirror.

The next-gen IT question(s): Will the Microsoft App Store be curated, and if so, will it be curated well? Either way, how easy will it be for enterprise IT to hook in its own App Store to provide employees with tested and approved apps they can rely on?

Meanwhile, lots of commentators are making a very big deal about Microsoft selling hardware as well as software, thereby competing with its channel partners, some of which are throwing public tantrums.

Are you as puzzled as I am that nobody has opined about Google's Nexus tablet, which runs on Google's own Android OS and competes with Google's channel partners? If there's a large difference between Google and Microsoft when it comes to selling hardware that competes with channel partners, it has yet to be adequately explained.

What it will take for Mayer to turn around Yahoo

Yahoo hired Marissa Mayer away from Google to be its new CEO -- an announcement that generated lots of coverage about Mayer, her abilities, what she's done for Google, and whether losing her will hamper Google's long-term success.

Here are the questions everyone I know who doesn't write for the business press has asked me: Isn't she covered by a noncompete clause, and if so, how can she take the job with Yahoo? If she isn't, why isn't she? This is, after all, a standard precaution with highly placed executives. What gives?

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