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Sun CTO Predicts Internet Consolidation Endgame

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the is-it-bill-pullman-or-bill-paxton-i-always-forget dept.

The Internet 167

Romerican writes "C|Net is running an interview with Greg Papadopoulos, CTO of Sun Microsystems, about the Very Near Future where he essential sees the Internet as no longer competitive. He has blogged his belief that the end game is here and nothing is likely to unseat the new world order." From the C|Net article: "It's called software as a service. It really is the running of what we think of as IT through the network. You don't buy software, you buy the consequence of the software. That starts with the small and medium enterprises. eBay, in my mind, is the leading example of small businesses being absorbed by services. Anybody who clicks their store on eBay is in fact consuming a service. They are contributing to a larger-scale eBay rather than them buying some server and sticking it on their desk."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17162978)

Beeyotches.

Erm ... (4, Insightful)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163004)

History shows that the majority of "consolidation" will eventually unwind, fragment, and finally return to something similar to the original way of doing things.

And then it will happen again.

Witness: Mainframe computing to Personal Computing to Thin Client Computing.

Re:Erm ... (4, Insightful)

sugarman (33437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164244)

On a long enough timeline, we're all dead. But being able to recognize an emerging trend and capitalize on it in the near future of a 5-10 year plan can be critical to a business.

Characterizing it as an "endgame" may be a extreme, but consolidation of the big players is continuing for the forseeable future.

--sugarman--

Re:Erm ... (1)

Bozdune (68800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164404)

Exactly. "Thin client" apps are a pretty accurate analog to the ubiquitous CICS business apps of the 1970's that are still floating around today. Fill out a screen. Click a button. Wait for another screen. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Some business apps do very well in such a framework. Others do not. Spreadsheets, for example, don't (there have been "networked" spreadsheet apps for years now, but what is their penetration? Zilch). Yes, sigh, we can code the entire app in Javascript and hide transfers in the background, and "simulate" a desktop app blah blah blah Ajax blah blah -- but that's not workable (I invite you to try; have fun).

Good God, just got curious and queried Wikipedia: "IBM began shipping the latest release, CICS Transaction Server Version 3.1 for z/OS, in early 2005." Somebody pinch me, I'm in a time warp!

cool name (1)

psichaotic (761447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163014)

its just fun to say.. papadopoulos

i like the server in my server room (5, Insightful)

WeAreAllDoomed (943903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163044)

i don't want my company data on someone else's servers.

unless "services" address this, there will be resistance. maybe not if you're buying used stuff at estate sales and selling it on ebay, but...

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163244)

How about a software subscription service where you own the server and the data stays on your hard drive, but the software is on a network filesystem?

Re:i like the server in my server room (2, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163986)

"How about a software subscription service where you own the server and the data stays on your hard drive, but the software is on a network filesystem?"

It still won't work for many reasons. First, it requires an "always on" broadband network connection that far too many people don't have and feel they don't need. Second, the security risk is too high. Too many of these companies will sell whatever isn't nailed down especially your data. Even though you may retain a copy of your data locally, nothing is stopping these companies from also keeping a copy on their server. Third, people don't like to rent what they feel they should own. Ownership is a big part of human behavior that can't be ignored. Just ask the **AA about it. Lastly, it has been tried many times in the past with disastrous results. If this guy can't learn from the past, he is doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

B.

Re:i like the server in my server room (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164468)

First: there is no reason that your servers could notn cache the software. Second, the security risk is no higher than with traditional software. Reputable companies will sign contracts stating they won't use your data. Nothing is stopping any software company from sending your personal data to their server, except they would have their asses handed to them in a court of law if anyone sued them. Third, what with support contracts and upgrades, people are in effect renting software now. Most people don't care or even really understand the difference between owning intellectual "property" and renting or licensing it. Finally, there were insurmountable bandwidth issues that kept this from working in the past.

Personally, I would never rent software I used at home. But then, I would never lease a car either. I hear many people, and especially corporations, do lease cars if it makes financial sense for them. I imagine leased software would make sense in some situations, too. Think about it: you have a little startup and you want a nice integrated CRM, HR and accounting package. You can shell out $100,000 upfront for the package with the functionality you want and still pay $1,000/month in support, or you can lease the package, support included, for $2,000 per month. Which would you pick?

Will leased software ever completely replace owned software, as this Sun wingnut predicts? In his greedy wet dreams, maybe. But it will become a larger part of the total software landscape than it is now.

Re:i like the server in my server room (2, Insightful)

Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163266)

There will certainly be resistanc but I think you will change your mind when:

(i) costs decline to make it attractive to you (if your $200,000 costs can be cut to $75,000, wouldn't you? (I'm just making up #s))
, or (ii) it becomes so easy and ubiquitous that you would be worse off to do it the old way (an example would be webmail versus desktop client email from an ISP)

How many people nowadays use Gmail, Hotmail, or what-have-you for their personal and confidential e-mail? At one time, many would have said that they would not trust a "free email provider" for their email... In the corporate world, the best example is perhaps salesforce.com. So many companies are actually trusting their critical sales data to this online outfit. Given that many organizations treat their sales data as even more secretive and precious than R&D or employee personal data, you would think that no one would use salesforce.com. Yet it's happening and it will only grow... or how many people are willing to provide a whole hoard of personal information about them and their company when booking flights online or hotels...

In a crude sense, already your data is on someone else's servers. For instance, many organizations (not the large corporations but certainly many mid-sized and smaller companies) store their data on their ISP's or some 3rd party IT company's servers. Many don't even know that htey are doing this (cuz many in management don't really understand a lot of tech stuff and most of it is transparent anyway (only a techie can tell the difference between a file server in your building vs one 100km from you)). From a business point of view, a lot of the tech infrastructure in non-tech firms (i.e. I'm talking about a general business whose core competency is not tech) are costs that the business would love to get rid of.

A lot of people may hate Microsoft here but let's face it, MS' view of web services is taking off. It's just too bad for them that companies like Google are taking a big chunk of the market. Ebay is nothing compared to "web maps" (maps at Google or MSN or whatever) and their potential.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164124)

I've worked at companies that range from about 150 employees all the way up to 100,000+ employees and I can't see any of them storing their proprietary information on systems they do not control. I could see where they buy "appliances" for use on their intranet but I ensuring the protection of their proprietary information is critical for most businesses success.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164698)

Your view, as well as the other poster's view below, is true. I'm not denying that very few would embrace such a change. However, that doesn't mean it won't happen.

The reason no one wants to let go of their data is because of a lack of trust. There is no trust out there now because (i) technology is still in its infancy, and (ii) no established service provider has emerged (i.e. brand recognition). The present situation is like Ebay 5 years ago. How many people would put up anytyhing worth over $10,000 on Ebay back then? Only a few brave souls ;) But how about now? Many! The same thing will happen in other service areas. As companies become more established, they will gain market acceptance. Salesforce.com is what... 3(??) years old? But in 10 years, I'll bet a lot of people would be willing to use an online provider (whether salesforce.com or someone else) for their CRM...

Companies will lose some control... just like how many companies have lost control over their manufacturing by outsourcing most of it. But you are still better off. If costs can be significantly lowered, while losing some control, I think shareholders would vote in favour of it. As I mention in another response the data is not what is valuable; what's valuable is the idea/thought/process/etc behind it. Apple's iPod isn't #1 in its market segment because Apple zealously guards its blueprints (which I'm sure it does but it's irrelevant) but because it constantly innovates. Google isn't the #1 (depending on what you look at) online property because no one knows how to build a search engines (there are tons of search engines out there) or was the first one to try advertising. It's because it constantly keeps improving, staying ahead of the competitors. The same thing with other industries, say packaged goods or cars or whatever.

Maybe it's just my (misguided? ;) ) personal opinion but a lot of the stuff that companies guard are a waste of time and money. If efficiency can be improved (eg. imagine a salesperson trying to access an on-site CRM vs one that one can access from anywhere on the road) or costs can be lowered (i.e. storing and guarding data is not the core competency of most companies and it will be much cheaper if it can be done remotely) then I think this methodology will spread like wildfire... We may not be there yet but it'll happen IMO...

Cost of good data (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164186)


(i) costs decline to make it attractive to you (if your $200,000 costs can be cut to $75,000, wouldn't you?

NO. Here's why:

I currently work for a SME of approx. 120 employees, sales in the 75-100 million dollar range.

About 3 years ago I was told that we had 12-15 million dollars of data in our databases. Based on the cost of collecting and maintaing the data (lots of engineering field data). In the past few years we have doubled in size both in employees and in database size, so let's call it 30 million in data in our databases.

This does not include data in documents on the file servers or in emails. SO let's say another 30 million there.

Now, some of our clients compete against each other and we are *very* careful to firewall information so that the data from client A is not seen by client B. Not only could a breach like this resutl in losing client A and/or getting sued by client A, but would ruin our reputation and make it difficult to attract other clients.

The problem is that people take data, good data, far too lightly. Good data is hard to obtain and expensive. Without you are SOL. And so we protect our data and try to insure it is of high quality. We trust no one with the data.

The 'savings' of SaaS are miniscule compared to the risks to the company in this case.

Also data lasts longer than programs or vendors. What happens if the software company goes under or if you need to port it to a new application?

Except for a few cases I think SaaS is very inappropriate and will not be as wide spread as some hope.

You are right though, many companies are already exposing themselves. However, we see it as a false economy. There is no replacement for just doing the work.

Re:Cost of good data (1)

Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164494)

"However, we see it as a false economy. There is no replacement for just doing the work."

I definitely don't think it's a false economy at all. In fact it's a growth industry that will end up becoming very large... I don't think this is necessarily avoiding work, but is instead something that improves efficiency... a disruptive technology if you will... someone still has to do the work...

Just because someone else will store your data does not mean that it will be available to your competitors or your public or whatever. As far as I'm concerned, security will not be the wall that prevents any of this (education and marketing will take care of that) but instead is the technology. Communication networks, computer networks, etc are still not fast enough to be able to do many of these things in an efficient manner.

Most you that are concerned have valid concerns but the way I look at it, that's an old way of looking at stuff. Through history, many have said they will never part with some particular sensitive information/procedure/knowledge/product when in fact they end up doing it over time, as technology lowers costs and makes the old way of doing this obsolete. What we are seeing is a new strategy at work. I mean, ignore the controversy over outsourcing on Slashdot, and look at how many companies are outsourcing non-core, although critical, aspects of their business. Thirty or fourty years ago, it would have been a ridiculous proposition for, say, a car company to outsource nearly all manufacturing (particularly all the main parts). How many hardware companies send their highly confidential blueprints for their products to some external manufacturer? Management in the 60's and 70's would probably have never done that. Even going back to the Ebay example, hardly anyone would have bothered to auction expensive items (Ebay does handle items worth hundreads of thousands of dollars, and even some million dollar items) online a few years ago.

I think the mistaken view has to do with the notion of data. What is important is not the data; what is important is the knowledge/process/information contained in it. As competition increases, knowledge spreads faster, communications become quicker, and product life cycles shrink, we will almost end up with a situation where the data that is generated this year will largely be obsolete next year. What past generations thought of as sacred and zealously guarded will end up obsolete long before anyone even realizes it. When that happens, holding data will become a "cost center" that is worth minimizing. Sensitive accounting information that no CFO will send externally will all of a sudden be sent outside the organization; important R&D will actually be held off-site; and so forth... perhaps that time is not now but it is a growth industry that is in its infancy.

Re:Cost of good data (1)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164762)

Now, some of our clients compete against each other and we are *very* careful to firewall information so that the data from client A is not seen by client B. Not only could a breach like this resutl in losing client A and/or getting sued by client A, but would ruin our reputation and make it difficult to attract other clients.

And I'm sure that Google / Microsoft / Amazon / IBM / SAP will be very careful to make sure that your data is firewalled and secured from your competitors. I think your paragraph here proves the point that the article makes.

As network speeds / security / reliability increase the need to have data both here and there decreases. Once this happens the data will migrate towards a large natural repository. The only forseable problem problem with this model of computing is electrical generation to power the grids, and this two will be solved in good time.

Re:Cost of good data (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164882)

I think you are confusing Software as a Service with Data as a Service. In your example, keep the data secured in your own network, but why install MS Office on every computer when you can subscribe to MS Office service for a low monthly cost? Your Word docs can stay local, but your Word install is remote. Zero-day MS Word exploit? Yours can be patched the instant MS has the patch available, no need for a Sys Admin to keep your workstations up to date.

That is the promise that SaaS holds. In the end, all you'll need for yourself is your data and your bandwidth. Much easier to obtain and maintain that an entire software library.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165108)

it becomes so easy and ubiquitous that you would be worse off to do it the old way (an example would be webmail versus desktop client email from an ISP)


Yeah, until the day a SOX auditor comes in and says, "show me all your email from 2003 to the present" - at the same time that the service provider's gateway decides to hickup. So sorry - please pay Uncle Sam $14,000,000 for not securing your email documentation. Or maybe your service provider makes a dumb mistake and allows their servers to be hacked -- goodbye data, or more incidiously goodbye data integrity.

If particular data is your life blood you must control it. It is not good enough to prang your provider after the fact in many cases - unless what you do is so trivial that it does not matter.

I think any business that puts control of all of their non-trivial data into the hands of a service provider is asking for problems, legal, operational, and financial.

resistance? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163446)

Dont hold your breath, people are doing it every day, and have been since the beginning.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

MaGogue (859961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163482)

Hmm, what about encryption? Your data is encrypted and unusable to anybody else. The key is on a smartcard you keep at your place.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163490)

i don't want my company data on someone else's servers.

I used to think that, too. Then, I found out I could let somebody else deal with the headaches and liability, so I outsourced it. Just in the past 6 months, I've outsourced both our web hosting, and I switched out our dumb POP mail server for an Exchange Server hosted elsewhere. Now that we don't have to deal with worrying about the server, we can spend more time and energy on the parts of our business that actually makes us money.

Data, schmata. They do backups, they've got all of the redundancy, blah, blah, blah. It's better than we could do in house, and it's cheaper.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163898)

Amen.

I do consulting for a small company (think 35 people) and I've recommended the exact same thing to the director of IT there: You don't have the resources to do IT Right. Outsource as much as possible. It won't cost less, but it will be much more reliable. In the long run, the business has to have a reliable and sound base on which to stand.

He won't have to let people go, because he doesn't have the people now.

As far as the company data, well, I told him it was more likely that a hacker could get it off their servers than get it off the ASP's servers.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164170)

As far as the company data, well, I told him it was more likely that a hacker could get it off their servers than get it off the ASP's servers.


Exactly. The ASP's or ISP's deal with security for a living. They're going to be as good if not better than most regular IT people because they deal with it all day, every day.

And of course, you're right... it is a bit more expensive from an initial dollar standpoint (ie: we're paying $xxx/month for this hosting and $xx/month for that), but yeah, less time spent on it, and more reliable. It most definately saves money in the long run.

Everything else is divided up into specialties (ie: if a window gets broken, we don't go make our own glass), so why not IT?

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164396)

Here's me putting myself out there and admitting that I don't have all the answers, so with that bit of humility out of the way.... How do you deal with the bandwidth issue?

One of my clients has 4 sites connected on an UUNet/MCI MPLS network. They run Exchange and they need to run servers at each of the sites to hold the mailboxes locally at those sites because otherwise, trying to open mailboxes across the network from the remote sites is an exercise in frustration. Maybe that's just an Exchange misconfiguration and Exchange really can be configured for 250 people to run quickly across... say a 3mb WAN connection?

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164754)

I dunno. I own a 10 person company, and it's just fine for us. We have just a regular ol' 3 Mbps DSL connection. My buddy has a 6 person attorney's office that relies on Exchange for much more stuff than I do, and he doesn't have any problems. I dunno. Sounds like some kind of mis-configuration on the server end. I'd call them up and let them fix it. It works pretty easily for my and my friends' business, and we both just have plain ol' business DSL.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165398)

Thanks for the reply but I think we're talking about two completely different scales here. You have a couple of people accessing Exchange on a DSL line. I have multiple sites accessing Exchange, terminal services, and a few other applications across an MPLS network.

The biggest obsticle to outsourcing that I have seen is the bandwidth required to make it work. For small offices with a few people it isn't much of a problem. For 100+ users using a variety of applications, it starts to get really expensive. Although the cost of bandwidth has come down, getting more than 5MB (and I'm not talking about a cable modem) is still going to cost thousands of dollars a month.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164442)

We're currently in the process of moving from an externally-hosted mail service to having Exchange on site. I think it's a horrible, terrible mistake to have your email outside your company, and I'll explain why:

  1. An email to anyone internal to the company has to traverse your network link twice.
  2. It makes document retention more difficult. If you are subject to sarbanes-oxley or are involved in pending federal litigation you must retain all incoming email for something like two years.
  3. Who's reading your email?

You do need a secondary MX to batch up your mail and send it to you if your link is down. In that case you must look at #3 above, but #1 and #2 are still solved.

Now, it only makes sense to host your web content, especially if you can colocate. That keeps your private data private and gets your web traffic off of your corporate network link, which is a good thing. But your email? That's just crazy talk.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164824)

1. An email to anyone internal to the company has to traverse your network link twice.

Eh, so what?

2. It makes document retention more difficult. If you are subject to sarbanes-oxley or are involved in pending federal litigation you must retain all incoming email for something like two years.

Actually, it's easier. If we need more disk space, the Exchange service provider just gives us more space. I don't have to deal with adding hard drives, servers, etc. Hell, I don't even have to notify anybody, they just handle it, and send us the bill.

      3. Who's reading your email?


Who cares? It's just business stuff. If our ASP wants to look at our exciting invoices, or customer questions, I really don't care. We don't have anything super-secret, but if we did, it probably wouldn't be sent via email, anyway.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165120)

An email to anyone internal to the company has to traverse your network link twice.
Eh, so what?

So you need more bandwidth when your data is stored outside your company.

If you don't need as much, you don't buy as much, and you don't pay as much. Saving money is good.

It makes document retention more difficult. If you are subject to sarbanes-oxley or are involved in pending federal litigation you must retain all incoming email for something like two years.
Actually, it's easier. If we need more disk space, the Exchange service provider just gives us more space. I don't have to deal with adding hard drives, servers, etc. Hell, I don't even have to notify anybody, they just handle it, and send us the bill.

And you trust them? Companies have died over less. I'll pass, thanks.

Who's reading your email?
Who cares? It's just business stuff.

Oh, is that all? Well, if it's just business stuff...

If our ASP wants to look at our exciting invoices, or customer questions, I really don't care. We don't have anything super-secret, but if we did, it probably wouldn't be sent via email, anyway.

Could you please let me know where you work? Since privacy isn't important to you, I want to avoid ever doing business with you. You might not care, but your customers do.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165374)

So you need more bandwidth when your data is stored outside your company.

If you don't need as much, you don't buy as much, and you don't pay as much. Saving money is good.


Again: Eh. We have a DSL line. It works fine for all of our Net needs, including Exhchange. I don't have any employees downloading porn or full DVD movies.

And you trust them? Companies have died over less. I'll pass, thanks.

Companies have died over running out of hard drive space? Which ones? I've never heard of that, before!

Could you please let me know where you work? Since privacy isn't important to you, I want to avoid ever doing business with you. You might not care, but your customers do.

I said invoices and the occasional customer question. What does that have to do with anybody's privacy? Did you forget your meds today?

Or maybe I should ask, what kind of sensitive stuff are YOU sending via email? Are you emailing credit card and social security numbers, or something like that? Hasn't anybody even mentioned to you that that might not be the smartest idea...?

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165424)

Could you please let me know where you work? Since privacy isn't important to you, I want to avoid ever doing business with you. You might not care, but your customers do.

Oh yeah... I forgot to mention... my attorney has his office set up the same way. Sorry, but I'm going to listen to my attorney over a tin-foil hat wearing Slashdot freak.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163820)

What are you talking about? Haven't you seen the bang-up job banks and credit card companies have done at keeping our personal information from being lost...and the impressive level of accountability they display when those rare events occur? Jeeze! You're going to have to learn to trust people if you want to make it in this world.!

And by people, I mean companies that did a cost benefit analysis and decided that when it came right down to it your data actually wasn't that important to them and wasn't really worth putting a whole lot of effort into protecting.

Protecting information from loss is expensive. But protecting data from some one trying to steal it is even more so. If I'm a large company thats pushing around data my competitors really want...do I want to put it in servers I own managed by people within my own company? Or with a third party company? Both can of course be corrupted...but which one would be cheaper to buy and less likely to be looking out for your companies interests?

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164154)

don't want my company data on someone else's servers.

That is easily solved by suitable encryption.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164306)

Would you rather keep your priceless heirlooms in a safe under your bed, or would you rather keep them in a safe deposit box in a bank vault? Sure you could spend the money to build a vault in your own home to protect them, but you'd probably have to sell the heirlooms to pay for it. Plus, you know jack shit about bank security. What do you do when someone actually attempts to break into your super vault?

I'm guessing you would feel much safer with the bank.

Re:i like the server in my server room (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165156)

Does it matter? Can you protect your data better than they can? Probably not.

If someone really wants to steal your data, there are other ways of doing it. SaaS vendors take security very seriously, and if you're a small or medium sized company, the SaaS vendor's production environment is likely a far safer place for your data than on your network (they are likely running a combination of NIDS and host-based IDS and probably have a 3rd-party security firm doing regular testing, as well as good coding practices in development.)

You're right, security is always a big question from prospective buyers. There are security assurance clauses in most SaaS sales contracts, it's another item in the SLA. Anything you can do to secure your data, your SaaS vendor is probably already doing. The cost of securing the network and application is less than the cost of getting 0wned and losing all your clients, most businesses understand that.

that is all good and well.... but (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163056)

someone needs to remind him of the little 'botnet' problem that is currently going around. Sure, pan global networks are a good thing, and will bring us good thing... BUT the only thing they are bringing us right now is SPAM, SPAM, and more SPAM.

Sure, there is Google and eBay et al, but look at the reality of things... all that really needs to happen to stop the world is for 2 of those 5 computers to be infested with spam spewing botnets.

I think that the world is as ready as I am for that to happen... lets just shelve this cute idea before the botnet owners get word of it

Re:that is all good and well.... but (1)

ms139us (723585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163236)

Spam botnets will drive this further. I promise you that ebay is better administered than any company's sea of desktops.

Re:that is all good and well.... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164034)

Sure, pan global networks are a good thing, and will bring us good thing... BUT the only thing they are bringing us right now is SPAM, SPAM, and more SPAM.

And porn, spam and porn is all that the Internet gives us.

"You don't buy software..." (4, Funny)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163076)

That's right. I download it for free. :P

sigh (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163092)

Sun and others have been predicting this ("the network is the computer") for about a decade. Nothing significant has changed, except for the presence of broadband. It remains a stupid idea.

Re:sigh (2, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163188)

Sun and others have been predicting this ("the network is the computer") for about a decade. Nothing significant has changed, except for the presence of broadband. It remains a stupid idea.

Do you recall that "the network is the computer" idea required ubiquitous broadband?

Only now, and over the next few years, is the idea even practical. So hold your horses, and watch.

Re:sigh (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163920)

Watch what? Broadband penetration in most the US is still piss poor, broadband competition in ALL of the US even moreso. If this is where the world is planning on going, and they need broadband to get there, the US better get ready to be left behind.

Re:sigh (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164044)

I'm going to have to agree here. My home upload speed is a measly 45 Kb (Kilo bits for the non CS) thanks to Time Warner cable. I can't do a rsync of a 40 GB HD to a remote location. Forget a 500 GB HD (that would take all year at max throughput). So the *typical* broadband connection is at 100Mb/s, I don't see that happening.

On the server market, it's going to happen a lot faster (data-center to data-center) but then you run into issues of cost for the bandwidth needed. I have an unmetered 1Mb/s on the server (plenty fast for most things) and that is still not enough to rsync the HD out. To pay more means it would be cheaper for me to drive out there once in a while and back it up with esata.

Re:sigh (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164248)

It's not good enough, but I wouldn't say it's "piss poor". It just passed 60% [websiteoptimization.com] .

re: "The Network is the Computer" (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163190)

I agree! Ever since I first heard Sun use that slogan, I thought it was dumb. If you ask me, "The Network is FOR the Computer" - and that's all there is to it!

All of these large corporations (IBM, Sun, Microsoft, etc.) envision making a fortune by renting you your software (by serving it to you over the Internet). Like everything else in life though, you've got a LARGE number of folks who'd much rather own than rent. Renting has historically only made sense in the short-term, usually as a "stop gap" measure. You rent a car for a weekend trip, or because the car you own is in the shop for major repairs. You rent an apartment or house because you need someplace to stay, but you aren't in a position, financially, where you can buy a house yet. You likely rent furniture or appliances from a "rent a center" type of establishment because you want to live above your means, and don't have the patience to save up to buy it. So tell me again why I'd want to continuously RENT my applications rather then buy software licenses and install/run the stuff on my OWN equipment?

Re: "The Network is the Computer" (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163712)

So tell me again why I'd want to continuously RENT my applications rather then buy software licenses and install/run the stuff on my OWN equipment?
Maybe because the application has pretty hefty hardware requirements? I notice that Salesforce.com is raking in the dough, largely because most CRM systems require two or three servers (and I don't mean Linux on a white box, think something [sun.com] like [hp.com] this [ibm.com] . And that's per site, you'll probably have your main servers and a second set at a backup site (or at least one big one that can virtualize any of the others). And then there's the bandwidth, power, cooling, storage...

Here's a bad analogy for you: computers used to be like trains — nobody owned their own, you paid to ride someone else's. Eventually, cars became affordable, so most people bought a car instead of taking the train. The situation now is as if someone built this great mass transit system (the internet), and now most people can just dial a number on their phone and a shuttle shows up at their door. Sure, the people with sports cars and classic cars and people who just enjoy driving will keep their cars, but the rest of the folks will be glad to get rid of the maintenance hassle/expense and turn the garage into a media room.

In support of your rental analogy, I think it's more akin to people who lease cars instead of buying them. You get all the benefits of having a car, but at the end of the lease you trade it in for a new model. That's the benefit of renting your applications: you run the latest code and don't have to worry about upgrading, that's handled for you. Likewise with bug fixes. [0] Presumably there's some kind of support for custom work, I haven't really played much in the software services arena. But for a lot of things, it makes sense. Some ISPs already install a standard software bundle with a browser and e-mail client, why not just ship the browser and offer everything else on-line? They could even offer expanded services (like the basic office apps that Google is building), all served from their system.

I'm not convinced this is in "the near future", but it's going to become a trend. And I think a lot of people will jump on it.
+++
[0] Yeah, I can figure how much hassle it will be when your app vendor decides your bug is a low priority, or they decide to eliminate some feature you rely on. I think we'll find that vendors who keep their customers happy stay in business, and the market will demand a certain level of service/accountability.

Re: "The Network is the Computer" (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164052)

So tell me again why I'd want to continuously RENT my applications rather then buy software licenses and install/run the stuff on my OWN equipment?

because "software as a service" is the latest thing in technology. platform independant ajax enabled web2.0 podcast blog web operating system virtualizations are the newest way for businesses to give money to technology companies.

Re: "The Network is the Computer" (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164284)

Rent versus owning can be for a variety of reasons. I could live in an apartment and have a quality of life the same as I do now for much less money, but I wish to have control over my future. Since I own and have a fixed mortgage rate, then I know what my mortgage payment will be 10-20 years from now, but I don't know what it will cost to rent an equivalent apartment because rents are driven by demand. So to with Software. But I also am aware that I am not making out as well in the short term because I own. And I assumed significant risks of losing my investment if housing prices fall more than a certain amount and never recover. All risks that I was willing to take, but others in other situations might rather not and focus their efforts towards building equity and stability in other areas.

So, I agree with your analogy in that there are a lot of good reasons to own rather than rent software, but everyone's situation will be different. And every application is different. If you are talking about document creation, then why would you possibly rent an online application when you can download a free and unencumbered feature complete software package such as OpenOffice? But if you are talking about Internet Search Software, then you would have to be nuts or extremely wealthy to own the computers and bandwidth necessary to index the entire Internet and store that index so that you could do your own complete Internet Searching on your own application.

The idea that every person or business will have the same requirements and abilities and that every piece of software should or can be served from some central provider is dumb. And people are right to point out that it is simply an unrealistic hope of companies that are desperate to create a world where they are utility like providers with steady revenue and don't have to compete quite so hard. It is a monopolistic vision of a world that would mean stagnant technology and high costs for people.

The market won't decide, people will.

Re: "The Network is the Computer" (1)

ffejie (779512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164322)

You rent a car for a weekend trip, or because the car you own is in the shop for major repairs. You rent an apartment or house because you need someplace to stay, but you aren't in a position, financially, where you can buy a house yet. You likely rent furniture or appliances from a "rent a center" type of establishment because you want to live above your means, and don't have the patience to save up to buy it. So tell me again why I'd want to continuously RENT my applications rather then buy software licenses and install/run the stuff on my OWN equipment?

Depreciation. You rent your applications and your servers because it's a lot cheaper than buying them. There are plenty of people that rent their cars rather than buy them -- it's called leasing. Generally, anything that will depreciate over time (cars, servers, computers) you want to lease because you don't want to be stuck with the equipment. Is there a resale market for my 5 year old server? Probably not. On eBay maybe, but it's not a significant percentage to be worth the hassle of reselling it. If I leased that server, at the end of 5 years I could get a new one, and pay roughly the same cost. Same thing with Office 2K. I don't want to own Office 2K licenses once I buy Office 2K7 licenses. If I leased (rented, paid for the services) then I could just upgrade to Office 2K7 when it comes out and not pay for the Office 2K licenses. Things like houses, you don't want to rent, because they go up in value.

Of course, the other big part of this that you're missing is that running your own IT shop in house is generally expensive and not cost-effective. Since you're reading this I'm assuming you're part of an IT shop that is costing your company a lot of money to maintain servers. Try to figure out how much you cost a month (in salary, benefits, equipment, physical space, etc.) and then figure out how many servers you can manage. Now figure out what the servers cost (capex, electricity, cooling, space) and see if all of that boils down to a couple bucks a month for a hosted application per user. It'll probably be very close. Unless of course, you're in a very small IT shop that only has a few people doing the work of many, or a huge company that has managed to get economies of scale to work.

Re: "The Network is the Computer" (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164632)

You rent a car for a weekend trip, or because the car you own is in the shop for major repairs.

This is a great example of why you're wrong. Or at least, partially wrong.

It's only the US that has so many cars. Everywhere else in the world, people are pretty likely to use public transportation. We have cars in the US because of successful lobbying - public funding for the rail network was cannibalized and applied to the highway system instead. As a result, instead of [comparatively] easily and cheaply maintained railways, we have these insanely expensive to maintain roadways, the environmental cost of having zillions of cars each with their own emissions controls which may be functioning or not, instead of a dramatically smaller number of train engines - the smaller number making emissions controls easier.

As a result of the loss of the rail network, and everyone having cars, residential areas exploded - but rail is still used for some freight, and it's otherwise advantageous to keep businesses close together because they must commonly interface with each other. So we got these intensely packed cities and incredibly spread out rural areas. As a result, most people can no longer afford to live in the cities (due to gentrification) and therefore they need a car because public transportation can not effectively serve the needs of a highly distributed population.

However, in the cities, one typically does not need a car at all. The bulk of your groceries can be ordered, and your perishables can be picked up by hand. Because the population is high there are lots of places to shop, so anywhere you go there is typically someplace to get the goods you want/need. Appliances, likewise, can be delivered. And since the population is packed in, public transportation is an effective means of daily travel. Then, people only rent a car when they need one, such as when they are going on a trip.

Another time people rent cars is when they need a vehicle that has capabilities that the one they currently own lacks. For example, if I need to move a large piece of equipment, but I drive a hatchback, if I'm not just paying someone to ship my equipment, I'm going to need to rent a flatbed truck to get it from point A to point B.

Of course, some people who live in the city have and use a car even though they don't need one - they want the "freedom" of being able to decide where they go (even though everything related to cars is heavily regulated.)

The situation with software is similar. Some people use bought-and-owned (well, the companies will tell you that it's all licensed, but that's another conversation) software because they feel that they should, that they need to. That they can't trust anything else. But other people, and I would guess that it's most people, use that kind of software because they can't use anything else. In order to make use of a web office suite feasible, for example, you need a fast, always-on network connection, that is as reliable as your need/desire to use the software. This is only recently coming to the majority of people on this planet - and consequently, software as a service is only just now picking up speed.

Finally, in some cases, it will make more sense to lease some software short-term for a specific project than to purchase it - to cover short-term needs that are not solved by your current software.

Re: "The Network is the Computer" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17165026)

Reading some of the EULAs, you might as well be renting.

Don't be so sure (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163250)

I was thinking the same thing when I first read this. I want to own and operate my own software. But then I looked at my online usage.

I play WoW. Yeah I bought the software, but the software is worthless with out the online services.

I use Vent. Free software, guild pays for services.

I use hotmail. I don't even have an email client installed at home.

I could go from example to example of how online services have replaced many of my digital and non-digital based activities.

Online services will never be an absolute. For example, online word processors; they will likely do wonderfully in integrated solutions, but I doubt people would start going to www.MSWord.com to write their papers when they can have Word installed locally. To be honest, you'll be hard pressed to move people from desktop Office to just about anything because it is a rock solid application. Heck MS's primary competition for Office 2k7 is still Office 2k! If MS can't get users to upgrade, how is some pay-for-service online tool going to do it?

Anyway, the article might be a bit sensational (surprise!) but it is not with out merritt.

-Rick

Re:Don't be so sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163632)

> I play WoW. Yeah I bought the software, but the software is worthless with out the online services.

Not true. I sometimes play Ultima Online, but I'm not paying the monthly subscription fee.. I'm connecting to a RunUO based server I set up myself. You can do the same thing with backwards-engineered servers for WOW & Everquest.

Re:Don't be so sure (1)

q-the-impaler (708563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164448)

Here you go man. [slashdot.org] [gives pat on shoulder]

Re:Don't be so sure (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164704)

OK fine, you're not paying for the service. But your still online and "the game is the network" to spin the gist of the article a little. Just as there are free alternatives to local business apps there will always be free alternatives to SaaS. But that doesn't change the fact that the underlying platform has shifted from your PC to the network. Sure it's a local network but the concept is the same; you may not need the internet to play but you need some type of connection to a machine other then your own to play...

Not saying I agree with the concept completely, at least I don't think it's going to happen overnight. But your reply to the gp didn't really refute what was said as much as add more weight to what was said.

Re:Don't be so sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164346)

Heck MS's primary competition for Office 2k7 is still Office 2k! If MS can't get users to upgrade, how is some pay-for-service online tool going to do it?

Maybe the way Google is doing it now -- offer email, spreadsheets, word processing for free over the web. Build up a user base. Then, when people are comfortable with the concept of using a web app for their office applications, start charging for the 'premium' features (online storage of docs?)

Welcome to the industry, Greg Pramanamana... (2, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163104)

You don't buy software, you buy the consequence of the software.

Welcome to the industry, Greg Pramanamana. In the great game of IT sales, the men will tell you that it's always been about pitching benefits (what you call "consequences"). What you actually close with doesn't really matter. Over time the deliverables have almost always been a combination of hardware, software and services; the mix may change over time but the mix will change again when someone's pricing model makes the alternatives look attractive again.

Re:Welcome to the industry, Greg Pramanamana... (2, Insightful)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163154)

...the mix will change again when someone's pricing model makes the alternatives look attractive again.

Or they remember to factor things like data vulnerability into their pricing model.

Re:Welcome to the industry, Greg Pramanamana... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163428)

Pramanamana

Is that supposed to be a racist, anti-Greek thing? I realize both copy/paste and spelling are difficult tasks to master, but I didn't see how your slur was "funny."

Re:Welcome to the industry, Greg Pramanamana... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163594)

Oh stop being a fucking douchebag. There, is that a racist slur too? People like you make life unpleasant for the rest of us. You're the guy who takes offense at knock knock jokes because there are people who are homeless and don't have doors right?

Just leaving a racist anti-Douchebag "slur" for you.

Prestidigitation (1)

pkcs11 (529230) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163168)

Sun has been as good at predicting the market in the last ten years as George Bush has been at scoring a victory over terrorism.
Sun bets red and you'd be smart to bet black. It's like taking advice from Wang's CTO in 1990.

The Internet no longer competitive? (4, Funny)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163210)

What, exactly, is the internet's competition? Internet II? Minitel? I notice that no-one's offering me a discount to switch from using the internet to "MegaCorp's NEW ULTRAnet! (now with 30% more fiber!)".

Re:The Internet no longer competitive? (1)

Slipgrid (938571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163294)

Just an idea, but maybe Google is the competition of the Internet. Google indexes almost every web page worth reading, or they would have you think they do. The keep indexes over time of the changes of the pages. They index their index of the pages, and then they form opinions on the page.

This begs the question, is Google part of the Internet, or is the Internet now a subset of Google?

Re:The Internet no longer competitive? (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163832)

is Google part of the Internet, or is the Internet now a subset of Google?
Or more generically, is the internet the network, or the services it provides? To many people, the internet is just the WWW. They may know their e-mail travels over it, but to them they "get on" the internet by firing up their browser.

Re:The Internet no longer competitive? (1)

aderuwe (539595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163958)

I for one would sure need to change my ways if I still want to be able to locate stuff easily, use sane webmail, look at a map and such things in a possible after-Google era.
Google has made a lot of things easy. People take to that. It (or it's services, anyway) would be missed if they stopped being avaible.

I think I would still call Google a part of the Internet as opposed to a subset of same, but definitely a major part.

A.

Re:The Internet no longer competitive? (1)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164360)

I didn't realize how connected we were to Google until that outage a few weeks ago where Comcast's DNS servers made all of G's pages unavailable. No email, maps, phonebook, the linkrolls and feeds on my startup page through Google, photos that I need to consult for work in online Picasa, and even the stupid little calculator in the sidebar stopped working. Oh, and of course no searches - I got to Yahoo and didn't know what to do for a minute. Where do I type?

It was a bit of a surprise to me, as my dependence developed so gradually - like a cocaine addiction. To pull it away like that really got under my skin. Are they the internet? Well, for some people, just maybe.

Re:The Internet no longer competitive? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164266)

The author means that there will be no competition ON the internet.

Also in the future... (5, Funny)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163220)

He later when on to say that in the future "no one will own cars because the public transportation system will be so good. Also, private property will be consolidated and we will live in communes so as to provide cheaper maintenance. I mean, who wants to mow their own lawn."
 
He even went so far as to say that the concept of marriage will soon be dead. "In the future, everyone will frequent brothels. Anybody who fucks a whore is in fact consuming a service. They are contributing to a larger-scale brothel rather than them marrying some broad and sticking her in a house. I mean, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for cheap?"

Re:Also in the future... (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164296)

Just the other day I was speculating that there was a global conspiracy by OPEC, UPS, and FedEx, and of course the DuPont family to squash teleportation technology.
I like this guy's way of thinking. =P

Re:Also in the future... (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165210)


I mean, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for cheap?


You say that in jest, but when was the last time you went out to your barn and physically milked a cow just to drink some milk?

Heard this before... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163228)

Didn't someone say that the world market for mainframes was only four or five? Or that 640K was enough? Or that Sun Microsystems is dead, dead and dead?

Re:Heard this before... (1)

bpechter (2885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163510)

Ken Olsen at DEC had an early view of the problem of too many amateurs and non-professionals having interconnected computers. Virus problems, lack of backups, remote controlled spambots... Ugh.

He issued the quote below... It seems to me many companies would be better served with simpler web based access to services provided by ASPs. The problem is the current ASPs are putting far too much crap on the web eating bandwidth and demanding faster and higher end clients.

Less graphics is good. Less flash is good. Streaming video is good for support and training. Putting television type commercials on the web is bad. Eats too much network resources. How about some good PDFs instead.

I remember the old text based CompuServe and fairly lightweight AOL Geoworks and think far too much has been integrated into browsers with plugins.

  "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their
    home."
                                -- Ken Olsen, President of DEC, World Future Society
                                      Convention, 1977

Re:Heard this before... (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163724)

Why on earth would I want to use a limited dumb client and not be able to see all the stuff I can see right now on my regular computer?

Re:Heard this before... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164292)

Didn't someone say that the world market for mainframes was only four or five?
Try reading the article.

Ebay? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163260)

I had the great displeasure of browsing ebay after not visiting for a long time. Ugh!

I think his motivation for saying these things has more to do with keeping his job than reality.

... and the sun will consume the Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163290)

... until then, free markets will continue to evolve and thrive with ideas and innovations.

Wishful thinking? (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163320)

Every software company out there wants "software as a service" to become the New World Order because it represents the Holy Grail: a reliable continuous revenue stream from existing customers.

When you sell software, you get a one-time payment that may or may not ever be repeated. When you sell software as a service, you get continuous revenue. This is what every software company wants. The question is, is this what the client wants.

Enterprise software companies are making a huge push into this space, but I'm still not convinced that the market for it is big enough, at least not yet. For software as a service to work, the client needs to trust its vendor far more than they do now, because not only are they trusting the vendor to provide them a piece of software, they're also trusting the vendor to handle the bulk of their IT functions as well.

This may be desirable for some companies, but I think the vendors are vastly overestimating the market because they want to believe EVERYONE will jump at the chance to hand over control to the vendor.

Obviously, there are some advantages for the client as well, such as being able to do things like true Disaster Recovery, and being able to sit in state of the art data centers and have real backup solutions, things that may cost far more if they wanted to implement them on their own. Even so, I just can't shake the feeling that the size of this market is more fantasy than reality at this point.

Missing the forest (4, Insightful)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163340)

From the blog:

Of course there are many, many more service providers but they will almost all go the way of YouTube; they'll get eaten by one of the majors.

The faulty logic here is that it presumes that new independent service providers aren't sprouting up every day. He sees the big trees in the forest, but misses the seeds and sprouts. Maybe that's just because the little guys don't buy pricy Sun hardware, so Sun doesn't see them. But they are there. I have no doubt that for every one web site that gets bought up by the big guys there are many more which don't.

What I see is that the Internet is an exceptionally fertile ground for seeds to sprout in. The existence of large companies such as Yahoo and Google doesn't change that. His comparison to the energy sector is flawed. The ease with which somebody can start up a new web site (sorry, "service provider") is in no way comparable to what it takes to start a new energy provider. Not even close.

It's this kind of nonsense which makes me wonder about the long term viability of Sun. It's no secret that cheap commodity boxes are eating them from the bottom up. So he spins this fairly tale about how all the small web sites (which don't run on Sun hardware) will simply cease to exist leaving only the mega sites (which do buy Sun hardware). Let me know how that works out for you.

Re:Missing the forest (1)

UtucXul (658400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163608)

So he spins this fairly tale about how all the small web sites (which don't run on Sun hardware) will simply cease to exist leaving only the mega sites (which do buy Sun hardware). Let me know how that works out for you.
I pretty much agree with you except that most of the big sites he mentions don't use Sun hardware either. Google is pretty well know for using cheap hardware. Microsoft isn't exactly known for running on Sun stuff. So it isn't even clear things look good for Sun even if this idea comes to pass.
Sort of too bad though since I've spent enough time on Ultra 10s to have a certain fondness for Sun hardware.

Re:Missing the forest (1)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163928)

most of the big sites he mentions don't use Sun hardware either. Google is pretty well know for using cheap hardware. Microsoft isn't exactly known for running on Sun stuff.

You're right, a lot of them don't. But the folks who do use a lot of Sun hardware tend to be the big players.

Sort of too bad though since I've spent enough time on Ultra 10s to have a certain fondness for Sun hardware.

Bah, kids these days. I spent many an hour doing sys-admin duties for a Sun 690MP server and a bunch of SparcStation 2 and SparcStation 5's back in the day ;-) I don't think I ever fully got over the change to SysV-style Solaris from BSD-style SunOS.

Re:Missing the forest (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164116)

The faulty logic here is that it presumes that new independent service providers aren't sprouting up every day. He sees the big trees in the forest, but misses the seeds and sprouts.

The logic he's using here only works if the company is entrenched like say, Microsoft, is. But this is a new emerging market...as you suggest as soon as they get done buying the competitors out, some one else will move into fill the void/niche.
A real world example of this failing that I can think of was match.com trying to dominate the online dating services in like 2001 or so. At the risk of revealing myself as the as the antisocial dork I really am, I was 'in the market' for those services at the time. Match.com had gone around and bought up all the free competing services available at that time and made them all point to match.com. It got rid of their competition...for about as long as it took for some one to setup their own database and fill the "free online dating" website void. About a year later it seems like they had even more competitors then ever.

You just made the case for network neutrality... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164176)

>What I see is that the Internet is an exceptionally fertile ground for seeds to sprout in.
>The existence of large companies such as Yahoo and Google doesn't change that. His comparison to
>the energy sector is flawed. The ease with which somebody can start up a new web site (sorry,
>"service provider") is in no way comparable to what it takes to start a new energy provider. Not even close.

Excellent post. And, pardon my topic derailment, but I'd like to take this time to point out to everyone that this is an excellent reason to preserve network neutrality. It is the neutrality that is the fertilizer that makes the Internet such a fertile ground for those seeds.

Steve

Re:Missing the forest (1)

1iar_parad0x (676662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165418)

If a bunch of chemical engineers wanted to start a new "energy" provider, could they do it? Rather, is the field so regulated as to artificially force (or keep) big players in the market?

Ebay stores are a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163354)

The small business I want to deal with has their own web store and 3rd party CC payment partner. I was probably an early adopter of ebay and Amazon marketplace, now I'd happily go out of my way and pay more to avoid using either.

What do you think about that Mr Sun exec?

And then there were two (2)

wheatking (608436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163424)

""Let's see, the Google grid is one. Microsoft's live.com is two. Yahoo!, Amazon.com, eBay, Salesforce.com "" Let us see... Yahoo is the new AOL so they are out. salesforce will be amalgamated in to Oracle and become the SaaS arm of whatever shape the whole oracle/siebel/SAP side of legacy software looks like Amazon will stay in the game (see mturk for relevance), and eBay may yet survive. That leaves three and possible 2 since amazon+ebay would make a good combo. so there. > go Frank.

Services absorbed by housing (2, Funny)

Denial93 (773403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163476)

Gabbad the shaman, in a talk given today, announced that more and more service were absorbed by housing. "Look at the leatherer over there - he has abandoned his own tent and started using a house for his work. Likewise, the shepherds down south have given up the freedom of their own pastures and moved into houses at least over the winter. This means they aren't craftsmen anymore, they are sort of sub-services of housing. While there certainly are incentives for this trend, we should understand we are becoming dangerously dependent on the providers of housing. Masons and carpenters are monopolizing our economy!"

The shaman went on to warn: "If this trend continues, at some point there could be no craftsmen living outside of houses anymore! It is obvious this would be a great loss to our culture and society!"

eBay is NOT software... (2, Insightful)

szelus (580884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163680)

Argument about eBay misses a point.
I don't believe anybody that sells on eBay is there because of a few scripts. They are there because of the buyers that search this site. Indeed, it's the unique marketplace, and marketplace was always a service. The fact, that eBay is a virtual one changes nothing.

Papadopoulos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17163682)

No offence to the person, but the name Papadopoulos makes me thing anything that the guy/gal will ever speak is going to be a hairy mess that I will need to weed through before I can make any sense of what he/she is saying...

Coffee..

Sun? Has to be wrong then. (1)

cruachan (113813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163734)

This is the company that has consistently managed to position itself in shrinking market niche's since 2001 and currently has no viable long-term market strategy. The most notable thing about Sun over the past few years has been there complete lack of ability to predict and utilize the market in any useful way. If Greg Papadopoulos had any normal ego he'd be far too embarrassed to be making public prophecies about the internet than this.

One would have thought that given Sun's current headlong decline into irrelevance he'd have been better employed trying to think of a way Sun can get out of the godawful mess it's currently in and leaving the prophecy to others who have some idea what they are talking about.

What a Fucking Idiot! (3, Insightful)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17163740)

Software as a service? Yeah... I'm sure we're all going to want to be running Photoshop via the net and trust our precious photos to a third party. I can only agree to a point which is that each family or household should have an expandable central computer that can be scaled to the family. It would provide vital services that each family needs: web server, mail server, VPN server, file server, print server, time server, etc... Families should then be able to interconnect those machines via a LAN-to-LAN VPN system. And of course it should use friendly names that Joe and Jane Average can relate to. Do away with "central server" and call it a "FamilyNet Appliance" or some such claptrap. "Aunt Mary and Uncle John just got a FamilyNet box! Let's link them up the next time they come over. Aunt Mary said that she will bring the Trustcard (a flash device that stores and exchanges encryption keys between trusted machines along with IP info. Static IPs would be required for FamilyNet boxes.) with her so that their system will connect to ours. THAT gives the power to the end-user and not businesses. I don't know about you, but I don't even trust my e-mail to anyone but myself. I run my own mail server. I have ever since an ISP took my account of five years and gave it to someone else when they bought my old ISP and pretty much screwed every high-end customer over.

I think the Sun CTO's predictions also overlook what it is that people actually do with their computers. He's looking at it from completely the wrong angle: business application, specifically e-commerce. The majority of people use their computers for recreational and creative purposes. Sure, you have things like Youtube and MySpace that are all the rage right now, but they are merely distribution points. They aren't actual tools. TO put a video up on Youtube requires that you have a video camera, video capture capabilities on your PC or Mac, and ideally editing software plus all the associated tools to create the content. This is what people WANT. Until we all have 10 gigabit links to the internet and latency is sufficiently low, I don't think that content production tools are suited for network publishing over the internet (aka Software as a Service). This guy's head is up his ass in my opinion.

Re:What a Fucking Idiot! (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164324)

"I think the Sun CTO's predictions also overlook what it is that people actually do with their computers. He's looking at it from completely the wrong angle: business application, specifically e-commerce. The majority of people use their computers for recreational and creative purposes."

And I think you're completely missing the target audience of the interview: IT people. Note that he says in the summary: "It really is the running of what we think of as IT through the network." Nobody says that everyone's gonna have an internet appliance at home, and store everything in the Googleplex. What he says is that IT services are becoming so cost efficient and the networks so robust that it makes less and less sense to buy your own hardware and train your own specialists.

Again, he is not talking about your own home server network, your photoshop install or your porn collection. He is talking about large-scale IT software. There'll always be a place for your own local storage and software. But large-scale services will become more and more ubiquituous - witness webmail, WoW, network drives, etc.

Re:What a Fucking Idiot! (1)

ffejie (779512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164492)

He's looking at it from completely the wrong angle

Speaking of looking at it from the wrong angle... did you read your own post?

. It would provide vital services that each family needs: web server, mail server, VPN server, file server, print server, time server, etc...

Time Server? VPN Server? Mail Server? What family needs any of this stuff? Almost every family can barely keep a Windows (or Mac) system operational and doing what they want, let alone administer a mail server! I'm a nerd, but even I don't want to worry about a mail server on my premise. What if my internet connection goes down? What if my power goes out? What if there's a power surge? What if my HD goes bad? Think of the power costs! I'd rather outsource my own mail (Gmail) and have pretty good assurance that it'll be up most of the time. Or at least, more often then my own internet connection is up. What kind of person are you?

I don't know about you, but I don't even trust my e-mail to anyone but myself. I run my own mail server.

Oh, never mind, this post was probably lost on you.

Re:What a Fucking Idiot! (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165100)

Running a home server is pretty negligable in terms of cost. My main server probably costs no more than $2 maybe $5 a month to run 24/7. It does nearly everything I outlined above with a few exceptions. However, my main point was that if the appliance was done right, it would make these things seamless to the end user.. It's seamless to my wife and the friends and family who use my darknet to access internal resources. Hell... I'm even setting up a private VoIP network for the softphones on said friend and family PCs. The net connection where I am has only gone down twice in nearly four years and this was only due to planned moves. I use UPS systems to backup the power for the main computers that make up my network as well as the switches and DSL modem. They also double for surge protection. Again, if all of this was integrated into an appliance, it would be pretty transparent to the end-user. I've had failed HDs as well, but that's why I have nightly backups to a different disk array. Again... if done properly in an appliance, the user would simply be notified to replace Drive 3 in set 4. This is all within reach of the average household as long as you throw away the outdated notion that these things require a genius to set up or maintain. If they're done right, they are nearly "set it and foget it" systems.

Re:What a Fucking Idiot! (1)

Deideldorfer (514118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165504)

I used to think like you do, then I asked myself, "What happens to my friends and family's data if I die?" None of them have an inkling about how to maintain something like you describe, and they would be hard-pressed to find someone else who could do it for a reasonable fee. The reality is that hardware and software changes too quickly for most people to keep up, and any installed appliance will be quickly outdated.

If all of your family's apps are provided as a service that they access via a thin client, they don't need a technical guru to do the things they need to do. If the thin client breaks, they go buy a new one for $100 at Walmart. If they can't figure out how some piece of software works at 3AM, they click on the live help icon in that app and a nice man from India walks them through it, instead of bugging their son in the middle of the night.

Sun needs a new CTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164058)

If he is banking his company on this, they need a new CTO.

Software as a service is no different from reading books online- no one really wants to do it. Its a hassle to deal with, and when you go on the road do you really want to worry about whether you've checked out a license for your laptop? And what of the solutions that don't really support disconnected operation?

The bottom line is that its not that different from running shared copies of software off a shared server and MOST companies now recognize what a bad idea that is. In fact, few software packages support it anymore because there is no demand for running software from a shared drive. People don't like it. And no amount of CTO propoganda is going to change what humans like or dislike. We like physical objects, not virtual objects. We like to own books, not read novels online. We don't like hassle, and we certainly are afraid of using services that invite viruses into our networks.

Mark my words- software as a service is a pipe dream of companies like Google, Microsoft and Sun. They see the potential for much more profit if their software doesn't install. They can charge by the drink, and you know how people tend to lose track of how much they are drinking. It also cuts down on distributions costs and license validations. Its only great for the software companies, but it offers very little to the corporations they're trying to sell it to.

Will you see it come to pass? Probably in small numbers because for every "Office Online" type product, there will be 2 or 3 Open Source products that don't require people to go online. They become much more attractive, especially since they are essentially free. Look for these big software companies to reach that same conclusion by 2010.

The real model is software imaging...that is, by 2015 we should see PC's that will image their OS and software packages from the internet as provisioned install that can be deprovisioned when the need is over. Its not software as a service, its provisioning of PC's as a service. Companies will be able to manage their whole OS load from a Microsoft web site and manage every application in that load. The idea is already being implemented today, albeit in a sloppy fashion.

eBay as a markeetplace (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164236)

I really don't think eBay can be said as a marketplace.

The only people who sell there are individuals or companies looking to dump refurbished, returned or old merchandise.

The fact that ebay+paypal fees are ridiculously high makes it a killer for any business to sell there. They basically host to people who have nowhere else to sell by charging enormous fees.

I know a few people who have tried to make a living or business out of selling on eBay and have always concluded that it's not worth it at all.

Thus, my point is people don't sell on ebay because they like the service model - it's because there is nothing like it that has national search on it. Even more simpler, there is no non-service version of it.

You'd think that the company with their trend (1)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164312)

You'd think that the company with their trend of the stock chart would refrain from "predicting" anything. Predict some shit that will boost your stock price for starters. :-)

Article is Bullshit (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164512)

What he means to say is that he "wishes" that it's all going to be a serivce. He "wishes" that he can sell us a stupid word app that plugs into the internet, and that we pay him $20 per month for the rest of eternity. Well, I got news for him - the future of software is free, as in freedom, as in Linux, apache, firefox, and ironically open office. While companies will pay for SERVICES or for expertice to make sure all systems are go, and while the cost of that service per value will go down over time because free software is always improving in terms of ease, security and reliability. This is a far cry from saying that all software will be like a service provided over the internet that the masses subscribe to. While there will be a lot of remot support and custom software, that will be a lot different that all software being remote. Sun's problem all along is that markets are customer driven, not driven by corporate wishfull wet dreams like this.

And about EBay, and what not. He has that wrong too. Eventually all search, auctions, shared data, news, photo sharing, and music will be pure peer to peer. The big datacenter era that we are in now is juat a stepping stone down that path.

Consolidations of web forms with submit buttons (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17164592)

Which is Ok, because its just one kind of software. Internet users have a variety of needs - gaming, peer to peer, video-conferencing, remote control of medical or other equipment. None of this is addressed by HTML forms or perhaps even current Internet infrastructure. Let the companies who can not make profit on another search engine or web mail client innovate. After all, IBM and DEC used to hold monopoly on web forms (known as intelligent terminals at that time) and look what happened.

His real intent is pretty obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17164626)

If you read to the bottom of his blog entry, the sales pitch hits you in the face like a two-by-four:

"All computing as we know it is going to be consolidated into a few mega-clusters, and if you, Mr. Big-shot executive, have some major work to do, you should plan that you're going to be running one of them. So get on the bandwagon early, and buy lots and lots and lots of our servers."

We will only need 5 computers globally (1)

infofc (979172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17165270)

Here we go again. I guess it is just how you end up thinking when you have been part of a big organisation for too long. I suppose the guy sees a future where 5 computers run all the worlds software!?
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