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‘American IT Idol’

Mar 20, 20064 mins
AppleEnterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

How do Randy, Paula and Simon think high-tech leaders are performing?

What if there were a TV show called “American IT Idol”? Which high-tech leaders would wilt under the withering words of Simon Cowell?

Host: Welcome back to the show. My name is Mark Gibbs, and you’ve tuned in to “American IT Idol.” It’s been an exciting few decades, and we’ve narrowed down the contest to a handful of really strong competitors. This week, we have three of the leading popular contestants.

First up tonight is that perennial favorite, Microsoft. Randy, what do you think of its performance?

Randy: Dog, I gotta say it was a strong performance, but there’s something missing, know what I mean? Very pitchy in the advertising, and while Windows Vista sounds good, there’s no there there, dog! Nothing to own the stage of the future other than a gazillion products that have got corporate America trussed up like a chicken, and a raft of FUD that could float a battleship, know what I mean? Vista’s like watching Marcel Marceau with the lights out, know what I mean? Paula?

Paula: Oh, Microsoft is wonderful, fabulous. Microsoft is so real! It just keeps getting stronger and stronger! Love it! Simon?

Simon: What can I say? Great performer, but no heart. I agree with Paula and Randy, even though they have no idea what they’re talking about. Yes, Microsoft is very pitchy and lacking in deliverables, but it’s guaranteed to go on to the next round. Of course, I’m British, and I know better than everyone else.

Host: All right, next is Apple, which has recently changed its tune but not its iTunes. Your thoughts, Randy?

Randy: Dog! You know it’s da bomb! MacTel is a great number – lotsa glitz, lotsa hype and good performance to back it up. But we want more, dog, more! Oh yeah, if Apple really wants to succeed it’s gotta get out more – get more in the corporate eye and be seen, dog. New dance moves aren’t enough – you gotta wow them! Right, dog pound? (Sound effect: barking)

Paula: Oh, Apple is wonderful, fabulous. Apple is so real! It just keeps getting stronger and stronger! Love it! Simon?

Simon: I’m not as sure as Randy on this one. Apple’s act is looking stronger, but its business is far more consumer-focused, and expanding its corporate presence outside of its traditional audience of multimedia and other touchy-feely groups is going to be a stretch.

Host: OK, let’s move on to our next performer, Google. As you all know, Google is a relative newcomer compared with our other contestants, but what it lacks in age it more than makes up for in financial muscle. Randy?

Randy: Dog, like wow! Outta nowhere with a bullet, man! Free this, free that, APIs here, mashups there. Dog! I mean, it’s got that wow factor! That said, there’s a little pitchiness, a little evil in the mix, know what I mean, dog? It rolled over on that China thing and then made a big thing out of refusing the U.S. government, so what’s up with that, dog? Even so, I can see it sticking it with the competition. Right, dog pound? (Sound effect: barking)

Paula: Oh, Google is wonderful, fabulous. Google is so real! It just keeps getting stronger and stronger! Love it! Simon?

Simon: Paula and Randy are wrong, completely wrong. Out to lunch. My problem with Google’s performance is that its share price has dropped faster than a subpoena into its mailbox, which shows that for all the flash and showmanship the market is finding it hard to believe in Google’s long-term financial viability. I could be wrong – but I doubt it, as I’m British.

Host: Well, that’s all we’ve got time for this week on “American IT Idol.” So now American IT industry, it’s your turn to vote. Will it be Microsoft with Windows Vista? Will it be Apple with its catchy consumer products and bid for the corporate stage? Will it be Google and its number, “We Want to Own the World”?

You decide. Send your vote to and check us out on Gibbsblog. See you next week.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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