are reporting on how five companies are backing the European Union's crackdown on Microsoft. It's not surprising to see Microsoft arch enemies such as Nokia, Oracle, Real Networks and Red Hat publicly coming out against the Redmond, WA-based company. But to see ex-bedfellow IBM as one of the supporters is a pretty good sign that whatever cooperative spirit once existed between the two companies during the birth of Web services (the infamous alliance scared the daylights out of plenty of vendors) is now officially converted into bad blood. Something apparently got underneath IBM's skin. Could it be last year's watershed kiss-and-makeup deal between Microsoft and Sun? Dating back to the days when Microsoft and IBM were so strongly allied, I repeatedly contended that the two companies' we're after the same thing: to interoperate with each other and then steal each others customers. In a story
that's now a little more than two years old, I likened the soap opera to a Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western:"Picture Clint Eastwood (IBM) and Lee Van Cleef
(Microsoft) in one of those spaghetti westerns where each sees an
opportunity to hit pay dirt, but they have to work together if either
is going to have a chance at the booty....Not only that, they'll have to trick the rest of the West's most
notorious gunslingers (BEA, Oracle, Sun, etc.) into helping them.
Ultimately, though, Eastwood and Van Cleef have no intention of
splitting the loot--not with the other bad guys and certainly not with
each other. Both know that they'll have to kill the bandeleros once
they've served their purpose (industry-wide support for XML, SOAP,
WSDL, UDDI and other Web services specifications). Then they'll have a
death match of their own."
It appears as though the death match has begun.