Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Former colleagues speak to each other! (film at 11) [update]

In type size usually reserved for declarations of war or natural disasters, the San Jose Mercury this morning plastered the headline "Google, Sun form alliance" across the top of the front page of the paper. Admittedly, the two companies are within the Merc's readership area and the announcement did take place at San Jose's Tech Museum[oops! correction below.]. But the actual announcement itself probably belonged on the business page - below the fold. A much better headline, "Sun, Google sign distribution deal, say little about future together" ran over John Fontana's story on the Network World web site.

The Merc led with this paragraph:
"Google and Sun Microsystems said Tuesday they have agreed to promote and distribute each other's software, a deal that eventually could represent a significant threat to the dominance of their common foe, Microsoft."

While Network World opened with:
"Sun and Google on Tuesday announced a multi-year deal to help each other distribute software, a move that fell well short of an anticipated high-impact deal to challenge Microsoft on the desktop."

Just one more reason to avoid general news stories on technical issues. As I see it, the press conference was a gift by Google's Eric Schmidt to his old mentor, Sun's Scott McNealy. Even McNealy joked with reporters that it was only Google's presence that brought out the general news media. It was even better attended than McNealy's "lovefest" with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last spring, another non-event which also saw big media tripping over each other to misinterpret the technology.

It's times like this that make me thankful that I'm published by IDG and Network World and not Knight-Ridder, Scripps-Howard or the New York Times Company.

[CORRECTION] AS Pat Patterson reminded me, the press conference was at the Computer History Museum which is in Mountain View, not the Tech. The museum is on the grounds at Moffett Field, home also to NASA's Ames Research Center, where Google recently announced they'll be building their new campus.

Much as I hate being boringly pedantic, the press conference was at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, not the Tech Museum in San Jose.
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