While David and I always find we have more to talk about than we have time in which to do so, the main focus this week was Apple and Oracle. We've written quite a bit about the iPad; in fact, you can find all of our coverage and more on our special report page, along with our video coverage and an immense image gallery. Overall, we're both pretty excited about the iPad as an e-Reader platform, and interested in seeing Apple as an Amazon/Kindle competitor, but we're also skeptical about the broader applicability of the device for now.
It was symbolic that Apple had Wolf Hall -- Hilary Mantel's best-selling 2009 Man Booker prize winner -- on its opening iBookShelf screen (as a demonstration), along with Lovely Bones and Twilight: a call to book lovers of every type, and a subtle promise to be broad in its offering here. Whether or not the iPad is worth the price, or fell short of expectations, there isn't a device that can do everything the iPad does.
InformationWeek has published a comprehensive look at Apple's new iPad device. Download the report here (registration required).
Probably more significant to the enterprise market, Oracle's marathon post-merger strategy session this week got plenty of people stirred up. Frankly, it's just time to get on with the integration of the $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun, but the details are oh-so enticing: what will happen with MySQL? with the people? with the Sun brand? The Oracle brass, led by his eminence, Larry Ellison, focused on the bigger picture. Ellison said Oracle was keeping all of the technology (Storage, Sparc, x86, Java, Solaris), and that it would pour more R&D money (its 2011 fiscal R&D budget is $4.3b) into Sparc and MySQL than Sun did.
More than that, Oracle called out IBM as its main target. And not just today's IBM. It wants to be like IBM of the 1960s, Ellison has said: "We want to be TJ Watson Junior's IBM."
Its interest is being a systems company, building high end systems to run enterprise applications, and slowly but surely it is even interested in cloud, albeit the high end, private part of that equation. Bob Shimp, Oracle's Senior Vice President, talked more about packages of hardware and software, and vertical software stacks. Oracle pointed to things like Exadata -- a "database machine" it announced late last year that combines a blade server cluster, flash memory and storage, all in one box.
These are powerful ambitions. My colleague, David Berlind, isn't convinced that Oracle will keep everything in the long term, and that there must be more redundancy in technology than Oracle has let on. I like a good fight, though, so I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Finally, David Berlind has a little rant for the technology industry where video is concerned. He referenced some interesting tests that he ran with a video acceleration technology called SpeedBit . His rant: That this technology, as nifty as it is, shouldn't be necessary. In short, it works to accelerate the playing of Internet-based video, eliminating the buffering and choppiness problems that go along with most video watching experiences. Listen in for why he's upset (and send him kind messages, because those always cheer him up).