Notes from the field: Enough, IT or me

Bobby's decided that he's had it up to here with IT industry unpleasantness . . .

After the recent frenetic activity around the AOL-Netscape-Sun deal, things have quietened down a bit, which is good, con-sidering I'm feeling jaded with this industry. At the moment, it seems to consist of nothing but fighting and backstabbing.

For example, users seem to have a justified grievance against Microsoft's Developer Network support efforts: a user who was trying to get an activation key for software picked the $US2000-per-year support option for MSDN members (bypassing the $95-per-incident version for nonmembers).

Separately, I hear that for some time Microsoft has had its driver for the Universal Serial Bus ready for NT, but is just sitting on it, and will ship it only with Windows 2000. Apparently, the logic is that there's no reason to give users something for free when it makes a compelling reason for them to upgrade to 2000.

Witches and Warnocks

Over in the Apple world, I hear Adobe is planning to roll out its K2 desktop publishing system and a lot of rumoured Quark-killing products at the Seybold publishing trade show in March, in Boston. As such, Adobe ensured that its chief executive, John Warnock, would deliver the opening keynote at the show. Apple then apparently tried to oust Warnock so that its perpetual interim chief executive, Steve Jobs, would get the slot.

Apple kept moving higher up the Seybold management chain trying to oust Warnock, with no luck. Eventually, Apple officials told Seybold that they checked with Warnock and he was fine with doing his keynote on the second day of the show. When Seybold checked this information with Warnock, he knew nothing about it.

Finally, my thanks go to Marc Andreessen for getting in touch with me about my column last week. Although he did not reveal his location, he did put me straight on a few facts: while financier John Doerr is on the boards of Netscape and Sun, he apparently has no ties to AOL - and was not the driving force behind the deal.