April, 2009

Imagine Where Microsoft Would Be If It Had The Discipline of Oracle

April 28, 2009 @ 7:34 am · Filed under Technology

I woke up this morning to hear the news that Microsoft was launching a competitor to Twitter. In my mind, I can’t help but juxtapose that story with the news from last week that Oracle is buying Sun. Now, I’m not a big fan of Larry Ellison. I still have bitter memories from the 90s when my wife’s raise was held up, because Larry had to approve it, and he was off yacht racing. But, you have to admire the way that he approaches his business. I never have any questions about what Oracle is doing. Larry knows what Oracle is about: Enterprise Software. He has a vision of where the market is going: a few big players. And, he has a strategy to make Oracle the dominant player in this new world: buy up key technologies; offer the complete Enterprise stack. Once you understand Larry’s vision, you can understand and justify every move Oracle has made.

Now, contrast that with Microsoft. Ballmer doesn’t know what the company is about. Is it focused on the desktop, games, internet, enterprise? Who knows? He doesn’t have a coherent vision of where all these markets are going. Who could? As a result, Ballmer doesn’t have a coherent strategy. He’s attempting to do everything; and he’s doing nothing well. Seriously, does anyone have a clue what Ballmer will do next, and why? If you say you do, you’re lying. You can’t know, because there is no strategy. There’s just a bunch of incoherent initiatives. It’s too bad, because if Microsoft had been as focused as Oracle, they could be hugely dominant in the enterprise space. As it is, they’ve wasted ten years.

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J. G. Ballard

April 19, 2009 @ 7:26 pm · Filed under Culture

J. G. Ballard died today aged 78. Ballard was one of the most innovative writers of the Sixties. He shared with Philip K. Dick an awareness of the fragility of normality, and expressed it powerfully in all he wrote. As a teenager, Concrete Island and Crash had a profound effect on me. Later, my favorite work of Ballard’s became the short story collection The Terminal Beach. Although Ballard’s later work became increasingly repetitive, I still consider him one of the greatest writers of the second half of the Twentieth Century. Rest in Peace, J. G. Ballard.

Here’s a good obituary.

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