Time and again I've praised (or eulogized) DayJet, the radically innovative but now out-of-business air taxi company based in Florida. And I've praised VMware, the still-in-business California company that lets you run Windows and Mac software seamlessly side-by-side on a Mac.
Now it turns out that one of VMware's main backers is... preparing to invest in the software from DayJet!
In my Atlantic article on DayJet earlier this year, I emphasized that it was, in its founders' view, a software company that happened to operate airplanes. That is, its real strength lay in the sophisticated algorithms for matching airplanes, passengers, pilots, and destinations. The weakness was the real-world big-ticket cost of the airplanes, which brought the firm down when the credit crisis began.
Paul Maritz, a Microsoft veteran who is now CEO of VMware, is according to this TechFlash report, interested in DayJet Technologies, a spin-off company designed to apply the DayJet systems elsewhere As the TechFlash story said:
There are some interesting clues as to why Maritz and others in the technology industry are excited about DayJet.
Georgia Tech professor George Nemhauser, who helped develop DayJet's technology, said via phone that the system could help airlines, trucking firms and other transportation companies plan more-efficient routes between locations. Or, he said, it could be used by government agencies to plan evacuation routes during public emergencies. The original promise of the DayJet airline, he said, was to allow travelers to book flights when they wanted them rather than relying on an airline's set schedule.
"The whole idea is disruption technology," said Nemhauser. "You get a plan for something, and then a disruption occurs -- weather or something else -- and you have to make a new plan very quickly."