Friday, June 27, 2003
More Microsoft Patterns & Practices
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Not in the US yet... but a strong leading indicator Via Scobleizer
Congrats to Steve Yost!
At the moment, my view is that the effort to produce a sophisticated web-based collaboration applications with Notes/Domino is much greater than to create the same thing targeted at the Notes Client. With the new Lotus Workplace strategy in place, creating web collaboration apps will much, much easier.
Notes is not dead, but there is a new dawn on the horizon."
Via Ed Brill
What's most bizarre about all this, of course, is that Apple makes good products. Let's be clear on this point: Mac OS X is excellent, and the Panther release, while not overly exciting, looks solid. And the company's hardware is of tremendous quality (I own two Macs and an iPod), with the PowerMac G5 clearly continuing this trend. And there are still excellent reasons to pick a Mac over a PC in certain situations. But Apple has been stretching the bounds of credibility with its performance claims for years now, and this latest example is, by far, the most bold. This situation, ultimately, is an embarrassment for both Apple and its customers. Perhaps the company needs to think its claim that the PowerMac G5 is the "world's fastest computer." Quite clearly, that is not the case."
Now that Mr. Reback is again practicing law in Palo Alto, Calif., after a three-year stint as an entrepreneur, Mr. Ellison's cheers for his erstwhile ally may well be turning to groans. Mr. Reback's first local client is PeopleSoft Inc., which has retained him to turn his extensive antitrust knowledge against Oracle's hostile, $6.3 billion takeover bid."
PeopleSoft better hope he's a bit more successful this time...
The program is being tested by at least 10 customers and will be available in the first quarter of next year, said Kai-Fu Lee, a Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of the company's natural interactive services division."
For example, Microsoft, true to tradition, has focused on expanding its list of features, while Apple has worked toward elegance and simplicity. Messenger is a cacophony of brightly colored buttons, panels, blinking advertisements and, in the new version, animated (and even homemade) smileys; iChat AV maintains the clean lines and brushed-metal "surfaces" of its text-only predecessors. The new features of Messenger 6 include custom window backgrounds and interactive games like checkers; iChat AV is dedicated solely to communication. Messenger 6, in its ultimate form, will be free; iChat AV will cost $30 (but will be free with Apple's next operating-system release, Mac OS X 10.3, code-named Panther, due by year's end)."
This kind of reporting must profoundly annoy the Windows Messenger product team; MSN Messenger is not the strategic IM client from MS... (Of course, it's not the reporter's fault; MS has very confusing real-time positioning at the moment.)
BTW with iChat, iSight, regular $129 Mac OS upgrades, etc., you're ultimately signing up for a rather large iAnnuity, if you're a leading-edge Apple customer...
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Even if Longhorn is a big improvement over Windows, it still won't ignite a revolution. Why? Because—and believe me, I never thought I'd say this in a million years—Microsoft's software is good enough. We all bitch and moan about one shortcoming or another, as I've often done in these pages over the years. But there's not a whole lot Microsoft can do to make its programs so much better that they justify the suffering we have to endure any time we upgrade to something new. Longhorn might get geeks all sweaty with desire, but to the rest of us, it's still just an operating system."
Via Ray Ozzie
However, Paul Flessner, who was senior vice president of the server platform division and who led the Server and Tools P&L, will "return to his roots of engineering management and will lead the Exchange, SQL and eBusiness Divisions, while reporting to Rudder," a Microsoft spokesman told eWEEK on Monday.
This is not a downward or sideways move for Flessner, the spokesman said, as Flessner "was looking to do less business work and more engineering."
2003/06/26 update: was probably user error on the table printing... Word 2003 seems very stable and robust overall.
Stephen O'Grady, an analyst with Red Monk LLC, a small-business market consultant in Bath, Maine, says: "IBM is pricing very aggressively. But they're going against the incumbent here. Lots of small and medium businesses just think Microsoft and go to them to buy a solution."
As Bill Gates once said to Jim Manzi, many years ago: "It's not a good idea to get into price competition with someone who has more money than you do."
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
BTW here's an overview of the 64-bit versions of Windows, including Windows XP 64-bit, which has been on the market for two years. Fascinating that Jobs can still leverage his "reality distortion field" on demand...
More to file under "wishful thinking"
Monday, June 23, 2003
Microsoft's Windows brands now include these:
Windows XP. Microsoft's most advanced desktop operating system, Windows XP is at the center of ongoing personal computing innovation. With Windows XP, home users can experience the digital world as never before, while business users can work smarter and faster. Specialized editions include Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition. More information can be found at the Microsoft Windows XP Web site.
Windows Server 2003. Windows Server (TM) 2003 includes all the functionality, such as enhancements in security, reliability, availability and scalability, that customers need in a Windows Server operating system to do more with less. In addition, Microsoft has improved and extended the Windows Server operating systems to incorporate the benefits of Microsoft .NET for connecting information, people, systems and devices. More information can be found at the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web site.
Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile software, including Pocket PC and Smartphone, seeks to enable intelligent communications: not just connecting devices, but connecting people and their data so they can get things done. Windows Mobile solutions reduce the complexity and constraints that hobble the flow of personal and business communications, helping individuals and organizations achieve their productivity goals. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/."
: "Peter Moore, the Microsoft corporate vice president responsible for Xbox, was speaking at a gaming summit in London this week when he suddenly unleashed a scathing attack on Nintendo's product strategy, concentrating especially on its best-selling GameBoy device. '[Handheld gaming] is a very solitary, time-killing activity,' he said, noting that Microsoft had no plans to enter this market. 'We believe that the future is the social element of gaming, and that's going to be done through a console, not through a handheld gaming device.' And who would know more about the gaming market than the man who loses $50 on every game machine he sells? After all, the Xbox isn't raking in the big bucks that the GameBoy is. Furthermore, someone should point out to Moore that gaming is the fastest-growing nonphone application for cell phones. Someone should force this guy to spend interminable hours alone on a plane, train, or bus. "
Yeah, MS will focus exclusively on multi-player, time-killing game activities, but apparently not any place/time/device...
The survey found that while half of the companies monitored employee e-mail, and three-quarters of the companies had e-mail policies in place, fewer than half provided employee education programs on using e-mail."
Sunday, June 22, 2003
Actually, I think this may be yet another indication that the mainstream blog meme has jumped the shark. Blogs will still be interesting and useful in many contexts, but they're not for everyone and they're not going to revolutionize mainstream media anytime soon.
Saturday, June 21, 2003
"We watched the Discovery Channel show on the Xbox and, boy was that weird. Most of the show was filmed in the labs where we were hanging out today. Total deja vue. ..."
Friday, June 20, 2003
Feature-wise, this phone is loaded. It has a camera that snaps 640 x 480-pixel photos; a five-way navigation knob; and a slot for an SD expansion card. Unlike most cellphones (and earlier Treos), it has separate speakers for your ear and for the speakerphone. That second speaker can play MP3 music files, too, so your phone can be your radio as you paint or lie on the beach.
Handspring has also addressed two complaints about the original Treo. First—hallelujah -- there’s now a separate Applications button that summons your list of Palm programs. Second, the new Treo’s battery is as strong as the earlier battery was weak. Handspring estimates that in the final design, you’ll get about six hours of talk time per charge.
This phone can send SMS (short messaging service) text messages to other phones—no surprise there. But think about it: Most SMS messages trigger responses, and responses to responses. So Handspring’s SMS screen looks exactly like an instant-messaging chat window, with previous exchanges scrolling up like a screenplay. It’s an ingenious, clutter-saving stroke."
Thursday, June 19, 2003
There seems to be a trend here...
Mr. Gore is pursuing the creation of a cable network, several people involved in the discussions said, and has met with media executives to explore program formats and distribution possibilities."
At first I didn?t think about that, but then I did, and I realized?for all the talk about weblogs these days, weblogs are actually very old.
In fact?I did some quick checking, and I think weblogs were invented ten years and four days ago. Check out the June 14, 1993 date at the bottom of the archive for What?s New with NCSA Mosaic.
Happy tenth birthday to weblogs!
More modern weblogs date back to 1997. For instance, here are the first posts for Scripting News and CamWorld.
The first weblog authoring software that I know of is NewsPage, from May 1997."
Actually, smart tag technology is significantly expanded in Office 2003, and there's a new smart document feature as well. Winer and Walt Mossberg quite effectively (and spuriously) stigmatized smart tag technology two years ago, but it is definitely not defunct. To be more precise: yes smart tag technology was yanked from IE in 2001 due to the controversy Winer referenced, but it is still a big part of Office XP and a bigger part of Office 2003.
As all this proceeds, the sounds you hear in the background are chuckles. Microsoft, moving into this line of business, and SAP, already there in great force, could be the big winners when this is over."
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
SCO executives assert there is a "don't ask, don't tell" mentality toward intellectual property that pervades the Linux programming culture. As an example, they point to an e-mail message exchange last August on the Linux mailing list. One programmer said there was a patent matter that "we can't just ignore."
Mr. Torvalds replied, "Actually, we can, and I will."
"I do not look up any patents on principle because (a) it's a horrible waste of time and (b) I don't want to know.""
FYI my latest Smart Solutions column
What you won't find in this press release (or the corresponding Q&A):
1. A reference to Windows Messenger, the IM client bundled with Windows XP and Microsoft's strategic offering for enterprises
2. Any references to standards such as SIP and SIMPLE
Obviously Microsoft's consumer- and enterprise-focused product teams have different priorities.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
He said Sun isn't vulnerable to any legal claims from SCO because it bought a Unix license outright years ago.
Mr. McNealy said Sun has more invested in the open-source software movement than rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co., which he said can fall back on the Windows operating system from Microsoft Corp."
That's a big switch from previous plans, under which Microsoft relied on a worldwide network of resellers to find customers and sell its software, ideally for profit. Resellers are always pulled into EA agreements, but to service deals largely consummated by Microsoft. Microsoft then pays them a commission out of fees paid to Microsoft by the customer.
"We now estimate that 30 (percent) to 35 percent of large customers have Microsoft Enterprise Agreements," said Alvin Park, an analyst at Gartner. That's up from 15 percent in the recent past."
But it seems as if Microsoft corporate is beginning to take more of an active interest in how its employees are expressing their opinions in their Web logs.
On Tuesday, as part of its ongoing series of discussions about Microsoft and community, the company is holding an internal panel to discuss employee Weblogging."
Microsoft Announces Beta Availability of New Version of Microsoft Producer For Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
Producer 2003 offers users enhanced integration with PowerPoint 2003 as well as unmatched audio and video quality thanks to built-in support for Windows Media® 9 Series. It also introduces cross-platform compatibility with support for Mac and Netscape users, which broadens the potential audience for Producer-authored presentations, and complies with the basic requirements for Information Management System (IMS) and Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) e-learning standards. The beta version of Producer 2003 is available for download."
Elsewhere: "To use the beta release of Producer 2003, you must have PowerPoint 2003 beta 2 or higher (available as part of the Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003) or PowerPoint 2002 with Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional. Licensing for the beta release of Producer 2003 is covered under the Office 2003 End-User License Agreement or the Office XP End-User License Agreement."
The Linux operating system has experienced particularly strong growth in corporate markets. Gartner, a market research concern, recently reported that Linux increased its market share in the server market, but the overall market declined in 2002.
Mr. Torvalds will become the first fellow of the Open Source Development Lab, a nonprofit consortium based in Beaverton, Ore."
Monday, June 16, 2003
1. Notes is not like dBASE; nothing else on the market does everything that Notes does today.
2. IBM's ambivalent positioning/advertising/attitude about Notes obfuscates this fact in a lot of ambiguous WebSphere-centric noise.
I'm still perplexed by ASP.NET Web Matrix -- either it's a placeholder until MS can cram all of its features into Visual Studio.NET or the Microsoft "strategy tax" dimensions Steve Gillmor and others have discussed are not uniformly enforced... The FrontPage team can't be too thrilled about overlap, in any case.
So far, he is already pursuing one of those goals: The hostile bid that was announced June 6 has created so much uncertainty about PeopleSoft's future and that of J. D. Edwards & Company — the software company that PeopleSoft agreed to acquire earlier this month — that some potential clients are being advised not to place orders. (Ted Kempf, an analyst at Gartner Research who advises companies about software purchases, told his clients last week to avoid PeopleSoft until the takeover fight was resolved.)"
Sunday, June 15, 2003
My $.02: the people who created RDF were right to work toward a meta-metamodel that isn't constrained by document-centricity, but they should have spent more time exploring another general-purpose meta-metamodel, the relational model (as in Codd's definition, not any current implementation). There's a lot of unnecessary re-invention going on, as a result.
Saturday, June 14, 2003
MySQL has some 4 million users. Widenius' focus on ease of installation and backward compatibility, not just robust data-handling (which is essential), help make the software so popular. Increasingly, he says, it's being used in embedded systems."
Small world -- SAP recently licensed its DBMS technology to MySQL (details). SAP, which will still control twice as much of the ERP etc. market as Oracle even if the Oracle-PeopleSoft-JDE deals happen (unlikely), has essentially open-sourced its industrial-strength DBMS...
Sad to see the angst-filled commentary on various weblogs on this announcement. It's no surprise to me. Microsoft has been telegraphing this for years. They never wanted the Web. Never. They had to control it because it threatened them, or so they thought. Their strategy is to lock things back up to the way they were before the Web, in 1994 or so. Read what Bill Gates said then. 'The Internet is a great phenomena. I dont see how the emergence of more information content on a network can be a bad thing for the personal computer industry. Will it cause less personal computers to sell? I think quite the opposite. Less copies of Flight Simulator or Encarta?' Later, it became clear to Bill that my thesis was correct. The Internet had made all his complex technology irrelevant. He had been routed around. It was cool! It took him ten years to erase the Web as a threat. It's done now. He owns it, it's in the trunk (I know you don't like to hear this) it's locked, and they're driving it off a cliff into the ocean. It's weird to see people just figuring this out now. Don't go back to sleep, please. This is reality. What we all do next should reflect this. "
(Somebody call Oliver Stone; there has to be a movie in this somewhere...)
For years, SCO — whose previous corporate name was Caldera Systems — has tried to build a Linux business of its own. Since Linux's code is distributed free and is improved and debugged by a loose-knit, far-flung network of programmers, most companies pursuing a business in Linux try to make money by offering technical support for Linux or developing specialized software that runs on Linux.
A year ago, SCO brought in a new chief executive, Darl C. McBride. He quickly decided the company was losing ground "chasing the Linux dream," he said in a recent interview. So he decided the company's best path was to focus on its Unix business, largely by aggressively enforcing its license rights. But lawyers who have looked at its license agreements question whether SCO owns the broad rights it asserts."
Friday, June 13, 2003
Maybe the folks at Microsoft could show Apple how to build an effective "Chinese wall" between their OS and app groups...
FYI -- my view on SharePoint's role in Microsoft's collaboration strategy.
(In theory you need an id/pw to access the article; the bimonthly magazine print columns are supposed to be for subscribers only, while the monthly email/newsletter columns are open-access.)
If true, this taints both Linux and Unix, which is sad, but hey, life goes on. It should be very interesting to see how it all plays out. What I STILL can't figure how SCO blames this all on IBM. "
Column also includes some interesting speculation about UWB.
As I noted earlier this week: the blogging tool/server/service space is still very much a work-in-progress.
Actually, the "nifty fifty" weren't all that nifty. I created a few of them... They were okay as basic templates but much more is required to clearly impart the ways in which Notes can be used for collaborative apps.
(Italics mine -- have to wonder if he meant Blackcomb instead of Longhorn)
Via Microsoft Watch
Inevitable, for commercial TV, I'm afraid...
Thursday, June 12, 2003
If Ellison is serious about acquiring PeopleSoft, the takeover will signify a defeat for him, said Marc Benioff, a former Oracle executive who is now CEO of Salesforce.com.
"It would mean Larry has decided Oracle can't innovate on its own any more and needs to buy customers," Benioff said."
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
The RAV product line will be discontinued after Microsoft completes the acquisition of the technology, Microsoft said. GeCAD, which claims its products protect over 10 million users worldwide, will support current customers through the end of their contracts, Microsoft said.
The acquisition has observers questioning Microsoft's ultimate intentions and wondering what the Redmond, Washington, software maker wants with technology that powers leading virus scanning tools for e-mail servers on Linux platforms, rivals to Microsoft's Windows and Exchange products."
I hope AT&T Wireless (my service provider) is paying close attention...
Netflix is very useful, but if Wal-Mart offers a comparable service and doesn't annoy me with pop-up ads (as Netflix does), I'll switch.
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft will buy technology of Romanian firm in antivirus deal
It could be a year or more before Microsoft begins selling its antivirus product. First it has to complete the GeCAD acquisition and assimilate the company and its technology.
The antivirus product will be sold as a subscription service, said Mike Nash, the vice president heading Microsoft's Security Business Unit.
"It's really meant to be something that complements things that are out there today," Nash said. "We want to make sure we're closing the gap on malicious code.""
Yeah, I'm sure Symantec and Network Associates have nothing to worry about...
p.s. in the "glass houses" department: Ed's Notes-based blog is doubly busticated; he notes some posting problems here and his RSS feed includes almost a full set of duplicate entries today. I don't mean to pick on Ed or Notes, or to suggest that I think the Smart Solutions subscription form bug is excusable; these are simply more timely reminders of the work-in-progress theme...
Mr. Ellison sees his company's mainstay product, the Oracle database, as the corporate computing equivalent of the Windows operating system. On top of the database run a series of what are known as enterprise applications, which corporations use to automate business tasks like accounting and procurement as well as customer relations and human resources programs."
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
"Microsoft is hoping Windows SharePoint Services will kick off an orgy of Web development inside the organization, and this is one of the ways you take advantage of that," Helm said. "FrontPage is being positioned as what you use if the generic SharePoint tools aren't enough."
"They might like to take a little business away from Macromedia or Adobe," he added. "But it's really important to have FrontPage just to support what Microsoft wants to do with the server. Microsoft needs a tool that's friendly with its way of using server resources.""
Mr. Burgum says the application market for large businesses is "not interesting for us." Instead, Microsoft will continue driving into the market for small- and medium-size business customers while trying to fend off any big interlopers. Microsoft's approach is to create a set of software components that its resellers can customize for specific sectors and regions. Mr. Burgum estimates that some 3,600 software vendors sell programs for smaller businesses, making the segment ripe for Microsoft to bring standardization."
Monday, June 09, 2003
The software, Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, is a new technological platform designed to run on the digital cable boxes atop many television sets.
The software includes applications for cable operators to create and deliver on-screen TV guides, movies-on-demand, and interactive advertisements for their customers.
It's Microsoft's most promising foray yet into interactive TV and advanced digital TV services in a 10-year-long history of "ineffectual" efforts, said Josh Bernoff, principal analyst with Forrester Research.
In the past, Bernoff said, Microsoft TV was working on "the wrong product at the wrong time. Now it's a lot closer to being the right product at the right time," he said. "It doesn't mean they win, but at least they get to compete."
"But you'll have to look hard to find Cisco's famous suspension-bridge logo on store shelves crammed with networking gear from lesser-known rivals such as Netgear, D-Link and Buffalo. In a sharp departure from its traditional pattern of swallowing and quickly integrating acquisitions, Cisco executives say they plan to leave Linksys alone.
That means keeping the Linksys brand and blue-themed color scheme, while merely whispering Cisco's name in small type at the bottom of the box. It means keeping Linksys's low-cost design and manufacturing operation in Taiwan and China. It means allowing Linksys to keep separate financial software, so the unit can track expenses more closely. It even means installing Cisco executives as "blockers" to prevent other Cisco employees from meddling with Linksys.
Linksys has been developing more sophisticated products in recent years to push further into the small-business market. But Mr. Giancarlo says Cisco may slow or reverse those efforts, to keep Linksys focused on the consumer and very-small business market.
Alan Marc Smith, chief executive of Westcon Group, Tarrytown, N.Y., a big Cisco distributor, summarizes the strategy more pithily: "They want to limit the [Linksys] offerings," he says. "They don't want [customers] flipping to the Linksys technology for half the price."
That doesn't bode well for Linksys...
Do a release of MS Linux. Create Office for Linux. Improve Linux support in your development tools. Do such a good job of embracing and extending Linux that the world won't care when you essentially annex it for your own. A more cynical person than myself might add: Then you can kill it. I won't, because I believe Linux deserves to live."
Not a great week for Linux press thus far...
Tangent: check out Microsoft in the Mirror for some first-person accounts of Microsoft's evolution, including one chapter written by someone who worked on Xenix (essentially Microsoft UNIX, which predated NT and OS/2, and was created with the assistance of none other than SCO; see this for one historical perspective on of the MS/SCO relationship). Much of the book is focused on the trials and tribulations of adjusting to retirement at 35 and other personal perspectives, but there are some useful MS historical factoids as well.
This is a good Internet advertising reality check -- it persists because in some cases it's quite effective.
Sunday, June 08, 2003
"Software maker Corel on Friday said its directors have agreed to a takeover bid from San Francisco-based Vector Capital that values the company at $97.6 million, or $1.05 per share.
The bid is more, but not substantially more, than the $73 million in cash that Corel had at the end of February, the end of its first quarter."
Entropy is on the rise in the ISV space...
"Ballmer Verifies Longhorn Plans in Note to Microsoft Employees
Thanks to yet another leaked email message from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to his employees, we now know a few crucial details about the company and its plans ("Linux is a threat" and so on). As far as I'm concerned, the only interesting parts of this message concern Longhorn, the next major version of Windows, currently due in 2005. "In addition to the Longhorn client, there will be a Longhorn version of Office, Longhorn server enhancements, Longhorn development tools, and a Longhorn version of MSN," Ballmer wrote. "We will do the work and take the time required to get it right, because it truly is the next quantum leap in computing, which will put us years ahead of any other product on the market." In other words, yep, you guessed it. Longhorn could be delayed, even beyond 2005. Unbelievable, isn't it?
The Letdown That was TechEd 2003
And speaking of TechEd 2003: What happens when Microsoft plans one of the biggest launch parties in its history but none of the products show up? Well, after wiping that "deer in the headlights" look out of their eyes, the company's PR people started talking "vision" instead. Boring? Oh yeah. This year's TechEd was originally going to be a coming-out party for the new Microsoft Office System and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. Instead, TechEd 2003 began as a giant apology and ended with a whimper: No new products are ready, Microsoft has no definitive release dates for those products, and the show had little real meat for its 10,000 attendees. Exchange and Office will ship at some indeterminate date later this summer, and even the promised Office 2003 Beta 2 Refresh won't ship until late June. Virtually every product touted at the show is destined for a late 2003 or 2004 launch. In one painful example, Paul Flessner, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server Platform Division, presented one of the most exciting products--Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services--during his keynote address, leading many people to believe the product is ready. It isn't ready, and the public beta won't even ship until late this year."
Fred A. Hood, chief information officer at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, a J. D. Edwards customer that is evaluating products from SAP and Oracle, said the takeover bid could worry PeopleSoft's customers.
"If I were a PeopleSoft customer, I'd be a tad nervous," he said. "I'd want to have a say, and I think shareholders are going to want to know what customers think." Mr. Hood said he understood the benefits of the merger of PeopleSoft and J. D. Edwards because it would expand the product line. With the Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft, however, he said, the result for customers would be less rather than more."
Friday, June 06, 2003
"It's like having a wedding and Larry [Ellison] showing up with a shotgun trying to get someone to marry him," said Mr. Conway, who joined PeopleSoft in 1999 and worked at Oracle for eight years.
Oracle's offer represented a premium of 5.9% to PeopleSoft's closing price of $15.11 a share Thursday. But in trading Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, shares of PeopleSoft surged $3.10, or 21%, to $18.21, indicating investors are betting Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., may have to raise its bid to close the deal. Shares of Oracle, meanwhile, fell 32 cents to $13.04, also on Nasdaq.
PeopleSoft's Mr. Conway acknowledged that Oracle's move could confuse customers and result in a protracted dispute. But he vowed not to let Oracle "distract or disrupt" the J.D. Edwards acquisition or PeopleSoft's current quarter, which ends June 30. "People will see through this for what it is: a ludicrous concept with malicious intent," Mr. Conway said."
Oracle plans to offer $16 a share for PeopleSoft. Earlier this week, PeopleSoft unveiled a deal to snap up another software maker, J.D. Edwards & Co. In announcing its offer Friday morning, Oracle said it hadn't made a decision on whether the J.D. Edwards deal would proceed if its bid for PeopleSoft is successful."
Roll up for the magical mystery tour... $.07 (my standard bet) says this deal doesn't happen. SAP and Microsoft would stand to gain the most, if it did happen, since the conventional wisdom would almost certainly conclude that PeopleSoft (and JD Edwards) on non-Oracle platforms would atrophy.
Oracle and Apple have a lot in common -- they both seem to think it's okay to have fewer customers than their archrivals, as long as they have a larger percent of wallet from each customer, cradle-to-grave. Not a bad business model, in the grand scheme of things, but also one not particularly well aligned with Wall Street expectations, over the long run (unless you happen to also be a monopolist, of course).
(See comment following the next post...)
But in many ways, this market feels like a restrained version of the happy days before the bubble burst. Palm stock rose 31 percent over the two days after the deal was announced. Investors might have been slow in understanding how the deal would work, but they wasted no time in focusing on the possibilities of growth that came from reuniting Palm with its founders."
I am seeing many symptoms of localized "irrational exuberance" these days -- very disconcerting when I ponder the ramifications of the last such wave...
The software company said it has named Marshall Phelps, 58 years old, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property. Mr. Phelps retired from IBM in 2000 after 28 years, last serving as vice president for intellectual property and licensing. Mr. Phelps will join Microsoft June 16."
Thursday, June 05, 2003
In late 2000, an internal MS memo (leaked to eWeek), indicated that "Yukon" would be key to a future MSe-mail server.
In late 2001, MS finally admitted that "Kodiak" was under development, based on "Yukon", and said it would ship in 2003
In 2002, MS says, oh, we wanted to ship "Titanium" based on the current clumsy "JET" database first!
In 2003, just days after IBM Lotus ships a mail server built on DB2, MS says, oh, we need longer for Yukon, and "Kodiak" is now in 2006!
We took Lotus Workplace Messaging from concept to shipping product in less than 12 months. MS is now tracking five to six years to do the same. I'm speechless."
File under "wishful thinking"...
"Our view on this differentiates us from I.B.M.," Mr. Ballmer wrote. "They believe I.T. is fundamentally complex and confusing and that customers should pay consultants for loads of services to help master that complexity."
I.B.M. was the only corporate competitor Mr. Ballmer mentioned by name in his message. And in the Microsoft view, I.B.M. is the guiding hand behind Linux.
"I.B.M.'s endorsement of Linux has added credibility and an illusion of support and accountability, although the reality is that there is no center of gravity, or central body, investing in the health and growth of noncommercial software or innovating in critical areas like engineering, manageability, compatibility and security," Mr. Ballmer wrote."
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Better late than never... maybe.
Skim the entire column; he has some good points to consider.
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
"Residents of the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex are mostly unaware of the Dallas Convention Center. The facility, though vast, seems to sink beneath the concrete when it isn't hosting a show.
TechEd is Microsoft's yearly fete for mid-level IT people, the life blood of companies' technical operations. This conference is one of two chances (the Professional Developer's Conference is the other) to rummage around in the brains of Redmond's best and brightest.
The subject of my first bit of face time was on the subject of Yukon, Microsoft's next major release of SQL Server. Microsoft will ship a private beta of Yukon by the end of June. 1,000 big customers and development partners will be in on the private beta, which remarkably will be feature-complete. A broader public beta is slated for early 2004. I expected Yukon to dominate both the show and my attention; it managed neither. Instead, the wow factor here is BizTalk Server 2004.
Earlier articles on Yukon put it at the center of the Windows Server System, the new moniker for Microsoft's entire stack of server software. Either through the absence of vendor-supplied details or misleading PR, Yukon looked like the filesystem for Longhorn, the next major release of Windows. Microsoft has straightened that out (Longhorn will connect to Yukon, but it's not required).
Instead, BizTalk Server 2004 will be the Sun around which the rest of the Windows Server System revolves. It seems perfectly deserving of that role, having been the unacknowledged star of Microsoft's product line since its introduction. Now BizTalk has, at long last, been rewritten in managed code. The significance of that effort is enormous. BizTalk now lives on the .Net framework, permits the use of scripts written in any .Net language, and stores orchestrations as .Net assemblies. Integration with Visual Studio .Net is much tighter. One bit that took me completely by surprise: Office XP's incredible InfoPath XML forms client is wired into BizTalk as a front end.
For those interested in such trivia, BizTalk Server 2004 is the largest managed-code application ever developed. That isn't truly trivia if you consider the effort required and the fact that the effort was invested first on BizTalk. That gives you a sense of the weight BizTalk throws around in Redmond.
Now the InfoWorld reviews process begins, and lest I wind up disagreeing with myself (I do this often, but try not to do so publicly), I'll save my other observations until I've had some hands-on time with BizTalk Server 2004."
Okay, that's a bit extreme, but it's nice to see Dave Wascha et al finally get some recognition for BizTalk and its pivotal role...
Ironically, of course, this is precisely the sort of development that could cause Microsoft to revitalize (the now reportedly largely "stablized") IE, regardless of "strategy tax" opportunity costs.
Ditto on "Whidbey," the Visual Studio.Net tools release that is tightly tied to Yukon. Rather than first half of 2004, expect Whidbey in the second half of next year.
"Kodiak," the version of Microsoft Exchange Server that will follow Exchange Server 2003, is now a 2006+ product, rather than a 2005 one.
"Jupiter," Microsoft's e-business server suite, is still due out in two phases. The first phase, BizTalk Server 2004, will likely next year, rather than this year. The second phase – an integrated bundle of BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and Content Server – is now due out in 2005, rather than 2004."
Other Microsoft platforms include Application Infrastructure, Information Worker Infrastructure, and Operations Infrastructure. Upcoming Application Infrastructure products include BizTalk Server 2004, SQL Server "Yukon," and Visual Studio .NET "Whidbey," all due in 2004, and Visual Studio "Orcas" and the "Jupiter" eBusiness suite, which are due in 2005. Upcoming Information Worker Infrastructure products include SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, Office 2003, Project Server 2003, and RTC Server 2003, all due in 2003; Office for Longhorn, RTC Server v2, and SharePoint Portal Server v3, all due in 2005; and Exchange Server "Kodiak," which is due in 2006-7; "Exchange 'Kodiak' [is] the much talked about version of Exchange that will be running on top of SQL Server," Flessner said. "This will give you all of the advantages of Web services and standard toolkits built-in." For Operations Infrastructure products, we can expect System Management Server (SMS) 2003 this year, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2004 and the System Center Suite (SMS 2003 + MOM 2004) in early 2004, and System Center v2 in 2006.
Summing up the roadmap, Flessner explained that Microsoft's mission was very simple. "Microsoft is a software company," he said. "That's really all we do. We're not confused about it. We're not a hardware company. We make a couple of keyboards and some mice and some other silly stuff but it's not anything that makes any money. I don't make any money on our services organization. We have 4,000 MCS people around the world whose job is to really engage customers early and to work with partners and bring in partners to make sure that the systems integrators around the world are helping build the applications that you need and the help you need and overall it takes all of these partners to make sure that the solutions come to market."
But although this will make Symbian the world’s leading smartphone platform, shipping on 14 percent of all handsets that year, it will not guarantee platform ownership for Symbian.
“Contrary to popular belief, the biggest threat currently facing Symbian is not Microsoft,” says Jessica Figueras, senior analyst with Ovum. “It is the long-running debate over what Symbian is fundamentally for.”"
So... they're predicting, circa 2007, that Symbian will have 14% of the handset market, and MS 3%, but that MS will have a very strong franchise in the enterprise market. Timely reality check.
In general, this settlement indicates that the so-called "browser wars" were one of the many over-hyped aspects of the Internet. Many said--and Microsoft acted as if it believed--that browsers would somehow replace the operating system, destroying Microsoft's core product. That was just an idle thought. Today, it looks like Netscape, which set off the Internet boom, was an idle thought, too."
Monday, June 02, 2003
Groove Networks - Press Releases - Groove Networks Expands Integration With Windows SharePoint Services and the Microsoft Office System
"Bill Gates finally takes this public, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal's D conference and leaked blogging. "Microsoft is also betting on mesh networks -- Gates believes that by spreading WiFi backhall [backhaul] among large numbers of clients, WiFi will facilitate broadband for everyone that may serve to replace cellular networks under many circumstances. Gates predicts mesh networks will be mainstream in the next 5 years and he's presumably already looking to build software to address the problems associated with the multiplicity of base stations."
Now we'll wait for the other part of this shoe to drop."
People didn't understand what it meant to have the "Yukon storage technologies in Longhorn," and I think that Microsoft doesn't want to set a false expectation about what these features will look like. The benefit of using the Yukon technologies to enhance the Windows file system is that you can use these powerful tools to better manage your files; search for information; and share this information with other applications in a much more structured manner, with a dramatic performance improvement over traditional file-system technologies."
Soon, these devices will be able to store hours of video and capture vivid still pictures. Big Brother may be watching over us, but this new army of private Little Brothers will have far more impact on how we see the world, and, how the world -- literally -- sees us.
Cellphone companies are selling the new phones as a technology confection, a way to spontaneously snap photos of a newborn and deliver them immediately to Grandma and Grandpa. After all, most people carry their phones with them at all times. And phone maker Nokia says that more than 60% keep them powered on for more than six hours daily.
It is this instant, pistol-drawing availability that will escalate our culture's worst voyeuristic habits. Health clubs have already begun to ban the phones from locker rooms, for obvious reasons. And in the near future there won't be a barroom fistfight, politician's liaison or celebrity gaffe that goes undocumented. In this world of truly ubiquitous surveillance, serendipity doesn't matter. Someone, somewhere, will always get the shot."
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