And the worst

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2003-12-30 Print this article Print

..."> And on the other hand…the worst: SCO—Whether youre a fan, a contributor or even a competitor of open source, its hard to find anything good to say about these guys. At least the Seinfeld show made something funny out of nothing. The only good news: SCOs lead attorney David Boiess last client: President Al Gore. MPAA/RIAA—Hey, Ive got a good idea. Lets kill off all these new-fangled technologies that are driving productivity through the roof and saving us from the Bush recession. Whether its peer-to-peer, DVRs or mom-and-pop Internet radio, lets shred our freedoms of speech and fair use to shield the content industries from joining the 21st century.
No InfoPath free runtime—This wont happen anytime soon. Microsoft software czar Jim Allchin wont allow a decent XML forms editor to make XML objects (blogs, calendars, schedules, e-tickets, etc.) easily distributable around the Net. That would destroy Offices lock-in and market dominance in Word and Outlook, leaving the door open for an open-standards desktop, where price and innovation could flourish.
No user-defined XML schema support across all Office SKUs—Why not make this available to all users, thus injecting well-formed XML across both enterprise and personal data? Because Microsoft wants the world running on schemas they own, not those protected by royalty-free standards bodies. That way Allchin and Co. can keep renting our data back to us each year. Who said Passport is dead? Slow aggregation of Wi-Fi (roaming agreements)—Like the record and movie companies, the carriers are resisting Wi-Fis disruptive momentum. They would be better off writing down their spectrum auction losses and getting on the bus before it leaves town. If not, the voice-over-IP crowd will eat their lunch (if Congress doesnt steal it first). Lack of IM interoperability–AOL and Time Warner get an Oscar for agreeing to stay out of IM video in return for keeping their buddy lists locked up. Post-bubble, Time Warner drops the AOL name, gets $780 million from Microsoft, can do video-conferencing anyway—and still no interoperability. And the winner is: not us. Microsoft firing of contract blogger—This poor soul made the mistake of posting a picture that suggested something other than an official Microsoft policy position. Someone should have fired his boss for putting the lie to the warm and cuddly notion that the "new" Microsoft is listening—watching—Big Brother style—is more like it. E-mail—E-mail has made every one of us a digital homeless person, going through the garbage cans each day looking for some scraps of information. The good news—the more useless it becomes, the sooner RSS will absorb collaborative communications and leave instant messaging and video conferencing to handle the real-time traffic. Is Blogging Journalism?—This debate will go the way of "peer-to-peer is dead" and other wishful thinking of last-generation stakeholders and failed business model speculators. Blogs represent the triumph of the pervasive network and the low barrier to entry of personal publishing. Well-written, credibly researched, and balanced journalism can, and now does, come from anyone with access to todays printing press, the Net. As always, the cream rises to the top. Sharepoint—I just had to throw this one in at the end, not because Sharepoint isnt reasonably solid, useful technology; rather, its because you cant really turn on the full range of Sharepoints feature set without buying each and every Microsoft product offering across Windows, Office System and enterprise servers. Collect them all to see if youve won the big prize, a Software Assurance license. Offer expires just before 2006, or when Longhorn ships, whichever comes first. Contributing Editor Steve Gillmor is editor of eWEEK.coms Messaging and Collaboration Center. His e-mail address is

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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