Good morning, it's Friday, and I have a few deadlines that I would prefer to avoid for an hour. It's actually something that is not mine, but became mine via a series of sly phone calls and e-mails, and all of a sudden someone's urgent matter has been transferred to me without any pretense of a build-up of time. In short, I made an amateur mistake. The news on T.V. is US Airways and America West. Too bad United fell victim to pre-9/11 posturing on anti-trust issues and could not close that deal, there must be something behind that. And as I prepare to fly commercially today, I too think about the state of the airlines and how something so lucrative could make so little money. Kind of like hardware, which is why I chose to write today about the biggest news of the year in the software industry. No, not PSFT acquisition. That is a Chuck Phillips financial move, not a real strategic move (what a coup picking up that guy). Not until ORCL picks up BEAS does anything rival what MSFT and SUNW pulled off this week. I don't pretend to care much about single sign-on as I do not run a corporate data center, for my single sign-on better be my gmail log-in in short time. But considering the implication on SUNW's strategy, I think it is worth noting what this accomplished. For one, it validates the entire acquisition of NSCP's server business by SUNW. The real jewel of course was LDAP, and though MSFT won't support that standard, SUNW has now achieved market acceptance of their moves in to enterprise software beyond specifications. For another, it opens up the world of web services. Nothing happened when IBM and MSFT first introduced the web services standards because no one could agree which company was more likely to introduce proprietary extensions, so as opposed to two closed systems creating an open, SUNW is bringing MSFT in to the world of open. MSFT is merely keeping SUNW alive. One small step toward Java/.Net integration, and one giant move toward the software zenith of which neither SUNW or MSFT will be the major beneficiary. Rather, it will be a string of new companies that work within the old company's model. Here, in 2005 we applaud the move that will yield benefits approximately 2010 and beyond (Giga, please add 5-7 to your projections). It may even make SUNW's utility model and MSFT's Longhorn ambitions lucrative enough to maintain momentum, as long as they can stay focused. Who will be the single biggest guide to this initiative, well, it's Gates, himself. Only he has the pull to make it happen, not even Scott can move anything that big. So as we battle in the trenches, remember there is some non-altruistic moves that have unintended consequences that reveal opportunities for future visions that will ultimately change industry as we know it.