As I was watching Glee the other night (I am both a Gleek and a geek!), a trailer for the upcoming Iron Man 2 movie was shown. It stars Robert Downey, Jr. — yummy! The movie trailer was sponsored by Oracle/Sun Microsystems. For the other geeks out there, you know that Sun was recently acquired by Oracle. After the Iron Man 2 trailer, the Oracle/Sun logos stamped onto the screen, and the words “Applications — Middleware — Database” appeared in layers next to the words “Software — Hardware” which also appeared in layers!
Interesting, Cara, but what does this have to do with Enron, you ask. Well, for those of you who have been following my Enron Broadband posts, you know that this screams EBS! It was the appearance of Scott McNealy, then CEO of Sun, during EBS’ presentation at the January 2000 Enron Analyst Conference that made a huge impression on the financial analysts in attendance. Everybody I have ever talked to who attended that conference tells me that it was the endorsement of Sun that most impacted the analysts’ confidence in EBS’ direction. In spite of the ridiculous government indictments which tried to paint an innocuous Broadband presentation as lies, it really was nothing EBS presenters said about technology that influenced the analysts. It was what McNealy said that left the analysts with a positive impression of the potential of EBS.
But there is something even more exciting about the Sun/Oracle television commercial. Those words which appeared in layers can be seen in identical fashion in lots of EBS materials from the period of the conference. And notice the word “Middleware”! There are a number of varieties of middleware, but basically it is the software which sits between apps and infrastructure and which, hidden to us end users, makes app creation easier and faster for developers. Middleware has been around forever, but now it has finally made it to television!
So what’s your point, Cara, you ask! Well, the last man standing in the inane EBS indictments is Rex Shelby. Shelby was the head of a software company called Modulus, a pioneering middleware company. Modulus helped establish some of the industry standards in middleware, working closely with Sun’s Java efforts. Sun even licensed the Modulus middleware and rolled it into numerous Sun products, including it’s Solaris operating system. Sun then rolled the middleware onto Linux platforms and even Windows computers. So the Modulus technology is now spread all over the world, even though nobody knows this.
And Shelby, and the brilliant Modulus engineers, came to EBS via the acquisition of Modulus by Enron. The Modulus middleware became a component of EBS’ Broadband Operating System (BOS), a component that essentially would have provided a doorway to the BOS where ever it resides. And it now resides on computers and servers and networks all over the world! So, this software which the government prosecutors claimed didn’t exist is now all over the place. There is something downright poetic about this!
Hmm, I wonder if Rex Shelby is secretly Iron Man!