I'm working from home today, where home is the Edinburgh flat of my nearest and dearest (well, in one sense she comes in second after the teenager). Once again, I have cause to marvel at the way I can be virtually present in the office with full access to the editing system, email and other resources, chatting away to my colleagues through voice and instant messaging, and in full receipt of a thousand chattering news sources -- yet still be hundreds of miles away, dressed only in my beloved's rather florid dressing gown. Truly, technology is enhancing the human experience.
But there are frightening stories afoot today. SAP and Microsoft 'in merger talks', apparently. Nothing came of them and nothing will come of them, says Microsoft, which has decided to tell the world in anticipation of all being revealed in a court case this week.
The fact is, there's never any such thing as a merger. Even when the two companies joining hands in the sight of God and the stock market are of roughly equal size and power, one always ends up absorbing the other. One of the two CEOs ends up being CEO of the new monster, the other hanging around for a bit before departing on golden wings, and the management teams of the winning CEO quite naturally assume the dominant position in the corporate soul.
With Microsoft, there's no doubt about it: your cell walls broken down by acid and proteins hydrolysed by efficient enzymes, the constituent molecules of your body corporate are effortlessly assimilated into the metabolism of the beast. So when the 'merger' with SAP didn't come to pass because of "the complexity of the potential transaction and subsequent integration", as Microsoft said, it had to be because SAP mounted too efficient a defence. It most likely wanted too much money, or raised sufficient regulatory fears to make the Redmond digestive tract regurgitate its intended meal.
But be warned, world. MS is actively prowling for an entry into the corporate infrastructure software world, and is prepared to pay at least fifty billion dollars to play -- that being SAP's market capitalisation. Could get my own dressing gown for that sort of money.