Business & Finance
Commentary
5/27/2005
06:25 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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IT Confidential: From Global Warming To Hell Freezing Over

HELL FREEZES OVER, PART I: The merest hint that Apple Computer might be talking with Intel about using its chips in Apple personal computers was enough to send the computer industry into a frenzy last week. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple "has been in talks that could lead to a decision soon to use Intel Corp. chips in its Macintosh computer line." The Journal cited anonymous sources, and Apple characterized the report as rumor and speculation. But interested parties--from software vendors that have to develop two versions of their products to PC users who have to chose between the convenience of the standard (Windows/Intel) and the technical sophistication of the outsider (Apple)--were gladdened by the possibility of getting the best of both worlds. Later in the week, 14 senators--seven from each side of the aisle--reached a mature and well-reasoned compromise in the hotly contested debate over filibustering judicial nominees.

All this led me to believe that if hell isn't quite ready for an NHL franchise, then at least there may be some frost on the pitchforks, if you know what I mean. What other planet-aligning, paradigm-shifting developments might be in the offing? Here's a tentative list:

  • Oracle declares detente in the software wars, vows no more hostile takeovers, and opens up its database structure and application-programming interfaces to rival SAP.

  • Microsoft declares Windows an open-source product and hires Linus Torvalds as its head of development.

  • Sun Microsystems declares its operating system an open-source product--wait, that already happened and nobody really cared.

  • IBM throws all its technology patents into the public domain. Not just the 500 it doesn't really want, but all 30,000 of them, or whatever the number is up to now.

  • Virus writers vow to give up writing malicious code and instead write programs that help people by stopping the spread of spam and phishing schemes.

    HELL FREEZES OVER, PART II: Due to the increasing price of gasoline, Americans are finally willing to give up their gas-guzzling, road-pounding sports-utility vehicles--NOT! According to comScore Media Metrix, an online research firm, nearly 700,000 Americans conducted more than 1.5 million online searches in March for terms such as "gas prices," "hybrid cars," "Toyota Prius," and "gas mileage." Interestingly, comScore's analysis also found that more than 1 million consumers conducted approximately 2.5 million SUV-related searches in March.

    HELL FREEZES OVER, PART III: Nokia has teamed up with Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor to bring high-speed VDSL broadband Internet access, and also IP-based TV, to Norway's Svalbard archipelago, also known as Spitzbergen, one of the world's northernmost settlements. "Svalbard has earned a reputation as a place for Arctic adventure, and we are pleased that Telenor now will be able to offer inhabitants telecom services ahead of the Norwegian mainland," said Vegard Gjerde, Telenor's managing director in the region, in a statement. Svalbard has a total population of about 2,800.

    Hey, you gotta have something to do during those long Arctic nights. But don't worry, global warming will take care of that--in a hundred years, Spitzbergen will be a golf resort. Float an industry tip my way, to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about Apple and Intel, the price of gas, or global warming, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


    To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

    To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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