Failed Promises, Revolt in Digital World

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2002-01-28 Print this article Print

Bluetooth is a nice idea, and someday, the wireless technology may be as seamless as its advocates want us to believe, but, today, that connectivity is still out of reach.

Bluetooth is touted as the next big thing in short-distance, low-power connectivity. Gone would be the tangle of wires sprouting from behind most desktop computers. Replacing the tangle would be small, wireless networks connecting nearby peripherals and other Bluetooth-enabled systems that are in range.

Bluetooth is a nice idea, and someday, the wireless technology may be as seamless as its advocates want us to believe, but, today, that connectivity is still out of reach. As eWeek Labs Technical Analyst Jason Brooks explains, the proprietary tweaks introduced by vendors prevent one of the most talked-about Bluetooth promises—wireless printers—from being easy to use or universal.

Vendors dont seem to be able to resist making tweaks that can give the appearance of adhering to standards but, in reality, lock you in to one approach. Maybe it is the legacy of the Bluetooth name.

The Danish king for which the specification is named is remembered on one side for uniting Denmark and Norway and on the other as a ruthless conqueror. Read Jasons article to see the real state of Bluetooth printing.

And while the Bluetooth market remains in turmoil, the browser business, which seemed to have totally succumbed to the Microsoft juggernaut, is showing signs of renewed revolt against being united under the Internet Explorer banner. Although the betting is that Microsoft will escape from its scrape with the Department of Justice without much more than a wrist slap, the party claiming to be the most wronged by Microsoft is taking the company to court.

Netscape Communications (now part of AOL Time Warner) has filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft, and some lawyers indicate that Netscape may ask for billions of dollars in damages.

Trying to find much public sympathy for either corporation is difficult. At the same time that Netscape was filing its suit, it was also denying it had any interest in buying open-source software vendor Red Hat.

Even if those denials are true, it seems AOL is still not ready to hand over the browser business to Microsoft and would like to launch an open-software assault on Microsofts most lucrative segment.

An AOL-sponsored open-source product on the low end of the market and an IBM-sponsored open-source product on the higher, enterprise end would give Microsoft real competition in two areas it is counting on for growth.

Now, if some of those companies could keep in mind the people who install and use these products, maybe the tech business would get moving again.

Do you think vendors will get the computer industry moving again? Write to me at

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel