Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Download details: Microsoft Dynamic Systems Initiative

Download details: Microsoft Dynamic Systems Initiative "The Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) is a Microsoft and industry effort to enhance the Microsoft® Windows® platform and deliver a coordinated set of solutions that dramatically simplify and automate how businesses design, deploy, and operate distributed systems.
The distributed nature of modern applications and systems, combined with the ever increasing requirement of IT to respond to new business requirements, has led to increased complexity in modern IT infrastructure; a level of complexity that spans the entire IT life cycle, presenting challenges associated with developing, deploying, and operating these systems. The Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) is a Microsoft and industry effort to enhance the Microsoft® Windows® platform and deliver a coordinated set of solutions that dramatically simplify and automate how businesses design, deploy, and operate distributed systems. Microsoft is investing heavily in software R&D and aligning partner investments to deliver end-to-end offerings integrated across application development tools, operating systems, applications, hardware, and management tools that will result in reduced costs, improved reliability, and increased responsiveness across the entire IT life cycle."

26-page overview of DSI

CRN : Breaking News : Red Hat CEO Backtracks On Channel Plans; SMB Channel Program Stalled : 11:38 AM EST Tues., Mar. 30, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : Red Hat CEO Backtracks On Channel Plans; SMB Channel Program Stalled : 11:38 AM EST Tues., Mar. 30, 2004: "Noting that Red Hat now has almost $1 billion in the bank after 11 years in business, Szulik said his company has been able to finally get 'a little traction' and post profits due to a subscription licensing model in which the technology and services are delivered together.
Before a handful of programmers gathered at the MIT Hotel for the Boston stop of the Red Hat-HP World Tour, Szulik slammed Novell's attempts to become an open-source company.
'We have a new competitor, absolutely, and we think that's good' Szulik said. '[Novell has] historically been a proprietary software company [now] claiming to be open source. Only time will tell [if that business model will work].' "

In contrast to, say, a historically open source company that now looks increasingly proprietary...

CRN : Breaking News : Sun Eyes Subscription Model for New Java Tool : 7:55 PM EST Tues., Mar. 30, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : Sun Eyes Subscription Model for New Java Tool : 7:55 PM EST Tues., Mar. 30, 2004: "Pricing for Java Studio Creator, an early access version of which will be released next week, will likely emulate the per-user pricing Sun introduced with its Java Enterprise System (JES) and Java Studio Enterprise products, said Rich Green, vice president of developer tools. A Java software suite, JES sells for $100 per employee per year. Its toolset, Java Studio Enterprise, costs $5 per employee per year.
'In general, this membership model is the way we're headed [with software licensing],' Green said in a presentation at Sun's Menlo Park, Calif., campus Tuesday.
Green acknowledged that Sun has had trouble gaining mindshare with developers, but said Sun hopes to change that with its new pricing scheme.
'Developers don't buy stuff, they subscribe to stuff,' Green said. 'Developers don't buy things, they join things. Our [new] business model is based on those observations.'"

Miguel de Icaza: a full list of the Mono Brainshare PPT files:

Miguel de Icaza: a full list of the Mono Brainshare PPT files: Definitely worth a read, especially "Introducing Mono for Developers" - The Middle Seat - The Middle Seat "You can read and send your e-mail, access Web-based news and sports, watch programming loaded onto Connexion's onboard server, and even view live video programming (on your PC) via a satellite-based link. Basically, it turns the plane into an Internet cafe with very crowded seating -- a Starbucks with weaker coffee.
Connexion will cost $9.95 for 30 minutes or $29.95 for an entire flight, which is by no means cheap. But the big hurdle is the cost to airlines. Carriers have to spend several hundred thousand dollars per plane, and maybe as much as $500,000. Boeing won't say how much, but whatever it is, if you have 770 planes like American Airlines, it adds up to a huge expenditure." / Business / Study: File downloads don't affect sales of CDs / Business / Study: File downloads don't affect sales of CDs "Will consumers buy the latest music recordings when they can download them for free from the Internet? A Harvard Business School associate professor says yes, in a new study that challenges the wisdom of the recording industry's worldwide campaign to halt illegal file downloading.
''When we first saw the results, we said, 'No, no, no, no, no. We must be doing something wrong,' " said Felix Oberholzer-Gee, who prepared the study with Koleman Strumpf of the University of North Carolina.
But after rechecking the figures time and again, Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf found that downloading music had no impact on sales of compact disks.
The new study also suggests that the recording industry tactic of suing Americans who make files available for downloading will have only a limited effect. They found that more than half of all downloads came from outside the United States."

No doubt RIAA will object; after all, it's only a Harvard study...

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

IBM tightens knot with Eclipse | CNET

IBM tightens knot with Eclipse | CNET "IBM is rewriting its Rational development tools to work more closely with Eclipse open-source software, the first phase in a Big Blue push to integrate its programming products.
Over the next year and a half, the company will rework the Rational tools to become fully integrated with Eclipse, IBM said on Monday. The move was announced in an update to the IBM Software Development Platform plan, which will use software developed by the Eclipse open-source group as the glue to meld IBM development products. "

That must be disconcerting to Microsoft-focused IBM Rational customers.

BusinessWeek Online: BW Magazine: The BusinessWeek 50

BusinessWeek Online: BW Magazine: The BusinessWeek 50 Check it out -- #10 is Electronic Arts, i.e., a game software company.
"If the videogame business really is slowing down because consoles like Xbox and PlayStation2 are getting old, it hasn't hit Electronic Arts yet. EA has become a software juggernaut behind blockbuster franchises such as The Lord of the Rings and Madden NFL Football. But the Redwood City (Calif.) company has depth, too: With 12 studios around the world cranking out titles, EA delivered 27 hits last year that sold more than 1 million copies each. EA grabbed 22% of total game software sales in 2003, up from 18.6% in 2002. And with margins of 17.6%, it is a profits machine.
Industry: Software & Services
Sales: $2.8 billion
Net income: $496.5 million"

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates dangles 2006 as date for debut of new Windows

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Gates dangles 2006 as date for debut of new Windows "Some people have speculated that the operating system, code-named Longhorn, will come out in 2006, Gates said.
"That's probably valid speculation," he said.
Predicting the release date of Longhorn has become a sport of sorts for Microsoft watchers. The company at one time expected to ship it as early as this year but pushed back the project as it became apparent more work was necessary.
Longhorn isn't like some Microsoft products that have set ship schedules, Gates said.
"We have things where we say, 'The train is leaving on this date. Whoever has their act totally together by that date, the train will leave,' " Gates said.
"Longhorn is not a date-driven release."

What Is Bill Gates Thinking?

What Is Bill Gates Thinking? "I'm really interested in modeling, and at your financial analysts meeting last summer you made the comment that modeling would be big in Microsoft's tools. I'm also pretty impressed with the Eclipse toolset and how they're going about supporting modeling. Do you think that makes Eclipse more of a viable competitor to Visual Studio?
[Gates:] IBM has their Rational group with Rose, and they have some Eclipse stuff. So as is often typical, they have multiple, semi-overlapping approaches there.
Modeling is the future, so every company that's working on this I think it's great, and I think there are some real contributions that can be made. You know UML [Unified Modeling Language] made the meta-models a little complex, so I don't think UML alone is the answer. Web services forces you to think modeling. And that's part of the good thing about it. And the promise here is that you write a lot less code, that you have a model of the business process. And you just look at that visually and say here is how I want to customize it.
So even a business could express in a formal, modeled way, not just scribbling on paper, how the business process is changing over time or how it's different from other companies. So instead of having lots of code behind that, you just have visual, essentially model, customization.
So, I think we believe that. There are certainly some people from IBM who have that same vision, and I think it'll be healthy competition between the two of us because today's modeling products fall short. That's one part of Visual Studio 2005, that we do have some neat things coming along that will be part of it that we haven't shown completely. We've shown a lot of it, but Visual Studio 2005 is very broad.
So you're talking about Whitehorse?
Yeah, exactly. That's the codename. But some of the Whitehorse stuff we haven't shown publicly, like how it lets you visually design Web services and lets you visually design the relationship between the application and the deployment, this thing we call the Dynamic Systems Initiative, where the developer says, 'OK, what sort of resources are needed to run the application.' And then the person who runs the application just binds that model to the actual execution environment. And then the developer can see if there are any performance issues or problems because they have this common model.
So, modeling is pretty magic stuff, whether it's management problems or business customization problems or work-flow problems, visual modeling. Even the Office group now really gets that for document life-cycle rights management, that this visual modeling will be key to them. Business intelligence, where you let people navigate through things, is another area where modeling could be used. It's probably the biggest thing going on. And both Visual Studio and Office need to be on top of that. There's a guy at Microsoft, Bill Baker, who's our business intelligence guy who's been promoting these ideas very successfully."

BBB Tells Apple to Halt Misleading Ads

BBB Tells Apple to Halt Misleading Ads "The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommended that Apple Computer stop advertising its Power Mac G5 as "the world's fastest personal computer" after reviewing tests that refute that claim. Acting on a tip from Dell, the BBB told Apple that its advertising could deceive consumers, who need to base their purchases on accurate information.
"The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended that Apple discontinue comparative performance claims regarding its Power Mac G5 personal computer," the organization wrote in a release. "NAD determined that the evidence provided by Apple did not provide a reasonable basis for its broad unqualified claims that its Power Mac G5 is 'the world's fastest, most powerful computer' and that it 'edged out the competition on integer' [processing performance]. NAD further determined that the advertiser's claim, 'the world's first 64-bit processor for personal computers,' could reasonably be interpreted to apply to workstations...this claim is [also] unsupported by the evidence."
Apple said it supports the BBB's self-regulatory nature and will voluntarily comply with the organization's recommendations. However, the company noted that the Power Mac G5 advertising campaign that makes the unsupported claims has already "run its course." Apple said it will be "mindful of the [BBB's] views in its future advertising."

PC Forum Focuses on the Future

PC Forum Focuses on the Future: "Every year, PC Forum showcases a number of new applications. This year, new products emphasized new ways of finding and organizing information.
My favorite was an application called Onfolio, available now at This utility works alongside your browser (or as a standalone desktop application) and lets you easily collect information from various sites and bring them together in different collections. These 'collections' can include either links to or copies of the pages you've seen, so you can go back to them for research. You can also add in data from your desktop applications. When you're done, you can share the information via e-mail, view the data in multipage HTML files, or use a 'publisher' utility to create a research document. " Sun shines on Vignette Sun shines on Vignette: "Although Sun Microsystems has a successful email and personal information management applications and real time collaboration with SunForum 3.2 and Sun Java System Instant Messaging, Sun has not extended its capabilities into Team Collaboration. Last week this gap was plugged when Sun Microsystems and Vignette announced plans to bring to market a joint collaboration solution based on the Vignette Business Workspaces collaboration solution, itself acquired by Vignette in its acquisition of Intraspect last year. "

This collaboration thing is going to be big, real big...

Monday, March 29, 2004

Macromedia flexes Flash muscle | CNET

Macromedia flexes Flash muscle | CNET "Macromedia is set to release on Monday a new server product intended to expand the use of its Flash format for presenting Web applications.
Flex, formerly code-named Royale, allows developers to create scripts in common languages such as Java and .Net and to run them on top of Web applications. Flex breaks them down into a Macromedia dialect of extensible markup language (XML) that can be read by the Flash Player, the widespread Flash client commonly used to spice up Web pages."

Microsoft Strengthens Presence in Business Intelligence Industry

Microsoft Strengthens Presence in Business Intelligence Industry: "Furthering its move into the reporting sector, Microsoft also announced an exciting reporting feature scheduled for the next version of Reporting Services, available in SQL Server 2005. Customers are very enthusiastic about the new embeddable Visual Studio® controls that will allow distribution of report processing capabilities within packaged or custom-built applications, without the need for a separate report server. This provides application developers, ISVs and end users with greater flexibility and convenience. Extending the whole developer experience, the new functionality also is targeted to ship with Visual Studio 2005 and works both in Windows®-based and Web applications." / Business / Technology / EU hurts itself in hurting Microsoft / Business / Technology / EU hurts itself in hurting Microsoft "There's something about Microsoft Corp. that makes smart people stupid. It's not the company's products, annoying though they can be. Instead, it's the aura of arrogant, absolute power emanating from the world's biggest software maker. It drives some people into a blind fury, a determination to hurt Microsoft, no matter the cost to consumers or the software industry.
Mindless Microsoft rage has shattered careers and companies. The once-great computer networking firm Novell Inc. nearly killed itself with an ill-considered billion-dollar crusade against Microsoft. The first judge in the company's epic US antitrust trial, Thomas Penfield Jackson, committed public self-immolation. Jackson came closer than anyone has to destroying MicrosoftIndeed, he ruled that the company should be smashed to bits. But his injudicious and insulting comments, made to a reporter during the trial, resulted in an humiliating smackdown by an appeals court.
The bureaucrats of Europe are too subtle and discreet to make Jackson's mistake. The full text of their ruling that Microsoft has violated European Union anti-monopoly law hasn't been released yet. But the published summary, complete with proposed remedies, is a calm and lucid document, composed by people who seem to have gone slightly nuts." - The Grownup at Google - The Grownup at Google "The company was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Stanford graduate students with a better way to search through the Internet's ever-expanding material. Three years later, Silicon Valley veteran Eric Schmidt joined as chairman and chief executive to bring some structure to the unorthodox -- some might say anarchic -- start-up.
Mr. Schmidt, 48, says he was given one instruction by Google's board: "'Don't screw this up now, Eric. This is a really, really good starting point. ... So it doesn't require some gross change.'" Google's venture backers wanted the company to grow without introducing cumbersome bureaucracy."

Microsoft sharpens tools

Microsoft sharpens tools "Microsoft Corp. yesterday showed new tools under development for searching online journals and news sites, and for getting answers from the Internet -- offering a glimpse of the strategy that the company will use in its coming battle with Google.
Executives with the Redmond company's MSN Internet service talked about the tools -- dubbed Blogbot, Newsbot, and Answerbot -- at an industry event on the Microsoft campus. All three are part of a broader effort by the company to develop its own Internet search technology.
Blogbot will provide search results based on the contents of hundreds of thousands of weblogs, online journals better known as blogs. Hundreds of Microsoft employees maintain their own personal blogs, but this is one of the first big blog-related initiatives to emerge from the company itself."

Friday, March 26, 2004 - Stallman Raises Concerns About MIT's Gates Tower - Stallman Raises Concerns About MIT's Gates Tower "Earlier this week, Slashdot, News for Nerds, reported the wickedest irony of the day for the free-software community -- Richard Stallman, the outspoken founder of the Free Software Foundation, who has the use of an office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was to be moved into an office in the Bill Gates tower in the Frank Gehry-designed Stata Center that opens May 7. Mr. Stallman, who believes in free software as a right akin to free speech, frequently criticizes Mr. Gates and Microsoft Corp. He has compared gifts of software by Microsoft to free samples of cigarettes from tobacco companies, calling both thinly disguised efforts to addict consumers.
Not to worry. Mr. Stallman says in an e-mail that he was relieved to find he won't be located in the Gates building. "So that potential problem didn't occur," he says. But that doesn't mean Mr. Stallman is happy. There is a "more substantive and dangerous" issue with the building, he says.
To get into the new building after hours, all the computer scientists will have to use MIT-issued RFID proximity cards that recognize the bearer from five feet away. Mr. Stallman says the cards give MIT police a record of who goes through a door and says he fears the information could be acquired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the Patriot Act. Mr. Stallman's criticism has gained sympathy among lab researchers who have proposed various ways to distribute revocable keys that wouldn't identify the users."

InfoWorld: Update: IBM, HP sign agreements with Novell on Suse Linux: March 24, 2004: By : HARDWARE : PLATFORMS

InfoWorld: Update: IBM, HP sign agreements with Novell on Suse Linux: March 24, 2004: By : HARDWARE : PLATFORMS: "IBM works with both Red Hat Inc.'s Linux and Novell's Suse Linux, said Scott Handy, IBM's vice president of Linux strategy and market development. If a customer decides to use Linux, IBM will provide them with the free operating system from Red Hat or Novell's Suse Linux, depending on what the customer wants.
'We are distribution agnostic, and we leave it to the customer to decide. They choose one or other for a variety of reasons,' Handy said."

IBM is also apparently communication/collaboration "agnostic" to some degree; Handy also said, during his part of a Novell BrainShare keynote Weds, that IBM and Novell will jointly promote Exchange migrations to GroupWise. IBM is also on Microsoft's list of partners who will help you migrate from Notes to Exchange, so perhaps "agnostic" is indeed the right word to use in this context. GuruNet's non-religion-related definition of agnostic: "One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something."

== Free Culture / Excerpts == [Lawrence Lessig's new book]

== Free Culture / Excerpts ==: "FREE CULTURE is available for free under a Creative Commons license.
You may redistribute, copy, or otherwise reuse/remix this book provided that you do so for non-commercial purposes and credit Professor Lessig."

Interesting "practice what you preach" case study

At Microsoft, it's back to business after EU ruling

At Microsoft, it's back to business after EU ruling: "'It's [Internet searching is] probably the thing that I feel worst about over the last several years -- us not making the R & D investment ourselves up front, but rather outsourcing,' Ballmer said yesterday. 'It's funny, people sometimes say Microsoft wants to do it all. This is a case where we actually didn't do it all. Shoot, I wish we had done it all.'
Yesterday, Ballmer focused during the main portion of his speech on subjects including online advertising and the company's broad vision for the MSN business, which reached quarterly profitability for the first time last year based largely on the strength of its advertising revenue.
"If I might say so," he said, "I think we're on a real roll.""

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Entertainment: Big Changes Are Planned in Game-Software Strategy

Entertainment: Big Changes Are Planned in Game-Software Strategy: " Microsoft announced a new software development strategy Wednesday that aims to blur the distinction between its PC game and Xbox video game console businesses.
Under the strategy, which the company calls XNA, a developer of game software would be able to write a single program that could be translated for use on Windows PC's, on Xbox video game consoles or on mobile hardware systems." - Microsoft Move Into Cellphones Worries Some in Telecom - Microsoft Move Into Cellphones Worries Some in Telecom: "At first blush, Microsoft Corp. doesn't appear to be much of a threat in the market for software to control cellphones.
Most of the 500 million handsets sold each year still rely primarily on software written in-house by cellphone makers. Microsoft supplies operating software only for so-called smart phones that can play videos and double as personal organizers. And even in this segment, it lags far behind Symbian Ltd., a London consortium formed by No. 1 cellphone maker Nokia Corp. and other cellphone companies to keep Microsoft at bay.
But after a decade of trying, Microsoft appears to be gaining some critical traction in wireless communications, especially as cellphones increasingly are turning into minicomputers capable of surfing the Internet and sending e-mail. That is sparking concern in the software and telecommunications industry that the Redmond, Wash., titan will use its clout in the corporate e-mail market to grab a dominant position in the world's cellphone market."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Oracle plans major Collaboration Suite update

Oracle plans major Collaboration Suite update: "Oracle plans to deliver a major update to its Collaboration Suite before year-end, adding instant messaging capabilities, improving integration with enterprise applications and enhancing other features, company executives said Tuesday.
This third release of Collaboration Suite is intended to make the Oracle product a stronger rival to Microsoft's Exchange and IBM's Lotus Domino, which dominate the corporate e-mail server market.
Oracle is definitely committed to Collaboration Suite, company officials insisted. In fact, Oracle just hired Terry Olkin, cofounder and former CTO of secure messaging vendor Secure Data in Motion, also known as Sigaba. As Chief Architect for Collaboration Suite, Olkin will set the future direction for the product.
Oracle launched its offensive against Microsoft and IBM in September 2002 with the first release of Collaboration Suite. The product was updated in June 2003 to include Web conferencing. Oracle said last year that it sold Collaboration Suite to 500 customers in the 12-month period until May 31, 2003. In the six months after that it added another 250 customers for a total of 750 as of Nov. 30, 2003, the company said in a financial overview for that period.
As of the end of last year, Oracle held a 0.75% share of the corporate messaging market, according to data from The Radicati Group. And that market share is not bad for a product that has only been out a short time, said Sara Radicati, president and CEO of the Palo Alto consulting and market research firm." - Microsoft to Offer Programming Tools To Spur Xbox - Microsoft to Offer Programming Tools To Spur Xbox "Any doubt that Microsoft Corp. is at war with Sony Corp. over videogames should be dispelled by a symbol of that clash in J Allard's office here: a Sony PlayStation 2 that has been pierced by a .50-caliber machine gun bullet. Now the competition is entering a new phase, and the strong-willed Microsoft engineer is preparing a different kind of weapon.
Microsoft plans to announce today that Mr. Allard will lead a broad initiative to develop new software tools for writing sophisticated videogames.
The project will draw on programmers and technologies from Microsoft's videogame group and its core Windows division to create a single "platform" of compatible programming tools for building games that run on both Microsoft's Xbox game console and Windows-based personal computers.
While technical in focus, the plan is strategic in design: Microsoft, which started in the 1970s by selling a programming language called BASIC to write software for PCs, has a long history of using its programming tools as a strategic weapon for breaking into new markets and pushing out competitors. This time Microsoft is using its tools to try to win the attention of independent game developers."

Microsoft Is Fined $613 Million by European Union

Microsoft Is Fined $613 Million by European Union: "The European Commission -- the enforcer of EU competition law -- levied a record 497.2 million eurosfine ($613 million), ordered the unbundling of Windows Media Player within 90 days and required that ``complete and accurate'' information be given to rival makers of computer servers within 120 days.
Nonetheless, it amounts to slightly more than one percent of Microsoft's roughly $53 billion cash on hand. On January 22 it projected expected revenues of $8.6 billion and operating income of $3.1 billion for the current quarter."

InfoWorld: We have reached surfing altitude: March 19, 2004: By Tom Yager

InfoWorld: We have reached surfing altitude: March 19, 2004: By Tom Yager "So much of the information we use in our workexists only online. I bring along my PowerBook to get work done, but I rarely get far in a project before I need some kernel of data that isn’t on my hard drive. I thank my stars for the GPRS data service I get through T-Mobile and Nokia, but it does me no good in the air.
Soon, we’ll enjoy the luxury of Internet-connected aircraft. If I could give up my seat on a convenient flight for one on a less-convenient route with wireless Internet, I’d switch. Would you?"

No, since I don't have ADD and I already have access to the stuff I need when I'm off-line, because I use Notes, Groove, and Novell iFolder.

Novell to Drop Standalone NetWare

Novell to Drop Standalone NetWare: "In an interview with eWEEK on Monday afternoon, Messman stressed that while NetWare would cease to exist as a standalone brand from the end of this year when it became a core part of its upcoming new Open Enterprise Server operating system platform, it would be supported and upgraded for a long time into the future as part of that product."

This is misleading -- Novell isn't dropping NetWare; it's creating a new platform that will include all NetWare services and run on top of either NetWare or SUSE LINUX.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Novell sets sights on 'complete Linux desktop' | CNET

Novell sets sights on 'complete Linux desktop' | CNET "In the 1990s, Microsoft defeated Novell in the market for server operating systems. Now Novell is taking the battle back to Redmond, Wash., launching an attack on Microsoft's desktop stronghold.
'We're focusing on building a complete Linux desktop as an alternative to what you've been using,' Novell Vice Chairman Chris Stone told Novell loyalists at the company's BrainShare conference here. 'We believe that in the next 12 months, we will see the widespread adoption of Linux on the desktop.' "

I'm in Salt Lake City for the Novell events this week and am surprised there hasn't been more in-depth mainstream press coverage of the Novell news.

Microsoft Business Network Experiences Ongoing Momentum As Customers Connect, Integrate and Lower Costs

Microsoft Business Network Experiences Ongoing Momentum As Customers Connect, Integrate and Lower Costs: "Microsoft Business Network is a Microsoft .NET-connected solution that facilitates intercompany collaboration with several key software components, tools and community-building services. The components include connectivity options for trading partners of all sizes, a trustworthy Web services network, a library of business process templates, partner management tools, and support to help companies automate their network of trading partners. "

MBN is an important leading indicator - Ericsson Confirms Plans To Raise Symbian Stake - Ericsson Confirms Plans To Raise Symbian Stake "Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson Monday confirmed that it intends to increase its stake in Symbian PLC to prevent rival Nokia Corp. from gaining a majority stake in the maker of smart-phone software.
Symbian was set up by its shareholders to be an independent provider of software for mobile phones. Nokia said in January that it will buy a 31.1% in Symbian from Psion PLC in a move that would lift Nokia's stake to 63.3% unless other shareholders use their pre-emption rights. Under a shareholders pact, all the shareholders have pre-emptive rights to buy their pro rata share of any other shareholder's stake that is put up for sale.
Ericsson Chief Executive Carl-Henric Svanberg was quoted in the Financial Times Monday as saying Nokia must get below 50%, "otherwise [Symbian] becomes a Nokia platform."

Monday, March 22, 2004 / Business / Microsoft's East Coast alliance / Business / Microsoft's East Coast alliance: "Microsoft Research hasn't located any of its cutting-edge labs in the Boston area. But when Rick Rashid spent a couple of days here last week, he was visiting the closest thing to a Microsoft lab on the East Coast: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology"

Game Wars 2: Battle for the Living Room

Game Wars 2: Battle for the Living Room "But in challenging the premise of Apple's iPod, the gaming industry may be running the risk that Steven P. Jobs, Apple's chief executive, will return the favor by extending his own digital hub concept into the living room. Apple briefly experimented with the idea of a Macintosh-based interactive television and video-game system in 1997.
More recently, Mr. Jobs has been highly critical of attempts to add video and gaming features to hand-held devices that compete with the iPod. The success of the iPod, he argues, rests on the idea that it allows users to do other things while listening to music on a portable device built to do nothing other than produce excellent sound.
If Mr. Jobs can reinvent the home-computer-as-entertainment-and-information-hub the way he led the creation of a seamless way of delivering digital music, analysts say, he could shake up the plans of all the other more powerful corporate interests trying to figure out what consumers want.
"Steve Jobs has a better chance than many of the others to rethink the idea of personal media in the living room,'' said Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, a computer industry research and consulting firm. "I know his iPod design team has been busy working on new products.''

Friday, March 19, 2004

BSD family tree

BSD family tree (thanks to Jim Kobielus)

Longhorn Developer Center: WinFS 101: Introducing the New Windows File System (The WinFS Files)

Longhorn Developer Center: WinFS 101: Introducing the New Windows File System (The WinFS Files) "In the technology industry, there is a growing "perfect storm"—a combination of trends and technologies that will allow the next quantum leap in the way you develop and work with your information. This perfect storm is comprised of three forces joining together: hardware advancements, leaps in the amount of digitally born data, and the explosion of schemas and standards in information management.
To prepare for this perfect storm of technologies, Microsoft has invested heavily in building the next generation of the Windows file system, code-named WinFS. The WinFS product team follows three core tenets in reinventing the Windows file system: Enable people to Find, Relate, and Act on their information. Let's take a look at what each of these principles means and then we can drill into some detail on the technologies that allow WinFS to meet these goals."

First installment of Tom Rizzo's new WinFS column; Tom is a director in the Microsoft SQL Server group.

State of the Art: A TV That Cuts All Cords

State of the Art: A TV That Cuts All Cords "The Wireless Fairy has already tapped her magic wand on phones, computers and palmtops. But next month Sharp will deliver the first entrant in a whole new category of wireless gear. Its new Aquos LC-15L1U is the world's first wireless flat-panel television.
Imagine a bright, beautiful 15-inch liquid crystal display screen - like a plasma, but with longer life and no risk of permanent burn-in - flanked by protruding round speakers that suggest a Picasso rendering of Mickey Mouse.
Here's the twist: Using the carrying handle at the top, you can bring the 11-pound screen anywhere in the house as you work, play or entertain, without being tethered to your home-theater setup. You can park this Sharp on the kitchen counter as you chop carrots, keep an eye on the game as you labor at the grill, catch the end of "The Apprentice" while you brush your teeth in the bathroom - all without wires or plugs."

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Microsoft prepares 'iPod killer' for Europe | CNET

Microsoft prepares 'iPod killer' for Europe | CNET "The first handheld gadgets to play music and movies on Microsoft’s "iPod killer" software will be available in Europe in the second half of 2004, the company said Thursday.
The gadgets will run on Microsoft's yet-to-be-unveiled Portable Media Center software in a direct assault on iPod, Apple’s hot-selling digital music player.
Working with a host of manufacturing partners, Microsoft is introducing a device that plays movies and stores digital photos as well as songs in a bid to grab a share of the fast-growing digital media player market."

I suspect this device type will do very well despite the non-catchy name, the extra bulk (for the TV-quality display etc.), and the higher price.

Chris_Pratley's WebLog: Starting out as a Program Manager

Chris_Pratley's WebLog: Starting out as a Program Manager "I have written about program management in general before, but I find the first year the most interesting. The usual pattern goes something like this:
1. Start off with excitement and enthusiasm for the new job. Your manager tells you something about taking initiative, being "proactive" and "owning" projects. You say "yeah, of course, gotcha!".
2. About 4 weeks into the job, you start to feel strange. People keep asking you to decide things you don’t know anything about, as if you’re some kind of expert. You find yourself going to your peers for help more often than you feel comfortable with. You start to wonder if you can actually do this. You start to tank. Depending on your personality, you withdraw into your office to try to figure everything out by yourself without bothering anyone, or you start asking a broader range of people how to do things as soon as you hit an obstacle, to try to "spread the pain" and get results quickly.
3. By month two, you're convinced you are the dumbest person on the team by far. Everyone seems so capable, and they can do anything. Your manager says something like "remember, you’re 10% of the team that designs an N Billion dollar product - isn't that exciting? That means you have to step up and really "own things"". But you know that in fact you are an imposter - Microsoft has misjudged badly in hiring you and you are going to fail.
4. By month four, you have lived through a torture of feeling incompetent and a dead weight on your team. It’s especially bad because you were #1 in your graduating class, and everyone always looked to you as the smart one.
5. By month six, you have a great moment. Once, in a meeting, you actually knew something that no one else on your team knew. This is the first glimmer. You cling to this, and hope there are more.
6. By month 12, you have developed your network of contacts that pass information to you, you are a subject matter expert on your area, and people on the team are relying on you because you know lots of things they don't know. You have made it."

(This role is also known as "product manager" at IBM and other companies)

Hey Kid, Your Backpack Is Ringing

Hey Kid, Your Backpack Is Ringing "While cellphone use has become widespread among young people - a study by the Yankee Group, a research firm, found that 56 percent of 11- to 17-year-olds owned or shared a phone - data on use by younger children is sparse. One survey of 8- to 10-year-olds by Circle 1 Network found that 29 percent owned a cellphone, up from 18 percent two years ago. What's more, according to the survey, another 54 percent of the children in that age group said they wanted a wireless phone.
As more teenagers own phones, it has become easier for their younger siblings to demand one too, said Jorian Clarke, the president of Circle 1 Network, which sponsors several Web sites for children and teenagers. "Younger kids are aspirational," said Ms. Clarke, whose 10-year-old niece successfully lobbied for a cellphone recently. "For them, it's as much a status symbol as a communications device."

Microsoft Ships XP Service Pack 2 RC1 to Testers

Microsoft Ships XP Service Pack 2 RC1 to Testers "Windows XP SP2 RC1 includes a number of new features, when compared to the initial December 2003 beta release. Chief among these are:
- Security Center. A dashboard for configuring Windows Firewall, Automatic Updates, antivirus protection, the latter of which works with third party products.
- Internet Explorer pop-up window blocker. Now on by default, IE's pop-up window blocker prevents malicious Web sites from opening unwanted windows.
- New Windows Update experience. XP SP2 users will be treated to a much improved version of Windows Update, which more efficiently provides access to critical updates.
- New Windows Firewall. Also on by default now, the Windows Firewall provides users with protection against network- and Internet-based attacks.
- Integrated Windows Media Player 9 Series, DirectX 9.0b, Bluetooth, Windows Update Services client, and other features released since XP first shipped in October 2001.
As previously reported, XP SP2 includes the "Lonestar" updates to Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, so users with Tablet PC devices will upgrade their systems to XP Tablet PC Edition 2004 when they install SP2. New to SP2 RC1 is the inclusion of the Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2004 for Media Center PC users. XP MCE 2004 provides users with new features like "improved TV picture quality, an enhanced music library, a richer photo experience and access to music and video on demand through Online Spotlight," according to Microsoft." - Home Access to Web Rises to Nearly 75% Of U.S. Population - Home Access to Web Rises to Nearly 75% Of U.S. Population: "Nearly 75% of the U.S. population, or 204.3 million people, have access to the Internet from home, according to a study being released today by Nielsen/Netratings.
The research service, which conducted a telephone survey in February, said home Internet penetration has increased by nine percentage points since February 2003, when it measured home access at 66%. Adult women are the largest single group of users, with 82% of females 35 to 54 years old estimated to have online access.
Web sites that carry Microsoft Corp.'s MSN brand had the greatest number of users, at 95.2 million, ahead of Yahoo Inc., with 92.2 million. Time Warner Inc.'s America Online unit was third, with 71.9 million users, but led in terms of the time users spent on its site, Nielsen/Netratings said. Netflix Inc. was the heaviest online advertiser." - Personal Technology: New Tool Cleans Up The Messy Business Of Web Research - Personal Technology: New Tool Cleans Up The Messy Business Of Web Research: "It's pretty easy to find things on the Web these days using Google or other search engines. But it's not so easy to capture, save and organize the information you find for later reference offline, especially if you're doing significant research.
Some people print out the relevant Web pages, but that can take a lot of paper and ink. Others cut and paste important passages into a word processor, a slow and clumsy method. Still others save the Web pages as files to their hard disk. But, depending on the method you use and how good your file system is, these saved pages can be hard to locate and open later.
Now, a new company based in Cambridge, Mass., Onfolio Inc., has come up with an inexpensive piece of software, also called Onfolio, which aims to solve this problem.
I have been testing Onfolio, and I like it. Despite a few minor downsides, it does what it promises and can make a huge difference in the process of doing research on the Web. I especially like the user interface, which is clear and clean, and gives users multiple ways to do many key tasks so they can fit the product to their own styles of working.
Onfolio works well and fills a real need. If you do a lot of Web research, it's worth the $30."

Download Onfolio today -- it's a great product.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

RealNetworks faults Microsoft for its own poor financial results

RealNetworks faults Microsoft for its own poor financial results: "In a federal filing yesterday, RealNetworks Inc. blamed archrival Microsoft Corp. for its poor financial performance over the past three years, enlarging on claims made in its recently filed lawsuit against the software company."

So... blame Microsoft when your plan to become the Microsoft of your market segment doesn't work out... Chat Gets Pushy Chat Gets Pushy "Want to just quietly browse a Web site without buying? Your days may be numbered.
Morris Miller, Rackspace's co-chairman, says that one-third of users approached via chat engage in conversation with a salesperson, and half of those take the discussion to the next level. He says the site gets in the "high tens of thousands" of hits per day. He says that, in the past six months, nearly 50% of new customers have originated from the chat feature."

IBM vs. SAP, Round X and Counting

IBM vs. SAP, Round X and Counting: "IBM and SAP are the best of friends when it comes to implementing SAP software, which is why they avoid calling out too loudly when one takes a major swipe at the other. Which is also why you might not have heard what the real motive was behind IBM's recent acquisition of Trigo Technologies.
So here it is: IBM's acquisition of Trigo was a direct blow against one of the hottest new offerings in the growing SAP portfolio, Master Data Management, or MDM. The fact that Trigo was an SAP partner in SAP's NetWeaver initiative, of which MDM is a key component, only sharpened the blow. "

IBM aims for 40,000 Linux desktops in-house by 2005 - Computerworld

IBM aims for 40,000 Linux desktops in-house by 2005 - Computerworld "IBM hopes to have 40,000 Linux desktop users within the company by year's end, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the computer giant thinks everyone should move to the Linux desktop, an IBM executive said today at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco.
Already, about 15,000 of IBM's more than 300,000 employees have moved to the Linux desktop, said Scott Handy, IBM's vice president of worldwide Linux strategy and market development. While Handy believes that the Linux desktops are costing IBM less than the $5,000 to $7,000 per year that analyst firms typically ascribe to the maintenance of Windows systems, the switch to a Linux PC may not be a great deal for everyone.
"We're not going to see as much traction in the traditional desktop space," Handy said. "If you look at the TCO [total cost of ownership] characteristics of [Linux and open-source software] vs. Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, it's not that great."

HP to sell desktops PCs with Linux system in Asia

HP to sell desktops PCs with Linux system in Asia "In a blow to the dominance of Microsoft Windows operating system, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced yesterday it would sell Linux-based desktop PCs in Asia.
HP plans to begin shipping Linux-based computers within several months to nearly a dozen Asian countries, including fast-growing China and India.
Hewlett-Packard will sell the machines to Asian businesses that buy thousands of desktops for employees, Michael Jennings of Turbolinux Inc. said yesterday. Turbolinux will provide the operating system.
Although the deal doesn't target consumers who buy home personal computers, the announcement by the world's largest computer maker could greatly boost Linux on desktops and laptops."

Clintons E-Mail for Kerry Cash

Clintons E-Mail for Kerry Cash: "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota and the strategist James Carville are joining Mr. Clinton in the drive. In the six hours after Mr. Clinton sent his message, the campaign took in roughly $600,000."

Microsoft Outlines Unique Vision for Reducing IT Complexity with the Dynamic Systems Initiative

Microsoft Outlines Unique Vision for Reducing IT Complexity with the Dynamic Systems Initiative: "This is an issue where the industry has overpromised and underdelivered while our enterprise customers continue to feel the pain of managing their systems,' Muglia said. 'Our approach with DSI is to help customers get every dollar out of their IT investments by making software more manageable from the ground up.'
According to an Accenture study, IT professionals spend up to 70 percent of their time maintaining existing systems, leaving little time to develop new capabilities that add real value to their businesses. With the Dynamic Systems Initiative, Microsoft aims to reduce the maintenance ratio to 55 percent by automating many of the routine tasks associated with updating systems and deploying applications. Today management software is applied after the applications are deployed in the enterprise. Through the Dynamic Systems Initiative, Microsoft will shift this operational intelligence into the application itself, reducing the need for traditional management software." - Microsoft Is Facing More Telling E-Mails In Minnesota Lawsuit - Microsoft Is Facing More Telling E-Mails In Minnesota Lawsuit "The federal antitrust trial focused on Microsoft's efforts to protect Windows from innovative Internet technologies in the mid-1990s. The Minnesota case begins even earlier, alleging that Microsoft also targeted competitors in both applications and operating-system software, ranging from Lotus Development Corp. and Novell Inc. to giant International Business Machines Corp.
Lotus, which dominated the spreadsheet business in the industry's early years, was a favorite target. In a 1988 memo, Mr. Gates calls for deep price cuts with a goal of "cutting Lotus' profit in half." Another strategy memo, responding to Mr. Gates, calls for a "Kill Lotus Plan."
It includes, among more-serious proposals, a "Santa Claus scenario" in which Microsoft would drive down Lotus's share price by price cuts, secretly buy 4.99% of the company, then launch a hostile takeover. "Assuming [Lotus Chief Executive Jim Manzi] wants to keep his job, we could then negotiate a 'greenmail' price of say $30 share," reaping $40 million in profit by selling the stock back to Lotus, the memo says.
Microsoft dismisses the memo as the musings of a midlevel manager that were never acted upon -- and points out that strong language in the heat of competition isn't illegal. Microsoft eventually did slash prices, bundling its products together into the now-dominant Microsoft Office package of applications; Lotus's 1-2-3 spreadsheet, the PC industry's first big hit, was driven into single-digit market share. Lotus, its future threatened, was bought by IBM in 1995."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

InfoWorld: Microsoft exec: Open source model endangers software economy

InfoWorld: Microsoft exec: Open source model endangers software economy: "For-profit software companies will struggle for a business model against free software, said the official, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Jim Gray. He served on a panel pertaining to software trends, XML, Web services and grids at the Software Development Conference & Expo West 2004 show here on Monday evening.
'The thing I'm puzzled by is how there will be a software industry if there?9s open source,' Gray said, disagreeing with a fellow panelist over the impacts of open source. "

Microsoft Monitor: Living Without Smartphone

Microsoft Monitor: Living Without Smartphone "It’s not uncommon for Microsoft to miss the mark on a first product version, so much so that one of the more common urban legends has the company getting it right on version 3. Memorable examples: Windows 3.1, Windows NT 4 (Microsoft started that at 3 then 3.51), Internet Explorer 4 (2 was the first real version), among many others.
Two months after plunking down several hundred bucks for the Motorola MPx200, which runs Microsoft’s Smartphone 2002 software (a.k.a. version 1), I’ve retired the phone. I now use the Sony Ericsson T630."

Includes details on problems experienced etc.

CRN : Breaking News : MySQL Readies Enterprise-Level Reliability For Database : 6:16 PM EST Mon., Mar. 15, 2004

CRN : Breaking News : MySQL Readies Enterprise-Level Reliability For Database : 6:16 PM EST Mon., Mar. 15, 2004: "The new software, MySQL Cluster, is scheduled to be introduced next month at the Swedish company's user conference in Orlando, Fla., Zack Urlocker, vice president of marketing, said Monday. The feature is based on NDB Cluster, software developed by telecommunications equipment maker L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co."

EU Brands Microsoft an Abusive Monopolist, Sets Stage for Final Ruling

EU Brands Microsoft an Abusive Monopolist, Sets Stage for Final Ruling: " The ratification of the draft ruling means that the clock is now ticking for Microsoft. Unless the company can negotiate a last-minute settlement of the 5-year-old antitrust case, the Commission will soon fine Microsoft between $100 million and $1 billion; the company could also face a set of procedural and behavioral remedies that could have sweeping ramifications on the way it does business around the world. The Commission could finalize the draft ruling as soon as next week, after a second meeting at which the EU representatives will determine the size of the fine to levy against Microsoft.
Most at risk for Microsoft is its sweeping digital-media strategy, which hinges on the inclusion of Windows Media Player (WMP) and other related technologies in the company's dominant Windows products. The Commission is expected to ask Microsoft to sell a version of Windows that doesn't include WMP or to offer competing products, such as Apple Computer's iTunes and RealNetworks' RealPlayer, on the Windows CD-ROM that ships at retail and with new PCs. Microsoft has strongly fought both strategies and suggested instead that PC makers could ship a 'must-carry' CD-ROM with their systems, separate from Windows, that includes competitive products. The Commission rejected that proposal last month.
Nevertheless, the Commission has a bargaining chip that wasn't available to US courts. Although Microsoft is expected to appeal any negative verdict, the company isn't automatically entitled to an appeal. The European Court of Justice could reject the appeal because a 3-year delay would make the ruling inconsequential, given the rapidly changing business climate. For the court to reject an appeal, however, the Commission's case has to be strongly researched and decisively written. Predictably, European antitrust regulators have been working toward that goal for the past several months."

Microsoft Notebook: Eyes are on Longhorn

Microsoft Notebook: Eyes are on Longhorn "Microsoft Corp. executive Jim Allchin answered definitively when reporters recently pressed him to say when the company would release the next major version of the Windows operating system.
"Sometime in the future," the Windows group vice president said.
Allchin's response, more than showing his sense of humor, underscored the uncertainty surrounding the timing of the next Windows release, code-named Longhorn. It's an issue with deep implications for Microsoft's business and for corporate users of the operating system.
During his Charlie Rose interview, Gates acknowledged the effect: "Absolutely, the Longhorn schedule has taken a back seat to our top priority -- the broad issues around reliability, security, spam, all of which we call trustworthy computing," he said."

Monday, March 15, 2004

Get Real: Groove v3.0: A Tool For Our Times

Get Real: Groove v3.0: A Tool For Our Times "March 13, 2004
Groove v3.0: A Tool For Our Times
I had the opportunity this week to get a demo of the new beta from Groove, v3.0. Wow! I was bowled over, for a number of reasons: vastly improved user interface and user experience, close integration with Windows shared folders for sharing of files (including embedded presence of workgroup members displayed in the Windows folders), and an great alerting model. Groove has also developed a rich forms tool, to support the creation of and use of form-based information.
Groove 3.0 is so different from 2.5, its almost like the whole user experience has been turned inside out."

Article includes useful screen shots and a lively reader discussion.

InfoWorld: Sun snatches up XML guru

InfoWorld: Sun snatches up XML guru: "With his new position, Bray will help set Sun's future direction with respect to Web services and search technology. 'I'm not immediately diving into product development,' he said. 'They want me there as a forward thinking person.'
Sun has made XML and Web services an important part of its Java software strategy as tries to compete for the hearts and minds of software developers against Microsoft Corp.'s .Net.
One of the areas Bray expects to work on is developing new applications for Web logs, or 'blogs,' and the RSS (Resource Description Framework Site Summary) technology that grew out of them. 'I think that this is potentially a game-changer in some respects, and there are quite a few folks at Sun who share that opinion,' he said
"Anybody who has gone very far into this is starting to get very excited," he said of the RSS phenomenon. "It's starting to feel like 1992 or 1993, when this Web thing was starting to stick its head out." | Blogging goes to work | Blogging goes to work "Will blogging—the practice of maintaining an online diary, or weblog—revolutionise journalism? Do the world's bloggers really constitute a “second superpower”, the only force on earth capable of keeping America's neo-imperialist government in check? Or is the blogging craze just an example of sound and fury signifying nothing—a re-run of the late-1990s fad for personal websites, only with easier-to-use publishing software?
While bloggers—half of whom are teenagers, according to one survey—are convinced that they are changing the world, not everyone agrees. There are, whisper it, even some people beyond the insular world of the “blogosphere” who have not even heard of blogging at all. Ross Mayfield, the founder of Socialtext, a firm based in Palo Alto, California, wants to move blogging beyond its usual constituency of teenagers and wide-eyed political activists. His company is taking a novel approach, arguing that blogging might actually be useful in business."

Ray Ozzie's Weblog: The Future of Work etc.

Ray Ozzie's Weblog: The Future of Work etc.: " I sit here writing this as we're about about to lift the veil from what I believe you'll find truly represents the next generation of communications software, Groove v3.0. Our primary design goal for this product, based very specifically on how it has been being used by our customers over the past three years, was to implement, for its users, the essence of their 'virtual office'. Where we do our work together, and where we want to do our work together because of how it feels and just works. We now live in an era of extreme mobility, where the attributes of secure communications, coordination, and synchronization are core to most everything we do in terms of information work. An era where our tools and mobile devices must be specifically designed with advanced, elegant awareness & notification to help us to efficiently swarm around our joint activities, and to aggregate and prioritize notifications in ways that help us to conserve our attention and cope with information overload."

The Register: CeBIT to premiere USB Swiss Army Knife

The Register: CeBIT to premiere USB Swiss Army Knife "It was bound to happen. Given that you can buy a Victorinox Swiss Army Knive with just about every gadget known to man, from horse-hoof awl to Hubble Space Telescope lens polisher, it's no real surprise that the company - in association with flash memory outfit Swissbit - is now offering cutting tools plus USB flash memory stick. The gadget will be unleashed on an incredulous world at CeBIT next week."

Via Paresh Suthar

Tim Bray: ongoing · Sunny Boy: As of today, I work for Sun.

Tim Bray: ongoing · Sunny Boy: As of today, I work for Sun.: "As of today, I work for Sun. Let's see; Java rocks. Microsoft sucks. I can play that tune.
The pundits and prognosticators see .NET as a threat to Java’s future, but that’s silly. Parts of .NET look technically excellent, but it has three fatal flaws:
First, it makes no attempt to hit an 80/20 point. Java was actually pretty lean-and-mean when 1.0 launched and has grown into its current middle-aged spread fairly smoothly. .NET launched as a kitchen-sink-equipped behemoth; it had a legacy problem on Day One.
Second, .NET was created by a company with a historic focus on (and infinite experience with) desktop applications, and has a lot of apparatus aimed at building desktop applications. I’m sorry; for most businesses, desktop applications aren’t interesting. Put your business logic on the server side and use the Web for your delivery platform. (I think the interesting client applications are on mobile phones and PDAs, these days; and Java looks like a good way to build those, too).
Third, .NET comes with the Microsoft agenda attached, wide as the horizon and high as the sky. That agenda is becoming markedly less and less popular among the CIOs and technology buyers of the world. This, I think, is the most serious problem .NET faces.
In fact I personally believe that Java’s share of enterprise software will decline, but not in favor of anything from Redmond. I think that dynamic languages (Python and friends), particularly in conjunction with Test-Driven Development, are looking more like winners all the time. They generally are cheaper to program in, run just as fast, and have fewer bugs; what’s not to like? There is one huge niche that the strongly-typed statically-compiled languages are never going to be driven out of, but I’ll save writing about that for later because I’ve got a major skunkworks in mind."

Microsoft Effort to Share Code Reaches Milestone

Microsoft Effort to Share Code Reaches Milestone: "Today, Microsoft is announcing that its shared-source program has one million licensed participants, from lone software developers to large corporations. The milestone, said Jason Matusow, manager of the shared-source initiative at Microsoft, shows that the company has responded to the demands of its customers.
'The idea of shared source is to learn from the open-source development model,' Mr. Matusow said. 'The shared-source program is a framework for us to engage in the community as we have not before.'" / Business / Technology / Start-up is in search of the next big idea / Business / Technology / Start-up is in search of the next big idea "Talk to J.J. Allaire about his new start-up, Onpholio [sic], and you get a 1990s-era blast of vision and ambition.
''The problem of search on the Web involves how you find things," says Allaire. ''Google came along and now you can find what you want more easily. But the problem of research on the Web is how do you organize and collect what you find? The product we've built gives people a place to put what they've found online."

(Remember the days when major publications used to have copy editors?...)

Onfolio Launches

Onfolio Launches "Onfolio is a PC application for collecting, organizing and sharing information you find online. Fully integrated with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Office, Onfolio has tools for capturing a wide range of content including links, text snippets, images, web pages, and documents. Onfolio lets you organize and find captured content quickly and easily. And with Onfolio, you can easily share your research in documents, presentations, emails, and research reports."

Congrats to JJ Allaire and the rest of the Onfolio team.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Dan Bricklin: End of an era as Trellix office closes

Dan Bricklin: End of an era as Trellix office closes: "So, this is probably the end of the Trellix journey. The code of the browser-based authoring tool will move down to Atlanta, but the programmers are not. The original group that helped me craft a vision for authoring hypertext and web sites in 1996 that led to Trellix 1.0, and the succession of wonderful products that followed is now pretty much completely disbanded. It was a great ride, one that we really enjoyed. Good luck and thank you to all of those who were part of it." / Business / Personal finance / MIT professor sees far-flung future workplace / Business / Personal finance / MIT professor sees far-flung future workplace "In the future, high-tech and knowledge-based businesses will be run as loose hierarchies or self-managed democracies. Skilled workers will organize, disband, and regroup around different assembly projects, much as film and construction workers do today. Even the systems of cars will be designed by competing teams of freelancers, giving automakers a choice of, say, fuel cells or solar cells.
Such is the vision of organization theorist Thomas W. Malone, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management. In a book, "The Future of Work," to be published next month, Malone synthesizes two decades of research on how information technologies and cheap communications are shrinking, flattening, and democratizing organizations, and changing the nature of work itself.
Still, the decentralizing trend is gaining momentum, as technologies introduce efficiencies that disrupt existing business operations. "The real story is what technology-augmented decentralization is doing to business and society," said Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie, now the founder and chief executive of Groove Networks Inc. in Beverly. "Fundamentally, the technology is being used to reduce the cost of coordination to get a problem solved.""

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Barron's Online - IBM Software Unit Has Case of Big Blues

Barron's Online - IBM Software Unit Has Case of Big Blues: "There could be trouble brewing inside Big Blue's $14.3 billion software business, which is critical to the company's soup-to-nuts total solution strategy. Last year, for the first time in more than 20 years, IBM's software sales force didn't receive bonuses specifically tied to its performance.
Why? Because the software unit failed to rack up significant growth in 2003 -- not including revenues attributed to a newly acquired company, says a former IBM executive.
On top of that, the vice president of finance for the software group, 22-year IBM veteran George Harrington, resigned last week to become chief financial officer of BMC Software in Houston. Of course, Harrington's departure could be unrelated to the problems at Big Blue, but the timing of his career move has raised eyebrows among IBM-watchers." - Microsoft Says Hotmail Problems Have Been Resolved - Microsoft Says Hotmail Problems Have Been Resolved: "Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Friday that it had restored service by 5:15 p.m. EST (0115 GMT) to customers who had trouble accessing the company's Hotmail e-mail accounts.
The company said a 'significant portion' of people who use Hotmail and other Internet-based products had trouble accessing the services for several hours.
The company said it was an internal problem rather than an attack on its system. The problem began earlier Friday.
In addition to Hotmail, Microsoft said people were having difficulties accessing products such as company's MSN Messenger instant messaging program."

It faltered in bewildering ways, e.g., MSN Messenger popped up a message telling me I had been logged out because I logged in on another machine -- as it logged me in...

Friday, March 12, 2004

ENT News | News: Microsoft: Yukon Delay Won't Impact Longhorn

ENT News | News: Microsoft: Yukon Delay Won't Impact Longhorn: "Officially the operating system is loosely planned for a 2005 release, but most industry observers expect it in 2006 at the earliest. In light of the latest news, the conventional wisdom is pushing the Longhorn release out to 2007.
But Tom Rizzo, director of SQL Server product management for Microsoft, flatly asserts that, although Longhorn shares technology with Yukon, the Yukon delay doesn't equal a delay for Longhorn. 'There's no butterfly effect,' Rizzo says.
'A lot of those shared technologies are pretty much baked and done. It's shared technology, but it's not full-featured SQL Server. Yukon has a lot more than that,' Rizzo says."

Via - More Investors Put Red Hat Back on the Rack - More Investors Put Red Hat Back on the Rack: "Few stocks have been as red hot as Red Hat Inc., the dominant player in the market for the increasingly popular Linux computer-operating system.
But the stock is being doused with a bit of cold water amid concern that the enthusiasm for companies making money from the 'open source' Linux system has gone a bit too far. Potential competition for Red Hat, which sells its own version of Linux and provides service and support for the operating system, also is making some wary, as is a torrent of insider sales by top Red Hat executives." - Oracle Reports Earnings Gain of 11% - Oracle Reports Earnings Gain of 11% "Mr. Henley said the applications business was profitable, but that profit margins aren't as high as in Oracle's database business, where Oracle holds dominant market share and commands premium prices. Oracle doesn't break out profit margins on its individual product lines.
Oracle's cash and short-term investments remained steady at about $8 billion. Mr. Ellison rejected the idea of paying a shareholder dividend, saying the company needed the cash to pursue its acquisition strategy.
"I'm not saying we're going to be the software equivalent of General Electric, but we're looking to do a lot of acquisitions in the future," he said. "PeopleSoft was the first, and we hope to be successful there, but we have others that we're looking at."

Thursday, March 11, 2004 | Merger regulation [Oracle/Peoplesoft] | Merger regulation [Oracle/Peoplesoft] "According to the DOJ, if Oracle is allowed to acquire PeopleSoft, there will be a damaging reduction in competition. (It has been encouraged in this view by PeopleSoft's boss, Craig Conway, despite the fact that, not two years ago, he actually proposed a merger to Mr Ellison.) The DOJ says that the merger would reduce competition from three firms—Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP, the market leader—to two. But this conclusion stems entirely from the DOJ's absurdly narrow definition of the relevant market as software “that can be integrated into suites of associated functions from a single vendor with performance characteristics that meet the demands of multifaceted organisations with high-level functional needs”. In other words, to the DOJ, the market is that served by companies that sell complete suites of business software to big firms.

But it requires only a slightly broader definition to reveal a market that would remain competitive even after an Oracle-PeopleSoft merger. Big computer-services firms such as IBM and Accenture thrive precisely by sticking together different software from different suppliers, some of which (Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP) offer everything as a bundle, while others (such as Siebel, Lawson and Geac) specialise in different sorts of software. Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced its intention to enter the high-end business-software market, and has already spent $2 billion preparing to do so. The internet's disruptive presence has also begun to intrude, through “application service providers” who supply business software over the web. And, of course, there is the growing threat of outsourcing. Has the DOJ not yet heard of Bangalore? In this highly competitive market, there is no need to fear the merger of Oracle and PeopleSoft. Indeed, such a merger might even create a firm better able to compete with Microsoft. You don't need to be God, or Mr Ellison, to see the attractions of that."

Barry Talks! : Ode to RDF

Barry Talks!: Ode to RDF "Now it's my belief that we're entering the Age of Metadata (and out of the Age of Content), as it were. (Somehow that doesn't quite sound like something Gandalf would say.) We'll be innovating in ways to decorate everything from sites to Web Services to objects with descriptions, i.e., metadata. I'm beginning to think RDF is going to be a very big deal indeed."

Hmm -- okay, maybe there's something in RDF after all, if Barry is becoming a fan. imho a great place to start for all things data/metadata-related is Mastering Data Modeling: A User-Driven Approach / Business / Technology / Survey: 50% in Greater Boston have high-speed Net service / Business / Technology / Survey: 50% in Greater Boston have high-speed Net service: "The approaching milestone of a broadband majority in several large US markets exemplifies the serious business challenges facing companies that offer primarily dial-up service, such as Time Warner Inc.'s America Online unit, which after years of explosive growth lost more than 2 million subscribers in the last year. Nationally, about 36 percent of Internet subscribers use broadband connections, up 2 percent from the end of September." - Microsoft, HP Sign Technology Agreements With China - Microsoft, HP Sign Technology Agreements With China: "U.S.-based Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) Thursday signed separate agreements with China's Ministry of Information Industry to provide equipment, support and training to help in the development of the country's software industry.
According to the memorandum of understanding with Microsoft, the company will provide software and hardware, technical support and training valued at no less than 80 million yuan ($1=CNY8.28) over the next two years, Microsoft said in a statement.
Under the guidance of the MII, Microsoft will build two laboratories to help in the research and development of software and applications using Microsoft operating systems and .NET technology, it said."

Microsoft gains market share in business-management software

Microsoft gains market share in business-management software "Microsoft Corp. claimed 11 percent of the business-management software market less than five years after beginning to sell the products, figures compiled by market leader SAP AG show.
Microsoft is gaining on Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc. in software used for customer service and accounting, according to SAP. Walldorf, Germany-based SAP says it has a 54 percent share. Oracle has 13 percent, and PeopleSoft has 12 percent."

The competitive posturing in this context is fascinating -- apparently SAP would rather have two primary competitors instead of three (i.e., SAP seems to be petitioning for Oracle's acquisition of Peoplesoft).

Microsoft's next SQL Server delayed till 2005

Microsoft's next SQL Server delayed till 2005: "Annual sales from SQL, which competes with programs from Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp., will be $1.8 billion in the year ended June 30, according to estimates from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Analyst Charles Di Bona. Product delays are hampering Microsoft's efforts to win more sales of two-year licenses that entitle users to updates in the period, analysts have said.
'It is important for them to have an attractive product road map for subscription customers,' said Alan Davis, an analyst at Seattle-based McAdams Wright Ragen, which manages about $2 billion and owns Microsoft shares. 'You want to have things come out on time, but you also want to have security and programs that work.'
Rizzo said the delay won't hurt Microsoft's database software sales because SQL Server 2000 is still selling well."

Yukon, Whidbey Releases Slip Yet Again

Yukon, Whidbey Releases Slip Yet Again "Microsoft Corp. Director of Product Management for SQL Server Tom Rizzo confirmed that Microsoft expects to ship both Yukon—Microsoft's code name for the next major update of its SQL Server database—and Whidbey—the coming update of Visual Studio—in the first half of 2005. In the meantime, a third beta has been added to the current beta schedule of Yukon, with 15 beta customers from across all major vertical industries signing up to run Yukon Beta 3 live in production settings before giving the thumbs up for Microsoft to make the product generally available.
Rizzo also confirmed that rumors about the final names for the products, gleaned from leaked screenshots, are correct: The final name for Yukon is SQL Server 2005, and the final name for Whidbey is Visual Studio 2005. According to Rizzo, both products are on the same timeframe for shipping for a key reason: Namely, Microsoft wants to release the best of its developer tools with the best of its database technology "to really change the industry," he said. "If you look at Oracle [Corp.] and IBM and other competitors in the open-source space, they don't have releases where new and innovative tools are released with a new and innovative database. Customers want that: the next generation of tools that exploit the next generation of database technology."

This and other articles about the slip include lots of speculation, but it's certainly not good news for Microsoft. Interesting that Whidbey is apparently going to be called "Visual Studio 2005" -- i.e., no ".NET" suffix this time. I think that's an indication that .NET (where .NET => produce/consume Web services and build on the .NET Framework) is now pervasive throughout the Microsoft product line; no doubt others will position it as a scandalous hint that .NET is flailing, just as they did when Windows .NET Server changed to Windows Server 2003. In any case, the schedule challenges are a problem for Microsoft in many respects, but I don't think they will shift overall DBMS market trends. There is no 80-20 rule in database products, and Microsoft is right to not rush SQL Server to market.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

FREE Burton Group TeleBriefing on Microsoft's platform strategies (3/11 and 3/12)

FREE Burton Group TeleBriefing on Microsoft's platform strategies (3/11 and 3/12)

Tomorrow and Friday -- sign up here; there will also be approx. 45 minute Q&A periods following the telebriefings; they should be lively discussions...

"Microsoft is currently in overdrive, having released a record number of new products during 2003 and introduced the next two waves of its platform and tools strategies (Whidbey/Yukon and Longhorn) at its October, 2003 Professional Developers Conference. In this Application Platform Strategies TeleBriefing, Burton Group Senior Analyst Peter O'Kelly explains the next two waves relative to both broader application platform market trends and Microsoft's .NET strategy, including implications for Microsoft customers and competitors."

The Fundamental Question of Biology (scripting versus 3GL++)

The Fundamental Question of Biology (scripting versus 3GL++): "One of the questions I've gotten many times over the years is 'I have a certain problem to solve and I don't know whether to use a script language or C or C# or what. Can you help?' Usually the questioner is in a tizzy because of myths and misinformation about the script languages. Now, obviously I worked on the script engines and so I'm a candidate for script partisanhood. But I worked on the script engines because I wanted to come up with tools that solve some problems well. If script doesn't solve your problem well, DON'T USE IT -- but please make that decision based on a dispassionate evaluation of the pros and cons, not misinformation and myths. "

Useful analysis; via John Dowdell

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Yahoo! News - Microsoft Menaces Oracle's PeopleSoft Bid

Yahoo! News - Microsoft Menaces Oracle's PeopleSoft Bid: "The department filed suit Feb. 27 to block Oracle's bid for PeopleSoft, saying it would be anti-competitive. Oracle has dismissed such concerns as unwarranted, citing among other things an imminent competitive threat from Microsoft, the world's largest software company.
But in the statement given to investigators, a representative of Microsoft says the company has no plans during the next two years to move into the market at issue -- software sold to large business customers to manage things like finances, human resources and sales forces, the sources said. "

Sun Adopts RSS

Sun Adopts RSS "Gillmor: How does that filter down to the Java Desktop System?
Schwartz: JDS is not necessarily about providing every choice. What you would pay Sun for isn't to assemble a bunch of open source code and give it to you on a disk. What you come to Sun for is: Give me an assembled, qualified, integrated stack that I can rely upon your roadmap to deploy.
When we make conclusions about what is the RSS infrastructure within that desktop, that's probably going to be more significant than almost anything else, even though the volume there isn't anywhere near what it is on a cell phone. We don't control all the definition of the software stack on a cell phone like we do on JDS. We obviously have to play close attention to how it is we put the infrastructure in place —and it also means that we're gonna put the infrastructure in place.
Gillmor: You mentioned earlier that Microsoft is holding RSS back for some reason. What is that reason?
Schwartz: It's a couple of things. One, the RSS market is relatively nascent. And there are some technology leaders who are going to go deliver their RSS feeds more proactively than others. Is Microsoft missing a huge market right now? Probably not. But it just goes to the prior point that he who controls distribution controls the definition of the standard.
On one hand, I think they're uncomfortable with how much of the RSS standards have been done in the open source community that they can't therefore lock away. And if they take a path, they have to take one that breaks that alliance, and in breaking that alliance –as they've tried to do with HTTP, Java, and every technology they couldn't control– lies some risk for Microsoft. I'm not sure right now they're all that interested or focused on it. I think Steve Ballmer is probably more focused on his pricing in Malaysia than he is on the infrastructure for RSS."

Also see Robert Scoble's response

Via Dan Gillmor

SAP to defend Oracle bid in letter | CNET

SAP to defend Oracle bid in letter | CNET "Software maker SAP plans to come to the defense of rival Oracle and its contested bid to buy PeopleSoft in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department, an SAP spokesman said Monday.
Oracle is challenging a lawsuit filed by the department's antitrust division blocking it from buying competitor PeopleSoft. A letter from SAP, which competes with both companies in the market for application software designed to streamline business operations for the world's largest corporations, could boost Oracle's case. "

Monday, March 08, 2004 - Sun On The Run? - Sun On The Run? : "Indeed, though Linux was originally viewed as a threat to Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ), so far its biggest victim appears to be Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun. Sun's expensive servers are powered by a specialized Unix-based operating system called Solaris. Solaris shares some common roots with Linux, making it easy for Sun customers to switch. Instead of buying Sun's pricey machines and equally pricey maintenance, customers can choose cheapo Intel (nasdaq: INTC - news - people ) servers. And if one breaks, who cares? Toss it out and buy another. "
Even some former Sun partners are jumping ship. Sapient (nasdaq: SAPE - news - people ), an 1,800-employee consulting and technology services company, originally developed the programs it uses with customers to run on a Sun-Solaris platform, a move that placed Sun machines into many IT shops. But now Sapient has rewritten its programs so that they run on Linux, and delivers them not on Sun but on IBM's Intel-based servers.
"In the late '90s Sun was the best platform, without a doubt. But things have changed," says Ben Gaucherin, chief technology officer at Sapient, in Cambridge, Mass.
Sapient is helping its own customers migrate from Sun to Linux. Among telecom companies, which were once a Sun stronghold, "we are seeing massive transformation," Gaucherin says.
Adding insult to injury, Sapient is sweeping away its own internal Sun servers and replacing them with Intel-based machines (mostly from Dell and HP) running Linux. "About 80% of the Sun that we had is going to be replaced by Linux. We'll cut our costs by more than 50%," Gaucherin says.
Sun, amazingly, says it does not believe its customers are migrating to Linux. "People might use Linux for new projects. But people do not move off of Unix," says Larry Singer, senior vice president of global market strategy for Sun. "Linux has been growing, but not at the expense of Sun.
Sun has always been great at dreaming up catchy slogans. The first one was "The network is the computer." Next came "We put the dot in dotcom." So what is it now? Maybe they should borrow a title from Gauguin: "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" "

Intel envisions TiVo-like wireless PCs | CNET

Intel envisions TiVo-like wireless PCs | CNET "Intel wants desktop PCs to double up as network hubs and video recorders, a move that could make life tough for the companies that produce those standalone products.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker will begin midyear by adding wireless networking technology Wi-Fi to an upcoming pair of desktop chipsets. When manufacturers choose a specific version of one of the two new chipsets, they will be able to add the foundation for a built-in Wi-Fi access point nearly for free. " - Portals: Do We Get Enough In Innovation for What We Give to Microsoft? - Portals: Do We Get Enough In Innovation for What We Give to Microsoft? "It's 2004; do you know where your computer dollars are going?
One can learn a lot about the computer industry by looking at the breakdown of manufacturing costs in an average desktop PC, as compiled by iSuppli Corp., a market-research firm. Excluding labor and shipping, and leaving out the costs of a monitor, keyboard or mouse, the typical desktop PC these days costs the Dells or the H-Ps of the world roughly $437 in parts.
The biggest portion of that -- 30%, or $134 -- goes to Intel for a Pentium processor. The disk drives, including whatever CD or DVD is installed, cost around $104; the RAM memory is $54; and the remaining hardware items -- power supply, case, circuit boards -- total $100.
The final 10%, or $45, goes to Microsoft for the Windows operating system.
Because these prices are never disclosed, the figures here represent best guesses. But you can start to see the contours of the computer industry in that bill of fare. Specifically, you begin to understand how Microsoft could amass its $61 billion in cash and other assets. It's easy when you collect nearly 10% of the cost of every PC that's shipped, while having no manufacturing costs of your own." - Free Use of Linux Is Dealt a Setback - Free Use of Linux Is Dealt a Setback "Computer Associates International Inc. confirmed that it signed licenses from SCO Group Inc. to use Linux software, in a development that sent a ripple of worry through the coalition of companies and programmers attempting to uphold their legal right to use Linux for free.
Computer Associates' acknowledgment that it signed several licenses last year for Linux machines, indemnifying it against litigation from SCO, came as a surprise because CA has been an active member of an industry coalition supporting Linux. It is a founding member of the Open Source Development Labs, the home base of Linux developer Linus Torvalds. CA also has widely trumpeted its support for Linux, and evangelizes it to its customers.
The Islandia, N.Y., company, one of the biggest makers of corporate software, said that although it signed the licenses, it didn't pay for them -- and never would. It said it agreed to sign the licenses only to settle a lawsuit with the Canopy Group, one of SCO's major investors. SCO has been pressing Linux users to buy the licenses for $699 for each server using the software, or face legal action."

Saturday, March 06, 2004

SAP plan could spawn software battle | CNET

SAP plan could spawn software battle | CNET "NetWeaver is the new technical foundation for SAP's popular collection of application programs, which are used by thousands of the largest companies around the globe to streamline manufacturing, accounting, sales, human resources and other corporate tasks.
The new architecture puts SAP on a collision course with IBM and Microsoft, analysts said. That's because it incorporates many of the same interoperability tools and computing infrastructure programs that those two sell. Specifically, NetWeaver is intended to compete with IBM's WebSphere and Microsoft's BizTalk Server products, as well as with software from smaller makers. It's also a challenge to consulting companies specializing in systems integration, including Accenture and the Global Services arm of IBM, they said."

Web services downgrade for SAP - Loosely Coupled weblog, Mar 3rd 2004 10:50am

Web services downgrade for SAP - Loosely Coupled weblog, Mar 3rd 2004 10:50am: "Analysts at London-based broker Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein have downgraded SAP stock because of web services. They reiterated a 'sell' rating on SAP AG (SAPG.F) today, citing a price target 10 percent below the current market price.
'According to Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein's research note published this morning, one of the core markets for SAP in the long term is web services-based composite applications,' reports online information site New Ratings. 'The analysts mention that new applications are likely to provide limited revenue growth opportunities for SAP in the long term, given that these applications need to be highly commoditized and standardized.' "

Via Barry Briggs

NYT: Sun Microsystems Debt Cut to 'Junk'

NYT: Sun Microsystems Debt Cut to 'Junk' "Friday's move by the credit agency is a big blow to Sun's recent efforts to turn its fortunes around. During the second quarter of fiscal 2004, the company's revenues topped analysts' projections, rising 13.9 percent over the first quarter, the highest growth rate from a first quarter to a second since 1998. Sun's stock closed Thursday at $5.16 after starting off the year at $4.49
Ms. Toll-Reed said the company continued to face enormous hurdles in the server market where it competes with I.B.M. and Hewlett-Packard, as well as with Dell Computer at the low end of the market. Dell has in recent years moved aggressively into that market, selling less-expensive servers based on industry standard technologies like Linux and Microsoft Windows. By contrast, Sun continues to rely on selling more-expensive servers, based on its own proprietary version of Unix.
"The biggest competitors are clearly I.B.M. and H.P., but not to be discounted is the low-end impact of a Dell Computer, who's got a very effective cost model," Ms. Toll-Reed said. "You can't do the same things with a Dell server and a Sun high-end server, but the cost factor is not to be underestimated."

Friday, March 05, 2004

Feds reject Eolas browser patent | CNET

Feds reject Eolas browser patent | CNET "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has invalidated a claim to Web browser technology central to a case against Microsoft, a move that could spare the software giant from paying more than half a billion dollars in damages, according to documents obtained on Friday.
The patent agency's preliminary decision, if upheld, also means that Microsoft will not be required to make changes to its Internet Explorer Web browser that would have crippled the program's ability to work with mini-programs that work over the Internet, such as the QuickTime and Flash media players.
Martin Lueck, the lawyer who represented Eolas, said it was not uncommon for the patent office to invalidate a claim as the first step of a review process, but said he was confident that the patent office would ultimately uphold Eolas' claim on the Web technology.
"They're somewhat routine and typical," Lueck said."

(File under "Wishful thinking")

CRN : Breaking News : Psion Faces Revolt Over Symbian Sale To Nokia

CRN : Breaking News : Psion Faces Revolt Over Symbian Sale To Nokia: "The future of the Symbian mobile phone operating system group has been clouded after the largest shareholder in Psion announced its opposition to the mobile computing company's $252 million sale of its Symbian stake to Nokia."

Looks like the price is going up...

AT&T Wireless Sony Ericsson T68 Upgrade

AT&T Wireless Sony Ericsson T68 Upgrade Got my postcard from AT&T Wireless today, informing me that they're sending me a Sony Ericsson T226 to replace my current T68i. The "upgrade" program has been quite controversial, e.g., greatly annoying Ed Brill, who thinks AT&T Wireless (or Cingular, or whatever it is this week...) is being disingenuous by not clearly warning customers that the T226 doesn't have a bunch of useful features that many T68i users rely on, e.g., Bluetooth support (which I use with my spiffy Jabra FreeSpeak headset).

So I called AT&T Wireless; here's "... the rest of the story:"
1. The T226 simply works better as a phone -- better reception, broader coverage area, etc.
2. We don't have to return the T68i phones -- it's really a gift, not a trick.
3. They provide mailers etc. for people who do wish to dispose of their T68i phones.

So what's not to like? Now I'll have a spare, more effective phone for traveling, and I'll only need to swap the SIM card from one phone to the other to move my number, contacts, etc. I don't use the Jabra very often anymore anyway, since I switched to Vonage for my office line.

New IM Product Rolling Out of Oracle

New IM Product Rolling Out of Oracle: "The offerings will be built on the XMPP (for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) (define), which competes with the widely-used SIMPLE protocol (Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) (define). But Sunkara said Oracle could build an adapter for compatibility with the SIP-SIMPLE protocol too.
He also said the new messaging offerings will be designed to work on a variety of devices (desktops, laptops, personal digital assistants and Web-enabled phones) and operating systems (Windows, Linux and Macintosh).
... Paul Haverstock, an architect in Microsoft's real-time collaboration unit, said the company is working to make IM more useful by enhancing graphics and working on portability across devices."

Congrats to Paul on his joining the Redmond-based subset of

Citizen Schwartz: Sun EVP Jonathan Schwartz on citizen pricing, Microsoft, and IBM's open source “offer“

Citizen Schwartz: Sun EVP Jonathan Schwartz on citizen pricing, Microsoft, and IBM's open source “offer“ "... we're talking to a different target. We're talking either to people who can't afford Microsoft, or politically are repulsed by them.
A lot of the nations in the world, especialy in South America and in Asia, view Microsoft as the nasty American monopoly. So their derision of the company is less associated with the artifacts of their technology than the way they run their business."
"You see IBM as lagging the market?
No, I see IBM as leading the market and frustrated that they can't deliver a new feature in Websphere without customers coming back to them and saying, “but that's not in J2EE.” And I think that's very frustrating for them, because they want to be able to split off and do things that only come from IBM.
Some have suggested that IBM might move toward C#?
That would create turmoil in their marketplace, that is, the marketplace for IBM's customers. I think that would not be in IBM's best interests given that I've never in the history of computing seen any Microsoft technology benefit anyone other than Microsoft. If IBM's actually thinking about that they should repeat carefully: the difference between white mice and humans is that white mice learn."

Well, that certainly helps to elucidate Sun's software strategy.