Sunday, March 18, 2007

Steve Ballmer on Google

It takes a certain sort of nerve to attack a company for only being good at one thing when you're worse at that one thing yourself. Also, in news for Steve Ballmer, Google is good at two things, search and advertising:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday bad-mouthed Google for being successful at only one business (even though it's a business Microsoft has been trying unsuccessfully to break into). But the target doesn't matter. It could have been Linux. Or Apple. I'm just worn out by the repetition. Ballmer's trash-talking is a tired routine. He needs to get a new act.

For a couple of years now Microsoft has been trying to figure out how Google does it -- how the world's premiere search company provides Web-based services and makes its money by selling advertising. Google has done extremely well at both, and its success has made it the darling of Wall Street.

By contrast, as hard as Microsoft has tried with MSN and its confusing Live announcements, it hasn't done very well at either: Its search services are mediocre, and its Live OneCare antivirus software has famously failed a couple of tests recently.

As far as I can see, Microsoft will never have any success in Web-based, advertising-supported services for two reasons. First, it doesn't trust the model -- Microsoft is unwilling to give away for free any service that might be really useful. And second, it doesn't trust its customers.

It's also true that Microsoft is only good at one thing: controlling the OS market.

Water on Mars

Nasa's made this great find, that there's enough water on Mars to cover the planet, to actually make a planetary sea.


MARK COLVIN: There's little in outer space that fires the imagination more than the possibility of life on Mars.
For life there needs to be water, and the latest news from NASA is that there is plenty of that.
A new radar that's measured ice deposits on Mars indicates that there's enough frozen water there to cover the entire planet to a depth of about 11 metres.
The find doesn't bring us any closer to knowing whether there was life on Mars, but it has revived the hopes of some that there could be life on the planet in the future, as Paula Kruger reports.
PAULA KRUGER: It has long been seen as the dry, dusty red planet.
But the latest discovery is pouring a lot of cold water, or, more correctly, ice on that belief.
In a joint effort by NASA, the Italian Space Agency, and the European Space Agency's Mars Express Spacecraft, scientists have discovered the frozen mass on Mars' South Pole is more than three and a half kilometres deep.
Dr Jonathan Clarke is an associate at Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University. He says the find is a welcomed surprise.
JONATHAN CLARKE: Well, people have known about the layer deposits at the pole regions of Mars for a very long time, since the early 70s. Some very spectacular satellite images have been acquired from various missions since then, but we haven't really known what they've been made of. People have suggested there've been layers of dust or layers of ice mixed with dust, or other materials. What this recent finding shows is that they are almost pure water ice, at least 90 per cent pure, which is really very amazing and quite unexpected.

Roll on hte terraforming project!