Steve Ballmer is the tech worlds version of American Idol judge Simon Cowell,” mused the Mouser to a Mac mate. The pal had alerted Spence to a YouTube video of the Microsoft bigwig laughing about the cost and business potential of Apples iPhone during a CNBC interview. “Five hundred dollars?!?” laughed the Stevenator in mock disbelief. Ballmer went on to say the iPhone is “the most expensive phone in the world” and that “it doesnt appeal to business customers because it doesnt have a keyboard.” “Now, if hed also said that it looked like a monkey, he probably wouldve been offered a guest judge spot on Idol,” laughed the Lynx.
The Puss pal also noted that while the feds were reportedly questioning Apple chief Steve Jobs about possible stock option backdating, another Cupertino-based company announced the appointment of a new CEO. Zend Technologies, an open-source maker of PHP development tools, has hired Harold Goldberg as its chief executive. Goldberg, formerly senior vice president of worldwide marketing for BMC Software, also has held marketing strategy posts at Remedy, Siemens and Peregrine Systems. Zends former chief, Doron Gerstel, left the company last April to become president of the North American division of medical device maker Syneron Medical.
Bidding his phone pal adieu, Spence skatted off into Boston for a gathering of old tech cronies at a pub called Kennedys Midtown. There, as the Katt downed his first Guinness, one of the cronies said that although U.S. retailers were trying to spark excitement for Microsofts Windows Vista release by offering the product at midnight on Jan. 29, Microsoft Australia has offered cooler incentives to retail customers. The first retail shoppers Down Under looking to purchase Vista will be eligible to win a copy of the software autographed by Bill Gates and a slew of runner-up prizes, including Kodak digital cameras and Microsoft Web cams.
Another crony, furthering the retail discussion, said Wal-Mart just announced its dumping Red Hat and expanding its Linux use through the Microsoft-Novell alliance. “Maybe as a perk, Bill will stop by a Wal-Mart parking lot and autograph a customers RV,” said Spence.
While ordering a second round, one crony mentioned that Intel is hiring folks for what the company is calling its Visual Computing Group. The new job opportunities posted for designers and engineers on Intels Web site seem to verify rumors that an Intel project, code-named Larrabee, had in–deed been focused on developing discrete high-end graphics hardware.
The Furball fumbled with some finger food as another pal mentioned ChaCha.com, a search engine that recently received funding from Bezos Expeditions, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos personal investment firm. Touting itself as the first human-powered search engine, the site offers real-time search assistance from ChaCha personnel via instant messaging. “Mmm, why do I picture myself at 3 a.m. sending the ChaCha guide queries like Are you alone and What are you wearing? ” tittered the tipsy Tabby.