|FROM ||Ruben Safir Secretary NYLXS
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Analysis of Sun/MS settlement by the Financial Times
Microsoft and Sun heed the customer Published: April 8 2004 5:00 |
Last Updated: April 8 2004 5:00
There is both more, and less, than meets the eye to last week's
unlikely rapprochement between two of the computing industry's deadliest
rivals. The sight of Microsoft and Sun Microsystems burying the hatchet
could mark a watershed for the young computer industry - though a history
of distrust between the two still leaves ample room for disappointment.
This certainly looks like a symbolic moment. Four years after the
technology bubble burst, the big technology suppliers have heard what
their customers are screaming: the computer systems on which companies
and governments rely have grown too complex and expensive to manage. By
promoting rival technologies, Microsoft and Sun have added to the mess.
Along with paying $1.6bn to settle Sun's antitrust and patent infringement
claims, Microsoft has now promised to find ways to link its own software
more seamlessly to Sun's. Since Sun is the guardian of the Java computer
programming language, used by all of Microsoft's main rivals, this could
have a big impact.
It took the arrival of a radical new alternative, in the shape of the
free Linux computer operating system, to bring about this attack of good
sense. To justify the prices they charge, Microsoft and Sun must do a
better job of getting their supposedly superior technologies to work
together. If they fail, the alternative vision promoted by International
Business Machines will predominate - one that relies on a layer of
specialist "middleware" software and armies of consultants to glue
together coherent information systems out of Linux and other technologies.
For Mario Monti, Europe's competition commissioner, the alliance is
a reminder that technology markets do not stand still. Part of Mr
Monti's anti-trust ruling against Microsoft last month was based on
a five-year-old Sun complaint that Microsoft should let competitors
connect their own technologies more easily to its ubiquitous Windows
PC operating system. Sun has now weakened Mr Monti's case, though other
Microsoft rivals are not in the same privileged position.
If this signals a new era of co-operation in tech-land, it is welcome. But
there are two caveats. One is that, despite the promises to co-operate,
there are few concrete results so far. Suspicions will linger that this
is a figleaf for both companies: Microsoft will be able to show a gentler
face to regulators, while Sun bows out of a distracting legal fight.
The other caveat is that, while both companies claim to be committed to
open technology standards, they may be tempted to try to use this detente
to protect their profit margins, bolstering their proprietary technologies
at the expense of other competitors. Customers are demanding a different
approach: they want an end to the Balkanisation that has added to the
cost and reduced the utility of their information systems. Technology
companies ignore that at their peril.
-- __________________________ Brooklyn Linux Solutions
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town that Brooklyn, like
Atlantis, reaches mythological proportions in the mind of the world -
RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.mrbrklyn.com - Consulting http://www.inns.net <-- Happy
Clients http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources - Unpublished Archive or stories and
articles from around the net http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/downtown.html -
See the New Downtown Brooklyn....
NYLXS: New Yorker Free Software Users Scene
Fair Use -
because it's either fair use or useless....
NYLXS is a trademark of NYLXS, Inc