Thursday, 18 November 2010

By George, they did it!


One of the greatest musical milestones in classical movies is My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion.

Poor Eliza Doolittle, from lowest social extraction, is used by Professor Henry Higgins as an experiment about teaching English, in an attempt to prove his methods can bring such a low-class person to the ranks of Aristocracy. At least in what relates to speaking English properly.

Professor Higgins takes care of her completely, as she is poor and has no resources of her own besides selling flowers in the street for a living. She totally depends on his wealth while she receives her lessons.

Despite providing her all possible physical comfort, he is so much oriented to his own personal success with the language experiment he is using her for, he does not really care for being considerate at all with her, and actually treats her like a scientist would handle a guinea pig.

Naturally, she ends up completely fed up, and quits, disregarding and ignoring all the good he claims to have provided her with. She simply does not stand his arrogance and tyranny any more, and looks for alternatives that indeed could work for her.

By George!

We would say that “Professor Ballmer”, with all his wealth, power, aristocratic profile (well, this one under discussion), and methodologies, really can not stand up to all the Eliza Doolittles that so much have depended on him for so long, can he?


Swift cats


Indeed the “trial of the month” moves forward towards its closure. Peculiar trial, dressed with a lot of surrounding attrezzo, from the Pontifex Maximus at the Oracle’s (aka Big Mouth Larry) venomous invectives to all the assumptions made here and there of where all this will end.

There has certainly been a big unbalance between the relative importance of the heavy-weight witnesses presented by the two parts. From the Pontifex himself and co-President Katz from the Oracle to Bill McDermott and Werner Brandt for the Germans, the overall declarations have as well fallen short to expectations, and basically around their original positions: up to $4 billion according to the oracle, not more than $40 million offered by the Germans. And none of the parts have given in more than an inch from those positions.

One of the strongest witnesses from the oracle, however, has been co-President Katz, whose main argument was about rewarding bad behaviour of the Germans. Ironically enough, “Katz” is a German name derived form Katze, meaning cat…

“It’s like stealing a $2,000 watch, selling it for $20, and offering to pay the $20 back as compensation”, she’s declared.

The argument is indeed difficult to respond appropriately after a first thought. It might have made a strong impression in the jurors on behalf of the oracle. as a good finance expert, she has even mentioned figures in her example that are exactly proportional to the figures discussed in the trial. 2,000 is 100 times 20, ad $40 billion is exactly 100 times $40 million. Very, very, very smart from hers.

However, there is a subtle nuance that jurors and judge Phyllis Hamilton should take into account. If someone steals your $2,000 watch, indeed he is stripping you off $2,000. Downloading copyrighted material is basically making a copy of that material. And copying it is not stripping you off the value of that material. So the point is basically that illegally copying copyrighted material, SAP used it for its own benefit without really preventing the oracle from using it on their own. In other words, it’s like an athlete unfairly competing in a running race by using illegal drops that reduce the competitive advantage of a better honest runner.

And this id probably why the actual damages (only 358 customers switched from the oracle to TomorrowNow, according to information available online) have been so small compared to the theoretical potential.

Not denying that SAP behaved bad, the already settled amount of $120 for criminal charges, plus damage reparations of $40 really sounds reasonable in our ears., though this is just an opinion of ours, who do not claim at all any expertise in law matters.

What we really are impressed with is Katz’s rationale and argumentation… together with a much more senior and mature attitude than her boss’. Indeed swift, indeed smart, indeed subtle, and probably very powerful. No surprise she sits where she does at the oracle.

Hard and tough rival in the internal struggle for the Pontifex heritage you got there, Mark Hurd…