Ora-gel

Oracle, as always, has a good game plan, though they have not thought out everything under the Sun. I attended Oracle’s outbound communication extravaganza concerning the completed swallowing of Sun.  In the time from initial purchase to the final approvable by European Union regulators, Oracle has been busy deciding what parts of Sun to keep (pretty much everything), how to integrate to company (interestingly) and where to create real market value (specific).  In an event short on surprises — unless Larry did something quirky, which I missed by having to leave early — OraSun changes the game, which is the entire point of marketing. Aside from seeing “Sun” positioned over “Oracle” on all the event branding (the last time this will undoubtedly occur), the basic market strategy of the merger can be summarized as “We are your IT hub, we are specializing the center of your operations, and don’t look … Continue reading

Desktop Disconnect?

Apple is pushing people to populate their phones with installed applications while Google, IBM and Microsoft are urging folk to remove apps from desktops. This is not nearly bizarre as it sounds. The success of Apple Apps for iPhones is slightly more phenomenal than the second coming. The universe seems consumed by the desire to have useful and useless apps installed onto their handsets. Sure, most of the iPhone app rush comes from the rush of playing with a new toy, proving once again the only difference between men and boys is the price of their data plan. Yet this month shows that the desktop is slowing turning into little more than a SaaS suckling tool, whereby apps are delivered online. Google may have led the pack with early availability of desktop apps-on-tap, but now IBM and Microsoft have tap danced onto the stage. (The mental visual of Steve Balmer … Continue reading

Locked-in

Lock-in as a marketing strategy is alive, well, and unfortunately growing. For dot-communists and those raised in the era of Linux, vendor lock-in is the art of keeping customers captive. By making people commit to a technology, and thus raising the pain of switching away from said technology, vendors cause customers to linger even when they do not want to. I know CIOs who for decades have blustered against Cognos and being locked into stiff annual license fees for PowerHouse, Cognos’ ancient 4GL. Yet they pay the fee every year knowing that rewriting thousands of lines of PowerHouse code is pretty pricy too. Another variation of vendor lock-in is commonly called upgrade robbery. I encountered such a scam this week when I noticed my ancient (circa 2003) smartphone buttons started to stick. In order to upgrade to a newer smartphone, AT&T insists that I buy $720 worth of wireless data … Continue reading

Lowly Highs

“Bottoms up” is not just something you say during cocktail hour or at a strip club. It is a market strategy as well, and Google will implement it with a fist full of dollar bills. News of a Google netbook operating system – Chrome OS by name – has emerged. Targeted for netbooks running ARM and x86 chips, COS centers Google’s Chrome browser as the interface to the world and to Google applications. This latest Linux distro is designed to address the bottom of the commercial computing market (we’ll ignore the One Laptop per Child gizmos that would otherwise win the Barrel Bottom Scraper Award for underpowered PCs). Scott McNealy understood half the equation when in an over-caffeinated frenzy said “The network is the computer.” Naturally McNealy saw the hardware side of the system, being that he was in the hardware business. But as any technology marketing maven will maintain, … Continue reading

Solid Move

It is always fun to see a market tipping point at the moment it occurs. Samsung, the Korean tech titan, is rumored to be exiting the hard drive business for ultra thin notebooks, switching instead to solid state drive (SDD) production. It appears that Hitachi, Fujitsu, Seagate and Western Digital have abandoned that market as well, leaving Toshiba alone to peddle electricity sucking spindles for your groin warmer. When five out of six primary players leave a market, you know that market is toast. Intel is accelerating the switch. They report that as soon as next month they will double the density of their SSDs, pumping in a hefty 160GB into the small form factor. Since SSDs are a relatively new market phenomenon, and since work has only begun on how to bundle more bits into the drives, we can expect Moore’s law to switch from CPU cycles to SSD … Continue reading

Desktop Drift

Seems everyone is aiming for the desktop. Some are drifting slowly, trying to grind away Microsoft’s dominance. Others are planning a full frontal assault. Yes, Larry Ellison is in the latter category. The slow motion mob is of course Linux. Nearly a decade ago I was helping SuSE peddle the first competent Linux desktop distro. The Microsoft hurdle was steeper then than now, and we knew advising CIOs to conduct forced march migrations was folly. But CIOs were interested in researching alternatives, clearly disgruntled at being held captive by Bill Gates and his nerdy desperados. We advised a piece meal approach. Since our study of CIO attitudes concerning Linux showed that they wanted their IT staffs to be Linux literate, we suggested migrating just IT to Linux desktops (sans Microsoft support teams who both needed Windows on their PCs, but would also attempt CIO assassinations if they were forced to … Continue reading

Black Java

This year’s JavaOne is a conference stood on its head. A number of elements indicate that Java is thriving, but in odd tangents and with uncertain bearing. I’m sure it was only coincidental that all Sun employees on site were wearing black shirts and near-death experience expressions. Sun staffers looked like people who woke up in a casket at their own funeral. Or in Hell if they believe the rumors about Larry Ellison and his cloven hooves. Exhibit floors are where you find the real pulse of an industry. Forget keynote fairytales which are often more about FUD than fact. When companies drop thousands of dollars on booth space and staff time – when spending shows their intent – that is where you learn how to place your bets in any industry. After touring JavaOne, I’m buying more stock in Apple. No, Apple was not demoing nor did the spirit … Continue reading