Archive for the ‘Java’ Category

Article from GigaOm.

Meteor Development, the startup behind a hot, new real-time JavaScript framework, has scored $9 million in initial funding from Andreessen Horowitz, sources said. Company co-founder Matt DeBergalis had no comment on the funding news.

Meteor’s framework, as GigaOM reported in April, allows developers building web apps to work in “pure” JavaScript, and use the same APIs on both client- and server-side devices. The Meteor API works everywhere but development occurs on the local laptop with Meteor taking care of data updates and server synchronization. Developers commenting on Github and Hacker News really liked Meteor’s ability to perform “hot pushes,” which update code to users without interrupting their work.

Initial excitement about the framework was soon tempered by Meteor’s use of the General Public License (GPL) but in response to developer pushback on Github and StackOverflow, Meteor turned around and issued the code under the less restrictive MIT public license. That allows development of both open-source and commercial products.

Meteor, based in San Francisco, was co-founded by Geoff Schmidt, a co-author of the Miro web TV platform and co-founder of MixApp; DeBergalis, founder of the ActBlue fundraising platform; Nick Martin, another MixApp co-founder; and David Greenspan, author of Etherpad. The website features rave blurbs by luminaries including Posterous founder Gary Tan and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskowitz.

Clearly, as evidenced by this funding, Meteor also has new fans among Silicon Valley investors as well.

Read more here.

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Article from GigaOm.

“MENLO PARK, CA – On a wind-swept chunk of land where Sun Microsystems experienced both the highest peaks and the lowest depths that the tech industry has to offer, Facebook is quietly working to define itself as an industry force in more than just social networking.

It has only been a few months since Facebook employees began occupying what used to be known as “Sun Quentin,” a self-contained cluster of office buildings on the shore of San Francisco Bay in the shadow of the Dumbarton Bridge, but the company is already starting to think of itself as an industry leader that can shift the debate within the computing revolution of our time: the transition to mobile. It invited reporters last week from several tech-oriented news organizations — Techcrunch, VentureBeat, PandoDaily, and yours truly, among others — down to its new headquarters to discuss the plans Facebook unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February to help advance HTML5 as a mobile development standard.

James Pearce, Facebook’s head of mobile developer relations, thinks that Facebook has the heft and developer relationships to be a unifying force around HTML5 through the Mobile W3C Community Group, introduced two months ago. The linchpin of the so-called “mobile Web,” HTML5 is a collection of technology specifications that has been endlessly debated by the five major Web browser companies — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera — yet implemented piecemeal before the final standard has been agreed upon, leading to all kinds of developer confusion.

“It’s possible that browser vendors don’t know the demand” for mobile Web applications, said Pearce. “This group is kind of like a product-management process in a way.”

The Web is the way

Facebook wants to accelerate the development of a set of common standards and test suites that app developers can use to ensure their apps meet minimum requirements. It also wants to nudge HTML5 standards-makers into deciding on technology for the most crucial features.

HTML5 is extremely promising as a platform that will allow mobile developers to stop worrying about Apple’s App Store approval process and Android’s fragmentation issues, but building a mobile app entirely in HTML5 is a non-starter for many developers because they need to access things like a smartphone’s camera or graphics hardware: areas that HTML5 standards have yet to address.

Still, even Facebook–perhaps as broad an indicator of Internet activity as there is outside of Google search–sees more activity through the mobile Web than it does through iOS and Android combined, Pearce said. He thinks developers just need someone with a little clout to show them the ways of the mobile Web and force browser makers to get their act together on things like camera access.

Facebook’s real intentions are much broader. Apple and Google are notably absent from its group, although Pearce said they were invited to join. Both companies at times have invoked the promise of the mobile Web — Apple in banning Flash from iOS devices, Google in projects such as Chrome OS — but both have significant interests in native application development for iOS and Android.

Facebook, with 850 million users around the world, does not want to be tied down to either platform, especially now that Google is competing directly against it with Google+. Hence the interest in turning HTML5 into a reality: a development platform that no one company truly controls, but that may depend on Facebook’s ecosystem in order to attract users and advertisers en masse. Pearce said HTML5 developers face huge challenges around application discoverability and monetization, areas in which Facebook — with a huge user base and its own payments system — would be all too willing to help.

Widespread rumors have surfaced over the last several years about Facebook’s desire for mobile independence. The company has been said to be working on its own phone, similar to how Amazon used a basic version of Android to build a tablet designed completely around its services. It has also been reportedly interested in building a version of Facebook in HTML5 that is just as functional as native versions of the app for iOS or Android.

Facebook has been quite successful enticing developers to build applications within the desktop version of Facebook, with Zynga’s runaway growth as perhaps the best example of the opportunities it has provided to developers. Now it’s trying to see if it can extend that influence to mobile, a space currently dominated by the big kids on the Silicon Valley block; Apple and Google.

Friends wanted

“The industry was ready for this to happen, and we think of ourselves as good industry citizens,” Pearce said Thursday. He is, of course, referring to “the industry” in terms of the legions of mobile developers, as compared to the established smartphone players. Those developers might be frustrated by the experience provided by Apple and Google, but they have no other alternative to reach mobile users, given the lack of sophistication around the HTML5 standard and the degree to which we’ve all become obsessed with mobile apps since the App Store made its debut in 2008.

In order for its vision to happen, however, Facebook will have to lure a new collection of mobile-oriented companies — several of whom have been in business longer than CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been legally able to drive–into its orbit, away from Apple and Google. Prominent carriers such as AT&T and Verizon are on board as well as handset makers like Samsung and Nokia, but collaborative industry groups come and go in the technology world without ever having done much to change the conversation.

As the company’s already-legendary IPO approaches, Facebook is increasingly interested in defining its mobile strategy on its own terms, courting the tech media (“We’re trying something new,” read the invitation) in order to present its own vision for the future of mobile computing.

Facebook employees are all too aware of the fate that befell Sun, a pioneering company eventually done in by its inability to change along with a changing industry. With its social-media domination seemingly well in hand, Facebook is looking ahead to its next challenge: ensuring it can remain a destination for consumers and developers without having to toe Apple or Google’s line.”

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Article from GigaOm.

For many years, Oracle and HP co-existed quite happily. They collaborated on the first Exadata in 2008, for example. Former HP CEOs Carly Fiorina, then Mark Hurd, keynoted at Oracle OpenWorld. HP appeared to have supplanted Sun Microsystems as Oracle’s hardware BFF for a while. Everything was copacetic.

Now the two companies are arch-rivals and are engaged in an increasingly bitter, seemingly personal battle, the latest skirmish of which saw a California Superior Court judge throw out a fraud claim Oracle lodged against HP. He also opened up court documents that don’t show either company in a particularly good light.

How did it all go so bad?

First, Oracle bought Sun for $7.4 billion in a deal completed in January 2010. That meant Oracle, for the first time was in the hardware business and its servers would compete with HP servers. That sealed the fate of the relationship going forward.

The public bad feeling erupted in August 2010 when HP canned Hurd as CEO, then hired former Oracle president Ray Lane (pictured above right) as chairman and Leo Apotheker, former CEO of SAP, as CEO. SAP is a huge rival to Oracle in enterprise apps and Lane left Oracle after a bumping heads with Oracle chairman Larry Ellison (pictured at right.) Things have just deteriorated ever since.

Here are some highlights (low lights) of the slap fight.

In a letter to the New York Times in August 2010, Ellison said HP’s firing of Hurd:

The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago … That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them.”

HP’s server and storage chief Dave Donatelli blasted Oracle for discontinuing Itanium development at the HP partner conference in March 2010. Donatelli asked the couple thousand HP resellers in attendance to lobby Oracle to reverse it’s Itanium decision.
This is a shameless attempt to force customers to spend a lot of money to move to a platform over time that gives customers no benefits  … Oracle made this decision to slow Sun SPARC market losses.

Ray Lane calls out Hurd in his letter to The New York Times in October, 2010.

The bottom line is: Mr. Hurd violated the trust of the Board by repeatedly lying to them in the course of an investigation into his conduct. He violated numerous elements of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct and he demonstrated a serious lack of integrity and judgment
ut now in California District Court is just the latest in a  deterioration of a previously beneficial relationship between the two tech giants.

After Apotheker announced HP plans to buy Autonomy — another enterprise software company for $11.7 billion in August, Oracle couldn’t contain itself.

In a statement on September 28, 2011, Oracle said Autonomy had shopped itself to Oracle first and Oracle turned it down. When Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch denied that, Oracle said: “Either Mr. Lynch has a very poor memory or he’s lying.”

When there was further denial, Oracle put out another statement entitled “Another whopper from Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch” and helpfully published the PowerPoint slides it said he and banker Frank Quattrone brought to the meeting.  The presentation is here and here.

According to the statement:

Ably assisting Mike Lynch’s attempt to sell Autonomy to Oracle was Silicon Valley’s most famous shopper/seller of companies, the legendary investment banker Frank Quattrone.  After the sales pitch was over, Oracle refused to make an offer because Autonomy’s current market value of $6 billion was way too high.

The next chapter in this saga may be a trial on HP’s remaining claims against Oracle which should kick off in April, but stay tuned: anything can happen and usually does.”

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Article from GigaOm.

Apigee, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based API management platform and services company is buying San Francisco-based Usergrid, as part of its increasing focus on the mobile app business.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Companies such as Netflix and AT&T have been using Apigee to offer their application programming interfaces to developers. While most of Apigee’s initial efforts were focused on web and enterprise applications, the company (which was started under the name Sonoa Systems) has seen most of the developer focus shift to mobile.

When I asked Chet Kapoor, Apigee CEO if this acquisition was a change in direction for the company, he said that Apigee had been dealing with the shift to mobile for nearly a month. He said developers (including those in enterprises) are thinking about mobile apps before web apps.

Apigee, Kapoor says will offer the Usergrid and its own API management platform as a cloud-based service. With this acquisition, Kapoor says, Apigee will now be able to give enterprises and developers a simple, easy and scalable way to access the full range of APIs — enterprise APIs, public APIs, and, now with Usergrid, the core APIs that all mobile applications need.

Usergrid was started by serial entrepreneur Ed Anuff who most recently worked for Six Apart. Previously, he was co-founder of Widgetbox, a popular marketplace for widgets, and he was also co-founder of enterprise software company Epicentric, an enterprise portal software company. He left Six Apart to start Usergrid, a mobile app cloud platform with focus on user management. As part of the deal, Anuff will join the new company as a vice president.

Anuff started Usergrid to collapse the complex mobile-app development stack and allow developers to focus all their energies on client side presentation and application logic – aka what sits on the phone. He wanted to hide all the complexity – hosting, databases, storage, server-side application logic, API services and user provisioning – and offer it as a cloud service. The cloud-based mobile app development platforms are a hotly contested category and recent entrants like Parse have drawn a lot of attention.

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Article from GigaOm.

Vyatta, a company providing open source networking software, has raised $12 million in expansion round financing as the entire networking field finds itself on the cusp of fundamental changes. The round, its fifth, was led by HighBAR Partners and brings Vyatta’s total fundingto $45 million. Also participating in this round are existing investors JPMorgan, Arrowpath Venture Partners and Citrix Systems.

Vyatta launched its first product in 2006, but has shifted from a focus on its open source routing software to delivering software that handles a wide range of networking functions. The company now has more than 1,000 customers and hopes this round of funding will help it expand as networking enters a new phase.

The networking world has changed drastically, thanks to a sharp increase in virtualized servers. Suddenly the static networking infrastructure no longer works as well when it is easy for developers to spin up a virtual machine on the fly. All those dynamic VMs however still have to connect to the network, as well as a lot of gear, such as firewalls. Plus, policies, such as those associated with HIPAA compliance or security issues all require knowledge of the network.

Kelly Herrell, Vyatta’s CEO, said that in the last six months or so, Vyatta has gone from seeing about 20 percent of its customers interested in its virtualization product to about 50 to 60 percent today. Herrell called it, “a head-snapping change.”

Vyatta’s software is an OS that allows a customer to program out its network topology on demand to adapt to the constantly changing underlying infrastructure. Other companies, such as Embrane, are trying to offer these tools, and still more are offering some type of holistic and abstracted network view. Vyatta believes its advantage is that its long history in building networking software helps it rise above the newcomers to the field as well as its many customers that are using its software in their data centers in production environments.”

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Article from SFGate.

“It’s been a big couple of weeks in mobile. Verizon Wireless finally got the iPhone. Hewlett-Packard unveiled the first fruits of its Palm purchase last year. Nokia, the world’s biggest maker of handsets, abandoned its once-dominant Symbian mobile software system and demoted itself to a kind of glorified contract manufacturer of Microsoft-powered devices.

The struggle for mobile dominance has entered a new phase. Why would Nokia throw out Symbian, with its 37 percent market share, in favor of software with less than one-seventh of that? Because recently hired Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop is convinced that Microsoft has better odds of going up against the four other mobile powers – Apple, Google, Research In Motion, and HP – and making its new Windows Phone 7 software a center of gravity for the world’s programmers, manufacturers, and consumers.

“The game has changed from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems,” Elop told investors at a recent London news conference.

Actually, it’s the same game that created the most valuable franchises in tech history, from IBM to Microsoft to Facebook. All successfully established themselves as “platforms,” in which countless entrepreneurs and programmers developed products and applications that gave value to customers and profitability to shareholders – sucking oxygen away from rivals all the while.

Platform leaders

In the 1960s, IBM trounced Sperry and other mainframe manufacturers by creating a soup-to-nuts stack of hardware, software and services.

In PCs, Microsoft erased Apple’s early lead by signing up hardwaremakers to create cheap machines, and software companies to develop Windows versions of everything from word processors to Tetris.

Facebook vanquished social networks such as MySpace by repositioning itself as a platform – a decision that led to the creation of gamemaker Zynga and other app companies that keep Facebook’s 500 million users hanging around.

What’s different this time is scale.

“Mobile is the biggest platform war ever,” said Bill Whyman, an analyst with International Strategy & Investment. More smart phones were sold than PCs in the fourth quarter, and sales should reach $120 billion this year. That doesn’t count billions more in mobile services, ads, and e-commerce.

This war will probably last for some time, too. Unlike with PCs, where the unquestioned victor – Microsoft – quickly emerged and enjoyed years of near monopoly, no one has a divine right to dominance in mobile. Microsoft crushed its competition by forcing people to make a choice. There were far more software applications for PCs, and most didn’t work on Macs. The more Microsoft-powered machines out there, the more people wrote software for them, the more people bought them, and the bigger the whole system became. Economists have a name for that phenomenon: “network effects.”

Appealing products

All cell phones can talk to each other and handle the same websites and e-mail systems, so winning means making products that function more effectively and appealingly. That sums up Apple’s success.

Steve Jobs figured out long ago that when people spend their own money, they’ll pay for something a lot nicer than the unsexy gear the cheapskates in corporate procurement choose. While others competed on price, Apple focused on making its products reliable and easy to use. Once customers buy an iPhone and start investing in iTunes songs and apps, they tend to stick with the system and keep buying – even though there’s no proprietary lock on the proverbial door.

Apple’s huge sales volume makes carriers and suppliers more likely to agree to its terms. The software that powers everything Apple makes – all variations of the Mac operating system OS X – is as intuitive to developers as Angry Birds is to app shoppers.

The result is economic leverage of staggering power. To create a blockbuster, Apple doesn’t need to spend billions on a start-from-scratch moon-shot of a development project. It just needs to tweak a previous hit.

Take the iPad, which is in many ways a large iPod touch. Apple won’t say how much the iPad cost to develop. Consider these numbers, though: In the year that ended Sept. 30, during which Apple introduced the iPad and the iPhone 4, the company spent $1.8 billion on research and development. Over the same period, Apple’s revenue increased by $22.3 billion. Nokia spent three times as much as Apple on R&D – $5.86 billion – and increased revenue by just $1.5 billion. No wonder that Apple, whose share of total global mobile-phone sales is only 4.2 percent, gets more than half the profit generated by the industry, according to research firm Asymco.

Fast-growing Android

Even Google, Apple’s mightiest rival, got only a $5 billion increase in sales on its $3.4 billion R&D budget. It does have plenty to show for its efforts, though: Its Android platform is growing at a blistering pace. In the fourth quarter, according to research firm Canalys, twice as many Android devices shipped as iPhones.

“Google is being far more aggressive in building its platform than Microsoft ever was,” says Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark Capital.

Barring big surprises, the other contenders – RIM, HP, and Microsoft – are in for a slog: too dependent on mobile devices to give up, yet lacking the tools to make much progress. All lost market share in 2010 and have far fewer apps available for their devices.”

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Oracle, Dell, Xerox and now HP – the high tech world as we knew it is changing fast. Companies that previously stood their ground and was seen as pillars of innovation are know swallowed into mega-companies that will challenge the marketplace with new services, products and offerings. Here is some selected tidbits from BusinessWeek in regards to the deal.

“Through its acquisition of networking gear maker 3Com, Hewlett-Packard will accelerate competition with Cisco Systems (CSCO), especially in China, practically overnight. Then comes the hard part. To make the most of the $2.7 billion deal, HP also needs to revitalize 3Com’s faded brand and persuade Western companies to take a chance on its products, designed largely in Asia.

Analysts were quick to see the logic in the planned acquisition, announced on Nov. 11. HP (HPQ) is attacking Cisco’s dominance of the market for gear that connects computers just as Cisco moves more aggressively into the market for computer systems, where HP is strong. Cisco on Nov. 3 struck a partnership with storage company EMC (EMC) and software company VMware (VMW) aimed atsupplying bundles of computers, storage, networking, and software.”

The article continues…

“HP’s bigger challenge in making the deal a success will be removing the tarnish that remains on the 3Com ‘s brand in the U.S. and Europe as a result of years of mismanagement. While 3Com’s data-center networking gear has about 35% of the Chinese market, it’s practically absent from the largest companies in the U.S. and Europe, analysts say.”

Read the full article here.

Other good resources for this topic include: Barrons, WSJ, 24/7 Wall St., Mashable & Techcrunch.

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