Toasting a Favorite Source

Bill Gates will still serve to inspire; Proximic looks at Google's gold.

The Grizzled Grimalkin can't understand why everybody is getting so maudlin about Bill Gates stepping away from day-to-day management of his software company.

It's not as though he's going very far. Even if he spends more time managing his family's charitable foundation and his personal investments, does anybody think for a minute he won't have plenty to say about Microsoft's future directions? He will come down like a ballistic missile if it looks like the company is running into trouble.

While the Tippling Tabby raised a few in Bill's honor this week, he was hardly drowning any sorrows. Rumor Central has shared plenty of tips, quips and mirth at Bill's expense over the years, and the Sagacious Gato is quite confident his name and familiar caricature will continue to appear regularly in this space.

Besides, Spencer was too busy playing with the latest gadgets on display at the Pepcom Digital Experience event June 25 in New York to get bummed out about Bill's supposed "retirement."

At the show, Nokia's new iPhone knockoff caught his eye. While this unit was flashy, Nokia can't expect to steal much business from the Apple original with it priced at a hefty 500 euros and more than $600 in U.S. recession-wary greenbacks. That's too pricey for all except shoppers who are always ready to shell out for the next trendy mobile device.

But then the Portly Puss soon tore himself away to hit the Pepcom buffet, where he cut a swath through the shrimp, lamb kabobs and that particular New York delicacy, slider burgers in aioli sauce.

When reviewing his notes from the recent Enterprise 2.0 show, Spencer raised a skeptical eyebrow over a claim by Proximic co-founder Philipp Pieper that he's not gunning for Google.

The CEO of the fledgling contextual ad company recently contradicted himself by making the analogy that Google has become to search what Microsoft is to desktops, while Proximic is aiming to be the Linux-like alternative for long-tail content providers.

For a man who takes a dim view of adversarial positions, he couldn't have chosen a more ironic comparison. Pieper believes Proximic, which matches patterns of characters instead of keywords, can better cater to smaller blogs and Web sites than Google's AdSense because it can be more accurate in placing ads for these companies.

Just as the Linux operating system is used by people sick of Windows and Microsoftian dominance, Proximic wants to specialize in monetizing the smaller, maverick content providers.

Spencer asked Pieper to confirm whether or not Proximic has a business relationship with Google, but he declined to comment. But in another contradiction, he offered this morsel: Proximic "would love to take Google ads inside our system. They have good assets on the publishing side. Look at DoubleClick with the DART server ... They have the best-priced text-based ads you can get out there. If we can match that against the other types of ads ... it would be very foolish to go out and antagonize it."

Clearly, Proximic has no relationship with Google. Just as clearly, said the Katt with a knowing laugh, Proximic would love one.

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...