The big boys return as ASPs

With Oracle openly jumping back on the ASP bandwagon last week, offering many of its applications for small business, it's not surprising to hear the folks in Redmond are toying with the ASP model again.

Just call me Mr Smooth. Most of you said I should call Amber after our second encounter, so I took the advice. We’re going to take the Hog through the hills above Silicon Valley next weekend. And yes, I am being careful about dating an IT woman, particularly one I hardly know.

Back on the rumour trail

With Oracle openly jumping back on the ASP bandwagon last week, offering many of its applications for small business, it’s not surprising to hear the folks in Redmond are toying with the ASP model again. My source says Microsoft is set to announce a new Windows 2000/XP pricing strategy for the troubled ASP market. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to reveal its true colours, this time in its research practices. One of my spies recently completed a Microsoft-sponsored online survey and decided to be brutally honest. After venting his spleen over Microsoft’s business practices and “lacklustre technological innovation”, he came to the final page, which raised his eyebrows.

The message said, in part, “It is very likely that based on your response to a previous question, your profile falls outside that of the targeted audience for the longer version of this survey. Although you were only permitted to answer a few questions, we very much value and will still use your feedback for this study.”

It looks like Microsoft rejects respondents on the basis of their answers. Well, who trusts vendor-sponsored research anyway?

Bluetooth denial

And while we’re talking Q&A, my assertion in the June 25 issue that peer-to-peer outfit Pocit Labs used the 802.11b wireless standard to demonstrate its Bluetooth application hit the company execs like a bucket of cold water. I have nothing against Pocit, and it has the right to deny the claim, which it did. That’s what this column is all about — rumours. Rarely will IT vendors confirm negative-stories circulating in the wild; so consider this space my quest for rumour-mill truth.

Quacking up

On a lighter note, how about this for a case of corporate humour gone wild? After a spy sent me a tip about Deutsche Bank/National Discount Brokers, I called them at 001 800 888 3999 and waited for option seven. The recorded message said, “If you would like to hear a duck quack, press 7.” I pressed 7, a duck quacked, and the phone hung up! The humble duck is part of the company logo, but you have to wonder why financial execs need a reassuring “Quack!” now and then. If you’re feeling down, go on, try the number.

A reader recently advised me, “Trust me — the last thing I want to talk about on a date is IT.” I hear you. It’s time to brush up on those small-talk skills.

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