NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Under Dell's thumb, Novell plays dumb

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Under Dell's thumb, Novell plays dumb

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Spunky start-up uses innovative technology to dominate the market. Fuelled by revenues from a virtual monopoly and a successful IPO, it branches out in all directions. Before long it's bloated, arrogant, and out of touch. No, I don't mean Microsoft. I'm talking about Google. With search, email, blogs, mapping, VoIP, Wi-Fi, an R&D partnership with NASA and a distribution deal with Sun in its portfolio, the little search engine that could may become the technocracy that can't. Sure, Google can promise us the moon. But I'm not convinced it will be able to deliver.

All Your Customer Bases Belong to Us: Dell's United Kingdom branch has been kicking a*** and taking names - well, taking names anyway. When Michael J tried to buy 100 laptops from Dell UK to preload with his company's software and resell, Dell demanded the names and addresses of all 100 of his clients. Company spokesmodel, Jennifer Davis, said all Dell resellers must follow this policy: "We want to make sure we know our customers". Well, they won't be getting to know his; Michael J is buying small batches of machines under different names, then giving them away to buyers of his $US5999 application. He claims it is cheaper to give the machines away than to offer support for installation. Score 1 for Michael J, 0 for Michael D.

The Novell Prize: After my recent item on ancient software, an amazing number of Cringesters volunteered copies of Novell Netware 3.12 (some people really need to clean out their closets more often). The hapless pair of Novell employees who scanned eBay for a copy were apparently unaware that auctioning the firm's software without a license can earn you a spell in the pokey. Novell certified, or certifiably dumb? You make the call.

If It Ain't Brogue, Don't Fix It: Other readers have been busy correcting my Scotch-Irish. They insist a Scot's edition of the popular desktop publishing program would be spelled "MacQuark" not "McQuark", as I'd wrote, recently. According to several sources, however, Mac and Mc are interchangeable. (A tip of the Cringley fedora to Joseph F for this fascinating bit of McTrivia.) So from now on I'll be bringing my McIntosh laptop to MacDonald's for lunch.

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