When
· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · November
· · · · 30 (3 entries)

Office Politics and Profits · In re­cent weeks I’ve been spend­ing quite a bit of time talk­ing to jour­nal­ists and an­a­lysts about the is­sues around office-document XML file for­mats in gen­er­al, and the Mas­sachusetts dust-up in par­tic­u­lar. There’s one ex­change that pops up in al­most ev­ery one of these con­ver­sa­tion­s, and it goes some­thing like this. Journo: “Now, you guys are tak­ing all these ide­al­is­tic high-minded po­si­tion­s, but you know and I know that what we have here is a bat­tle for mar­ket share.” Tim: “That’s part of it, but we think that our in­ter­est­s, and the customers’, are both best-served when there’s no file-format lock-in and there’s a wide-open com­pet­i­tive market.” Now it’s not en­tire­ly about busi­ness, be­cause gov­ern­ments have pol­i­cy ob­jec­tives, for ex­am­ple trans­paren­cy and free­dom of in­for­ma­tion, that aren’t di­rect­ly business-related. But in­deed, there is a dollars-and-cents busi­ness di­men­sion. And to help broad­en the knowl­edge of those dol­lars and cents, I went and checked Microsoft’s In­vestor Re­la­tions page to look up the Office-related num­ber­s. In the fis­cal year that end­ed Ju­ly 1st, they re­port­ed prof­it of $7.915B on $11.013B in rev­enue. The trend con­tin­ues: in the most re­cent quar­ter (end­ing last Septem­ber), it was $1.934B on $2.675B. Just FYI.
 
On “Beyond Java” · I just got around to read­ing Bruce Tate’s Beyond Ja­va. I think that the se­nior peo­ple in the Ja­va groups at Sun, and all the oth­er Ja­va pow­er­s, should read and think about it (and for that mat­ter the CLR peo­ple over at Mi­crosoft­). The premise of the book is re­al­ly noth­ing new: There are a lot of prob­lems out there for which smart, se­nior peo­ple are re­port­ing that there are lan­guages and/or frame­works that pro­duce so­lu­tions quick­er and bet­ter than Java. Beyond Ja­va as­sem­bles a lot of this tes­ti­mony, claims that we’re at an in­flec­tion point, and goes on to spec­u­late about what comes nex­t. It ar­gues in­ter­est­ing­ly by look­ing back at the his­to­ry of Java’s ex­plo­sive rise from nowhere to world dom­i­na­tion; but at the end of the day I’m not sure the his­tor­i­cal analo­gies are use­ful. In oth­er gripes, the book’s struc­ture is a lit­tle messy, and the kayak­ing anec­dotes that in­tro­duce each chap­ter could have been dropped with­out loss of val­ue. I al­so dis­agree with Tate’s ar­gu­ment that Swing and SWT are use­less, part of the prob­lem not the so­lu­tion. I hear loud com­plaints about ev­ery GUI-builder; some­what few­er about those in OS X; any­how, as far as I know none of the beyond-Java al­ter­na­tives are rich-user-interface champ­s. [Thanks to Sam Ru­by for point­ing out that I’d mis­read Tate’s ar­gu­ment on this, first time around.] Stil­l, it’s a sol­id piece of work; see al­so Sam Ruby’s take and the dis­cus­sion over at java.net. The book got me think­ing about two great big im­por­tant com­pli­cat­ed is­sues: the fu­ture of the JVM, and the right way to build Web ap­pli­ca­tions; but each of those gets its own es­say.
 
On Beyond Java — the JVM · One of the sub­jects that keeps com­ing up in Bruce Tate’s Beyond Ja­va is the parts of the Ja­va plat­form that aren’t the Ja­va lan­guage. In par­tic­u­lar, the JVM. Is it still in­ter­est­ing, or will the JVM be­come like the main­frame: not go­ing away, but old-fashioned and out of sight? ...
 
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