Yahoo and AOL Talk Turkey
- By Peter Varhol
Yes, America Online is still around. Its signature dial-up access business
continues to shrink faster than house prices, but over the last several years
it has developed a robust advertising business surrounding its surprisingly
Now Yahoo, desperately seeking an alternative to being acquired by Microsoft,
is talking about combining
with AOL. The deal would involve Time Warner, AOL's parent, taking a significant
stake in Yahoo.
I can't claim to know the details, and I'm certainly not a business wiz, but
on the surface this sounds like a bad idea. Neither business is doing particularly
well, and combining them won't fix this problem. It sounds more like Yahoo would
strongly prefer to take any alternative that doesn't say "Microsoft."
Is this a viable strategy? Send your thoughts to [email protected].
Blockbuster Tries New Market
Movie rental service Blockbuster surprised many of us by making an offer
of $1.3 billion for electronics retailer Circuit City.
What does Blockbuster want with Circuit City? Apparently, it would like to
expand the market for movie rentals by embedding those rentals into your TV
as well as other electronic devices.
I subscribe to Blockbuster Total Access, which lets me have both mailed DVDs
as well as store-rented ones. But I'm not yet sure whether I want them embedded
in my TV. How about you? Are you looking forward to this brave new world? Tell
me at [email protected].
Salesforce.com and Google Team
Salesforce.com has announced
that it has integrated Google Apps' e-mail, instant messaging, calendaring
and spreadsheet applications with its traditional hosted CRM service.
Salesforce.com customers can use the Google on-demand tools to improve collaboration
and productivity in managing and tracking sales leads. In addition to working
with sales contacts, Google Apps lets Salesforce.com users write memos and sales
proposals, coordinate them with other Salesforce.com users, and schedule group
meetings with potential customers.
Have you used Google Apps yet? What's your impression? Give me your feedback
at [email protected].
Mailbag: The Rise and Fall of Windows
Doug wrote about Gartner's
latest prediction: Windows will inevitably collapse "due to its sheer
size" and the only thing that can save it is virtualization. Doug's not
buying the doom and gloom -- and neither are readers:
I think Gartner is going to collapse from the sheer weight of its intellect
and expensive membership fees. I remember hearing about the demise of Microsoft
during the Windows 2 timeframe, too. We survived Windows ME. We are still
You're not wrong. Gartner, which I enjoy reading, has merely been caught
with egg on its face. Though I'm ticked off about the bloated mess of Vista,
and will likely not move until Windows 7 hits the shelves, I still lie down
at night and thank God that Microsoft exists. Without Big Bill and his rowdy
herd of bandit code writers, I wouldn't be raking in the big bucks that I
do as a consultant. So with a big debt of gratitude, I say this: Microsoft
has not only seen the need for virtualization, but it's already become a major
By the looks of our early Server 2008 deployments, we're loving Hyper-V
and all the virtual madness it involves. Now, if I could only do something
with that ugly GUI! (I used to be anti-virtual...that is, until I saw and
used Server 2008.)
Aren't those the same bunch of idiots that thought the world was going
to end back in 2000? Easy work if you can find it. They've been predicting
the widespread implementation of the thin client now for at least 10 years;
it's always the "product of tomorrow."
Some of our departments here at USC have subscriptions to Gartner's IT
predictions, so I occasionally look and see what it is saying. I have rarely
seen it predict ANYTHING correctly. It seems like it has ulterior motives
with ALL of its ruminations, something along the lines of, "IT is falling
into ruin." Rarely do you see a positive prediction from it about anything.
I gave up watching its missives some time ago.
We use Microsoft's software here quite successfully. We have a mix of
staff, students and faculty that are a very demanding audience. Yet, except
for the occasional headache -- you are bound to have some! -- we keep things
operating pretty smoothly.
The bigger question is: Is the Gartner group any different than a politician?
Or a college professor that has never worked in the field that they teach?
I've been reading about constant Vista complaints, and how MS is really
bad at this and that. Some are really good articles and some make my blood
boil. I don't agree with everything Microsoft does -- I don't think any of
us does -- but I'm sick and tired of hearing all the "study groups"
who denounce a product as soon as it's released before giving it some time.
Maybe someone should rate the raters?
Gartner will always have the "not ready for the enterprise"
theme for Windows. It's been on this message for the last 15 years or so.
Main reasons: It caters mostly to CIOs in large, established shops; the majority
of analysts live in towns where IBM execs and management live; IBM is only
a 20- or 30-minute drive from Gartner; it's been a Oracle shop (internal apps)
for 20 years; it was a Novell and Notes shop (maybe still are); its position
is always that Microsoft needs to reach some mystical goal; and it does all
this based on what it hears from clients or vendor briefings, never "we
brought it into our labs and we found..." I think a great bit of research
would be to take analyst firms' overall themes and rate the accuracy of predictions
The virtualized client is the long-held fairy tale of the Unix and mainframe
crowd because they're generally not in touch with users and their productivity
requirements. But I agree with you that it isn't going to happen.
I do not see Windows crashing or dying any time soon. However, Microsoft
has nowhere to go but down. It's just a matter of time before the other competing
OSes step up to the plate corporate-wise and gradually chip away at Microsoft's
dominance. I see Linux companies, especially enterprise favorites like Red
Hat and Novell, having the most to gain here. Apple likes being second banana
too much to compete in the enterprise.
It's about marketing -- two guys who leverage Gartner's name to promote
the "anything but Microsoft" mantra. My gut feeling is that if MS
continues to sit on its rear end and not respond to Apple's marketing campaign,
then you can expect to see the Mac (and others) continue to gain market share.
Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university