I really hate that feeling of being let down by someone or something that you thought better of. I can cope with people or institutions that are fundamentally pants, dumb or just indifferent, but the ones that disappoint are the ones that should know better.
Step forward Google, the latest IT company to scramble over the Great Wall of China in pursuit of a fast buck, trampling over the humans rights of millions in the process. Google has caved in to the Chinese government’s demands to provide a censorship option for their version of the search engine.
PR fluffers are calling it a filter, which makes it sound like something good, the sort of thing you’d put on your home computer to stop the kids talking to Gary Glitter, but it actually supports totalitarian censorship by an oppressive and at times brutal regime. Perhaps Google execs could do a Google search on ‘students’, ‘protests’, and ‘Tiananmen Square’ if they need reminding.
Of course, Google is not alone. Microsoft and Yahoo have already caved in to the regime’s demands. There are big bucks at stake here. Oracle boss Larry Ellison – not exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to making his own views known – cravenly told reporters that it was up to the Chinese government to decide on policy.
Yeah, don’t want to risk those state contracts Lazza, do we? At least Larry did let us know at one point that he didn’t believe in democracy. Of course he was joking at the time – I think.
What’s really disappointing here is that Google had been so robust in resisting the demands of another regime to hand over data. The neo-cons of the Bush administration are insisting that Google turns over the results of millions of searches that are carried out by the average punter, all part of that ‘war on terror’. Google is putting up a spirited resistance to this, much to the Bush government’s fury – good on it for doing so.
It’s just a shame that fighting for the freedoms and liberties of US citizens seems to be more important to it than letting an internet surfer in Beijing look up words like ‘Tibet’ and ‘Dalai Lama’.
While we’re on the subject of ethics and the IT industry, full marks to Microsoft and Hewlett Packard for resisting the fascist demands of the Christian reich in the US who are back on their ‘anti-gay rights’ bandwagon. I think the sight of Heath Ledger snuggling up to Jake Gyllenahll in the film Brokeback Mountain has finally tipped the bigots over the edge.
Last year I criticised Microsoft for wobbling in the face of a boycott organised by a church in Washington State. The church was opposed to anti-discrimination employment laws being proposed. The laws – which would simply forbid companies discriminating against homosexuals – was defeated by one vote.
The organiser of the boycott was one Reverend Ken Hutcherson. He’s black. Presumably the fair minded and devoutly Christian fellow would have no problem with laws being introduced that allowed firms to discriminate against black employees? Of course he would.
But logic has never been the preserve of these morons, any more than genuine Christian understanding and practise is part of their hate agenda.
The amendment is back on the statute books and to date firms like Hewlett Packard and Mircosoft are standing firm in their support for it. Good! But we are talking about a country where Ford Motors was bullied into boycotting advertising its cars in gay publications as decent, God-fearing Americans didn’t want to drive “a gay car”.
Jeez – if it’s this bad now, just wait until Brokeback Mountain wins the Oscar!
And so to the world of CRM where it looks like 2006 will be just as hectic as last year. Salesforce.com has launched its AppExchange; NetSuite has launched a partnership scheme (but for reasons known only to itself, hasn’t told anyone outside the US); Onyx is playing silly beggars about a hostile takeover bid from CDC; and Siebel is set to fall to Oracle any day now.
Oracle sent Chuck Phillips out to tell us how Project Fusion is going. The good news is that it’s pretty confident it knows where it’s going with Fusion and that it’s got the specifications cracked. It will be a few years before you see Fusion Applications, so it’s possible the market might have changed beyond all recognition by then, but it’s a start.
If you can’t wait to see what Fusion Apps will look like, here’s a one word clue: PeopleSoft. For those of you who are users of applications from Oracle, JD Edwards or Siebel, you might want to ask yourself what the implications might be.