StratVantage Consulting, LLC — Mike’s Take on the News 01/24/01

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StratVantage Consulting, LLC — Mike’s Take on the News 01/24/01

Clipped from:

The News – 01/24/01

Microsoft and Sun Settle Java Suit

The long national nightmare is over. Sun has won, unequivocably and convincingly. In an extraordinary press release, Sun makes some very bold statements about the Java conflict between the two computing giants:

Microsoft realized it needed to offer the Java technology to its developers and customers. But the technology also threatened Microsoft’s monopoly hold on the desktop operating system market because the technology can be used to develop applications and products that are not dependent on the Windows operating system.

Microsoft’s response to this issue was to license the technology from Sun in 1996, promising to deliver only compatible implementations of the technology. But Microsoft broke its promise, and began distributing incompatible implementations so that applications written to those implementations would run only on Windows.

Sun repeatedly asked Microsoft to stop shipping incompatible implementations of the Java technology. Microsoft refused. As a result, Sun terminated the Technology Licensing and Distribution Agreement.

Holy Mackerel! This is pretty harsh, especially considering the two companies continue to do business together. I wonder if this language was approved by Microsoft before publication. The company takes a different tone in its PR:

"Microsoft is very pleased with the successful conclusion of this litigation," said Tom Burt, deputy general counsel for litigation at Microsoft. "This settlement will not impact our customers or current products in any way and will allow us to focus our time and resources on what we do best: developing great software."

The license agreement and the settlement agreement confirm Microsoft’s freedom to independently develop technology that competes with Sun’s technology.

Anyway, Sun gloating aside, this agreement is really good for the Web and its users. Not only does it ensure that developers can develop to one Java standard (eventually, once Microsoft brings its version of Java into compliance, which could take seven years), but it is the first time I can recall that Microsoft’s “embrace/extend/co-opt” approach to competing standards has failed. Perhaps this heralds a new attitude out of Redmond, or maybe just a recognition on Microsoft’s part that they won’t be able to implement their very ambitious .NET initiative without the cooperation of other vendors. Microsoft’s effort to get SOAP accepted as an XML standard may be other evidence of this shift in approach.

Whatever the reason, this landmark agreement, in which Microsoft pays the token (!) amount of $20M to Sun, indicates that the future of the Web will continue to be interesting. And you may recall the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.



Those Crazy Democrats!

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for pranksters, so I have to admire those merry outgoing White House staffers who stole all the ‘W’s from the White House computer keyboards! Reading about this made me laugh out loud (LOL).

What’s even funnier, in a way, is the fact that OfficeMax recognized this prank as a PR opportunity. The office supplies company is donating 100 new keyboards, and 500 ‘W’ keys to stem the crisis. Their press release is priceless:

Michael Feuer, OfficeMax’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, "This bi-partisan move is a reflection of Corporate America’s sense of urgency and desire to ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but instead, what can we do for our country?‘"

The keyboards, manufactured by Logitech, feature a full assortment of the complete alphabet of 26 letters, including the "W." The Company said providing the extra supply of "W" keys is added protection in the event there are any similar reoccurring problems in other agencies of the government."

A bi-partisan move! I love it! Extra ‘W’s in case of copycat crimes! Who says government is boring?

Now I wonder if the Logitech marketing department is getting a kick in the butt by the CEO for allowing OfficeMax to capitalize on this opportunity?