Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RealNames CEO Talks Back

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the ring-of-power dept.

Microsoft 207

jasoncart writes: "Keith Teare, former CEO of RealNames, has updated his homepage with his opinions regarding his the companies downfall. Obviously he's annoyed as he has lost his job, but he makes some good points about Microsoft's monopoly - 'Microsoft seems to be playing the role of the referee who decides whether any innovations succeed'"

cancel ×

207 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I hope this lasts 10,000 years... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506683)


This place is not a place of honor.

No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.

Nothing valued is here.

This post is a troll and part of a system of trolls.

Pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us.

We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

Re:I hope this lasts 10,000 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506729)

s/honor/honour/

Sour Grapes... (4, Insightful)

fleeb_fantastique (208912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506693)

This all sounds like sour grapes to me.

Not that I blame him, and not that he's not completely without merit here, but I don't really think RealNames had a viable product to begin with (as several of the comments last time suggested).

If anything, I think this company failed to adapt to changes in technologies.

Re:Sour Grapes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506759)

Really well New Flash Today Microsoft Patents Ones and Zeroes http://www.theonion.com/onion3311/microsoftpatent. html. http://www.ihatebillgates.com/index2.html to see the devil himself and http://www.ihatewindowsxp.com/frames/index.html to see the true windows programmers. What wiil BillGates say when he goes to heaven http://www.cs.bgu.ac.il/~omni/Humor/BillGates.html : )

Re:Sour Grapes... (1)

Badanov (518690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506821)

A deal is a deal. They couldn't give MS the money they agreed to, so they folded.

Re:Sour Grapes... (3, Informative)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506851)

Geeks who speak English have little reason to need RealNames.

However, the same can't be said for average computer users whose native language can't be rendered in ASCII (i.e. most of Asia). RealNames made it possible for them to go to websites by typing in words in their native language, instead of words in a character set they may not be familiar with.

Re:Sour Grapes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506915)

Wouldn't this just end up loading sites made up of words in a character set they may not be familiar with?

Re:Sour Grapes... (2)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506916)

In that case I have no sympathy. If their product was so much use in Asia then they should have produced a plug-in. I mean it isn't like Asia isn't going to be a huge market or anything is it? ;-)

Re:Sour Grapes... (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506987)

Ok, great.

But let's assume that RealNames sells the Japanese word for "Cookies" to the Japanese division of Nabisco.

What does this mean to Fuji Cookies? They can't have the same word linked to their website with this mechanism. Whereas at least with a search engine, while Nabisco might get top placement because they paid more, other companies would also be listed.

Again, as others have pointed out, what is needed is google.jp or something similar... that is all.

Obsolete technology (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506699)

Now that search engines are fast and cheap, paid keyword systems aren't needed. It's an idea that was overtaken by better technology.

If search wasn't so cheap that companies compete to give it away, we'd need something like this. But we don't.

Re:Obsolete technology (2)

Admiral Burrito (11807) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506870)

Now that search engines are fast and cheap, paid keyword systems aren't needed. It's an idea that was overtaken by better technology.

Maybe, maybe not. Microsoft's motivations for killing RealNames will be revealed when they either create their own version of the technology - validating Teare's statements - or not.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506700)

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

I don't like this RealNames guy (-1)

Roto-Rooter Man (520267) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506701)

Sounds like a bitter excuse-maker who is jealous about the success of others. With a guy like that in charge, no wonder the company failed.

Re:I don't like this RealNames guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506748)

Sounds like a bitter excuse-maker who is jealous about the success of others.

Are you talking about the RealNames guy or a typical slashbot?

Playing the game (2, Insightful)

SWroclawski (95770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506704)

When you play the game of working with powerful monpoloies who are known to destroy companies and to unlawfully use thier influence, you should not be any more surprised about them doing the same to you than you would be if you took a canibal to you to a desert island.

That's especially true when a well used and Free alternative to your product exists and is in wide use.

- Serge Wroclawski

Off-Topic: Has Microsoft Ever Dealt Fairly? (2)

ewhac (5844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506905)

Can anyone name a single company that got in bed with Micros~1 that didn't later get attacked/sabotaged/destroyed by them in some way?

Schwab

what a lameass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506707)

he runs his own domain, but the dumbass has a HOTMAIL account! what a dork

Re:what a lameass (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506755)

take a chill pill dude

Re:what a lameass (3)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506824)

he runs his own domain, but the dumbass has a HOTMAIL account! what a dork

Probably not his main mailbox, but just a drop box for all the "we told you so -- if you sleep with the devil don't complain when you get raped" mails. He would be foolish to put his real business e-mail address under such a whiny piece...

Re:what a lameass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506885)

he runs his own domain, but the dumbass has a HOTMAIL account! what a dork

Probably not his main mailbox, but just a drop box for all the "we told you so -- if you sleep with the devil don't complain when you get raped" mails. He would be foolish to put his real business e-mail address under such a whiny piece...

Yet he has no problem with posting the work addresses of all the Microsoft folk who he worked with.

Real professional.

Re:what a lameass (1)

martin-k (99343) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506935)

... but the d*ss has a HOTMAIL account!

Hehe, this way BillG can read his e-mail too ...

Oh, his real address for "I told you so" e-mails is keith@teare.com. His old keith@realnames.com probably won't work anymore, for obvious reasons.

-Martin

realnames (0, Interesting)

murat (262137) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506710)

Realnames did not mean much to me, in fact I thought what they did was just lame and was just for money. It sucked. However, M$ is never fair in bu$ine$$, they must have _estimated_ that before.

Btw, do you know that most of the pages in microsoft.com domain disappear and reappear in a different url? Most of the links to pages in MSDN got lost. (Even the pages found by Google.)

Re:realnames (0)

xconslash (521219) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506807)

doesn't that mean he has a Passport account too?

use $ instead of S to look cool - it's very funny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506827)

see subject for more info!

Whine whine whine (3, Insightful)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506711)

Their business plan was to make money off Microsoft. They failed to please their primary client and lost their business. Now they are out of business.

Now they are blaming Microsoft for their own short sightedness.

Microsoft has no obligation to keep these people in business just for the sake of keeping them in jobs.

Their weird naming standards didn't make much sense in the first place, with the crash of the .COMs, its just silly.

Re:Whine whine whine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506903)

He may have a small (oh, so small) point tho, if his statement that Microsoft is developing their own implimentation of their product turns out to be true. The (paraphrased) statements that MS was unwilling to invest further due to an inability to 100% control the search termURL mapping smacks of Microsoft's well established business practices.

The question is - is this MS being market savvy by realizing they can easily develop a similar technology in-house, thereby not having to pay the markups associated with someone else doing the work? Or is this yet another case where Microsoft has abused their market dominance, resulting in the obliteration of a 3rd party?

Microsoft is certainly not doing themselves any favors tho. Regardless of anyone's personal feelings on the matter, MS has been judged (with judgement upheld on appeal) an abusive monopoly. Once that label has been made to stick, the old rules governing your business practices go right out the window.

Re:Whine whine whine (1)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506981)

Their business plan was to make money off Microsoft.

...now microsoft will take RealNames idea and making it their own... along with the money....

every day I get more and more pissed off at the pseudo-government that Microsoft is becoming...

when will it end?

The fuck? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506714)

It's all well and good. It makes good reading, but what he basically said was - "Microsoft can do what it wants because they ship operating systems. I can't do what I want because I only ship something that breaks standards to make me bucks with no real consumer returns."

Somebody needs to call this dude a whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaambulance!

bullshit. (5, Insightful)

geektweaked.com (93565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506719)

calling realnames an "innovation" is a bit of a stretch.

all realnames had was a database that paired together words with webaddresses. this is not innovation. this is novelty at best. save me the sob story about monopolies and start working on real innovation. had it not been for the monopoly of microsoft, realnames would never have gained any kind of recognition in the first place.

-c

Hey it took 79 people to maintain buddy (3, Funny)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506735)

This company was obviously the epitome of efficiency, since they only need 79 employees to keep the name server running.

It was all about sales (1)

Vspirit (200600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506892)

So thats what these people were doing.
It was also necessary as what they where selling, was worthless.

They betted on fear. That some corporations and organizations would pay for first time dumb internet users who would just enter a word and expect to find exactly what they were looking for, as if everything consisted of monopolies nowadays.

isnt this what aol does? (1)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506756)

disclaimer:
i've never used aol

but i've seen alot of commercials where you here soemthing to the effect of:

for more info go to www.goatse.cx aol keyword 'goatsex'

if this is the case, im not sure i really feel sorry for this guy, i think any schmuck could have thought of this.

so let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506726)

he built a company whose product/service apparently was not internet based (meaning, using standards like dns, etc), and rather, was wholy dependent upon just *one* other vendor's platform/service to such an extreme that users couldn't install it upon that platform/service themselves as it was simply guaranteed to be integrated for a fixed time period. We are supposed to feel bad because his company didn't have a contigency plan? They never thought about writing a plug in that would allow them to operate immediately for other browsers, and possible as a contigency in case of a falling out with MS?

No one would feel sorry for a hardware vendor that made hardware that would only work for Dells, and then went other because kingston/micron/western digital, etc could do it for less, and Dell went with them when it was time to renegotiate the contract.

ostiguy

GoogleBar for IE (1)

mec (14700) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506791)

When I use Internet Explorer (which is not very often), I install Google's GoogleBar on it. This is a little toolbar on the browser where I type in a word and get a google search.

RealNames could do exactly the same thing, without paying millions of dollars in cash and 20% of their stock to Microsoft.

Re:GoogleBar for IE (2)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506855)

When I use Internet Explorer (which is not very often), I install Google's GoogleBar on it. This is a little toolbar on the browser where I type in a word and get a google search. RealNames could do exactly the same thing, without paying millions of dollars in cash and 20% of their stock to Microsoft.

Wouldn't work. People install Google's toolbar because it adds some efficiency to their user experience.

RealNames just made things more confusing and had no coherent value proposition, so nobody had any interest in going out of their way to use it.

Maybe they could have made a deal with Audiogalaxy or someone to have the RealNames URL Befuckulator surreptitiously installed as a secret browser add-on.

This reminds me of Loki Games (2, Insightful)

zyklone (8959) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506730)

Sounds pretty much like what happened to Loki Games.

Contracts written during the boom which returns to kill the company now. I wonder how many of the dotcoms died because of that kind of deals.

I'm with Microsoft on this one (4, Insightful)

dangermouse (2242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506732)

Microsoft is right. The path to better navigability of the web does lie through searching, not through naming. The namespace is inherently very limited and cannot cope in any reasonable manner with the sheer volume of information that is available on the Web. What are needed are indices, and they need to take into account the content of documents, not simply their locations.

When I want to find RandomCo online, unless they're a seriously huge company I don't just guess at randomco.com. That's not reliable enough. I've also long since ceased to visit directory sites to look up RandomCo. What I do instead is go to Google, type in "RandomCo RandomProduct" and find it immediately. This is infinitely more applicable to documents that are not sponsored by huge corporations, given the corporate dominance and limited range of the DNS hierarchy.

RealNames didn't even have a shot without Microsoft's dominance of the browser market, so Teare's parting shots at Microsoft (while very accurate) smack of hypocrisy. Dollars to doughnuts RealNames loved the fact that there was a single company to deal with in their bid to propagate their technology.

Yeah, right. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506736)

I'm sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that RealNames couldn't pay their bill. "Uh, yeah. We know we owe you $25 million but we don't have that much money. How 'bout $5 million now and we'll make payments of some kind. No, we're not going to change our business model or anything. Um...No, I don't know how we'll manage to make enough money in this dead economy with the same business plan that failed to generate adequate revenue in the good old days. But if you do things our way, you'll make $200,000,000! I don't know how but it's a really big number."

They didn't have much of a business plan (4, Insightful)

reparteeist (533894) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506743)

If he truly believed his product was ground-breaking cutting-edge technology, he should have partnered with other companies as well. Depending on Microsoft as your only partner does not make good business sense. Had he made deals with other vendors, RealNames would have some source of capital to fall back on. But since he suicided by depending on Microsoft, his company is now no more.

Microsoft in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506745)

It is quite clear this is just usual MO of microsoft in action: Let someone build something up, then take it over. Mark my words, Microsoft wants to take the Keyword thing over from AOL. Why should AOL/TW get $300,000 for "travel" when it sould be in Redmond. Look to IE 7 to have mandatory Keywords.

Uhh no.. (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506751)

"'Microsoft seems to be playing the role of the referee who decides whether any innovations succeed"

Microsoft was the only one willing to use your crappy "product". Then they realized it was crap, and decided to stop using it. It's not even like most stuff where they buy/steal/copy it, they just didn't want it anymore because it was stupid.

kteare@hotmail.com??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506754)

Do I really trust the opinion and intelligence of someone who uses a HOTMAIL account for correspondance?

Re:kteare@hotmail.com??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506779)

I already pointed that out you dickhead!

Re:kteare@hotmail.com??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506822)

The man was fired. Of COURSE he uses a hotmail account now!

Re:kteare@hotmail.com??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506844)

An he is a whiner. That's why it is kteare@hotmale.com

Re:kteare@hotmail.com??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506891)

he just doesnt want a lame-ass fucker like you filling his real mailox with trash. get over it

Translation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506757)

Whahh whahh whahh. Microsoft won't subsidize my stupid idea anymore! Whahh whahh whahh! They actually want me to produce something! Whahh whahh whahh!

More intellectually void bias. (3, Flamebait)

tshak (173364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506760)

but he makes some good points about Microsoft's monopoly

No he doesn't. This has nothing to do with MS, and everything to do with a failed/flawed concept. Why does /. have to be so painfully biased? I understand that "it's in italics" so it was the submitter who made this statement, but /. is posting it so therefore they are behind it. This really takes a lot of credit away from your site.

Re:More intellectually void bias. (1)

jasoncart (573937) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506849)

I made the submission bias to get it posted :)

Re:More intellectually void bias. (2)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506963)

This has nothing to do with MS, and everything to do with a failed/flawed concept.
There's a difference?

Oh how the unworthy have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506761)

'Microsoft seems to be playing the role of the referee who decides whether any innovations succeed'

Innovation? RealNames == SmartTags? Referee? You put all your eggs into one basket, and when you lose one customer you go out of business?

You amerigoons need to lay off the crack for a while.

Realnames former CEO is a whining little bitch (5, Insightful)

Beatlebum (213957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506764)

If MSFT decides not to renew their contract with Realnames that's their business. If Realnames had any intellectual property worth a damn someone else would step in. The fact is Google has made Realnames' technology irrelevent. This dude is just pissed because he wasn't able to IPO his shitty company and make bank before the bubble burst.

Re:Realnames former CEO is a whining little bitch (1)

inicom (81356) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506897)

RealNames did not need anyone to make their "technology irrelevent". They did that themselves. It was a poor idea, executed poorly, dependent on a unreliable partner, and should have failed much sooner. The real losers are the people who invested because they thought that having microsoft as a partner spelled success.

aem

Lay down with dogs (3, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506766)

And wake up with fleas. What he tried to do was out-micorsoft Microsoft at their own game, which is changing internet standards in proprietary ways.

Re:Lay down with dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506817)

Listen up to anyone using Microsoft products this should be a wakeup call not to go near that Big Bad Dog named Microsoft. If you are smart you will now do everything you can to get their crapware out of your place of business or home. http://www.tripod.com/~micropap and http://www.euronet.nl/users/frankvw/ihatems.html. Eliminate the Microsoft virus before its to late.

Stupid idea, stupid company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506767)

The web doesn't need this service, so why should this company flourish? See ya.

jep, typical M$ (2, Insightful)

sheean.nl (565364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506768)

Now, Bill Bliss - who runs MSN Search and was until recently in charge of the RealNames relationship, has in the last few weeks been moved to "Natural Language Platforms" and is charged with developing a variant of our system. The browser is now back under Microsoft's control and it is possible that - having learned much from RealNames - it will develop its own version of our resolution service.

seems, nomather how bad the company may be, quite unfair to me. And this quite confirm one of my previous postings (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=32467&cid=350 5128).

its too bad. (3, Funny)

r00tarded (553054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506769)

he could have linked his homepage to the realname "slashdotted."

Write to MSN? (1)

BlueFall (141123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506770)

At the end of his discussion, he lists the email addresses of important folks at MSN so that the public could write and ask them to rethink the deal. I don't understand why he would ever want to do this. Did he really like being in business with them? Doesn't seem like it, but he's asking us to help him get them back.

If I were him, I would just be happy that I didn't have to deal with their tactics anymore.

Innovation? (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506775)

Yeah, it's a real innovation. A system that converts names to IP addresses. No-one's thought of that before.

It's like DNS being controlled by a single company who charge what they like; there was no reason for the company to succeed. What do they really offer over DNS?

But hey, let's blame MS for quashing innovation. If Microsoft had set up this scheme, everyone would be outraged that they were trying to take over from the DNS system. Ah, bollocks.

Real professional, buddy.... (2)

brooks_talley (86840) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506782)

I wonder if his business dealings were characterized by the same level of professionalism as this little stunt?

I particularly like the "I testified on Microsoft's behalf when I stood to make a boatload of money from them, but now that they've cancelled that arrangement, I think they're stifling innovation" bit. Pretty telling, IMHO.

Cheers
-b

What Did He Expect? (1)

matrux (566903) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506784)

1. Come up with lame idea.
2. Jump in bed w/ MS
3. Wam, Bam, Thank you 'Mam

When you make a deal with the Devil... (2)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506788)

...you will live, die and commit unspeakable acts at his mercy. He will destroy you for his amusement. Teare wasn't the first to learn this lesson and he won't be the last.

No pity here, I'm afraid.

Mike

The referee (1)

stain ain (151381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506789)

Good point this thing about Microsoft being the referee... Only if they had chosen IETF instead of MS as their partner...

Live by the sword, die by the sword (5, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506799)

Not much real sympathy from me. Apparently he only thinks M$ is a greedy monopolist now that he himself has been screwed. Doesn't seem to have complained when M$ was raping Netscape, Staq, Novell, ... I guess as long as he was getting along with the wolf, getting a few crumbs that fell off the table, no complaints.

Nope, not much sympathy from me.

A friend's idea for a startup 5 years ago never got off the ground because at least two vulture capitalists refused to fund, on the grounds that if it became sucessful, M$ would jump in, make an offer we would be literally fools to refuse, and the VCs would not get enough return on their investment. I had long since been avoiding anything M$, just because of their nonethics attitude, and the friend was a real M$ junkie. Woke him up a bit. Maybe Teare will wake up a bit. Maybe others will wake up a bit.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506858)

Raping Novell, Netscape ?
Both of these died because they made inferior product.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506893)

Maybe you never heard of DR DOS? M$ distributed a beta version of something (Win 3.1? Office? forget) which had an explicit check for DRDOS instead of MSDOS, in which case it did something nasty -- fake errors, time delay, I forget that too.

If DRDOS was so bad, how come M$ had to stoop to that kind of crap? They took it out of the release version, presumably because they got so much flak.

You may also not remember, but Win95 was publicized as requiring MSDOS. Integrated, so to speak, unlike 3.1. Allegedly you couldn't make it work with DRDOS because DRDOS was "inferior". Novell (or whoever owned DRDOS then) made Win95 work with DRDOS just fine.

Netscape may not be much competition for IE now, but when it was better, there were enough tricks dumping on NN. Maybe you are just too young to know better.

I was offered a job by some people ... (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506888)

Their entire business plan was to make something just good enough to get noticed by M$ and sell out to 'em for a couple of mil.

Like that's real ambitious ain't it?

Right now I'm sorry I didn't take the job and that they never got noticed before the VC money ran out, but that's mainly because of Bin Laden ruining my life, career prospects and my (old) neighborhood.

In Case it gets Slashdotted (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506806)

Its running a bit slow, so here is the text of his message: (I'm maxed out in karma, but I'd rather not be called a karma whore ;) )
This is my personal web site and all opinions here are my responsibility and mine alone.


Last Tuesday Microsoft informed me that it was not renewing RealNames Corporation's contract to resolve Keywords in the IE browser. When the current contract comes to an end on 28 June 2002 the service will be terminated.

I am no longer an employee of RealNames. Along with 79 others I was terminated on Friday 10 May, 5 years after starting the company.

I am sure that Microsoft will do an excellent job of misinforming the public about the reasons for this decision and so I want to put the record straight.

During the past 2 years Microsoft was GIVEN 20% of RealNames stock and $15m in cash guarantees during 2000-2001 (more than 100% of our revenue that year). We were due to pay another $25m in guarantees during 2001-2002 (more than 200% of our revenue that year) but with the bursting of the bubble (and thus no IPO) the second years payment was converted to a note. The note came due on May 2nd 2002.

RealNames proposed continuing the relationship and offered Microsoft the following:

1. $5m now as payment against the note.

2. $5m between July 1 2002 and June 30 2003 or 15% of revenues - the greater of. 3. Microsoft's rev share to be able to reach 40% in steps if our revenues grew sufficiently. The guarantees for the first 5 years of a new deal were $5m, $6m, $7m, $8m and $9m.

We valued a 5 year deal - if Microsoft would execute on all of the opportunities - at $200m to Microsoft. Far more than the guarantees. At their current PE of 40 that is worth about $2.4 billion post tax in a $100m year 5.

VeriSign had just committed to a plan to give every com, net and org customer 5 free promotional Keywords for 30 days. This would have resulted in widespread awareness and great revenue boost.

RealNames was succeeding. We had 3 quarters of growth behind us, we broke even on a cash flow basis in Q1 - for the first time. Usage was growing (500m resolutions in Q1).

The justification we were given by MSN was:

1. It isn't about money. Even if you paid we would not renew.

2. We do not believe in "Naming", we believe in search. This is because we control search 100% whereas we could never control naming. Some of us believe search results are a better experience than navigation through naming. Sure the URL and the DNS are broken, but to fix it is a big job with no clear reward for Microsoft.

3. The recent public discussion indicates that .NET initiatives which take the form of architecture are greeted with hostility if delivered by Microsoft. So, we could never own this. If it worked, and we liked it we still wouldn't do it. Therefore the plan to put 120m free Keywords out there is our worst nightmare. It would be "out of control".

So far as I can see this is a classic case of "not invented here". Microsoft dislike the product because they cannot control it. As this is likely to be the situation wherever infrastructure [which is by definition shared] is involved it also implies Microsoft is stepping back from its .NET commitments to build infrastructure.

In this case the widespread use of the browser and its absolute requirement for our system means that Microsoft's decision has resulted in innovation being stopped. The only naming technology in the world capable of allowing non-ASCII characters to be used as web addresses is being killed at birth - before it succeeds and becomes "out of control". A small private company is being denied an audience - not because of money - but because of fear of losing control. If Microsoft wants to become a major player in internet platform technologies it will have to overcome this fear. What is shared cannot be controlled.

As a former very vocal supporter of Microsoft (see http://www.realnames.com/body/pressreleases/pr_060 700.asp) I am bitterly disappointed by the lack of vision I encountered. I truly hope that the Chief Architect - Bill Gates - and the CEO - Steve Ballmer - are aware of the narrowness of the vision - the defence of search and the URL [ASCII based naming] against a truly global and multi-lingual naming platform with built in directory services. If they are not then a crime has happened under their noses.

Naturally I'm pretty unhappy about this.

Microsoft seems to be playing the role of the referee who decides whether any innovations succeed .

Microsoft only seems comfortable at the application level where they have control, not at the infrastructure level - and this ultimately keeps many innovations from happening.

Because of this they've just brought innovation in internet naming to a grinding halt - and the internet *really* needs innovation in naming.

RealNames will not be the only victim - there's a whole ecosystem that stretches all around the world that Microsoft is turning off. CNNIC in China, Forval in Japan and other companies in Belgium, Holland, France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. There are more than 100 registrars of Keywords and they in turn have thousands of resellers. There are more than 100,000 customers including many well known ones like IBM, Xerox [who made RealNames partner of the year last year], EBay, Mattel - who have Keywords on every Barbie Box, and many more.

Now, Bill Bliss - who runs MSN Search and was until recently in charge of the RealNames relationship, has in the last few weeks been moved to "Natural Language Platforms" and is charged with developing a variant of our system. The browser is now back under Microsoft's control and it is possible that - having learned much from RealNames - it will develop its own version of our resolution service.

M$oft turning back on .NET? (1)

bahco (522962) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506991)

... also implies Microsoft is stepping back from its .NET commitments to build infrastructure.

Can anybody tell me what this is supposed to mean?

If you choose to dance with an elephant... (2)

pbryan (83482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506808)

There's a saying: "If you choose to dance with an elephant, you can only stop when the elephant wants to stop." It is conversely true that if the elephant stops, ain't nothing you can do to get it to dance.

If you choose to base the entire success of your company on the whims of a company like Microsoft, then don't be surprised if the whims of Microsoft don't go your way. Microsoft will do what's in its best interests, and that often doesn't coincide with the interests of others.

I take exception to Teare's comment:

In this case the widespread use of the browser and its absolute requirement for our system means that Microsoft's decision has resulted in innovation being stopped. The only naming technology in the world capable of allowing non-ASCII characters to be used as web addresses is being killed at birth - before it succeeds and becomes "out of control". A small private company is being denied an audience - not because of money - but because of fear of losing control. If Microsoft wants to become a major player in internet platform technologies it will have to overcome this fear. What is shared cannot be controlled.

Microsoft denied his company nothing that wasn't legitimately its to deny. Microsoft chose not to renew a consentual agreement between it and RealNames. There is nothing wrong with that. It's the basis of a free market.

This is hardly an example of Microsoft attempting to stifle innovation. If Microsoft were buying their company, then closing the business, maybe. If Microsoft were writing incompatibilities into their code, maybe.

Microsoft opted to not engage in further agreements with RealNames. Too bad for RealNames. Get back up, brush the dust off, and find a business model that doesn't depend on the good intentions of Microsoft.

Re:If you choose to dance with an elephant... (3, Informative)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506873)

I take exception to Teare's comment:
The only naming technology in the world capable of allowing non-ASCII characters to be used as web addresses is being killed at birth

Also you might want to take exception to the lack of factual basis. Plenty of TLDs already support non-ASCII characters in DNS, and have for some time. Check out, for example, NUNIC's Worldnames project [worldnames.net] .

Trolling (-1)

handybundler (232934) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506814)

Trolling - the pulling of a lure behind a moving boat - enjoys great popularity from one end of coastal British Columbia to the other.

The reason isn't hard to fathom: more fish are caught trolling than all other methods of fishing combined. Two factors unite to give trolling the edge.

From November to May, over half the year, only two species of salmon present themselves in coastal waters: Chinook and Blueback coho. Both these resident species disperse across large areas in winter and thus a moved lure contacts more fish in a shorter period of time than a stationary one. Regardless of time of year, it makes sense to search out the fish; trolling has a clear advantage here. A simple comparison of the size of a school - seldom more than 100 yards wide for most species - and the size of the ocean, leads to the realization that only a small portion of the available fishing space actually contains fish. Trolling thus provides a method for finding small fishy pockets in otherwise salmonless expanses of water.

Not surprisingly, more gear finds its way onto the trolling sector of the market than those for other forms of saltwater angling. Water is a dense medium, and drag on trolled gear increases with depth. Much of the variation within a single product and the array of individual products counteracts the drag and resulting stress arising from simply trying to get a lure down to the depth at which the fish lie.

Three distinct types of trolling rods have evolved:

  • stout 6 ½- to 7 ½- foot roller-guided rods
  • medium-strength conventionally-guided rods of 7- to 8-foot lengths
  • lighter 7 ½- to 8 ½-foot fiberglass rods.


Each rod type has specific applications. The grandfather of all saltwater rods, the roller-guided variety is the only one that can withstand the pressure of heavyweight fishing year in and year out without breaking. Typically used with a planer - essentially an upside-down kite that pushes the line down into the ocean - these rods utilize wire line. Wire proves necessary because the pressure of a planer either breaks monofilament line or results in too much line stretch for tripping the planer. These rods will take a lure to 150 feet deep. At this point line drag prevents further gains.

Although gear for the Terminator, roller-guided rods come into their own in calm waters - fjords and bays with little or no tidal flow - where engine noise serves to scare the fish. (Planers often out fish other rod types 3 to 1 in such conditions). The reason is that the lure is 375 feet from the boat at 150 feet of depth. In comparison, lures attached to downrigger lines at the same level are 160 feet from the boat.

The second rod type, the medium-strength fiberglass rod, is used with weights.

Three types of weights may be purchased:

  • 1- to 2-pound lead balls
  • 1- to 12-oz sliding weights
  • 1- to 6-oz banana weights


Each type of weight has a specific purpose. Lead balls are used to reach depths of 125 feet. A 2-pound ball reaches this depth at 250 feet of line, or a ratio of 1 foot down for every 2 feet let out. Main line should be 40 pound test. Alternatively, a wire line roller-guided rod makes a perfectly reasonable alternative. In either case, the gear set up is the same ( See Diagram ). The main line attaches to a seven bead swivel with a Palomar knot. Over the bead swivel a large barbless hook is strung. Attached to this hook is two feet of dacron line and a lead ball. This arrangement allows for a weight to be removed and for a fish to be played right to the boat. Below the swivel attaches 20 to 25 feet of 25 pound monofilament and then a ball bearing end-changer at the tackle end.

Lighter than lead balls, sliding weights come into their own when fish reside in the top layer of water, roughly the first 30 feet. The advantage with these weights is that they trip when a fish bites, and travel down the line to the terminal end, allowing the fish to be played right into the boat. Great sport indeed to catch a fall northern coho that smacks a small spoon with only a one ounce weight on the line. It's even more fun when the rod is a 6 foot trout rod adapted with a salmon reel for saltwater use!

Due to their construction, sliding weights may be added to the main line at any point; the line slips under the rails and inserts into the brass clip at a weight's front end (See Diagram) . Note that the brass clip must face toward the lure or the weight will not trip free. Although simple implements for weighting trolled lines, sliding weights have one disadvantage: they nick and weaken the main line where it inserts into the brass clip. This problem can be alleviated by clipping 6 feet from the main line each time out and retying the ball bearing end-changer on the tackle end. The third type of weight used in saltwater trolling is the banana variety, so-called because it resembles the yellow fruit in shape. With a swivel at both ends, a banana weight ties to both the main line and leader with a Palomar knot. Primarily a piece of mooching gear, banana weights have the nice quality of rarely tangling in fishing line. (They become a trolling weight when a cut plug bait is pulled behind a moving boat). They also afford the use of lighter longer rods, distinctly improving the sport of playing salmon. And sport - large doses of adrenaline - is what fishing is all about.

Read Trolling Part Two : Downrigger Tips, Electric Potential, Reels, and Finding the Fish.

Dot Com Whining (4, Insightful)

dj28 (212815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506815)

Why _should_ Microsoft renew a contract with RealName? I still don't understand it. In this free market, if a company feels like it can do better by itself rather than contract work out, why should it contract the work out? On that guy's homepage, he talks as if it is RealName's _right_ for MSN to use their service. Maybe they want their own keyword system, or they feel that it is inferior. To tell you honestly, it's a pretty stupid concept anyways and I don't see the future of the internet going toward that paradigm. There are lots of dot coms whining about their right for other companies to use their service. If RealName didn't have much of a business model (which they didn't), how can they survive? And MSN's justification is correct; the internet is moving toward a Google type system, not a "keyword" type system. AOL already provides a service like RealName did and it only works well if you have ownership of the browsing software. RealName didn't own IE, so it was prone to getting left out in the rain like it did. They should have saw this coming.

Re:Dot Com Whining - AOL (1)

Vspirit (200600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506840)

RealName didn't own IE. They copied a pretty basic feature from AOL.

Now AOL is shifting to Netscape. AOL has a business with their Keywords. Are we to expect now that AOL will implement keyword features in the netscape browser, and also try to get beyond AOL users to generic internet users with the same consumer leadware?

Don't blame microsoft!! (1)

Shmore (412550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506831)

Is it microsofts fault that they don't want to include support for a product thats not worthy NO!

Re:Don't blame microsoft!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506943)

News from Redmond has revealed today that Bill Gates has announced not more support for Microsoft Products because they suck and cannot be fixed. When further asked why Microsoft would drop support Bill Gates shrugged and sighed and finally said "Well you know Microsoft products suck we all know that and its just not worth it". Bill Gates has revealed that he has a better plan he has won a patent for 0's and 1's and will be demanding payment from everyone link to breaking news http://www.theonion.com/onion3311/microsoftpatent. html. In other breaking news it was revealed that the Microsoft Windows XP team had a desire to eat a lot of bannas and jump up and down as they coded the secret apis that would give Microsoft its advantage according to this breaking news link http://www.ihatewindowsxp.com. PETA could not be reached for comment as to the use of monkeys to program Microsoft Products. It is believed Bill Gates lured Programming Monkeys to Microsoft with the promise of the best bannas but the Monkeys are mad as hell as they did not recieve all the bannas promised.

So let me get this straight.... (3, Insightful)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506839)

1) Party enters in to agreement with MicroSloth
2) Party can not pay Microsloth what they agreed to and provides a note
3) Party proposes alternate options to original agreement and MicroSloth decides against the agreement because it is not financially appealing in the long run

Hrm...they made what seems like a smart business decision without breaking any law or taking advantage of any loophole.

I don't see the issue.

Technology? (3, Insightful)

cooldev (204270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506841)

This illustrates the problem with technology: it is only valuable if you can build something that is not easily imitated or replaced.

If you hire the ten sharpest people around and you take a year to develop something and then stand still, your competition is going to have no trouble catching up, even if it takes them a little longer or more resources. This is how many popular open source projects such as GIMP and OpenOffice are surviving. They've caught up with the real thing; not entirely, but to the point that they're good enough for a number of users.

Of those 80 people at RealNames, how many were driving technology forward? Did their entire technology consist of a database mapping keywords to URLs? Three people at Microsoft could probably do that--and scale--in six months.

The page mentioned that the Microsoft contact got moved to the Natural Language group; maybe MS is coming out with technology that allows you to type natural language queries instead of having to know the exact static keyword. Now that's technology that is not easily imitated or replaced, and it's already here in one form: the Search Assistant in XP.

I feel sorry for the employees of RealNames that have to find jobs in this economy (which is hopefully picking up!), but it is not Microsoft's job to singlehandedly sustain an unsustainable business, and based on the web page in the article that's what was going on.

One side note: If RealNames had acquired a patent on their "technology"--the kind we all love to hate--they could have survived if MS is planning on replacing it and not just ditching it altogether.

He deals with the devil, and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506853)

When he loses, he blames the devil. This is total shit. These folks could have made it by working with all while they were headed up. But, they (he) was too greedy for that. It is their own fault, not MSs. MS's nature is the scorpians.

What a Whiner! (1)

The_THOMAS (459846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506860)

The whole RealNames business strategy was an attempt to create, market, and profit from an additional and artificial layer in the whole DNS system. There was no need for it and since RealNames couldn't make a flawed business model work this guy starts crying M$ monopolist foul?!?!

PULEEZ!

Come on Keith Teare (founder of RealNames). Grow up! You climbed into bed with M$ because their majority ownership of the browser market was the only possible way to make your rotten egg fly. Now that they're turning their back on you, the crying starts. Just accept the fact that it was a flawed idea, born out of greed during the domain name gold rush and move on.

And good luck to you.

Good riddiance.... (2)

zulux (112259) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506862)

Jesus, this guy get in bed with Microsoft only because Microsoft illeagally stole 80% of the browser market.. and gets bit.

Cry me a river.

If you deal with jerks, don't expect them to not be jerks in the future.

Plus, this twit had a patent on thist stupid "invention" [uspto.gov]

Contact Microsoft Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506866)

billbl@microsoft.com (Bill Bliss)

jkrass@microsoft.com (John Krass)

zigs@microsoft.com (Zig Serafin - Corporate Development)

murrayv@microsoft.com (Murray Vince)

Sounds like time for a lil slashdot mailing =)

Dear god, (1)

labratuk (204918) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506868)

the companies downfall

the company's downfall

Please, at leat have correct spelling/grammar on the front page.

Re:Dear god, (1)

labratuk (204918) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506871)

...at leat have...

I did that on purpose. Honest.

*mutter*

Remind you of anyone? (1)

00_NOP (559413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506872)

Like IBM for instance?

Of course IBM are now A Good Thing but the only difference is that they had the money needed to hit back.

Time for some political will to sort this mess out.

wtf is RealNames? (1)

DigiBoi (139261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506874)

i havent heard of this until i just loaded up slashdot.

Yeah.. sure.. blame MS. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506877)

Without the MS monopoly on browsers, it would have had even LESS chance of success.

As much as I'd like to see something besides DNS used to locate websites... because I think there should be no more new TLD's, and the system should be left as-is, to force the world to come up with a better way... realnames wasn't that solution.

Uh? RealNames was an innovation? (1)

RonVNX (55322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506890)

Someone has got to get me a copy of this dictionary all the Microsoft people use where "innovation" == "junk".

I don't suppose it ever ocurred to him that their idea was just plain stupid and little more than an attempt to skim money from those foolish enough to pay them.

The reality is not that Microsoft pushed them out of business... the reality is Microsoft was propping them up by implementing this junk in their browser. And now that MS isn't going to prop them up anymore, they're history.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506895)

The guy's supposedly ticked at Microsoft because of Microsoft's monopoly position, but he's using Hotmail for his e-mail account? Way to get back at M$.

Idea (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506902)

Instead of a new tld..
how about a new record type for websites? A record that includes both an IP address and a port.

That would rock.

Sour grapes. (2)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506913)

Need I say more?

Business 101 (1)

--daz-- (139799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506914)

Hint: If you make a product that targets only Microsoft software, and then Microsoft decides it doesn't want to pay you anymore and you go out of business, it's probably not Microsoft's fault, it's probably your own lack of forsight.

M$ screwed us *click* M$ screwed us *click* M$ s-- (1)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506917)

Its just the same old broken record. It was only five years ago when RealPlayer went into "partnership" with M$ to extend Real's innovation with streaming media and lo-and-behold, eight months into the deal M$ pulls out citing all sorts of difficulties and problems and four months after that *poof* Windows Media Player is launched with M$'s own proprietary media format.

Doesn't anybody remember those old movies where the guy makes a deal with the devil, only to get burned later on?

If you ask me it's their own fault if they're going to fall for M$'s tired old shell game.

This is classic Bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3506918)

Comeon guys, this isn't a new song. Ever here of "GO"? Guys who originated pen-based consumer computing, had a deal with M$ for operating system hooks? Then, just before they were about to come out with a PR splash, Bill and company cancelled the deal, hired away their key technical people, and came out with a Win3.1 variant that eventually became WinCE?

Sometimes it's cheaper and easier to get people to *give* you their technology than it is to steal it.

If this doesn't just say it all (2)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506925)

we don't consider people to be RN assets.

IP is the asset, people are free agents.

Then...

MSFT recruiting would be a positive message to employees.

A positive message doesn't pay the mortgage. Thanks guys. You're wonderful people.

This perfectly illustrates the non-future that W-4 employment is becoming. Oh, and for all you boardroom-apologists: this happens ALL THE TIME. Don't even try to argue about it.

I wonder which of these managers are free agents. While we're at it, if people are so "free" why do they make the hiring process more grueling than becoming an astronaut.

It's sickening.

Microsoft's changing attitude... (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506932)

Point #3 as to why MSN is moving away from RealNames mentions the hostility that .Net My Services was received, and how Microsoft is moving away from creating basic infrastructure services. Especially when said service appears to offer a mechanism to control what users see on the Internet. They specifically mention if RealNames became extremely popular(120M entries), this would be greeted by even more hostility towards Microsoft.

So it's interesting how the slashbot editors have tried to spin this as a negative, as this is exactly the type of responsible attitude that they have previously desired to come from Microsoft.

No point (2)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506973)

Do you want to walk us through the highlights of your proposals?

Well, only if there's a point to doing so.

Excellent question.

If you already know what you want to do, maybe we should begin with that.

Yes. We should.

OK, well, We aren't going to continue to bet on Keywords

MEETING ADJOURNED.

Don't stand there and dance for quarters. Pick up your stuff and leave. Sell to buyers, not skeptics. Bill 'em for your time too. They could have sent this by e-mail. This kind of arrogance is designed to do two things:

  • Create a non-existent problem which they will solve at your expense.
  • Create an illusory bargaining chip which will be traded for all of your value


Don't believe the hype. The only way to negotiate with arrogance is to close the door, while it still belongs to you. Meeting adjourned. ^^

well (1)

xjnfx (572692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3506997)

that is business, and that is what you get for dancing with the devil. Rugged, worn and torn the machine marches on, with your employee's no less. . tough break but its a holiday in cambodia.

Devil (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3507002)

Rule #1 when dancing with the devil [microsoft.com] : don't ;->
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>