Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuning in to Marimba

November 1996 - Kim Polese wants you to upgrade your HTML-based browser to a more interactive, more TV-like, Java-based "tuner" by the name of Castanet.

Kim Polese is the kind of person who will look you in the eye and begin a sentence "When we are all millionaires," then realize her chutzpah and add a hasty "Knock on wood." While her new company, Marimba Inc., might yet rake in millions, she's first got a riddle to solve: Can a small group of Java Shakespeares working round the clock create a more compelling platform for delivering Net-based entertainment than an army of Microsoft monkeys cranking out code at countless keyboards?

The Internet is about to under-go a new stage of evolution, one that could threaten the browser market while making the Net look a lot more like TV - TV possessed with interactivity and intelligence, of course. Recognizing the opportunity, Polese - along with Arthur van Hoff, Sami Shaio, and Jonathan Payne, all core members of Sun Microsystems' original Java team - left the corporate nest in January to form Marimba. As the software industry scrambles to take advantage of the shifting paradigm, Polese - the marketing wizard behind Java - intends to lead Marimba to the head of the pack. And if it weren't for the presence of Microsoft, she probably wouldn't need a piece of wood to knock on.


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