Guest column: 1998: The Year in Quotes

As another year draws to a close, I thought it might be fun to trawl back through the IDG News Service archives of the last 12 months and pick out a selection of quotes from the movers and shakers in the IT industry.

Here are the usual suspects like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy in their full outspoken glory, along with some other familiar faces from the past year, pontificating on a variety of topics, and giving responses ranging from the erudite to the potentially libellous. Enjoy!

Go On, Take Your Best Shot!

"Microsoft is now talking about the digital nervous system. I guess I would be nervous if my system was built on their technology too." -- Sun Microsystems chairman, president and CEO Scott McNealy.

(November 4)

Actually, It's My Fault, Honest!

"Right now, we have a terrible Web site." -- Unisys CEO Lawrence Weinbach. (March 11)"I made a stupid mistake." -- Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison, in a rare moment of candour, regarding Oracle's abortive Sedona object-oriented development environment project, which he cancelled. (April 16)"We get accused of being good marketers. I think we are a bad marketing company. We've managed through our bad execution to make everyone think we are going into their business. There's a very real fear and loathing (of Microsoft's move into e-commerce)." -- Anthony Bay, Microsoft's general manager for the vendor's Internet Services Business Unit. (June 25)Microsoft vs Sun -- Fear and unpleasantness?

"If we don't go to the courts, you don't have the compatibility, you don't have 100-per cent Java. And that's why we're doing it." -- Scott McNealy on why Sun took Microsoft to court over Java. (March 25)"That was not one of the most pleasant experiences I've ever been through." -- Alan Baratz, president of Sun's Java software group, on leaving the courtroom after being grilled by Microsoft lawyers for almost an hour over details of Sun's Java-licensing contract with Microsoft. (September 10)"This scares the hell out of me." -- Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates' feelings about Java according to documents filed by Sun in the legal case between the two companies. (October 22)A peek into the mind of Chairman Bill"The mentality of Microsoft is to always look for what we should be worried about," Gates said. "We all have to earn our success a month at a time. Even though there is no financial crisis we are very good at creating a crisis atmosphere." -- Microsoft's Gates. (February 3)"Scott McNealy (CEO of Sun) is always talking about Microsoft. Sometimes when you listen to him, you forget what company he comes from. . . . Hey, he is spreading the word that he is worried about Microsoft." -- Gates. (February 3)The Apple of Steve's eye"At the end of 10 years (at Apple), I have to admit that I failed. In hindsight, we should have done things differently . . . and it is a tremendous disappointment." -- former Apple Computer CEO and current technology investor John Sculley on his Apple tenure in the 1980s and early 1990s. (January 12)"Apple is a cult and the person who created that cult is Steve. . . . It was always (Steve Jobs') company. The best chance Apple has is having Steve Jobs back running the company." -- Sculley. (January 12)"We tried begging, bribing, everything. This is not subtle, we have gotten on our knees collectively on this." -- Apple board member Larry Ellison on trying to persuade Jobs to stay as Apple CEO. (January 15). As of December 16, 1998, Jobs is still Apple interim CEO.

Failed dreams

"We're not naive business people. I would just stand on my record. . . . We are doing very well with or without CSC and will continue to do very well with or without CSC." -- Charles Wang as Computer Associates International's hostile bid to take over Computer Sciences Corp fell apart. (February 25)"The PC has become a junk truck of technology. We just keep adding things to it." -- Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop products group. (September 17)Y2K: Don't panic . . . yet!

"Let me put to rest the rumour that missiles are going to be flying everywhere by accident." -- John Koskinen, US President Clinton's year 2000 czar, who has pledged to be on an aeroplane as the millennium rolls in. (December 14)Crystal ball gazing"We can remove the constraints of distance and time by using the electronic networking of people. . . . You can't 'beam me up', but you can be there electronically." -- Dave House, Bay Networks chairman, CEO and president on his concept of a "network holodeck of the future". (June 8)"The cost of PCs is getting so low, we will probably give you a PC so you will use our browser." -- Marc Andreessen, executive vice president and co-founder of Netscape Communications. (June 25)"We'll get machines that are a million times faster over the next 10 years. . . . The key message here is that we are just at the beginning of the revolution -- today's machines are Model T's." -- Microsoft's Gates. (September 7)"I think Sun and Microsoft will be totally changed in the future. You can take half the people at Microsoft and half the people at Sun and write them off." -- John Gage, chief scientist at Sun. (September 9) What conclusion to draw from it all?

"The whole world's gone crazy because all the software and all the marketing are run by people who've never operated a business. . . The first problem is to try to get people to organise (businesses) with wisdom, with common sense." -- Digital's Ken Olsen. (June 24)

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