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Sybase CEO sees no revolution

Mitchell Kertzman says that the Net is an evolutionary shift in computing, not a paradigm chasm that will topple market leaders.

SAN FRANCISCO--Sybase (SYBS) CEO Mitchell Kertzman pronounced CEO Mitchell Kertzman that the Net is an evolutionary shift in computing, not a paradigm chasm capable of toppling prevailing market leaders.

A peppy Kertzman, possibly emboldened by the recent slew of troubles at database competitor Informix (See related story), spoke of the Web, customer-focused products, and the role of the Java programming language during an informal session at this week's Windows NT Intranet Solutions show. (Kertzman is on the board of directors of CNET: The Computer Network.)

"Are we in a paradigm shift? It looks like it's not. [The Net] looks more like an evolution in distributed computing," the affable 29-year industry veteran said. "I think it is a revolution in communications."

Kertzman said the telecommunications, media, and entertainment industries will be the markets most affected by the surging popularity of the Net. "Those are the pillars that are starting to shake and to wobble," he said.

Addressing a small hall only slightly more than half-filled with Windows NT devotees, Kertzman also said he was worried that companies were paying too much attention to each other and ignoring the needs of the customer. Alluding to the current fascination with network computers, the Sybase CEO chided the industry for promoting new solutions to replace other visions that have not come to fruition.

Kertzman, who rose to the plum Sybase post from his work at development tool maker Powersoft, also professed his love for Java and Java Beans, a tool that allows developers to easily create programs.

He said an enterprise version of Java Beans could be the TCP/IP of networked applications architectures. Given the Windows loyalty in the audience, Kertzman also noted that Microsoft, though currently promoting its own Active X and COM model, could easily adapt its strategy to embrace Java Beans if necessary. The company just won't be a "driving force" if it doesn't, he said.

He did note the unwillingness by Microsoft to fully embrace Java. "Write once, run anywhere, but why would you want to run anywhere but on Windows" seems to be their strategy," he quipped.

The Windows NT Intranet Solutions conference continues through the end of the week.