Friday, August 29, 2003

Barry Briggs: Gee, Scott, Couldn't You Innovate Just a Little?

Barry Briggs: Gee, Scott, Couldn't You Innovate Just a Little?
"I just saw Sun's new Linux desktop, called Mad Hatter, which is "designed to be familiar to business desktop application users;" read "a complete ripoff of the Windows XP user interface," right down to the branding on the side of the Start menu.
When I worked on Lotus 1-2-3(tm) years ago, we spent untold amounts of time designing its user interface, coding it, testing its usability, refining it, and documenting it. A user interface represents an enormous amount of intellectual and capital investment for a software company; when the 1-2-3 clones arrived I certainly felt that they were taking advantage of our work.
The more important question is, why not innovate? Sun certainly has the capital and the developers. Innovation and competition make all of us developers better."

I had a similar reaction -- Sun appears to be betting on "good enough" in most of its software endeavors these days, while Microsoft, with its 2003 product releases (and beyond), is innovating a lot.
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