Microsoft, lagging far behind IBM and Oracle (excluding Sharepoint, often used for the SOA consumer), is starting a cloud computing unit. MSFT should have done this long ago, but I believe MSFT will need to make a few major acquisitions to compete with IBM and Oracle. Microsoft to start SOA unit
Twitter has been hacked again.. It's another black eye for Twitter's security and overall reliability. Twitter's problems should be a lesson for all SOA providers. While Twitter's data is likely limited to e-mail accounts, secure services often have critical data that can be compromised. SOA, in addition to the usual security issues, has addition security risks such as replay attacks.
Error handling is an important component of error handling that is often ignored at design time. As an example, the Twitter REST API sometimes does not have enough useful information to give back to the user. Worse, some requests that should return JSON return HTML on an error. If you are requesting JSON, the error results should also be in JSON. Bad error handling places an undue burden on client applications and hurt your services. My company has developed a Twitter app which was delayed due to these types of issues.
Have a need for a SOA expert in Washington DC?  Send me a DM or e-mail; I know of a top notch consultant who will be on the market soon.

I have been dissecting popular Web 2.0 REST-based Web Services in building a new site that should (hopefully) prove to be popular. It's my second major site launch, the first one being acquired by a Microsoft funded startup years ago. I will reveal more details after the launch, but I've become both more and less of a fan of REST as a result of this exercise. REST is, of course, easy to use. But the problems with data accuracy have been frustrating.
While Google and Microsoft are taking aim at the consumer online document space, Oracle wants to target business users. Oracle is considering building a service enabling users to create and share documents in WebEx meeting/collaboration service. Google has failed to gain traction among businesses with their online document sharing. It's not surprising, given slow performance and a defect which made private documents publicly viewable.
As you might know, the Supreme Court decided in May to consider a constitutional challenge to the 2002 law that created a national board to oversee U.S. public company auditors. I think most people will agree that SOX is bad law. But this blog is about the business of SOA, and SOX has surely stifled business, SOA included. Yet I'm torn. SOX has certainly forced companies to focus on fundamental issues (such as controls on database access) that certainly have been ignored in the past. When followed, SOX improved the security of your data. Does this compensate for suppressing IT, especially startups? I believe the answer is no.
In the next few months, the White House will unveil Version 2.0 of, the one year old government data portal. makes government data available for public reuse and will likely include new tagging capabilities among other improvements. The number of feeds is small, but already providing useful -- including Top 10 Most Wanted and Swing Flu map.
SAP has released Business Suite 7 and will be ramping up the marketing in the next several months. Business Suite 7 is powered by SOA and includes their ERP and CRM applications. At long last, Business Suite 7 finally allows for unified upgrades. Customer that upgrade to Business Suite 7 will not have to upgrade SCM one month and then upgrade CRM several months later. Instead, you can choose only the enhancements you want for SCM and CRM from a single image. Better yet, it would nice if SAP would allow for somewhat easy private cloud installations, similar to that of IBM's attempt with its new CloudBurst appliance.
I like the updated user interface from Twitscoop, especially the dynamically updating "Buzzing right now" tag cloud.  But most importantly, Twitscoop also shows that users should no longer give up their security credentials to third party apps.  Twitter now allows third party apps to plug-in into Twitter's security system.
Building upon their huge success with Datapower, IBM has another SOA appliance on the market: CloudBurst. With a form factor similar to that of DataPower, CloudBurst is aimed at companies interested in building a private cloud. CloudBurst utilizes virtual software images to securely deploy and manage these apps in the cloud. CloudBurst is pre-loaded with WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition (optimized to run in a virtualized environment) and will be integrated with other IBM products, such as WSRR, in the future.
Next up for Amazon AWS: the education market. Amazon already controls the Web Service market for research, with Google surrendering this space to Amazon months ago. With the newly announced AWS in Education, Amazon is extending its reach. AWS in Education offers "a set of programs that enable the academic community to easily leverage the benefits of Amazon Web Services for teaching and research. With AWS in Education, educators, academic researchers, and students worldwide can obtain free usage credits to tap into the on-demand infrastructure of Amazon Web Services to teach advanced courses, tackle research endeavors and explore new projects – tasks that previously would have required expensive investments in infrastructure." Essentially, hook them now on Web Services for a drastically reduced price, cash out when they choose Amazon for Web Servers in their professional life.
Ten years after acquiring Geocities for $4BIL, Yahoo has announced plans to close the free hosting site, with users encouraged to upgrade to Yahoo's paid hosting solutions.  Yahoo's hosting plans, however, are simply overpriced.  Jimdo is one company that is trying to woo existing Geocities customers. Yahoo has yet to announce a shutdown date.
Security is the #1 reason why my clients are averse to using a public cloud.  And for good reason.   Google made private documents public in an unacceptable security breach earlier this year. suffered a phishing attack in 2007 in which a staff member was duped into revealing passwords. I encourage readers to read Computer Weekly discusses Top 5 Cloud security issues.

Apple's cloud has been plagued with problems since its release and created a credibility problem with enterprise users. Those problems, however, seem to be gone. It still has problems with Outlook Calendar but it's in good enough shape to receive Walk Mossberg's recommendation.
The economy is definitely picking up (or bottoming out) -- at least the leading economic indicators are showing that. And I'm seeing a pickup in hiring, outside devastated industries such as media. One new class of jobs: the "cloud administrator". Think of it as Admin 2.0. Some employers are posting positions for "cloud administrator" and looking for those with EC2 scripting skills, virtualization, DR, replication, etc.
Need another xAAS acronym? is promoting its "Data as a Service" functionality. It's a simple, yet powerful service. You start by uploading an Excel spreadsheet or syncing with a datasource. then builds your web service.  For an example, check out their Geocodes service. I like how   functions are provided for various programming and scripting languages, including Java, ASP, PHP, JS, #C, etc.
Amazon is refusing to sign. Google is refusing to sign. Microsoft is refusing to sign.  It's a smart business move.  IBM is proposing what is essentially a "stop Amazon" Open Cloud Manifesto.  IBM is attempting the old business model of the old guards setting interoperability standards.  Do we really need more useless WS-* standards?  Or are we better off with standards growing organically (Amazon is becoming a de-facto standard).   Sun, for instance, recently announced that they were making their cloud APIs compatible with those from Amazon.  And yes, that is one way to drive up your buyout price.
Amazon's AWS is coming to Eclipse via a new toolkit. It will let developers hook into Amazon storage via the industry standard IDE. Amazon is to the cloud as the iPhone is to handheld computing -- at least a year in front of the competition.
Finally, Red Hat has added SOA support to JBoss Developer Studio 2.0 Portfolio Edition . The question is whether anyone cares. I haven't seen this little interest in JBoss in a long time.  If any readers are starting a new SOA project, and using JBoss, I would be interested in speaking with you.
I have been playing with Twitter's RESTful API -- just like Twitter itself, the API is powerful and easy to use. Getting a public timeline is as simple as "" Updating your status is not much harder: "curl -u username:password -d status="your message here"". It's a good example of REST, which is extremely popular in Web 2.0 but still underutilized in enterprise.   Speaking of twitter, follow me to get my tweets.
SAS, one of the hottest companies in computing, is building a $70 MIL cloud computing center. The 38,000-square-foot facility in Cary, NC, will provide additional data-handling capacity to expand SAS' OnDemand hosted solutions. SAS has been around for 30 years, providing business analytics software. SAS is a hot technology right now; I am seeing businesses ask for SAS consultants at an increasing rate.
Would you like to reserve extra capacity but not pay for duplicate hardware?  Amazon might have the answer.  In yet another smart pricing move, Amazon has introduced "Reserved Instances" which allows companies to reserve capacity by paying a one time fee.   Companies will then pay usage charges only when they are using the reserved capacity.   Amazon, of course, is hedging that all their customers will not need the extra capacity at the same time.   Reserved Instances is available in 1 and 3 year terms.
I've read a few blogs and articles recently stating that cloud computing is hurting VC. I tend to disagree - cloud computing has certainly made it cheaper to start a new venture, thus requiring fewer VC dollars. But it's relative. Eight years ago, my startup received a couple million of VC -- a lot of that was burned on infrastructure such as servers and licenses. Today, we could have rented this from Amazon for a few hundred bucks a month. We would have required less VC money, and would have been able to keep more of the company, but a good idea will attract VC. Today's VC problems can be attributed directly to two things: the stock market and a general lack of innovation.
After several days of struggling with Google Docs' unusable performance, I wasn't surprised to learn that a Google bug has made some private docs public. Making your private documents's hard to think of a worse bug. Obviously, we've pulled all our documents off Google Docs. And I know this will stop others from using their Web Services. I simply have no confidence in Google's Web Services. It's sad to see the once cutting edge Google lagging behind Amazon and reverting to corporate speak by stating they are "treating this very seriously."
I think I was correct in writing off last week's dismal week to the snowstorm. Business has certainly picked up this week, with KPI being contacted for several new projects. The work has been in less desirable locations, however, which always makes for a tough sell for top notch candidates.
It was an extremely slow week for new SOA work.  In peak times, we receive 15-20 correspondences/day.  This week:  3.  I've spoken with other owners of small consultant firms -- they report the same findings.  Just a few weeks ago, new SOA business seemed to be on an uptick.    Our thinking is that the early week snowstorm contributed to a slow week -- existing work gets backed up and planning for future work gets pushed to the next week.  In any event, I'll have another report next Friday.
Twitter started here. The now defunct Dodgeball started here. This year, it's Shizzow's turn to debut at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Those of you lucky enough to be at SXSW this year will be among the first to use Shizzow, a location aware service based on the Twitter model. The API will be made publicly available, which will surely result in the development of popular tools. Obviously, privacy is a huge concern on location aware devices. Shizzow states they will require a wiretap (and not a regular warrant) to hand over a user's location.
Microsoft's job cuts have been all over the news, but they also plan to add 3,000 jobs in R&D this year. They are increasing the R&D budget from $8 BIL to $9 BIL -- with most of that increase going to SOA. Microsoft knows they are lagging behind IBM, Oracle, and Amazon -- and are going to throw people and money at SOA in order to close the gap.  Will it work?  Only if they hire the right people.
I could not find my Office CDs to load onto a newly formatted hard drive, so I decided to use the spreadsheet portion of Google Docs.   It was a mistake.   On Sunday, I continuously received a green "Updating" block while updating columns, specifically those doing mathematical computations.  The "Updating" block means there is a visible pause while the cell updates.  I received this while adding and removing rows, and when updating a formula.  My spreadsheet had approximately 1000 data columns doing simple arithmetic.  On Monday, I tried again, with better results.  But I still saw intermittent problems in updating cells.   After more investigating, I found the spreadsheet to be OK for simple tasks but it is not enterprise ready.
Euro bank Nordea is using SOA to significantly slash operational costs (i.e people costs). Nordea's business use case is one common to international banks: customer loans that require different business processes in each country. The operational cost: 2 BIL Euros/year, which has been reduced by 25% via SOA.  Nordea did not calculate the added IT costs, calling it "peanuts" in comparison to the savings.  While I disagree with not calculating the IT costs, Nordea has employed an excellent SOA roadmap: A group of eight architects began planning for this project in 2003, with development starting in 2005.  How many US companies would allow "no development" for almost two years?  Nordea first unified the front end and will work on the back-end for the next 5 years. All too often, companies are trying the "big bang" SOA approach, or diving into SOA with no roadmap, which generally results in wasted money.
Michael V. Copeland discusses how today's traditional enterprise systems are not going away anytime soon. The media often forgets about this when discussing cloud computing. But the interesting part of the article compares the 25% profit margin of traditional enterprise versus the only 4% of cloud computing. As the article states, the cloud is working on ways to making data available offline -- and there will be profit to be made there as well.
Greg Schott is the new CEO of Mule Source. Schott was previously the VP of Marketing at SpringSource and will be charged with growing the user base of Mule. Schott was also a VP at Agile Software, which was acquired by Oracle. It's a good pickup by Mule.  It's a good open source product that needs more direction on the business side.
Google has finally introduced a billing system for its Google App Engine. Before today, Google App Engine developers faced quotas on bandwidth, CPU, and API calls. It's about time - Google has been promising this since May 2008. Not surprisingly, the limits for free usage will be lowered but you can still serve up to 5MIL pages/month for free. It's a sign that Google is making a business out of Web Services and not treating it as a hobby. Google is less flexible, less robust, and offers less than Amazon (no offline processing, for instance) but with similar pricing. Both charge $0.15/GB storage and $0.10/GB inbound traffic. For outbound traffic, Google is cheaper ($0.12/GB vs $0.17/GB).  I see no advantage for using Google over Amazon.
Less than two weeks ago, the Guardian migrated to Google Apps and stopped using traditional in-house e-mail servers. The Guardian is just one of several newspapers that has migrated to Google Apps (newspapers will save money wherever they can).  They were all left in the dark by another Gmail meltdown today.  It's been a problem that has occurred too frequently at Google.   It underscores the need for cloud data to be available offline.   A big effort is underway on this but cloud computing is still showing some immaturity.
Joe McKendrick points out that David Linthicum has noted a recent uptick in SOA activity versus a slowing trend late last year. I have seen a definitive uptick this week. For instance, a medical company (medical is big on SOA) was one of several companies to contact us this week about SOA work. It was a big improvement from the beginning of January. One thing analysts often miss (or most likely, don't know) is that job losses is a lagging economic indicator. These losses should have happened 6 months ago. While hidden in the news, some leading economic indicators are turning positive. But just as companies are too slow to fire, they are too slow to hire. I would expect SOA hiring to gradually pick up throughout the year.
Privacy and security concerns are two of the biggest roadblocks to SOA adoption. Many customers simply refuse to store important data on the cloud. The current spotlight on Facebook's Terms of Service fiasco can only hurt enterprise adoption of Web Services.

Those important business documents you have on Google...  Would you be as inclined to still use Google Docs if you understood that "Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service?"   I surely do not want Google modifying any of my content.

That great idea you posted on LinkedIn? It's not yours exclusively anymore. Says their ToS: "You do not have to submit anything to us, but if you choose to submit something (including any User generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and data), you must grant, and you actually grant by concluding this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, and use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, anything that you submit to us, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties."

It does not take long for users of an online social network to migrate.  Does anyone you know still use MySpace?  Or are they on Facebook now?   Web Services simply have to pay more attention to Terms of Services - it will cost you customers.
Despite the current economy and job losses in the tech sector, there is still a lack of talented SOA individuals on the market. The economy actually exacerbates this twofold: talent is less likely to switch jobs and companies are afraid to hire a H-1B visa holder due to the political climate. So how to land the best SOA talent? Find the smartest person and pair them with an architect or senior developer already knowledgeable on SOA. Too many companies are resume keyword dependent and will overlook a bright person without SOA over an average person with SOA on the resume.
Magic Software is a small company with revenues of $62 MIL in 2008.  What's driving their growth?  SOA. Magic reports that "Significant adoption of Service Oriented Architecture. The migration to Service Oriented Architecture is driving the initiation of many new IT projects based on Magic Software products and increasing the scope of existing ones. In parallel, an increasing number of Service Oriented Architecture projects are using both uniPaaS and iBOLT."
I am not a big fan of technology companies mixing technology and politics as noted in this somewhat disturbing article in Sci Tech. It's great that SOA reduces the "carbon footprint", but let's not pretend that SOA will help "save the planet" (not that we could ever destroy the planet anyway, even if we tried). If tech companies wish to play politics, they should promote SOA as making information cheaper and more easily accessible. This will lift everyone's standard of living in the long run. Of course, making that claim becomes harder when some tech companies are helping countries censor that very information.
I like to follow the amount of calls/e-mails my company receives to gauge business activity in the software and consulting world.   January 2009 was the slowest month since the months after September 11, 2001.  Activity has only slightly picked up in February; many companies I talk with have placed indefinite holds on new Web 2.0 and SOA projects.   Other companies continue to invest in their core technology (the smart thing to do).  There also seem to be two schools on thoughts on compensation.  Some companies are following MisManagement 101 and giving across the boards cuts.  I am seeing smart companies scoop of the best employees of such companies.  A vicious cycle it is.
Another iPhone app is out to manage Amazon AWS. Ylastic has released a version of their browser based dashboard for iPhone and Android platform. The iPhone/Android app can manage EC2, S3, and SDB domains, but does not offer S3 stats or user management. The cost: $10 per user per month. I think it's priced a little high, especially since Amazon is almost surely to have its own iPhone app in the near future.
I have blogged about working on government contracts and the use case of multiple agencies needing different access to the same set of data. Legacy systems are complex and inefficient. SOA is the obvious modern day solution. To that end, Northrop Grumman has helped develop DCGS. The latest addition is DCGS-IC (intelligence community). DCGS-IC provides U.S. intelligence agencies and tactical military units with SSO access to a variety of data sources from various agencies. The production system was built in less than one year (based on a POC). It would takes years to develop this system on old technology.
Yahoo's BOSS search Web Service will no longer be completely free.  It's now a business.   After 10,000 queries, a tiered pricing model kicks in (AWS clearly used as a model). Rates depend on query time, number of results (new maximum of 1000), and number of queries. Users will start paying up later this year. Currently, BOSS receives over 10MIL queries a day, and included TechCrunch among its user base.
IBM announced plans to deliver its software via Amazon Web Services today in a somewhat surprising move. I thought IBM would focus on their own cloud, but IBM isn't one to turn down a money making opportunity. IBM will make available DB2, Informix, WebSphere Portal, Lotus Web Content Management, WebSphere sMash and Novell's SUSE Linux operating system software. Noticeably missing: IBM WebSphere. IBM will provide free Amazon Machine Images for development and testing. The software will be available in an EC2 beta within 30 days, with pricing to be announced later.
Data Warehousing is perhaps one of the last applications you would expect to be on the cloud. But it's not available on Amazon Web Services and AppNexus thanks to Aster Data Systems' nCluster(TM) Cloud Edition. Aster, which flies under the radar, is a provides analytic database system for frontline data warehousing. Aster is also brining Online Precision Scaling(TM) to the cloud, providing hot scalability.
IBM is complementing its WSRR (WebSphere Service Registry and Repository) tool with a new consulting group dedicated to WSRR and SOA governance. I have worked extensively with WSRR and a few WSRR developers in their Hursley lab. WSRR has lost some steam due the economy but should be a big money maker for IBM. Their current problem: a lack of expert WSRR consultants who can establish custom governance solutions at client sites. By establishing a separate practice, they should be better able to focus.
Microsoft is close to releasing SkyBox, a Web-based service that will let users store, share, and back up data from their mobile phones. The catch? Users must be running Windows Mobile 6 OS. I have tried all the mobile operating systems and I've found Windows Mobile to be the worst.
Micro-blogging site Tumblr is readying enterprise Web Services.  No timeline or specifics were offered.  Tumblr is also working paid subscription services.  Good luck with that -- I do not think paid anything with micro-blogging is going to become popular.
Amazon has made public its Flexible Payments Service (FPS).  Amazon takes a set fee along with a cut of the transaction amount, which differs upon on the amount and payment method.  For example, Amazon charges 30 cents and a 2.9% cut on credit card transactions greater than or equal to $10 USD.  If you sign up before March 15 and launch your applications by June 1, you can take advantage of free payment processing for the first 90 days or $500,000 transaction volume.  Amazon provices a FPS Sandbox to build and test applications without using real money or incurring any transaction charges.
CNNMoney should change Jon Fortt's tagline from senior writer to glorified writer.   Fortt minimized Google as "a glorified advertising service" in a CNNMoney article on Web Services.   Fortt is another example of the mainstream's lack of knowledge on Web Services.
Pressured by Daum and Naver, Google and Yahoo are merging their Korean Web Services. Map service traffic comparison for a recent week: Daum: 2.5 million visitors, Yahoo: 530,000, Google a distant third. It will take more than this for Google and Yahoo to gain market share in Korea. Daum's image quality is simply superior and their interface is preferred by the local market.
Microsoft brought out McDonalds to demonstrate "Real World SOA" as part of last week's SOA and Business Process Conference.  The noteworthy aspect is  McDonalds use of Oslo, Microsoft's forthcoming modeling platform.  Chevron, also represented at the conference as "Real World SOA", is also interesting in using Oslo.   The major customer benefit of Oslo as described by Microsoft?   Productivity - thanks to Oslo's visual modeling tools.
Amazon, to the detriment of their Web Services, has been overly secretive of AWS revenue. They list revenue is a category called "other." Their 2008 "other" revenue was $542 million, up 42% from 2007. Analysts are noticing. The first question in last week's conference call was enterprise adoption, but Amazon replied only "We think this is a very significant and meaningful opportunity over time for enterprise level customers." This is not an acceptable answer for a public company. Worse, it could hurt AWS growth, since companies follow each other. AWS is largely used by startups and research groups. The real money is gaining adoption from enterprise (beyond the like sof Woot).
Websense has acquired Defensio, which provides Web services that deletes spam comments from blogs (including comments containing links to malware). It's a good move by Websense. They were the must product to buy a few years ago and have generally remained far ahead of the competition. An acquisition such as this is overdue but helps keep Websense as the premier vendor (vs Blue Coat, Secure Computing, etc.)
The intellectual property of reputation management vendor Opinity (an "ahead of times" startup which ran out of money in 2007) has been acquired by Purewire. Opinity verifies personal profiles on social networks such as Facebook. It allows other users to post feedback about the credibility of a person's online identity. Purewire's Web Security-as-a-Service protects corporate data servers from security threats. Purewire will use Opinity's software to help distinguish between real and malicious users.   This is a smart move by Purewire.  Opinity is a good concept, but I can forsee too many ways to create false negatives.
The International Cloud Computing Conference and Expo East will be held at the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC from March 30 - April 1, 2009.   Early bird prices end January 30 and provide a sizable discount over onsite prices. Werner Vogels of Amazon keynotes. This conference is a great networking event for those interested in expanding their SOA network.
Ease of use is a major roadblock to greater Amazon S3 adoption. Amazon has not placed nearly enough emphasis on developing user friendly Web Service clients to access their web services.  Some companies are filling in the gaps.  For example, an independent company sells BucketExplorer which greatly simplifies using Amazon's S3 service.  With BucketExplorer, one can be up and running with Amazon's S3 service quickly.
Verizon is introducing a VoIP phone with a touch screen that can access Web Service based widgets. Although we live in a world where people will buy The Snuggie, I do not see a mass market for this. Consumers want a smart phone or a tablet -- this immobile device has a form factor somewhere in the middle with a phone dock.  Verizon should stick with hooking the country up with FIOS.
It's been around 13 years since I've used Tuxedo, Encina, or CICS.  You don't hear much about the old school C/C++ transaction monitors these days.  Oracle upgraded Tuxedo this week with tighter Fusion integration, stronger support for mainframe-to-SOA transactions and support for SCA. Mike Piech, Senior Director of Oracle Fusion Middleware Product Marketing said. “These latest upgrades are intended to demonstrate that Tuxedo will be a very strategic platform for Oracle in supporting end-to-end environments that use C, C++ and COBOL, no bones about it”
The latest Vendor Matrix released by ABI Research ranks IBM as the top SOA vendor, with SAP and Microsoft coming in second and third respectively. But does the matrix make any sense? Clearly, IBM is the market leader for SOA enterprise software. But how you leave Amazon off the list?  Or rate SAP above  Both clear leaders in SOA and are revolutionizing cloud computing with new business models.
After three dismal weeks, SOA business activity finally picked up this week. Correspondence to KPI, along with other industry checks I conducted, show consultants are being contacted with higher frequency. Budgets are being set and staffing for 2009 projects are underway.  In addition, ompanies are making a point to keep their top talent, meaning the productivity:rate/salary ratios should become more aligned with reality.  Smart companies are taking away top talent from organizations making the Management 101 mistake of across the board pay freezes and cuts.
Microsoft will debut SkyBox, SkyLine and SkyMarket next month at MWC along with Windows Mobile 6.5. SkyBox (like MobileMe) syncs a phone's info to the cloud. SkyLine = SkyBox with Exchange support and SkyMarket == Apple's App store. These codenames will probably be replaced by the Live brand.  Microsoft is doing their best to play catch up in the SOA world, but they are far behind Apple in the smartphone space and Amazon in the software space.
Lycos Europe has ended the Tripod Europe Web Service. Some sites are incorrectly reporting that Lycos was shutting down Tripod. This simply is not true (confirmed by Lycos). Lycos and Lycos Europe are separate entities. Lycos, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daum Communications, Corp. Lycos Europe is owned by Telefonica.  Lycos Tripod is still up and running.
Google is ending development on Twitter knockoff Jaiku. However, they are open-sourcing Jaiku and including it in Google App Engine, Google's platform for scalable Web services. Also gone: Mashup Editor (made obsolete by Google App Engine) and These are all good moves by Google. They have too many projects which do not receive enough development attention.
We are now on Twitter (it's a preview of our new look).  If any readers are looking for SOA positions, I have a few customers that are looking for consultants and/or fulltime. DataPower gurus are especially in demand. My email is available here, but replace "contact" with gary for the e-mail. In the near future, we will be doing a small redesign. The site will remain ad free.