All Technology Becomes a Fashion Item

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Among my many New Year’s resolutions is a commitment to write shorter blogs. If you know me, this will be the equivalent of a nicotine addict giving up smoking.

But here are two quick stories – and a little humor.

I was just at CES (the big consumer electronics convention in Las Vegas). Which if you haven’t been, is worth attending – it’s stunning. The equivalent of 28 football fields filled with consumer devices, incredible innovation everywhere you look, from heads up displays, cool headset/handsets, carriers showing off 100 megabits to the home, new content formats and gaming galore. If you believe in the rule, “All technology ultimately becomes a fashion item,” (a Greg Papadopoulos truism) this is proof.

I was there for a few customer meetings, and bumped in to a couple folks from the media – one of whom asked, “um, why is Sun here?” I laughed. “You remember all that “the network is the computer” stuff we’ve been evangelizing for 20+ years? Go downstairs, look around the exhibit hall – it was obviously true.” She agreed. And frankly, we should think about hosting JavaOne during next year’s CES – from all the Java developers we ran into, doing BluRay development, OCAP work, JME innovation, and enterprise Java network services. Java technology continues to drive innovation and diversity – and lower the cost of network enabling products across the world. From next generation DVD players and content formats, to set top boxes and mobile phones. Plus all those boring old computers.

I also had an opportunity to talk to a few large scale US retailers – whose stores drive very large scale IT budgets (and power bills, I learned). Some of these retailers have *thousands* of stores, each with their own miniature datacenters. And all the large retailers, to a one, are seeing HP and Dell as the competition – as both those companies try to work their way into your living room, they’re stepping on the retailers that look to consumer electronics for rich margins. Even a Dell account rep I was chatting with admitted it.

By the way, not to pick on my friends at Dell, but any one else seen the humor in their newest Enterprise Offerings – you may recall, we were being our shy and retiring selves by making a passing reference to how our competition had heat and power problems with this ad:

But I guess things have gotten a lot worse in Round Rock, where they now feel it necessary to warn customers about their computers before they’re rudely surprised by their datacenter performance…

(and I am off to a bad start – failing to meet my New Year’s resolutions!)

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