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December 27, 2005

Microsoft arm twisting over HD DVD?

Posted by David Hunter at 11:58 AM ET.

Actually, it would be surprising if Microsoft weren’t twisting a few arms to get support for HD DVD in the ongoing HD DVD/Blu-ray high definition DVD format wrangle, but Junko Yoshida has an interesting update at EETimes:

Several industry sources last week told EE Times that Microsoft is muscling into the optical-disk fray by leveraging its operating-system clout to bundle HD-DVD within Vista, the company’s next-generation OS. There is also talk that the software giant may be planning to offer cash incentives — in the form “coupons” — to system vendors or retailers if they agree to support HD-DVD. Such coupons would provide “credits” or “memos” for each PC that is sold with HD-DVD inside.

Microsoft wouldn’t comment, but some partners would:

One fact, however, is hard to miss: In the short span of two months, Microsoft has gotten through to Hewlett-Packard Co. HP, which still sits on the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association and previously supported the Blu-ray format exclusively, joined the HD-DVD Forum earlier this month. This semi-reversal came in the wake of a series of meetings with Microsoft, said Maureen Weber, general manager of HP’s Personal Storage Business.

In October, when Microsoft and Intel Corp. announced their support for HD-DVD, Weber warned of “legal implications, if Microsoft is using its dominance in the operating system market — virtually a monopoly — to play favorites and hurt the competition” (see

She just used the “M” word! (Public details on HP’s reversal are here.)

Asked whether Microsoft is now doing just that, Weber said that in the end, “It’s about money and the cost to the PC industry.” Whereas the overall Blu-ray royalty structure adds up to $30 per PC drive, she said, everything a PC vendor needs to support HD-DVD “comes free, shipped and integrated with Vista — Microsoft Corp.’s next-generation operating system.”

Most PC companies have no choice but to support Vista in the Microsoft-dominant OS market.

The ultra competitive PC hardware business would give anything to shave $30 off the cost of a system (not to mention an additional HD DVD credit), but I’d offer a modest quibble here. While Vista will eventually support HD DVD, the word from Steve Ballmer is that the first release will not have the support. It’s all a question of timing like the Xbox 360 support. Therefore, the question is really whether it’s worthwhile to spend the $30 on a few system models to catch the early adopters.

More by following the link including comments from Dell who is holding fast for Blu-ray and several (not necessarily mutually exclusive) theories as to why Microsoft is pushing HD DVD so hard:

  1. It creates FUD over the Sony PlayStation 3 support for Blu-ray when the Xbox 360 shipped before high definition DVD support of any kind was available.
  2. A drawn out format battle makes “downloadable content” via PCs seem less risky to consumers than standalone players for prerecorded media.
  3. Blu-ray uses the Java-based Media Home Platform (MHP) to provide interactivity and Java is anathema to Microsoft. They’re also blaming MHP for the extra Blu-ray cost.

Finally, to keep the pot boiling, Pioneer announced that it would launch it’s Blu-ray drive for PCs in January in Japan and in the first quarter in the USA. It will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 5-8.

Filed under Alliances, Blu-ray, CES06, Conferences, Coopetition, Dell, HD DVD, HP, Hardware, Java, Sony, Technologies, Xbox

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December 13, 2005

“Java? It’s So Nineties”

Posted by David Hunter at 6:24 PM ET.

That’s the title of Steve Hamm’s analysis at BusinessWeek Online:

Peter Yared, CEO of software maker ActiveGrid, spent a critical chapter of his career steeped in Java, the programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. In the late 1990s, Yared was chief technology officer of NetDynamics, which pioneered an application server designed to boost the performance of Web sites. It was based squarely on then wildly popular Java. He went on to spend five years as an executive at Sun. So it’s especially surprising that Yared holds this view: “Java is a dinosaur.”

But Yared has good reason for thinking that way. His two-year-old company sells what he calls a “next generation” application server, used to build Web sites and corporate applications, that doesn’t rely on Java. Instead, it’s tied to open-source software packages, including the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database, and a collection of so-called scripting languages that all start with the letter P — Perl, Python, and PHP. Hence the acronym LAMP.

Yared says developers far and wide are creating a new generation of Internet-based applications with LAMP and related technologies rather than with Java. Can it possibly be that Java — once the hippest of hip software — has become a legacy technology, as old and out of style as IBM’s (IBM) mainframe computers and SAP’s corporate applications? Mounting evidence points to yes.

Hit the link for more, but there are a variety of indications that LAMP and .NET are gaining share while Java is declining. Not everyone agrees, of course.

Filed under .NET 2.0, BEA, Coopetition, IBM, Java, LAMP, Sun, Technologies

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September 27, 2005

Microsoft buddies up with JBoss

Posted by David Hunter at 10:13 AM ET.

JBoss and Microsoft Outline Interoperability Goals:

JBoss® Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to explore enhanced interoperability between their respective JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS™) and Microsoft® Windows Server™ products and deepen JBoss support for the Windows Server operating system.

While the two companies will continue to compete for software developers with their respective Java and Microsoft .NET offerings, the companies are exploring opportunities to improve interoperability and ensure an optimized experience for customers using JBoss on the Windows Server platform. The cooperative effort seeks to provide customers with richer functionality and better integration, resulting in a lower cost of ownership.

The technology engagement between the two companies is expected to include technical assistance and architectural guidance on the following features:

Microsoft Active Directory®. Integrated sign on and federated identity

Web services. Interoperability using WS-* Web services architecture

Management. A Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager

SQL Server™. Optimized performance for users of Hibernate, JBoss’ object/relational mapping technology, and Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0

Filed under Active Directory, Alliances, Java, Open Source, Operations Manager, SQL Server, Technologies, Web Services

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