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
And for the sake of full disclosure, Redmond fell for this story like everyone
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.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.