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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-10-28 Print this article Print

: Interview with Charles Fitzgerald"> eWEEK: What are some of the things you are doing to arm yourselves for battle against them, as well as against BEA (Systems Inc.) and other companies like them? Fitzgerald: The biggest switch I think is people have invested a lot in application infrastructure over the last couple of years that turned out to be totally unnecessary. I can build an application for Windows and its going to be faster, its going to be more scaleable, its going to be more reliable than something built to middleware. A Java application server, which turns out to be really expensive, really slow, really complex, requires those busloads of consultants. And two to three years ago when everybody had too much money and it was a badge of pride to buy the most expensive stuff, that was common. But people arent going to pay $80,000 a CPU for an app server that allows them to run applications more slowly than they run on the underlying operating system.
So we continue to focus on high-volume, low-cost, mass-market, ride-the-high-volume hardware. Gartner [Inc.] did a piece this year where they said 80 percent of the spending on Java application servers has been wasted—where people are just over-buying functionality that they dont need. The current environment, where budgets are tight and people are trying to do more with less, is really forcing people to rethink writing a big check for infrastructure.
eWEEK: Whats your view on Sun (Microsystems Inc.s) Web services strategy and overall software strategy? Fitzgerald: Theyve at least started saying the right words, but in terms of products, theyre nowhere to be seen. They get schizophrenic between Web services and Java. They want Java to be the thing that people use to access and talk to each other, [but] that models just not going to pan out. eWEEK: What about Sun ONE (Open Net Environment)? Fitzgerald: Sun ONE is a bunch of software assets they bought a couple years ago and allowed to deteriorate. So they inherited the Netscape server business and, politely speaking, ran it into the ground. They bought a bunch of other companies and they just havent really done anything with them. They have some challenges as a company—financially theyre going to lay a bunch of people off, they dont make any money off software but they have a ton of people writing software. Are you going to lay those people off or are you going to lay off the guys who bring in the revenue? eWEEK: They invented Java, and IBM seemed to be the one to take it over and capitalize on it. They were involved in the creation of XML, but Microsoft seems to have taken that over. Fitzgerald: Theyre just not a software company and they prove it everyday. They totally failed to capitalize on Java. They didnt make any money off of it. With XML, there was a Sun guy involved in the original [World Wide Web Consortium] group, but he was a documentation manager or something, so he was totally divorced from the product. They were very late in embracing XML despite the fact one of their guys was involved in the standard.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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