Another Short DaveNet
Friday, September 22, 1995 by Dave Winer.
Here's another short DaveNet piece. I'm writing a longer report on Netscape 2.0. It'll be ready on Monday morning. In the meantime, while checking stock prices this morning, two reports came up, one interesting, and one *very* interesting.
The mildly interesting one is another half-step by Apple, acknowledging that Internet applications and content development tools are the future of the Macintosh platform. As usual, no bold moves. I suspect that current Apple management is not capable of making the earth move. Here's proof. eWorld, the nice friendly interface for America OnLine that Apple adopted last year as their presence in the online world, is migrating towards the Internet. Same people, same mission -- but now they're asking for an Internet halo. It's not a big surprise.
eWorld is a big loser. There used to be a vibrant online community gathered around Apple called AppleLink. But in the name of higher revenues, Apple gradually strangled AppleLink and eventually offered eWorld. But in the background, the geek world that Apple used to rule, had fallen in love with the Internet, the platform with no platform vendor. Instead of going with the flow, Apple plodded ahead with eWorld as if nothing had happened.
Macintosh system developers and managers need a real unabashedly Macintosh presence on the net. The perfect company for providing this service is Apple Computer. But so far, there's no indication that they plan to do this, or even that they understand this.
The acid test: will they be running their servers on Macintoshes? Will developers be able to run Mac software up in their cloud? Perhaps we could get some clarification from Apple management. None of this is clear from their press materials.
I was going to suggest that Microsoft acquire StarNine Systems, the Berkeley company that's made it their business to supply server tools for Macintosh system managers. They make email gateways for all the popular mail systems, including Apple's moribund PowerTalk and Microsoft's moribund Mail and CE Software's wandering QuickMail. I assume it's proven to be a good business for StarNine because it allowed them to assume the dominant position in the Macintosh web server market by acquiring the popular MacHTTP from Chuck Shotton and relaunching it as WebStar earlier this year.
Well, it's too late for Microsoft to buy out StarNine, Quarterdeck Systems has already done it! So much for developers not being willing to invest in the Mac platform. Quarterdeck is a large, widely respected company, and now they own a vibrant business that's based in the Macintosh world. I suspect that porting WebStar to Windows NT is high on the new to-do list for StarNine. But at least in the meantime, the Macintosh community has a new large presence, one that to-date has only made (excellent) PC-compatible software.
Neither company's website carries news of this deal at this time. Check them out in the next few hours, they're at www.quarterdeck.com and www.starnine.com, I bet both of them will have reports, any minute now...
See you early next week!
PS: WebStar is a funny name. I keep typing WordStar! What's WordStar? You're too young to know! Sorry...