Notes from the field: Bobby is almost left out

Notes from the field: Bobby is almost left out

On the last day of our vacation in Mexico, Rose was accosted by a man in a very bad toupee. Obviously engaged by Rose's vivacity (we were in a restaurant called Ernie Tomato's and she was singing along to the Aretha Franklin song that was playing), he told her that he was with a group of 600 singles staying at the El Cid hotel, and would she like to join them "for some partying?"

There's not much partying going on at Microsoft, where they are pre- paring for yet another court date on June 24. It's not with the Department of Justice or Bristol Technologies, but with Sun - it's the scheduled date for summary rulings in their battle over Java licensing.

I hear, though, that there are internal Microsoft battles going on over this issue. While publicly, the software giant is mum about Java, privately officials are wrestling over which way to go. One side wants to move forward on Cool - the C++ object-oriented language designed to bring COM+ support to C++ - which its supporters feel would "one-up" Java. The other faction wants to issue a "clean room" implementation of Java, and a couple of sources say that could happen as early as this summer, pending judges' rulings.

This option would entail a new version of Internet Explorer 5, of course, requiring IT departments all over the country to upgrade - but I'm sure a little thing like that won't unduly bother Microsoft.

No partying either at high-tech companies across the land - after my comment that Oracle employees are unable to vacation over the December holiday period, I heard from employees at Sun, Compaq, Tivoli, and MCI WorldCom who have all been given similar restrictions.

The MCI WorldCom source added that the Y2K vacation ban is one of many things causing employee unrest at the company, which is in the process of selling its IT division to EDS. The source, a former employee, said the deal might fall through due to problems with stock options and compensation.

If things get too bad at MCI WorldCom, employees should consider a move to the Go Network division of InfoSeek, which at least seems to know where it is heading. This September, Go will package its Ultraseek search engine, community software, and content for enterprises needing to build a corporate portal. Meanwhile, it also plans to ally with a Yellow Pages directory to promote electronic commerce throughout its destination site, while also adding support for electronic auctions.

Finally, they may be breaking out the champagne at Nokia soon, which I'm told is about to sign with Sun an identical deal to the one that Sun announced with Motorola last week.

I was grudgingly included in the party invitation, and Rose and I were both given fluorescent wristbands to wear, hers orange and mine green, in order to identify us as part of the gang. I don't know for sure, but I suspect hers indicated her as someone they wanted to corrupt into their cult of sexual promiscuity. You can guess what mine probably signified.

Robert X. Cringely is a regular contributor to ARN's sister publication Infoworld.

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