Commentary
Content posted in April 2007
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Sometimes Steve Ballmer Just Takes Your Breath Away
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
In a USA Today interview Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is asked if he wishes consumers would get as passionate about Microsoft as they do when Apple comes out with something new. "It's sort of a funny question," he answers. "Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? I want to have products that appeal to everybody." Steve, I've got one word for you: iPod.
Transparency Defined: A Look Inside VMware's IPO
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
VMware's IPO-related filings include a discussion of the competitive threat posed by Microsoft in the virtualization space, a breakout of VMware license revenue versus professional services revenue (guess which is growing more rapidly?), the hiring of a CFO from Amazon, and a decision by many customers to run all of their new apps on VMware software. While the SEC-mandated documents are a tad dry in places, they also provide an unpreceden
Google To Launch iGoogle
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
At a brunch for journalists (where I am typing this), Google today rolled out new personalization applications and features that are scheduled to go live first thing Tuesday morning. First, the Google Personalized Home Page, previously known as IG because those two characters are at the end of the Personalized Home Page URL (www.google.com/ig), has formally become iGoogle. If you thought Froogle was a poor product name, be thankful Google rejected Yougle, Fusion, and Mockingbird for the rename
The Maybe Merry Month Of May
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
This first day of the month of May, popularly known as May Day, can mean different things to different people. For many, it heralds the beginning of spring, when you can finally stop running to weather.com to see if there's yet another late snowstorm coming and can start googling phrases like "weed killer" and "swimsuit sales." For others, especially if they live in some other country, or have certain political views, it means a
Intel Hopes The UMPC Will Kill The Smartphone
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
The PC industry seems confused about the future of mobile computing. Notebooks are a mature device category but other new form factors haven't fared so well. Smartphones represent a strong growing market, but this sector is controlled by the wireless industry, i.e. carriers and handset makers, not traditional PC companies. PC companies have yet to really win in the smartphone arena -- though the iPhone promises to change that. Regardless, Intel is trying to push a new mobile form factor that it
Mobile And Wireless Prominent In IBM's Top Five Technology Innovations
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
Wireless and mobility figure prominently in IBM's "Next Five in Five," a list of the top five technologies that will impact people's lives in the next five years. The results of this study come from IBM's interal research labs and think tank, as well as input from 150,000 people in 104 countries. So what are the top five technologies to look out for?
Has An Inappropriate Ringtone Ever Embarrassed You?
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
Raise your hand if you have a specialized ringtone set on your phone. Now raise your hand if you haven't bothered to switch your mobile phone's ringer from the default ringer it came with out of the box. Lastly, raise your hand if you keep your phone on vibrate or silent most of the time. According to the
Mobile Blogging Plug-In Available For Wordpress Users
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
To continue fellow blogger Mitch Wagner's discussion on blogging tools, I thought I'd share a bit of news from Wordpress. A new plug-in from Andy Moore, creator of Web2Txt, allows bloggers to create versions of their blogs that will be viewable on mobile phones. It will also allow bloggers to create posts
Ballmer Takes Another Swipe At Google Apps And The iPhone
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just can't resist taking shots at the iPhone. Who can blame him, the iPhone has the potential to redefine the entire handset business -- as well as position OS X as a competitor in the mobile OS market.
Carnival Of Mobilists #70
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
Break out the balloons and clown shoes, it's carnival time. The Carnival of Mobilists #70 is live at Mobile Opportunity. This edition's topics include RIM's BlackBerry service outage, the future of MVNOs, how to make feature phones better, dumb convergence solutions, and a new wireless carrier in Spain. Check it out.
Data Integration Comes in Three Flavors
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
Those shopping for data integration solutions will find that they come in three flavors: Stand-alone tools from niche players like MetaMatrix, Group 1, Pervasive and Tableau… Focused Solutions from vendors like Business Objects, Cognos, Informatica, Initiate and SAS… and One-Stop Shops such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Here's what each flavor has to offer.
Enterprise Platform... Now On Demand
Commentary  |  4/30/2007  | 
As I began to discuss in my last post, we're now seeing SaaS companies move into the platform space, selling beyond enterprise applications into databases, application development, integration, and even operating systems, all on demand. Case in point is the Platform Edition release by Salesforce.com last week.
What's The Best Service For A First-Time Blogger?
Commentary  |  4/28/2007  | 
My colleague John Foley asked for some advice on starting a personal blog. He wanted to know which software or service to use. I had two recommendations: The TypePad service if he wants to have a blog that's open to anyone, or the Vox service if he wants to control access to the blog.

Is The Tech Job Market Better? Our Data Says 'Yes'
Commentary  |  4/28/2007  | 
Taken as a whole, the InformationWeek Salary Survey suggests things have been looking up for the IT job market the past year. Not everyone's going to want to hear that.
Video Illustrates The Sorry State Of The Customer Service Industry Today
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
A company called Vocal Laboratories provides video commentary on a six-minute customer service call to Hewlett-Packard. HP treats its customer rudely, like cattle. They waste the customer's time. They make the customer sit through six minutes of silence, hold music, and pointless questions. Then they abruptly hang up on the poor guy without providing any help at all. But the most shocking thing of all is that HP is not unusual in this behavior. It's a typical call by any customer to any compan
Dear Microsoft: Enough With The Interactive TV
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
Dear Microsoft, Thank you for your concern about the lack of interactivity in my television. I realize that your researchers have only my best interests at heart, but please tell them that interactivity isn't necessary. TV is passive entertainment and I'm fine with that. If I want to interact, I'll do so using the computer in my home office, or maybe, if I'm feeling decadent, from my laptop while watching TV.
It Depends On What The Meaning Of 'IT' Is
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
My colleague Michael Singer recently posted a compelling item about the work and words of Nick Carr, who burst into prominence four years ago with a Harvard Business Review article called "IT Doesn't Matter" and shortly thereafter a book with the softer title, Does IT Matter? And now Carr is about to release a followup book. I wish Nick much success with his book sales because he's a rema
New Mobile Phones In Japan Use Motion Like Nintendo Wii
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
A new mobile phone in Japan from wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo has motion sensors. You can even use the phone to play games through movements, just like the Nintendo Wii game console.
BlackBerry To Offer Service For Windows Mobile: Why Does Anyone Care?
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
One of the big mobile business stories this week was Research in Motion's announcement of a version of its BlackBerry push e-mail service for Windows Mobile smartphones. This story got a lot of coverage but I have to admit,
Down To Business: Show Some Courage
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
We're becoming too conservative and controlling. Regardless of the reasons, it's high time we started chipping away at our hidebound cultures.
In Search Of Credibility On The Web
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
At a recent get-together of IT community people on Microsoft's campus, the meeting started with an attempt to define Web 2.0, a term some associated with nothing more than marketing fluff. Talk turned from the medium to the message--to the content being generated by wikis, blogs, feeds, and social nets--then to a question about the people generating it all.
Businesses Should Ditch Mobile E-mail And Use SMS Instead
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
That's what Alan Moore, CEO of SMLXL, recommends. His reasoning isn't all that outlandish, either. Turns out, most users of expensive mobile e-mail systems rarely type out messages that are longer than the 160-character limit with SMS. Why are enterprises paying for all that fancy technology if simple
Europeans Highly Skeptical About The iPhone
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
In the very unscientific poll I took while attending the S60 Summit in Madrid this week, most Europeans I spoke with said the iPhone is "worthless without 3G." They are also unconvinced that the touchscreen interface will allo
IT Confidential: 10 Indications Apple Is Headed For A Fall
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
The indications are there: iPhone anxiety, a Steve Jobs impersonator, a backdating scandal that won't go away--and I just bought an iMac.
From Our Blog
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
Community Feedback
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
Ubuntu Linux Vs. Windows Vista: What Do You Think?
Commentary  |  4/27/2007  | 
Popular myth -- those tidbits of received wisdom that epitomize the phrase, "Of course it's true, everyone says so!" -- is as evident in the technology community as it is in any other society. The only difference is that this particular community isn't divided by geographical location, but by language -- namely, the language that their favorite computer speaks.
Gartner Predicts 80% Of Internet Users Will Be Active In Virtual Worlds
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
An interesting report by Gartner this week adds evidence that virtual worlds are here to stay. Gartner says 80% of Internet users will be active in virtual worlds within four years. They also gave advice on how big business should get on top of virtual worlds.

Using Second Life As A Business-To-Business Tool
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
I just got off the phone with Cisco -- we ended up talking for a couple of hours about how Cisco is using Second Life for business-to-business communications. Turns out that quite a few Second Life users are network engineers. These are Cisco's customers, and Cisco is aggressively using Second Life to communicate with them.

Report From A Weary Mobile Traveler
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
Well, my trip to Madrid and back to cover the Nokia Applications Summit and S60 Summit was met with good success from a technology standpoint. My mobile phone had no problems adjusting to the European flavors of GSM, though I
SMS Accounted For 70% To 80% Of Worldwide Non-Voice Revenue
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
According to a new report from Research and Markets, short message service, or text messaging, was a cash cow for network operators in 2006. But with the recent trend to offer unlimited messaging bundles, has SMS become commoditized?
FCC Fiddles, Broadband Opportunity Burns
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
"The most important step we can take to provide affordable broadband to all Americans is to facilitate the deployment of a third pipe into the home,'' FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said yesterday in announcing that the Commission would put off, once again, finalizing the structure of the 700MHz spectrum auction scheduled for later this year. "The upcoming auction represents the single most important opportunity f
The Museum of Modern Betas? Del.icio.us!
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
So this friend of mine wants to tell me about his new company, new product. But he's suave, he doesn't just email me, "Hey, Mr. Ur-So-Kool Press Bigshot, write me up." Instead he invites to me to connect to him on LinkedIn. Very subtle. He knows I'll backtrack his email address. I do. I find his company Web site. Product's still in the oven. Hmmm. But I also find it's listed on the
More Data Points From 'Defining the CIO' Research
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
In my last blog post, I said I'd reveal the titles that survey respondents think the CIO could someday assume based on their evolving responsibilities. And here are the results...
Do Wireless Subscribers Really Want Mobile Net Neutrality?
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
Mobile VoIP provider Truphone this week came out against carriers blocking VoIP functionality on mobile phones. The company went so far as to claim that this act threatens mobile net neutrality. But is the
We The ('Net) People: Who Owns The Presidential Debates?
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
Is MSNBC "stealing" the first major political event of the 2008 presidential race, Thursday night's Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama-John Edwards debate in South Carolina?
If E-Mail Is Old School, I Must Be Ancient
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
The rapid pace of change can sometimes make a person feel old. That's how I felt this week when I read about the LG National Texting Championship.
Thoughts on Content Management as a Service
Commentary  |  4/26/2007  | 
Are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options viable for enterprise content management? I hear that question with increasing frequency, and it's a difficult one to answer. There are plenty of vendor options out there - from pure plays like Spring CM, to hybrids like Xythos and Treno. But just because there are plenty of options doesn't means it's a particularly good idea.
Safari Vs. Firefox On The Mac: Firefox Wins
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
I'm done with my fast-and-dirty evaluation of the Safari as a potential replacement for Firefox on the Mac, and I'm sticking with Firefox. Here's why I stuck with Firefox, and what I still miss about Safari.

Sun At 25 ... Where Is This Company Headed?
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
Good question. Are Solaris, Sparc,and tape storage gaining momentum? Are you buying Sun products?
The Two Most Useful Search Tricks I Know
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
I use these all day and every day. One of these tricks allows you to do a search quickly in Firefox. The other trick allows you to narrow searches down to a particular site.

Does A Job Ad Signal The Return Of The Google Phone?
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
Just when you thought it was safe to deny the existence of a Google Phone, more rumors stir the blogosphere. Late last week Dan Jones at Unstrung pointed out that Google posted a job ad for hardware product manager. So much for Google not getting into the hardware business. Oh, it gets better.
OZ Buys Thumbspeed: Is The Mobile Messaging Market Consolidating?
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
Mobile messaging platform company OZ this week said it acquired Thumbspeed, a maker of mobile messaging and personalization applications, from Hands-On Mobile for an undisclosed amount. What does this deal mean for the mobile messaging market?
FON Dials It Up With Software-Only Hotspot For Mac, Linux
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
FON, the Spanish share-your-Internet-connection company, is moving fast this week. On Monday it announced a deal with Time Warner Cable that will officially let broadband customers do what some of them have already been doing unofficially -- set up FON routers that redistribute their Internet service via Wi-Fi. Today, FON announced software for Intel Macs and Linux boxes that does the same thing, no router required.
Is It An 'Interview' If It's Via E-Mail?
Commentary  |  4/25/2007  | 
In working on my story on Wall Street's efforts to reduce data latency, I had several e-mail exchanges with a spokesperson for BATS, a very nice but not overly responsive fellow. After the story came out, he chided me for not checking the facts with him. I pointed out that in the week the story was being edited, I made several attempts to reach him by phone and by e-mail, unsuccessfully. I am reminded of this
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