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Apple Worries Online Merchants

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Martin Burns

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User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 143

Apple's update of their search tool, Sherlock, is set to worry Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBay and other online merchants by providing automatic comparison shopping across sites.

Sherlock II - part of the upcoming OS9 release - compares prices and availability of a given product across competing sites, providing a simple aggregation service.

Naturally, the merchants are upset at the thought at being beaten at their own online game - many online merchants offering associate deals insist on exclusivity, barring aggregators from the market.

eBay are further upping the ante by objecting to Sherlock's ability to track the progress of auctions, as they have done with similar standalone sites and production such as AuctionWatch.

OS9 is the 5th sizeable upgrade to the Macintosh operating system since Apple emerged last year from the OS doldrums which Microsoft appear to be struggling in as they work towards the disappearing-over-the-horizon release of Windows 2000.

Martin Burns has been doing this stuff since Netscape 1.0 days. Starting with the communication ends that online media support, he moved back through design, HTML and server-side code. Then he got into running the whole show. These days he's working for these people as a Project Manager, and still thinks (nearly 6 years on) it's a hell of a lot better than working for a dot-com. In his Copious Free Time™, he helps out running a Cloth Nappies online store.

Amongst his favourite things is ZopeDrupal, which he uses to run his personal site. He's starting to (re)gain a sneaking regard for ECMAscript since the arrival of unobtrusive scripting.

He's been a member of since the very early days, a board member, a president, a writer and even contributed a modest amount of template code for the current site. Above all, he likes to do things because it knowingly chooses to do so, rather than randomly stumbling into them. He's also one of the boys and girls who beervolts in the UK, although the arrival of small children in his life have knocked the frequency for 6.

Most likely to ask: Why would a client pay you to do that?

Least likely to ask: Why isn't that navigation frame in Flash?

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