What's Now: Ballmer on Chrome, Google in Labs, and a Twitter novel
Ballmer ... reacts ... to Chrome OS
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 • During yesterday's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made his first public comments about Google's Chrome OS -- and to no one's surprised, he's not really moved by it, at least not to any degree he wants people to know about.
Here is a complete transcript of Ballmer's comments as presented in Microsoft's video of the conference:
First of all, I will be...what's the right word?...I will be respectful. Who knows what this thing is? To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting. It won't happen for a year and a half, and they already announced an operating system. I don't know if they can't make up their mind or what the problem is over there, but the last time I checked, you don't need two client operating systems. We tried it before -- Windows 95 and Windows NT. It's good to have one. So I can't, I don't really don't know what's up at Google.
Let me comment, though, about our own situation: What we really do understand is that the model of the future brings together the best of today's rich client Windows-style applications and some of the things that people consider the best of the Web. People like the deployment model, you click on a link and you get your application deployed. People like the notion that, kind of, the globe from an information perspective, and a people perspective, is built in. And people like the richness and visualization and responsiveness and offline characteristics of the Windows applications. So as we talk about where we're going, we don't need a new operating system. What we need to do is to continue to evolve Windows, Windows applications, IE [Internet Explorer], the way IE works in totality with Windows, and how we build applications like Office, like the stuff we showed here, and we need to make sure we can bring our customers and partners with us.
The truth of the matter is, there's good data that actually says that about 50% of the time, somebody's on their PC, at least 50% they're not doing something in the Web browser. So what we need is an operating system that brings local richness together with the Internet, and Windows is the operating system for the job.
This last comment is from the company that at one time professed the "fusion" of the Web browser with "everything you do."
You can't possibly be surprised that Ballmer's no fan of Chrome, so shall we take a tour of the best verbs used to describe Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's comments at the Worldwide Partner Conference?
CNET's Ina Fried went with the mellow "shrugs at." Nick Farrell at the Inquirer chose "mocks" and got a smile out of a weary reporter with his lede concerning the "shy and soft-spoken Microsoft CEO." At PC World, Jeff Bertolucci liked "badmouths," and Reuters found some levity with "laughs off." Sensing a theme?
ITunes Apps Store passes 1.5 billion downloads; reporters seek fresh angle on story
July 14, 2009 • AppScout had the straight-up news item: The iTunes Apps Store passed 1.5 billion downloads on Tuesday according to Apple. So what's a reporter eager for those Apple-fan pageviews but unwilling to post yet another numbers story to do?
Yukari Iwatani Kane at The Wall Street Journal had a nice look at how apps developers hustle to make a splash in the ever-larger pool, while Ryan Kim at SFGate.com tells the story of I Am Poor, the little app that could, by which Kim means, "could withstand Apple's inscrutable approval process."
Google graduates one from Labs, builds another lab
June 14, 2009 • It's almost as amazing to have a Gmail applet graduated from Labs status as it is to finally have Gmail out of beta, but there it is: Tasks has done its time and is now released into the general population. According to the posted announcement, that doesn't mean that it won't continue to get improvements. Meanwhile, the Google crew has found the Labs experiment so congenial to product improvements they've gone and expanded it to Calendar. Google Calendar Labs launches with six options for your enjoyment.
Sun beams out final earnings forecast
Afternoon of June 14, 2009 • (And your reporter gets out one last pun on the company name.) In what is almost certainly one of its last important financial communications before slipping under the Oracle waves, Sun Microsystems warned Tuesday that revenues for the fourth quarter just ended were down a bit year-over-year -- down 30%, to be specific. The Wall Street Journal's coverage was distinctly elegiac, while the San Jose Mercury News made a point of saying that Oracle's still looking forward to bringing Sun into the fold. The shareholder vote on Oracle's acquisition offer is scheduled for 10:00 am PDT on Thursday.
Analysts: PC industry growth to stay slow into 2013
Q4 2013 > It's the first sign from a major PC industry analyst firm that the double-digit growth the PC industry enjoyed since 2003 will not be enjoyed again for quite some time to come, and that double-digit linear growth is not a "foundation element" of the industry (as other analysts liked to say prior to 2008): In a report yesterday afternoon, the hardware analysts at iSuppli predicted that global PC unit shipments would resume a growth pattern, but limited to 7% in 2012 and even tapering downward.
Though it is not a long-term down trend in the market, it is limited growth that iSuppli is predicting, in keeping with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's theory -- repeated again at Microsoft's Partner Conference yesterday -- that the economy is resetting and that the world will need to become accustomed to a slower growth pace.
The "reset button" for the market was confirmed: a likely 4% negative growth in PC market shipments by the end of the year, not as bad as the 2001 downturn but still a bad speed bump. As trends normalize, iSuppli believes that notebook PC shipments will continue to surge -- and if that were the basis of the market, it conceivably could regain double-digit growth. But apparently the continued descent of the desktop form factor will play a counteractive role.
Wednesday's tech headlines
• Michael Arrington's shop had an exciting day yesterday after an anonymous tipster handed the site a bundle of 310 documents that turned out to be corporate and personal documents from Twitter and various of its staffers. Arrington's original announcement of the "gift" triggered a lively discussion of the ethics of publishing such material, or even using it as guidance for future stories. Arrington has a habit of finding himself in these conversations about disclosure.
• In other Twitter news, TC and Valleywag spent the day lobbing posts back and forth about the rumors of a secret government backdoor "firehose" of tweets, much to Biz Stone's vocal annoyance.
• And in other other Twitter news, author Matt Stewart is publishing his 480,000-character novel about the French Revolution on the service, 130 characters at a time. MG Siegler somehow manages not to use the phrase "Chinese water torture" in this article, which must have been difficult.
• John Ozimek reports that New Zealand is on the verge of instituting a rather broad Net filter "service" for its citizens. Those Kiwis never struck your reporter as nanny-state types, but...
• A BlackBerry update pushed out to users of the Etisalat network in the United Arab Emirates contained a hefty dose of spyware. Bill Ray says that the prevailing theory right now has UAE authorities whipping up some code to try an end-run around BlackBerry's architecture, which makes surveillance certain kinds tough.
• Andrew Orlowski has the sad duty of writing an obit for blade-computing pioneer Chris Hipp, who has passed away unexpectedly at 49.
New York Times
• Lifestyle Lift, a cosmetic-surgery firm that had employees giving a "facelift" to online customer comments about its services, will be paying the State of New York $300,000 for being sleazy like that.
• The Democratic Leadership Council wants to give every schoolkid a Kindle. "A Kindle in every backpack" -- have any of these think-tank types looked into the average schoolboy's backpack lately? (And wouldn't it be swell if we could get every schoolkid an actual backpack first, and pencils and paper and all the other supplies schools are having a hard time buying?
• We've heard from Microsoft, but what do the instant-on Linux shops make of the Chrome OS announcement? Ryan Paul talked with Phoenix Technologies and DeviceVM.
• The RIAA's case against Joel Tenenbaum is still two weeks away from the starto of the trial, but the pre-trial motions are flying fast and furious yet. Now the RIAA wants the judge to hand down a limited summary judgment saying that Mr. Tenenbaum wasn't engaging in "fair use" when he accessed the P2P networks. If the group gets their wish, things could get sticky for the defense.