Rumors of Sun's Demise Greatly Exaggerated

Commodity servers, the rise of Windows Server and Linux, and the inability of the network computer to make it off the launch pad have all conspired to pound Sun Microsystems' earnings deep into negative territory. But these losses are easing as Solaris, now open source, picks up steam and cost-cutting measures take hold.

Sun is one of the few remaining innovators and I, for one, would love to see the company back on track. The company now has a run rate of some $12 billion in annual revenue -- not too shabby, I'd say.

Microsoft Shrugs Off Atlas Beta
There's nothing like a bad Ayn Rand pun to start your day, and the news that Microsoft is shipping a new beta of Atlas, the Ajax tool, gave me that opportunity. Version 1 of ASP.NET Ajax (that just rolls of the tongue) is The Fountainhead of a whole new style of programming for Visual Studio and ASP.NET programmers. Now it just needs an Anthem!

Red Hat Hit
Remember that bully in school that always stole your hat and tossed it in the garbage? For Red Hat, Larry Ellison is that bully. Larry announced that Oracle will happily support Red Hat software -- for half-price! That news had Red Hat investors seeing red as the stock sank almost $6 in a day. At least Red Hat is still in the black!

The company itself still believes in the stock and last week announced plans to buy back $300 million worth of shares.

Sender ID, Other Tools in Public Domain -- Just Don't Call 'Em Open Source!
Ray Ozzie got the Microsoft open source ball rolling when he released Live Clipboard. Now, things are sorta starting to move as Redmond releases more and more technologies into the public domain via the Open Specification Promise (OSP), which is Microsoft-shorthand for "You can use our technology and we won't sue."

Last week, Microsoft applied that promise to Sender ID, which is a way to make sure e-mail is coming from a real person rather than a spam factory. Microsoft has also put its Virtual Hard Disk Image Format spec into the public domain. OSP technologies now total about a half-dozen, including a number of SOAP technologies, single sign-on goodies and security tools. Microsoft lists the full roster here.

Cisco Not Kid-ding About Video, and Neither Is Microsoft
Microsoft has been making more and more noise about video conferencing. This must not sit well with Cisco, which owns the network the same way Redmond owns the desktop. On Oct. 20, Microsoft announced a research project for a cheap, mobile video conferencing device that will be out in a year or less.

Days later, Cisco announced a tool aimed at making video conferences feel more like the real thing, instead of the jerky, latency-laden messes they are today (don't video conferences remind you of those annoying dance club strobe lights?).

I don't care who wins this war. I just want this stuff to look good so I can stop flying around the country just to put a face to a voice.

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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