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May 23, 2005


Very interesting exercise Rick - thanks for posting this. I read both Tim and Dan regulalry and certainly know their biases on a subconscious level. But the stark contrast between these posts - covering the same event atthe same time - really brings the different perspectives each brings to his coverage to front-of-mind.

I understand your point, and agree in general that it's interesting to look at how two different people report the same event. It's an example of why (in general) "journalism" strives to be as "unbiased" as possible (recognizing that this is an ideal never to be attained). I look at blogging more as op-ed writing, not journalism. I think that's a good perspective to maintain when reading most blogs.

I'm confused however by your comment about "First, training. The Internet, blogging, etc, is giving everyone an amazing amount training in a number of places MBA schools can only dream about." Training in what? Real-world experience, yes--and no school, MBA or otherwise, pretends to compete with that. But real-world experience isn't book-learning/formal training, either. They're different (but complementary) forms of learning.

Anyway, my two-cents' worth...

Rick C.

What was most interesting about this two perspectives was the nature of the "D" event and what was being asked - candor from the IT Executive elite. Perhaps the financial analysts calls are too guarded and choreographed (plus 2 questions and you are out) while published "exclusive interviews" are not too far from being PR pablum (otherwise they simply would not happen). In short the opportunity to ask top IT executives to be candid and forthcoming about their rationales in the marketplace are few and far between.

So I fully expected two quite different "takes" from colorful and opinionated people. What I found more interesting was the continued practiced deference accorded to say Scott McNealy or Bill Gates. Don't get me wrong - there were some tough questions asked by Walt Mossberg but they appeared to stop at the first response. Elegant questioning would have returned to a theme - and might have elicited comparative contrasts.

For example, Steve Ballmer speaks about being a good IT partner while Microsoft VP Lewis Levin says that Microsoft wants to dominate the BI marketplace and is prepared to dish out some of that old fashioned "cut off the oxygen" zero pricing for all of its BI stack. Now I suspect a few members of the VC audience who might have capital out in such BI ventures as Infinium, Omniture, VisualIO, etc, etc - also might be interested in a line of questioning that went like this:
WM: Steve Ballmer has been saying that Microsoft recognizes the need to act as a good partner and be mindful of some of competitive limits in the marketplace. Do you think he should be reining in some of VP Lewis Levin's zero pricing for a complete BI stack that only charges for the SQL Server SKU ? And as a follow up how is this different from the zero pricing that got you into trouble with the DOJ re Netscape ?
BG: "....have to answer that ....."
WM: So does that mean you are fully behind the zero pricing for a complete BI stack now, and like in the case of IE and IIS forever into the future - or do you see circumstances when those freebies could disappear ?
BG: " ....this is totally ...."
WM: So can I assume that you, Steve and Lewis are all on the same page and at the upcoming Partners conference you will be able to address any concerns that BI partners like ProClarity, Cognos, Crystal, Hyperion etc might have ?
BG: "....none of your...."
WM: Lets return to what you said before - the Windows marketplace is a dynamic investment opportunity. Can you tell some of the interested VCs here what specific segments you are thinking of and how long will they be immune from zero-pricing from a division of Microsoft ?
BG: "....whenever I...."

Of course this line of questioning would have been more useful about 8-10 years ago...but heaven can wait.

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