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11/17/2005
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After The Binge

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: After The Binge
2. Today's Top Story: New Google Service
3. Breaking News
    - Yahoo, AOL, Others Stand Up Against Adware
    - Nokia To Acquire Intellisync For $430 Million
    - Oracle Buys Thor Technologies And OctetString
    - Rootkits DOA In 64-Bit Software, Says Microsoft
    - Flash: Macromedia Plugs More Holes
    - Dell Still Confident After Third-Quarter Stumble
    - Iowa State IT Students To Try Their Luck Against Hackers
    - Tiny 'Spy-Size' PC Gets $20 Million Infusion
    - 3Com Announces Intrusion-Prevention Platform
    - Blogs, Podcasts, Cell Phones Are Toddlers In Ad Market: Survey
    - IBM Discloses DB2 Viper Capabilities, Sees Release In 2006
    - U.K. Extradites Alleged Cyberterrorist To U.S.
4. In Depth: The Sony Copy-Protection Debacle
    - Sony Capitulates, Pulls Copy-Protected CDs
    - Bloggers Break Sony
    - Sony's Plan To Fix Infected Copy Protection Only Makes
       Matters Worse
    - Microsoft Joins Fight Against Sony Copy Protection
    - Sony Still In The Hot Seat
    - At Sony, The Customer Is Captive
5. Voice Of Authority: Windows Live Ain't Dead Yet
6. White Papers: Web Services
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some." -- Alfred Hitchcock



1. Editor's Note: After The Binge

Any computer-industry watcher who's ever followed Oracle knows it takes some effort to filter out the facts--what's deliverable today, what's actually in a product, and so on--from the high-level vision and strategy (some might even call it hype) expounded by the company's CEO, Larry Ellison. In principle, there's probably nothing wrong with that. After all, Ellison is a colorful personality in an industry that benefits from his profile and his many outside interests, which make him more compelling than most billionaire geeks. And even major customers likely recognize that a key job of the CEO is to sketch out the broad vision, then rely on the underlings to make the details work behind the scenes.

But these days, I wouldn't want to be one of the underlings at Oracle, and even less so after yesterday's announcement of two more acquisitions--Thor Technologies Inc., a developer of cross-platform provisioning tools, and OctetString Inc., a supplier of virtual directory software. These were small deals--small enough that the terms weren't disclosed. But the swelling Oracle employment base must be getting a bad case of indigestion. By my count, those make buyouts 12 and 13 this year. While one of the two giant deals--for Siebel Systems--is pending, Oracle is still digesting PeopleSoft, Retek, ProfitLogic, TimesTen, Oblix, G-Log, and more.

One thing even the smooth-talking Ellison can't minimize behind his vision is the monumental chaos that so many acquisitions could create within Oracle and, more importantly, for customers, especially if all those deals aren't managed effectively. Areas I'd be concerned about as a customer include product integration, the future of all those acquired products, support for new product lines that have different licensing and support models than internally developed products, differing and perhaps competing sales channels, and varying software development methodologies.

For the sake of customers, I hope Oracle is enormously successful in knitting all these diverse technologies together and creating a broad, integrated product line. But I'd be really cautious about assuming everything will go as smoothly as the company is likely to claim.

Tom Smith
tsmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story: New Google Service

Google Base Creates Huge Searchable Database Of Nearly Anything
This tool will make locating any user-generated content that's been uploaded nearly instantaneous, and it could signal the company's entrance into classified ads.


3. Breaking News

Yahoo, AOL, Others Stand Up Against Adware
A group of Internet heavyweights, including Yahoo and AOL, are backing a plan that would certify software as adware- and spyware-free in an attempt to stymie the flood of unwanted software plaguing users' computers.

Nokia To Acquire Intellisync For $430 Million
The acquisition of the mobile wireless E-mail vendor is expected to give Nokia a leg up in push E-mail and other collaborative business apps in the enterprise market.

Oracle Buys Thor Technologies And OctetString
Acquisitions strengthen identity-management and access-management product lineup.

Rootkits DOA In 64-Bit Software, Says Microsoft
Microsoft's move to 64-bit operating systems for its servers should put a stop to rootkits, at least the current crop like the one that has plagued buyers of some Sony music CDs, company executives claim.

Flash: Macromedia Plugs More Holes
For the second time in two weeks, Macromedia has had to patch bugs in its Flash product line, this time in the Flash Communication Server.

Dell Still Confident After Third-Quarter Stumble
The company's CFO told a supply-chain conference this week that unit shipments are still growing, but Dell is getting less revenue and profit from each sale.

Iowa State IT Students To Try Their Luck Against Hackers
Competition is designed to give future IT professionals a taste of the real world of network security.

Tiny 'Spy-Size' PC Gets $20 Million Infusion
New investors in the maker of the 14-oz. Windows XP-based PC include Motorola and former directors of both the CIA and the National Security Agency.

3Com Announces Intrusion-Prevention Platform
The TippingPoint X505 features an inspection firewall, VPN, bandwidth management, Web-content filtering, and dynamic routing.

Blogs, Podcasts, Cell-phones Are Toddlers In Ad Market: Survey
Ad execs responding to a survey rated the three new Internet-based channels about in the middle of the pack, considerably less than traditional media and other forms of online advertising.

IBM Discloses DB2 Viper Capabilities, Sees Release In 2006
The Viper version of its DB2 database will include improved capabilities for handling unstructured data such as E-mail, images, and XML documents.

U.K. Extradites Alleged Cyberterrorist To U.S.
The suspect is accused of operating a fund-raising Web site for Islamic militants and encouraging them to wage jihad--or holy war--in Afghanistan and Chechnya between 1999 and 2003.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

Help Choose The Best Independent Tech Blog Of 2005
The nominations for the second annual Blog-X Awards came fast and furious. We've winnowed down the list to 10 blogs. It's time to let your voice be heard. Cast your vote for the top independent tech blog. The winner will be announced around Dec. 16 and will receive a $500 Starbucks coffee card.
http://www.techweb.com/blogawards/vote.html

Subscribe To Your Favorite Authors
Are you a fan of Fred Langa? Are there other InformationWeek authors that you view as must-reads? Then check out our all-new author directory; each author has his or her own page and RSS feed.
http://www.informationweek.com/authors

-----------------------------------------


4. In Depth: The Sony Copy-Protection Debacle

Sony Capitulates, Pulls Copy-Protected CDs
Sony BMG Music Entertainment is pulling its copy-protected audio CDs, which have caused a firestorm of consumer protest and industry condemnation.

Bloggers Break Sony
Sony made an unpopular product decision and got its reputation incinerated by waves of flaming bloggers. That's a lesson for other companies.

Sony's Plan To Fix Infected Copy Protection Only Makes
Matters Worse

Sony's suggested method for removing the program actually widens the security hole the original software created, researchers say.

Microsoft Joins Fight Against Sony Copy Protection
Microsoft will update its security tools to detect the rootkit-infected Sony XCP software.

Sony Still In The Hot Seat
Even though Sony decided to suspend using controversial copy-protection technology, consumers and network managers are still furious.

At Sony, The Customer Is Captive
The problem with Sony is evident in its financial filings. No, it's not that the company expects to post a net loss of $90 million for its fiscal year ending in March. That's a symptom, not a cause. The company has locked the PDF file that contains its second-quarter financial results to prevent computer users from copying the data in the document. Note that these are public financial filings. Sony just can't bring itself to allow those viewing its quarterly results the convenience of being able to copy and paste its data. The problem with Sony is its fear of openness. In a networked world, that's a terminal condition.


5. Voice Of Authority: Windows Live

John Foley: Why 'Windows Live' Ain't Dead Yet
The Microsoft doubters are at it again. Skeptics are questioning Microsoft's ability to deliver on the "Windows Live" strategy outlined recently by Bill Gates and CTO Ray Ozzie. If history is a lesson, however, it's a mistake to underestimate Microsoft, a company that has repeatedly shown an ability to catch up to competitors when it falls behind, as it often does. And Microsoft has advantages in the world of Web software that even Google may find hard to match.


6. White Papers

Beyond Integration: Assembling Business Solutions From
Web Services

To simplify the integration of application silos, companies are widely adopting Web-services technology. This same technology has the potential to make it faster and easier for IT to create end-user applications, allowing organizations to deliver more relevant solutions to business problems--on demand--as new situations arise.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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