Lord of the database dance

Is it just me, or are we tired of hearing Ellison verbally abuse his competitors with the same old material? I sat through his hour-long tirade to hear how Oracle is faster, more scalable, more reliable and now cheaper than the likes of Microsoft and IBM.

"Larry Ellison reminds me of Michael Flatley from Lord of the Dance," Amber said with a laugh, when I told her about Ellison's ego-driven keynote performance at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco last week.

Is it just me, or are we tired of hearing Ellison verbally abuse his competitors with the same old material? I sat through his hour-long tirade to hear how Oracle is faster, more scalable, more reliable and now cheaper than the likes of Microsoft and IBM. Well, the jury is still out on that one, my friend.

What set Amber going was Oracle's decision to shut down the entire show floor -- even the press room -- for the duration of the keynote. How's that for lock-in?

Developer strain

Speaking of controversial people (or companies), Microsoft seems to be causing more heartache for developers.

One of my spies complained of his struggles with Windows .Net Server beta 3, which requires a licence key and activation. That's not news, of course. But it is an issue for ISVs when Microsoft will only issue a minimal number of licences, limiting installs to 30 consecutive activations per licence key. With no volume or site licenses for beta on offer, the situation will only get worse with successive release candidates.

Meanwhile, a reader has reminded me of recent reports based on Microsoft's admission at Comdex Las Vegas that it loses around $US100 per unit on the X-box game console, with break-even not expected until sometime in 2004.

You have to ask yourself whether selling below cost is "seeding the market" or if it's that other technical term, "dumping", given the company's plans to turn the consoles into Microsoft-affiliated internet gaming machines.

Cisco good-byes

One spy contacted me offering an update on senior Cisco engineer layoffs. The bleeding continues, with generous exit packages on offer but with only one week to cash in on stock options -- largely worthless now.

Over at IT reseller CDW, employees are under similar pressure with salespeople at the downtown Chicago office being told to stay an extra hour without pay to try to boost the corporate bottom line. Word is staffers are quitting in droves.

OS/2

It was a given that my comments last week about New York's OS/2 User Group's final meeting would generate email. For those of you sticking with the venerable OS, more power to you. A small update: it seems the folks at the Philadelphia Area OS/2 Special Interest Group are still running strong.

"I think he's missed his calling," Amber said after I told her Ellison asserted that he can dance better than Steve Ballmer.

Email gossip to cringe@infoworld.com.

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