Google PR Machine Marches On

When it comes to the press, Google has it made in the shade. While our last two presidents, George and Bill, had to scrap for a single bit of good press (Fox News and Al Franken notably excepted), Google just rakes in the raves. And with every tiny step it takes, the mindless press declares that Eric Schmidt has Bill Gates in the ropes and is pummeling wildly.

This week Google announced a deal to distribute Sun’s Java Virtual Machine and to help distribute OpenOffice, the open source productivity suite. Somehow this is a revolution, and Windows and Office are suddenly toast.

Get real, people. Sun will give a Java contract to anyone with a ballpoint pen, and OpenOffice, is, well, open source. Where is the breakthrough in making it available, or even building on top of it? Google didn’t write it -- all it’s doing is glomming on to something built long ago.

The deal was big on fuzz and small on details, but Sun did agree to offer the Google toolbar as part of the Java runtime. For this you call a press conference?

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Speaking of Minor News
If the press goes gaga for Google, it goes mental for Microsoft. Redmond just has to sneeze and the New York Times writes “God Bless You.” Knowing this, Microsoft releases minor detail after minor detail about upcoming products, and each time we give ‘em a headline.

Today’s excitement revolves around Microsoft’s stunning disclosure that Office 12 will produce PDF files. Many expected Microsoft to ignore Adobe in favor of its own proprietary document format.

I’d be excited, that is, if Acrobat hadn’t installed handy little icons in Word that do exactly what Microsoft promises to do a year or more from now.

And for the sake of full disclosure, Redmond fell for this story like everyone else.

Ballmer for 11 More Years
At the recent Microsoft annual meeting, the Seattle Post Intelligencer peppered Mssrs. Gates and Ballmer with a few choice questions. Besides being typically bullish on the computing future, they talked about their work futures. Asked how long he plans to stay with Microsoft, Ballmer gave the strangely specific answer of 11 or more years, not 10. Gates slyly ducked the question.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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