ZIFFPAGE TITLESchwartz Handicaps Next

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2003-11-18 Print this article Print

-gen Killer Apps"> SG: What are the desktop killer apps, not in 5, but 2 years, that will seed that market, and force a migration off Office?
Schwartz: The killer app for this desktop is price, because China and India and El Salvador and Brazil cant afford a hundred dollars per desktop from Microsoft.
SG: For developers? Schwartz: The killer app for developers is called volume. The fact of a hundred fifty million of these [phones] going up by leaps and bounds means thats where they can make money. Developers dont hunt for brilliant technology -- their instincts tell them to go to where the volume is, because thats where they can monetize part of that $80 billion. The most interesting new content Ive seen for the Internet: I was in Zurich and some guy walked up to me with his phone and said "Youre flying to Barbados tonight – heres the weather," and I clicked on it and saw an animated satellite map of the weather. Well, he makes 25 cents every time somebody looks at the satellite map of any weather across the planet. And hes on target to have hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. Thats where developers are going. SG: But you told this Town Hall today that developers care about whats going on on their PCs, not on that mobile platform. Schwartz: They will write using their PCs, they will deploy on a multitude of devices. This phone is an inefficient input mechanism. They will write the code on that [laptop]. Does that mean a new killer app will emerge on the desktop? To be blunt, I doubt it. I think the killer app is called the browser—and much as though Microsoft wants to push the browser out of the way to merge Web services into Office… SG: The rich client has no appeal? There were 7,000 people at the PDC who were pretty jazzed about what was going on. Schwartz: The rich client has a lot of appeal, but I think $80 billion has more appeal. Developers follow the money. Developers dont follow the guidebook that Microsoft publishes for them. SG: Im not disagreeing with you about the size of the marketplace. But for people who are managing information, [the phone] becomes a huge bottleneck -- your fingers are too big, the screens too small. Its going to come back to the PC. Schwartz: It will, but the PC will be one of many. Look, I dont disagree with you. For most things I do want a computer, I dont want to use that device [indicates his phone]. SG: How do you combat the Longhorn vision in a time frame thats going to make some difference? Schwartz: Its called "Tiger." J2SE 1.5 will deliver lightning performance on that desktop. Weve already provided a rich client called Java, but Microsoft wasnt so interested in helping us with our deployment. So weve done our own now – weve signed up over half of the PC industry to ship our J2SE. And as we fold 1.5 seamlessly integrated into Mozilla, that will give us not only an optimized Web services execution environment on the client, it will give us a beautiful portability story onto a much cheaper desktop called the Java Desktop. What are the killer apps two years from now? I will be blunt: I have no clue. I could not have predicted four years ago that you could put a camera on the back of a phone [holds up Nokia 3650]. I went on vacation and, just because it was so easy to get to, went click, click, click – took pictures everywhere and emailed them back to my father right there. My assumption initially was that I wanted that clamshell model because Im going to type all the time. Well, I dont. I make phone calls with it, and I then I take pictures with it. SG: You also have a PR department to manage your documents… Schwartz: I do. Thats why using me as a prognosticator of the future is dangerous. SG: Youre the software architect of the company. Schwartz: I dont draw those priorities. I draw those priorities by spending time with customers and finding out what they want. Next page: Building a better buggy whip.

Steve Gillmor is editor of eWEEK.com'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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