Industry news

Ken Olsen, founder of DEC, dead at 84

Ken Olsen, co-founder of the defining technology company of a bygone era, Digital Equipment Corporation, has died. He was 84.

A spokeswoman for Gordon College in Massachusetts, where Olsen was a trustee and prominent donor, confirmed Monday evening Twitter reports of his death on Sunday. Olsen's company dominated the minicomputer era of the tech industry from the 1960s through the 1980s with the PDP and VAX series computers, and was a key part of the famed Route 128 technology corridor just outside Boston, along with companies like Data General and Wang.

"Ken Olsen is in the elite club … Read more

We're feeling lucky: CNET casts the Google movie

Google, the movie?

We couldn't believe it either, but in yet another example of Hollywood rushing to jump on a meme, Deadline brings word that a movie is in the works based on the book "Googled" by Ken Auletta that will chronicle the rise of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. No timetable was provided for the film, which will be "about these two young guys who created a company that changed the world, and how the world in turn changed them," said Michael London of Groundswell Productions, in an interview with Deadline.

"… Read more

Google rallies opposition to Calif. energy measure

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google hosted a packed house of clean-tech industry fans Tuesday morning at the Googleplex in what amounted to a pep rally against a California ballot proposition that would suspend a law on emissions.

In the time-honored California tradition of stuffing electoral ballots with as many controversial issues as possible, this November voters will be asked to consider Proposition 23 (click for PDF), which if approved would block a previously passed law--AB32--regulating emissions in California until unemployment levels drop below 5.5 percent for a full year. AB32 essentially requires that California emission levels match the … Read more

Hurd's double faults leave him out at HP

Mark Hurd shone at Hewlett-Packard because of his reputation as a detail-oriented executive who shunned the spotlight and got results. On Friday, the tech industry learned about a different side of Mark Hurd.

HP's announcement that Hurd had been dismissed following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment that turned up improper relationships and falsified expense reports stunned Silicon Valley, where Hurd was brought from the hinterlands of Ohio in 2005 to restore luster to one of America's most storied technology companies. The former Baylor University tennis star is widely credited with turning around HP's fortunes, bringing … Read more

Novell auction could be patent troll bonanza

On Thursday Novell reported another poor quarter with fiscal second-quarter earnings down 5.4 percent to $204 million and a declining cash balance of $980 million. That's bad for Novell investors, of course, but it may portend something even worse for the wider industry.

Patent lawsuits. Lots of them.

As reported, as many as 20 organizations have registered bids for Novell, most (or all) of them private equity firms. While an Oracle or a Cisco might acquire Novell for its maintenance streams and product portfolio, it's unclear that private equity firms will have the same motivation. For at … Read more

Google vs. Apple in the battle of the fanboys

Something strange happened last week at Google I/O, Google's big developer event. Google may have attained cult status. There was an energy in the halls normally reserved for Apple events like WWDC, as 5,000 attendees chattered about Google TV, Android, WebM, and more.

Google is ascendant, and it may take the fanboys with it.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs may believe there's "not a chance" that Google is leapfrogging Apple, and assures the faithful that "[they] won't be disappointed" at WWDC, but worrisome signs abound for the iconic technology company.

The media, … Read more

Novell: 20 chances to reinvent itself

Most companies struggle to reinvent themselves, so shackled by their pasts that they can't reorient themselves toward the future.

Novell, once the king of the software world, is like that. Over the years it has built up a broad portfolio of software (with associated revenue streams) in repeated attempts to regain its glory days. That portfolio now stifles its ability to focus on other areas with the most promise.

But Novell's management may be about to get a lifeline. Twenty of them, actually.

According to Thursday's Wall Street Journal, up to 20 bidders, most of them private … Read more

A hungrier, more aggressive Mozilla

Mozilla's Firefox was born during a time when Microsoft's Internet Explorer had grown so fat and lazy that hacking off a massive chunk of its market share was almost a moral duty, one with a built-in fan club. "Anything but IE" was the mantra for some, and Mozilla delivered with aplomb.

That was then, this is now, and "now" is bound to be much, much harder.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes correctly notes that "the five years ahead of Mozilla will be far tougher than the five years that's behind the company." The reason? … Read more

Cloud computing's secret sauce

Vivek Kundra, the federal government's first CIO, said recently that he likes cloud computing because it provides "access to powerful technology resources faster and at lower costs."

That's a great reason and perhaps it will be the key underlying drive behind cloud computing's increased popularity as an IT delivery mechanism. But should it be the reason? That is, are there other, better reasons to move to the cloud?

Yes, there are. Among them, as Dan Woods points out, is the increased control that end users, and not just IT, gains over critical IT infrastructure. While … Read more

The disconnect between the tech elite and Main Street

Tim O'Reilly has built a compelling media business by "watching the alpha geeks" and using them as a compass to determine where the mainstream market will follow. Other companies like Google and Facebook, however, seem intent on building their own empires by largely ignoring this geek elite.

It turns out that the wants and needs of mainstream users can differ significantly from those of the technology elite. Geoffrey Moore figured this out years ago in his classic Crossing the Chasm.

Apparently some people missed the memo.

Silicon Valley and the techno-babblers have expressed dismay at Facebook's … Read more