Karma Chameleon

Summary:David Berlind's hat tip to the Verizon/Windows Media Player deal is nicely nuanced as it straddles the fence between a warning and an analyst brief. In just a few short months since ZDNet began blogging and weeks since Berlind began podcasting, the service (and that's what it is) has become a valuable stream of strategic enterprise data.

David Berlind's hat tip to the Verizon/Windows Media Player deal is nicely nuanced as it straddles the fence between a warning and an analyst brief. In just a few short months since ZDNet began blogging and weeks since Berlind began podcasting, the service (and that's what it is) has become a valuable stream of strategic enterprise data. Dan Farber's WebEx dinner dialogue with CEO Subrah Iyar smartly moves from Iyar's five-nines pitch to Dan's notion of what we really want:

The industry is moving to more standardization, which should help alleviate some of the complexity, and the network of networks is becoming more resilient. What we really want is to have all IP-based communications--VoIP, meetings, IM, etc.--available on any device, from laptop to palmtop, and free of any incompatible, proprietary schemes that prevent access...

So we have two posts, two positions taken, a common bond established between standards and what "we" want. I'd call it the public trust. In this time of RSS disruption of our media, business, political, and creative institutions, new institutions are emerging.

Sometimes this shape-shifting can be very uncomfortable for the participants in this game of musical chairs. As commentators become analysts and vendors become commentators, it's more and more difficult to tell the players from the umpires. Take this podcasted exchange between analyst (?) Rob Enderle and David Berlind, as reported by Berlind on his Between the Lines blog:

What about the toll that Schwartz's blog is taking on its competitors? ...Sun commenting on IBM and HP's fortunes is probably a little bit less than credible...
Are blogs a good way for executives to communicate with their customers? As long as you talk about your own company and not your competitors. IBM has rules in place not to do that because it reflects more on you than on them. Being negative about a platform that reflects on your own platform, and clearly Unix does, regardless of the version, I think is incredibly foolish. Editor s note: The comment about IBM's policy may not be entirely true. Bob Sutor's recent blog, for example, clearly dings Sun.


And finally:

In the interests of disclosure, do you have any relationship to HP at this time? HP, IBM, Dell, Gateway are major companies I've always maintained as clients. I've also got the major chip companies AMD, Intel, Via, and Transmeta. And Microsoft as well. It's hard to find a company that I haven't worked with or touched in some way shape or form in the last few years.


A little bit less than credible? As long as you talk about your own company and not your competitors? Incredibly foolish? It's hard to find a company that I haven't worked with or touched in some way shape or form?

Berlind does a good job tracing the fault lines of Enderle's position. It's easy to find the company Enderle doesn't list as a client: Sun. It's easy to identify the company who is breaking Enderle's version of the Republican Golden Rule: Sun. Not that IBM resident attack dog Bob Sutor's fingerprints aren't all over IBM "standards" operations, as Berlind cluefully notes. And Sutor's new title as VP of Standards is what is a little bit less than credible. Have a cigar, Bob.

Don't get me wrong. Sutor and Enderle are equally qualified to render their opinions about not only their own business but any others that they declare expertise in. The market will decide their credibility. But try a simple taste test and plug Enderle's name in instead of Sun or Jonathan Schwartz and see if the shoe fits. Being negative about a platform (executive blogging) that reflects on your platform, and clearly the analyst business does, whatever the vehicle, I think is incredibly foolish.

Topics: IBM

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