Scripting News for 3/30/2008

Why would Google Web Services cost $0? 

Google Web Services, or GWS, is the hypothetical competitor to Amazon Web Services that I wrote about yesterday.

The first question that comes up is how can they afford to give it away? That came up in yesterday’s comments and the answer is important enough to deserve its own blog post.

So here goes…

Google has always challenged conventional wisdom that way, as Netscape did before. Remember when they let people download the browser for free, how foreign that seemed.

Google’s search engine cost nothing to use and had no ads for the first few years, and look at how well that turned out.

Flipped around, I don’t see why Amazon charges me to use AWS. I think I produce as much value for them as I use just by writing about it, but they haven’t been willing to bend (not that I’ve asked them to). If there was no cost to it, I’d use their services for new things that I’m not willing to try as long as I have to pay. I know that because there are projects I’ve not attempted because the cost was prohibitive.

Perhaps Google is thinking about acquisitions. How much would it be worth to buy companies without having to transition their technology to their platform? There would be no retraining either, all the programmers in the companies they acquire would know how to work in the environment. Further, can you imagine that they’d charge universities to teach comp sci using their cloud?

Given the cost of acquisitons, recruiting and training they can afford to blow a lot of money on free bandwidth, storage and CPU to make the buying and hiring process more efficient and increase the hit rate (the percentage of programmers who work out).

If they’re smart they won’t get involved in deciding which projects can use the service, as Apple has taken an interest in who can develop for the iPhone. How can a bureaucracy decide what projects will have merit in the market? Better to let a thousand flowers bloom knowing that the best ones will be available to you first because their software is perfectly compatible with yours.

My guess is that’s why Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo, which is built entirely on open source system software. Microsoft will be in much better position to acquire companies after Yahoo than before.

Of course Google is doing this, how could they not be. What’s hard to believe is how much of a running start Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have been willing to let Amazon have.

Proof that the end is near 

Over on Twitter I am unceremoniously blocking all tech industry superdelegates.

Let me explain.

Imagine if the tech industry was the Democratic Party, then the insider’s insiders would be the superdelegates. The people who talk about people talking about people talking about people talking about tech.

Somewhere at the end of the chain there are products and users, forgotten in all the drama.

I’m sick of it.

I pulled out of the tech industry and started blogging in 1994 or 1997 depending on what you count as the start so I could get away from the crap. Now Mike Arrington is talking about turning TechCrunch into CNET. That’s a sure sell signal. Get me the fuck outta here. Beam me up Scotty. This isn’t Kansas anymore Auntie Em.

I announced this on Twitter, and people asked me to explain.

I struggled, then I bounced over to TechMeme and found the perfect explanation. Click on the image below for the punchline.

I’ll tell you the answer. Most people wouldn’t recognize an original thought if it bit them in the ass.

What we used to call blogging is now just bullshit about recycled bullshit about recycled bullshit and on and on. Who bit who in the ass, never mind anything new or hard to comprehend, cause that’s not what we do. We aggregate eyeballs and clickthroughs and CPMs and god knows what else.

Back in the old days before any of you were blogging, we (the olde skool bloggers) used to write about them watching us watching them watch us watch them.

It’s happening again…

Nothing wrong with it, it’s human nature.

But it’s time to decentralize again.

Head for the hills.

If I could only remember where they are! 🙂

PS: Google is doing something itneresting. So much for finding all the juicy bits on TechMeme! 🙂

PPS: Tech industry people dis Marc Canter, they’re idiots. Marc always knows what’s going on long before they do. It sounds strange when he says it cause new stuff is strange.

PPPS: Further proof that the end is near. This idiotic meta-meta-post made it on TechMeme. Oh the humanity.

PPPPS: Thsi stupid piece is now the #2 item on TechMeme. Proof that the more stupid a post is, the higher it rises in what passes for the tech blogosphere. Update: It’s now #1.

PPPPPS: This won’t be complete until Mathew Ingram tags on his two cents. Update: It’s now complete. Good night Chet. Good night Daivd. 🙂

How the Democratic process will likely conclude 

Like everyone else (or so it seems) I have been following the Democratic nominating process, even though we’re in hiatus now between the early March primaries and the Pennsylvania primary in mid-late April.

I’m an Obama supporter, so I like the way the conversation has turned back to “Why Doesn’t Hillary Quit?” instead of the soul-sickening stuff we were talking about for the last couple of weeks. (Even though there was a lot of growth there.)

This morning Josh Marshall at Talking Point Memo circles around all the possibilities.

But it seems obvious to me this is how it will end:

1. On or before June 3, enough superdelegates declare for Obama and he wins enough delegates in the remaining 10 primaries to give him more than the 2025 delegates he needs to get the nomination. The key is that the superdelegates don’t have to sit by and do nothing. Winning favor from Obama who is pretty likely the next President is going to be worth more than hedging against the chance that HRC prevails. The Clinton’s currency is already heavily devalued, and it’s likely to keep going down.

2. Then HRC is free to bring whatever fight she wants to the convention, it won’t matter, because Obama will have the nomination, and will (correct me if I’m wrong) also control the Credentials process, so she’ll have to do what he wants in the end wrt Michigan and Florida. (A more than fair resolution of Michigan and Florida, already offered, would be to split the delegates 50-50. This slightly favors HRC and dilutes BHO because he currently has a delegate lead, and that would go down after a 50-50 split. A minor point.)

3. Then all that’s left in question is HRC’s self-respect. If she wants to keep some of it, she’ll bow out gracefully and tell her supporters to make it unanimous in Denver, or she won’t and will probably retain her Senate seat as long as she wants but will always be a Democratic Party outsider. It probably won’t bode well for her husband as an elder statesman, and there goes Chelsea’s chance to run for President in 2024.

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