I was supposed to attend the recent DLA Piper Technology Leaders Summit, but was unable to do so due to work and family commitments. Perhaps I should take heart, however, as after reading through JasperSoft CEO Brian Gentile's commentary on the day, I may not have liked what I heard.
Gentile doesn't suggest that the summit was poorly organized or that the speakers didn't have the right pedigrees, but rather that the summit apparently broke little or no new ground. I don't fault the conference organizers for this: I fault the chosen participants, who don't get paid to innovate.
Take Ray Ozzie, for example. Microsoft's job is simple: extend its desktop dominance for as long and as profitably as it can. That's it. Anything the company says about the Web or something disruptive invariably must tie it to its existing cash cows, Windows and Office.
It's little wonder, then, that Microsoft's biggest "innovation" of the past few years is not the Surface, but is rather a content-management system called SharePoint that (gasp!) lets users connect Office documents through Windows Server(s). Microsoft has made well over $1 billion from this invention, and will undoubtedly mint billions more. No, Microsoft has nothing new to tell us.
What about the cloud vendors? This group basically consists of next-generation Microsofts that hope to do what Microsoft did, except instead of distributing packaged software they hope to centrally manage software so that customers will have even less choice than under the Microsoft regime.
Where can I buy some of that?
Where was open source in this discussion and throughout the summit? Open source, which enables the cloud and promises to topple the monopolies of yore while unwittingly enabling the monopolies of the future?
Apparently it was largely ignored until Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun, took the podium. Of Schwartz's presentation Gentile writes:… Read more