Microsoft and Google Battle Over Phones?
There's a hot new rumor that Google
is prepping a mobile Internet phone
. If the rumor isn't just phony-baloney,
then I've got some big questions. Can Google actually build great hardware?
What kinds of software innovations are possible? And what kind of connectivity
can one expect if the Internet is the data source? Does it rely upon wireless
broadband from companies such as Cingular and Verizon?
Meanwhile, Microsoft, whose Smartphone software drives a good many phones,
into small-business telephony with a new IP-phone system that will be built
by third parties. The key to the system is letting the people in the small or
remote office manage the phones, rather than calling in IT or telecom pros.
This is a godsend when you want to move that backstabbing worker in the office
next to the gas leak.
Oops, I Meant Microsoft
This newsletter is getting easier and easier to write. My kids feed me a lot
of the funny stuff, readers write gobs of great letters and now readers are
practically writing items for me.
Take Randy, who told me a great story about a keynote speaker at the Microsoft
Small Business summit who
probably won't be invited back. Julie Clark said, "When you think of
tissues, you think of Kleenex. When you think of computers, you think IBM."
Never-Ending Bill for President 'Dilbert' Saga
As my faithful readers know, Redmond magazine was the first publication
to seriously suggest that Bill Gates run for president. As you might also know,
overexposed cartoonist Scott Adams had
the same brilliant idea six weeks after you all heard about it -- and proceeded
to take full credit.
One "Dilbert"-loving columnist, NetworkWorld's Paul McNamara,
the bait, and guessed that "Cartoonist Scott Adams started this flapdoodle
with a Nov. 19 post on The Dilbert Blog that suggested there isn't anything
wrong with this country that President Bill Gates couldn't cure in less time
than it takes to get a new operating system out the door. Hey, everyone enjoys
a good chuckle...and don't you just love that Dogbert?" Uh, no, and as
for Dogbert, definitely no!
The otherwise upstanding Mr. McNamara continued his speciousness by again giving
Adams full credit, even after the Barney/Adams idea seemed
to die on the vine.
I've got to admit to being a little miffed, and whipped off this heated little
message to my old pal:
As a columnist, imagine that you wrote a piece suggesting that Bill Gates
run for president.
Before publishing, you do a thorough search to make sure the idea is not
derivative. You find it's not.
You publish the column to 135,000 subscribers and many more pass along
You also post it on the Web where you have a substantial audience.
There is a quick and passionate reader reaction.
Let's say you did this in October
of last year.
Six weeks later, Scott Adams blogs about the same topic, and a different
columnist from a different publication gives Adams total
Now, let's say the person who wrote the first column about Gates explained
to the second columnist who it was that actually published the idea first,
and did so to a broad audience.
You would think the second columnist, let's call him Net Buzz, would give
proper credit the next time around.
Instead, this columnist, who purports to stand for honesty, once again
gives credit to Scott Adams and then fawns over the fact that Adams sent him
a seven-word reply.
If that happened to you, would you be irritated? I thought so.
Paul did apologize for his oversight, but somehow never bothered to correct
Doug's Mailbag: Web Conferencing Showdown, What Makes
Developers Tick, More
Yesterday, I brought up Cisco's $3
billion purchase of WebEx, a direct competitor of Microsoft's Live Meeting
in the Web conferencing sphere. One reader points out that Cisco's been down
this route before:
Cisco already owns a Web conference tool. It bought Latitude in 2003
and called it MeetingPlace. It only paid $80M for Latitude!
I can think of two reasons why Cisco needs two Web conferencing tools:
One, Latitude has not done well because they cannot market, or two, Cisco
wants to keep WebEx from Microsoft, Google or EMC.
So which side do you fall on -- WebEx or Live Meeting? A couple of you picked
You asked, so here goes: GoToMeeting.com is way better than WebEx or
WebEx: Used it a few times but did not like it much.
Live Meeting: Used it during a trial period and sometimes it did not work
very well (it also cost more than GoToMeeting.com).
GoToMeeting.com: Has never failed, works fast and I have other customers
that use it, too.
Sametime from Lotus/IBM: Not nearly as good as GoToMeeting.com.
Copilot.com: Works OK for customer support problems, but it's slow and
not suitable for demos and meetings."
Actually, we don't use either for our collaboration and conferencing
suite. We stumbled across a start up called Medianet Innovations at a trade
show that provides online conference in voice, video and chat, as well as
desktop sharing and URL sharing, and offers the ability to place a "Call"
button on our Web site that can spawn a voice, video or chat call from someone
outside our organization. Plus, all the chatting (internal and external) is
logged and is secured via 128-bit SSL encryption.
Just thought I'd throw this hat out in the ring -- it's not always the
two biggies who get the business.
One reader gives his take on how IBM's developerWorks Web site was able to
register 5.7 million
So I asked myself, am I one of those 5.7 million developerWorks users?
Of course, I remember signing up years ago for a forum through IBM developerWorks.
They didn't acquire these users overnight or even in the past year; these
users have been acquired through training programs, Webcasts, local presentations
on products like Rational and WebSphere, registration required to access many
parts of IBM technical information and the technical community forums. As
for the legends of Cobol programmers, I would guess they are only a small
fraction of this user base. Just within my large company, there are thousands
of IT associates who use IBM regularly for developer information on J2EE,
Java developer tools, Linux/zLinux, SOA, Web services, XML and the many WebSphere,
Rational and Tivoli products.
So what drives developers back to a Web site? Some are really interested
in the forums, but the majority are there looking for information required
to continue some effort or are looking to learn more about a specific technology.
It may be related to IBM or Microsoft (in which I recommend Redmondmag.com),
but in most cases developers are looking for immediate answers to their questions
or for general knowledge.
And another reader shares his disappointment with Microsoft's
decision to axe FoxPro:
I am not a database programmer anymore, but in the early '90s, I was.
I was in the USAF when Microsoft bought FoxPro. Versions 1 and 2 were good
for the time, but Visual FoxPro 3 was when I think the package really matured.
For a while, the Air Combat Command of the USAF even designated FoxPro as
its primary database. After Microsoft bought the program, they were more interested
in stealing from it to enhance Access (now and then a mediocre database at
best) than promoting FoxPro. Visual FoxPro was object-oriented a full year
before Oracle was and Microsoft had an excellent opportunity. Instead, Microsoft
sat on it. I've been a loyal supporter of Microsoft from the start and I am
a Microsoft partner now, but what Microsoft did to FoxPro was wrong!
Any thoughts? Send them my way at email@example.com,
or leave a comment below.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.