The Swisher/Mossberg 'smackdown'

Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg of Wall Street Journal fame just finished up onstage at DEMOfall08. They were supposed to "interview" each other in the same aggressive manner one might expect of these veteran journalists when taking on a Gates or Jobs. That didn't happen -- they were cupcakes toward each other -- but still had plenty to say about the topics of day. Here are a few snippets.

Mossberg on Chrome: "I don't think I gave Chrome a negative review. I said it was bold, innovative... but it's like a lot of things they do at Google, it's a beta. There are some things that are left out of it that are quite common. ... I did speed tests ... they were about in the middle of the group."

Reservations aside: "Both IE8 and Chrome have the chance to challenge Firefox as the best browser."

Swisher on Google: "I find them to be scarier and scarier as time goes on, both for innovation and the Internet."

Mossberg on Swisher's fear: "Microsoft isn't out of money and they're not out of power and they're not out of options."

Swisher on her longstanding doubts about Facebook: "The question I have when everyone is agog over it is how are they going to make money? How much can they grow? Having written two books about AOL, it just struck me that it's the same story. ... I don't find it useful, necessarily, and the question is when does it start being useful."

Mossberg on the 3G smart phones: "I think there's an enormous cloud over all of this. I'm really beginning to wonder whether, at least in the United States, the 3G networks that are supposed to provide a broadband experience are going to be able to hold up as people use these devices as little laptops."

Best moment of chumminess: That was when Swisher was expressing her Google fears, at which point Mossberg leaned forward, put a reassuring hand on her knee, and asked, "Are you having bad dreams?"

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