Orlando may be home to kindly creatures like Mickey and Donald, but last month it was ground zero of Javaman's recent Microsoft attack. Javaman, also known as Scott McNealy, the not so mild mannered CEO of Sun Microsystems, announced Sun's suit against Microsoft at a Gartner Group symposium-to the surprise of everyone including his hosts.
The suit alleges that the Java programming language released in Microsoft's Explorer 4.0 browser falls short of the specifications delineated in Microsoft's licensing agreement. The result: Some applications developed to run on Explorer's virtual machine may run only on Windows. And, technically speaking, says Gartner Group's Mike West, the virtual machine does fall short of specifications because, rather than using Sun's prescribed middleware interface, Microsoft plugged in its own. And instead of using Sun's Java native interface, Microsoft again plugged in its own. "This was not a naive error," says West. "Java is supposed to be portable, and Microsoft is trying to make it platform-linked."
Microsoft has defended its software, claiming that Java is just another programming language and, in some cases, inadequate; so to rectify its shortcomings, sources say, the software giant enabled programmers to build functional extensions with Java Direct-which, says one critic, "is really a Windows API." Microsoft declined to comment, and Sun was unavailable.
Yes, size really does matter.
At least that's the message of the Coopers & Lybrand-Price Waterhouse merger. In what is arguably a bid to take on the mass, or "global scale," of Andersen Consulting, the two firms are pooling their resources to broaden the companies' service capabilities and industry profile. But, says an industry analyst, "Coopers is not a major player to an Andersen Consulting in IT, nor is Price; they're just not nearly as visible." Time will tell.
But one thing is certain, say sources: Non-recurring consulting services are driving this merger, as well as the industry. And, says a source at Coopers, financial services is one of the most critical areas in this. As for the audit business, says an analyst, "I've had discussions with those (in the 'Big Six') firms, and they're saying, 'Maybe we should just walk away from audit because there's so much more money to be made on the consulting side."
Having to raise capital "to avoid
potential bankruptcy," says one source, CyberCash has come under fire. And even though its stock recently got a "bounce" on news that it's working with Microsoft in an Internet wallet offering, many analysts are skeptical as to whether CyberCash can go the distance-chiefly whether CEO Bill Melton will be able to raise enough capital to run an Internet payments empire by the time the market actually evolves.
The fact that Melton did a private placement, as opposed to issuing a secondary stock offering, says Kris Tuttle, Soundview Financial Group's managing director of research, "tells you that there is a lot more risk here than meets the eye." Melton disagrees, "It was an extremely sound method of raising additional money. We sold stock to new shareholders at approximately 150 percent of the price."