Sun's Scott McNealy: Lost in translation

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Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy said he was misquoted in a South Korean newspaper earlier this week as saying Sun and cell phone maker Samsung Electronics are working on an iPhone-killer .

McNealy, who stopped in New York Thursday on his way back from South Korea to deliver a speech at the World Business Forum, said that the newspaper must have misunderstood a translation of what he had said.

Scott McNealy

"I never said that," he said. "I'm not really sure where they got that. I think it was a translation problem."

When pressed further during an interview with CNET, McNealy remained tight-lipped on any news.

"We haven't announced anything," he said.

Indeed, the company has not announced any official partnership with Samsung, but a representative for the phone maker told the Associated Press after the misinterpreted quote circulated yesterday that the companies are working together.

It makes sense that Sun would be working with Samsung. And it wouldn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to figure out what they could be working on.

Sun, which already provides a stripped-down version of Java for billions of cell phones sold around the world, announced in May a more robust version of its Java software called JavaFX Mobile . It's geared toward small devices like smartphones that have more processing power than the average cell phone. Unlike the Java Micro Edition, which today runs on billions of cell phones around the globe, the JavaFX Mobile software is most similar to the Java Standard Edition software that runs on standard PCs.

With this more powerful software, Samsung and its partners could develop applications for cell phones that more closely resemble those running on PCs. This means Web surfing and interactive cell phone games would look more like what people are used to on their PCs.

Apple has already attempted to do this with its iPhone, which allows people to shrink and magnify Web pages so that the pages render on the screen just as they do on a regular computer.

Even though McNealy denies he said Sun and Samsung are working on an iPhone-killer, there is still a very good chance that something is cooking between the two companies. Any plans are likely still in the initial stages of development, so stay tuned.

1 Kommentar 3.12.08 17:00, kommentieren

Hell freezes over: Ballmer considering open-source browser?

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I fully expected to die never having heard a positive word escape Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's lips with regard to open source. Based on Ballmer's comments made in Sydney on Friday , however, it may be time for me to start picking out my funeral arrangements.

Speaking at a Power to Developers event, Steve Ballmer took questions from the audience and, as usual, was confronted by a question on open source. The significance here is not any earth-shaking pro-open source pronouncement from Ballmer. It's that Ballmer neglected to throw chairs around the room and responded rationally. This is progress. Really.

Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?...

Ballmer began his answer philosophically, saying Microsoft will need to look at what the browser is like in the future and, if there is no innovation around them, which he thinks is "likely", Microsoft may still need its own browser because of proprietary extensions that broaden its functionality.

"There will still be a lot of proprietary innovation in the browser itself so we may need to have a rendering service," he said...."Open source is interesting," he said. "Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8."

Stop the presses! Ballmer is a rational human being!!!

I'm kidding, of course, but this could well be the most rational, pragmatic, open-source-related comment from Ballmer that I've ever read. Larry Dignan at ZDNet calls it a "throwaway line," but I think it's much more. It suggests that Microsoft truly has gotten its arms around open source and has discovered what nearly every other software vendor on the planet has discovered: open source can a useful component in a larger software strategy.

No, it doesn't mean that Microsoft needs to open-source all of its technology, or even all of the technology in one particular product . It just means that Microsoft should use the best software available, including when it is open source.

1 Kommentar 3.12.08 05:25, kommentieren