Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bada could help Samsung gain 5% of market share by 2010-11

Samsung’s newly introduced software platform the OS, Bada, which is expected to be unveiled on 8-Dec in London is expected to be used in most of its low end feature phone. It is expected that close to 50% of these feature phones will be running Bada within 12-18 months.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Motorola: 1.8 million Droids and 2.25 million Android in Q4-09

While the Droid is not yet the iPhone killer many had hoped for, its success has been far greater than what Motorola would have hoped. There are quite clear indications that the Droid will exceed the earlier conservative forecast of one million phones by 80%.

Competition in the Cloud: Oracle working on a cloud platform

Since Sep-2008 Oracle has had a partnership Amazon where customers can license Oracle's Database, Fusion Middleware and the Enterprise Manager on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). While this is the first partnership, more can be expected in the future.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Bing Maps a good start but a long distance away from Google Maps

While the new Bing Maps has gone live it still lags Google Maps and needs to do a lot before it catches up with the Google Maps.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BlackBerry : Consumers and not the Enterprise will support it in its battle against the iPhone

It has been subtle but a significant change none the less that BlackBerry in India has been airing ads on the radio targeting college students, telling them how it could help them take on the questions from their teachers, while sharing pictures of their pets and staying connected via Facebook and chat. The same theme is also driven in the point of sale (POS) material promoting the BlackBerry brand in general and the Curve 8520 in specific.

SAP's Plan: Overtake salesforce.com by 2012

As per the analyst report published by Santander, the key takeaways from  an SAP roadshow in Iberia was that Cloud computing was the "next big thing" for SAP. Finally we have someone other than salesforce.com in the legacy enterprise apps space who is a convert to cloud computing. SAP, better late than never.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Google Search: Looks Good

We tried out the new Google search and our first reaction is that we like it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

91% of users just dont get the Google Wave

Following a recent post about older men using Google wave  we went about trying to know a bit more about the kind of people who use the Google Wave. So an email was sent out to 317 Google Wave users asking them a simple question. You have been using the Google wave for at least a few days, do you get it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Microsoft CEO to leave at end of year, says NYTimes

It was really interesting to see the NY Times breaking the news that the Microsoft CEO was planning to leave at the end of the year

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Linkedin + Blogs or Facebook + Blogs: The next thing in Blogs

As Twitter grew approximately 10x from 5+ million in 2008 end to a current number of 50+ million users, it seemed that all interest had turned towards microblogging, while the bloggers did not seem interesting enough.

PowerPoint Twitter tool: SAP has been busy with Enterprise 2.0

It’s funny to hear that SAP launched a free PowerPoint Twitter tool. Is it a reflection what best they could do in the area of social collaboration? While we know that SAP and Microsoft have aligned, the PowerPoint Twitter tool would have looked better coming from Microsoft.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chrome OS: Multimedia entertainment disappoints

This is in continuation of my earlier post exploring the Chrome OS. While my earlier post focused on just using the browser., this post focuses on the multimedia experience the Chrome OS could provide us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Trouble for iPhones in India, Vodafone stopped selling iPhones in India

Visited an iStore and found from the store employees that Vodafone has no longer been selling the iPhone in India for the last 6 months. Sounds strange but then that's what they say. Is this an indication of how bad it is for the iPhone in India?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chrome OS is different, yet a market share of even 10% by 2013 is a challenge

Its Google, so its no surprise that the buzz created by the Chrome OS is amazing. However this is a lot of noise while the underlying message is weak at best.

Friday, November 20, 2009

While SAP needs a Microsoft, talks of acquisition in premature

While a lot of the analysts were busy following Google's Chrome OS, the Microsoft and SAP arrangement to take on Oracle hardly created a buzz.

iPhone in India: Pay in advance, wait for a day or two before you get it

Apple's, iPhone is not selling well in India. It currently sells via Airtel and Vodafone. It appears that the operators are not interested in selling the iPhone and are pushing through other channels.

Twitter said Hello, Bharti Airtel: Indian tweeters still to pick up the phone

Twitter said Hello, Bharti Airtel and the 110 million subscribers of Airtel in India could tweet via sending an SMS.

With even some of the 110 million subscribers tweeting, the Twitter traffic via could add up but then dipstick discussions with some indicate that the impact of the tie up with Twitter has been minimal at best for Airtel.

A buzz was created and the brand awareness of Twitter in India went up a many notches. Airtel had something nice to talk about albeit something small. Airtel! Poor guys they are going through a rough patch, the deal with MTN falling through and then getting battered by the 1 paisa per second tariffs.

While these are initial days and thing will keep picking up as we go along but then it is not expected to be something huge.

1 paisa = 0.01 INR = $0.0002 ( $ = 46 INR) ==> Tariff of $0.01 per second

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SAP Business By Design(BBD), a flawed design till the time success is seen

In 2003, SAP launched Business By Design (BBD), to offer a SaaS to SMB.

BBD is a part of the SAP SaaS portfolio and offers BI, CRM, SCM along with carbon management from the recent Clear Standards acquisition. BBD has been in the market since 2007 and has 80 customers compared to the 6700+ customers of Salesforce.com.

Inpsite of the new version of BBD, its failure is not only getting noticed but also highlighted. Marc Benioff in the Q3-09 Salesforce.com commented on SAP’s long absence

while license deals report a long list of wins against SAP, once again as I mentioned in last quarter’s script I don’t know whether it is through their own operational performance or their position to not participate in the Salesforce automation or customer service markets, they remain largely invisible on our market space.

IE9 cannot help, Firefox will overtake Internet Explorer in 2010

Q3-2009 saw a growth in PC shipments, as against the forecast of negative growth. Microsoft would be really happy to see the pent up replacement demand playing out. Windows 7 is believed to one of the drivers of the replacement demand which is expected to play out in 2010.

While Microsoft and the Windows 7 team would be happy with this development, the IE team would be seriously worried. IE The replacement demand i.e. enterprise demand would mean IE7 gets phased out.The IE share of late 50s is under serious threat.

Based on a US dip stick we estimate that close to 80% of the PC's to be replaced are still operating on IE6 and IE7. Based on the same dip stick we estimate that close to 55% of the replacement PC's would shift to a browser other than the IE. This 45% drop in share in the replacement PC's would translate into around 10-12% drop while another drop of 5-7% would be contributed by the ongoing momentum of Firefox, Chrome et al

The announcement by Microsoft that it started work on IE9 a few weeks does not seem to be very encouraging. IE9 at best claims to narrow the gap between IE8 and the modern browsers.

Firefox is believed to have overtaken IE in some European countries, this trend will play out in the rest of the globe.

Salesforce Chatter at fifty bucks is steep

Gartner has predicted that Enterprise 2.0 / social collaboration & computing in the enterprise as one of the top 10 strategic technologies for 2010.The launch of Chatter by Salesforce.com at the Dreamforce 09 is instance of the Gartner prediction unfolding.

However, if one really looks at the demo video, the Chatter is not something which would really excite us.It just brings in Facebook and Twitter type content and applications as profile feeds and applications in an enterprise cloud environment. The Chatter is a disappointment in the context of Marc Benioff's remarks during the Q3-10 call.
I am willing to kind of put my reputation on the line here on this call to say that by the end of the keynote tomorrow if these customers aren’t shooting out of their seats then something is really wrong over the past year creating this product.

The concept of Chatter is not a game changer as Marc suggests, it just enhances Salesforce's competitive position against other suppliers of social / collaborative apps in the enterprise. 

Chatter Edition for $50 per user per month and will include Salesforce Chatter, Salesforce Content and Force.com and looks fairly steep in the current environment. $600 per user for primarily Facebook and Twitter; good luck to Chatter users.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John Biggs broke the Google Phone story on TechCrunch(14/11/9), not Michael Arrington

John Biggs not Michael Arrington broke the new about the Google Phone on 14-Nov on TechCrunch. I am not sure why Michael is taking the credit 3 days later. Doesn’t Michael talk to John ? Michael was blatant about it while John was subtle and did not take any names.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IBM changes it view on cloud computing: Is Rackspace an acquisition target?

IBM had no plans to provide storage or providing cloud computing services as they were perceived to be low margin. However, this view is believed to have changed and IBM now believes that providing basic infrastructure as a service could be lucrative.

The ambivalent opinion towards cloud computing has led to a situation where IBM is perceived by analysts to be lagged behind in cloud services, but still has the opportunity to take advantage of the cloud computing.

On the other hand Racksapce, which competes with Amazon.com, Joyent and GoGrid in the cloud market, has been faring well against rivals, and has increased it competitiveness in 2009 and is gaining share. Rackspace has been able to close the gap with Amazon.com which used to be  far ahead.

Rackspace is second to Amazon.com in the Infrastructure-as-a-service market. It has about 130K applications supported on its Platform as-a-service offering. It has about 1.2M  enterprise users for its hosted e-mail service, which puts it ahead of Google.

Additionally  Rackspace is well entrenched in the SMB market and is growing fast in the enterprise market.

IBM could definitely leverage Racksapce's strength to shed the laggard tag in the storage and cloud computing services market.

Carrying out such a transaction could be relatively simpler as Rackspace is a closely held company with more than half of the share be held by company insiders. While Sequoia Capital has distributed its 10% stake in Rackspace, venture capitals also control a reasonable stake in the company

Apple needs to get its iPhone act together in India & China by H1-2010

While most of the press has devoted its attention on the 30K phones sold in China, one must not forget that it has sold not more than 55k phones in India in the last 12 months.

China and India are important as they are among the only large handset markets which are growing. Globlally handset markets are declining though the smartphone category of the overall market is growing.

It is expected that Apple would have finalized a partnership with Verizon by 2010. It is entry in most large markets would be complete by 2010. Most of the other markets where the iPhone has a 4-6% market share would move up to a 10% market share with the addition of second operator. All these actions would play out in 2010 and early 2011 and provide it with its expected growth.

However the issue is, what next? Where will the next driver for grwith be?

This is when China and India will really start to matter.

Inspite of great enthusiasm for the iPhone ( 2 million + phones in the grey market) the low volumes for the iPhone in China and India have been blamed on the price by many analysts. However, the real issue is the distribution of iPhones by Apple and a disregard of the power of the operator in the two markets.

While an AT&T would bend backwards and go out of its way to please Apple and subsidize its handset, Bharti Airtel or Vodafone in India could care less. They are in the business of selling mobile phone connections and not handsets and will definitely not subsidize the iPhone.

Additionally the iStores and the operator stores don't have the reach to distribute the iPhone in such a large market.

RIM in India learnt these lessons in 2009 and started selling unlocked phones via its distributor, Redington.

Apple has less than 12 months to sort these issues, Andriod is already there and Windows Mobile 7 is coming by end of 2007. Both of them would be driven aggressively by HTC who is much stronger in Asia compared to Apple. Dell would also make the Chinese market competitive. Lastly who can ignore Nokia in China and India.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is ReadWriteWeb going towards paid content

GigaOM started the trend of tech blogs offering paid content with its GigaOM Pro.

I am an avid reader of ReadWriteWeb and was fine with filling out a visitor profile survey offered to me today. The question regarding the likeliness of paying for online news in the next 30 days caught my attention

If ReadWriteWeb really wants to follow the path taken to note, it is interesting to note that it does not consider GigaOM to be a competing blog, worth mentioning.

Globally, Governments will be largest cloud computing end user segment

Salesforce is the largest pure-play cloud computing provider. It believes that Japan is the biggest opportunity outside of the US. Its key reference customers not just in Japan but globally are governmental agencies. METI Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Japan Post are aomng the larger customers of Salesforce.com

Google's win at the LA City council, New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, city of Canton, Georgia, the school district in Palm Beach County, Florida , the city of Orlando indicate that the local governmental organization in the face of budget cuts would be quite open to cloud services.

The adoption by governmental organizations would allay concerns around security and drive adoption by the enterprise.

While Governments will be lead adopters, they will be overtaken by private enterprise once cloud computing becomes mainstream.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mini 3 could give Dell a 1% share in smartphones by 2010

While Dell's Android based, Mini 3 has been criticized on the grounds that it cannot stand out in a crowded market and is an also-ran product.

The innovation by Ron Garriques and Dell does not lie in the phone. The innovation is in the strategy.

The strategy leverages the relation with a large operator to enter Chinese the market rather than following the traditional route of a US focused launch. Dell would be the first smart phone manufacturer to acknowledge the influence China would exert on the global smart phone market by 2015.

The global smart phone market for 2010 is expected to be around 235 million of which China is expected to contribute 30 million.

We estimate that the distribution reach offered by China Mobile, would give it a 5.5% market of the Chinese, translating into 0.7% share in the global market. America Movil's, Claro could add another 0.05% in Brazil.

The remaining 0.25% market share could be achieved by by leveraging the agreements Dell has with lots of other operators like Vodafone in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The 1% share could be achieved by mid of 2010.

While the US or global launch has not been accounted for, success in China could build momentum and drive Dell to to a market share of close to 3% making it the 5th largest smart phone manufacturer.

This is the first time that an entry into the global smart phone market has been attempted outside the traditional US and European markets. It would be interesting to see as to how the strategy unfolds

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cloud computing is here: MS Office 2007 sells for $10, yet small business are moving to Google docs

MS Office sells for $20, if not for $15 (depending on your negotiatiing skills), if not for free (if have to buy hardware from the seller and have been a regular customer). I know people int the US other parts of the western world may be feeling cheated, but that's the way in India. I am sure China would not be very different.

These are not some survey findings but I had a casual conversation with  47 small business owners. Small business for the purpose of this post is defined as business owning 5 computers or less.

The results of my conversations were, 6 out of the 47 had transitioned from pirated MS Office to Google docs in the last 3 months.

Its interesting that a free Google docs with limited features and functionality and an environment of limited  and costly bandwidth sees a pull from small businesses.

I wonder what would be the scenario when Google docs are enterprise ready by next year as as promised by Dave Girouard.

The cloud is here, and Microsoft needs to be ready for some dark days ahead.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Apple will overtake Nokia's smartphone market share by 2011; RIM needs to be wary of HTC

While Apple has already overtaken Nokia in operating profits, the next milestone we need to look at is when Apple will overtake Nokia in terms of smartphone market share.

As per Gartner, in Q3-09, Nokia had a market share of 39.3% while Apple had a market share of 17.1%

By the end of 2010 or 2011 Nokia’s market share would fall to below 30%. Half of the fall of close to 10% in market share would be taken by Apple. Most of the remaining 5% would be taken away mostly by Google’s Android based phones and partly by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 7 phones due for a launch in Q4-2010

For Apple to overtake Nokia it would need to add close to 13% market share. The gains would be driven by Apple taking 5% share away from Nokia, another 4% share would be added by new operators and markets. Another 4% will be achieved by lowering of price points and increased adoption of the iPhone in the next 15-18 months

While RIM with a market share of 20.8% in Q3-09 maintains that it would be able to handle the challenge from the iPhone, the reality is otherwise. It seems highly like that RIM will hang on and maintain its current market share, while Apple should be able to overtake it just by sheer momentum.

HTC with a market share of 6.5% is the real threat to RIM. Very soon HTC will be breathing down the neck of RIM. HTC is riding on two boats, Android and windows Mobile. The initial success of Android coupled with the launch of Windows Mobile 7 in Q4-2010 would take its market share closer to 10%, if not higher. Additionally HTC would feel more at home in the Asian emerging markets as compared to RIM

Microsoft Project to lose Oracle as its customer

While it has be more than a year that Oracle acquired Primavera, but till date Oracle staff continue to use Microsoft Project for internal project management.

Facing cost pressures, there are indications that this may change from 2010 and Oracle staff will transition to Primavera for their internal project management needs and thus save Oracle some millions in the license fee they pay to Microsoft

It took a long time coming but the change is expected to come in effect from 2010

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Salesforce at the cross road: Acquire or get Acquired

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce presenting  at Oracle Open World was in some sense an indication of the change that we will see in the Enterprise Application space. Salesforce had to actually asked if  Marc Benioff could present at the Oracle Open World, but then nearly half  Salesforce’s API are for SAP and Oracle

The environment which appears quite favorable to the cloud computing services on offer will drive the slow and steady decline will of Oracle & SAP. Oracle with close around $100 million on-demand CRM business can no longer ignore the billion dollar Salesforce in the on demand segment and SAAS.

Oracle and SAP will find it hard to compete with Salesforce on speed and cost. Developing on Salesforce is at least four times as productive and faster than traditional development environments.

Oracle with is Fusion release will go all the way to muscles out Salesforce. For Salesforce to sustain it must gain scale. One of the ways to acheiving scale would be to either acquire or get acquired.

IBM could surely be interested in Salesforce, given Larry Ellison's call that its IBM and not SAP that the want to go after.

Alternatively Salesforce could stay independent and muscle up with bolt on acquisitions.

The probabilities for Salesforce to get acquired would increase once it moves into the 2-4 billion range. Till that time Salesforce can survive independently. 

Google Wireless Service in India

Eric Schmidts recent comment that five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content is an indication of the center of gravity of the internet moving away from the western world to emerging countries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Android has an easy ride for the next 12 months

Motorola, Verizon and Google must surely be celebration the initial success of  the Andriod platform based Droid.

However, while celebrating their respective successes they must not forget that it cant get easier than this. It seems all are desperate to hang on to anyone who even makes a feeble attempt to take on the iPhone. Remember the initial euphoria surrounding the Palm Pre, which sounded quite similar to one currently surrounding the Droid. Though the euphoria sounds a bit more credible as it backed by the muscle of Google.

All smart phone manufacturers are operating in a space which is either dominated by the iPhone or filled with passive participants, a bleeding competitor or a niche player

Passive Participants:-
  • Too passive to be called competitors
  • Nokia the global market leader can at best be decribed as a passive participant in the smartphone segment. 
  • Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG are associated more with feature phones than with smartphones.
Bleeding Competitor:-
  • Palm has been bleeding since the past many quarters. Its ability to compete in the long run is questionable
  • Motorola too would have been a question mark had it not been for the Droid.
Niche Player
  • RIM with its Blackberry is solid in its own niche but not strong enough to take on the iPhone
The industry structure has left an open space for someone viable to come and take on the cult of Apple. Andriod appears to be the only viable alternative at this point in time and has the might of Google backing.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 could have presented an another viable alternate to the iPhone but then the Windows Mobile 7 launch slated for Q3-10, not accounting for any delays gives an easy ride to Android for the next 12 months.

Will Win Mo regain ground lost to the Android in the next 12 months remains to be seen

Twitter needs local Operators in emerging countries

Its been some time, but in our post dated 20-Jun-09 we had clearly said
"Partner – partner with handset manufacturers and operators."
We have seen this partnership happen first in India and then followed by Indonesia.

India and Indonesia are markets where low end mobile handset penetration is higher than internet penetrations. Twitter to enter these markets needs to create a non-internet driven channel which will help users connect to Twitter with their low priced non-GPRS enabled handsets. SMS's are an appropriate channel but then they require partnerships with the local operators.

Twitter has entered a partnership with Bharti Airtel and AXIS in India and Indonesia respectively. Interesting to note that while Airtel is the largest operator in India, AXIS is among the smallest yet fastest growing operators in Indonesia.

This shows that operators both large and small are interested in Twitter. We foresee lot many tie ups between Twitter and operators. We are even betting that they may be countries in the ASEAN region.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Google Wave is for Older Men

Google Wave has been touted as “What Might Email Look Like If It Were Invented Today”

However, initial evidence shows that it is far from being accepted by the mainstream even though it was invented today.

The initial demographics as measured by Quantcast show that the Google Wave is currently used by Older Men

The initial assessment on the demographics need to keep in mind that adoption of the Google Wave is controlled via invites.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Misson Accomplished: Carol Bartz's future at Yahoo

Carol's key deliverable included consummating a search deal with Microsoft.

While working to getting the deal done, she has worked towards getting Yahoo to be more efficient as an operational unit.

Her performance on her key deliverable at best can be called average if not distinctly below average. There was no boatload of money.

It would be interesting to get to know her agenda for the rest of her contracted tenure which ends on 31-Dec-2012. While she has publicly maintained that she would continue with Yahoo at least till her tenure ends.

Given that she came to Yahoo, because it "frankly could use a little management" and that a person like Carol Bartz need not wait till 31-Dec-2012 to give Yahoo a little management, it would be interesting to observe the next steps. Am not sure if Yahoo desires more of her at best average management of Yahoo search.

The next steps will not take long.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Have money will acquire

In the current environment cash is dear and companies are cheap. Companies with serious cash sitting on their balance sheets are going to extract their pound of flesh.

All companies like IBM, Oracle, SAP etc with significant cash on their balance have made a few acquisitions. Microsoft is working on a deal with Yahoo.

We can expect an acquisition by Dell and Google before the end of this year or early next year

Update: Apple flexing its muscle

  1. Update: Apple Is Growing Rotten To The Core: Official Google Voice App Blocked From App Store
  2. Microsoft Changes 'Laptop Hunters' Ad After Apple Complains
  3. Chinese engineer kills self over lost '4G' iPhone
  4. Why Is Google Latitude A Web App And Not A Native App? Because Apple Said So.
  5. Apple has 91% of market for $1,000+ PCs, says NPD

Monday, July 27, 2009

The power of Twitter

Twitter is banned/ controlled/ restricted by
  1. Iran
  2. China
  3. White House (USA)
Irrespective of the nature of governments, all need to figure out ways to handle the tweets from Twitter.

Microsoft Yahoo deal

The deal is expected this week! It appears that the poor quarterly earning pushed both sides to get it done.

At the time of the launch of Bing, Steve Ballmer had indicated that he was willing to invest 5-10% of Microsoft's operating income on search within the next five years.

The 5-10% of operating income translating into $5.5 -$11 billion would give us the size of the transaction deal. Additionally the investment to be made over a five year period would corroborate the indications that Yahoo may not get a huge upfront payment and it would be a revenue sharing deal.

As for the transaction value, Microsoft would not only consider the revenue impact to Yahoo, it would also consider the savings to operational costs for Yahoo.

Carol Bartz on the other hand would be looking for boat loads of cash.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trying out the new Yahoo homepage

I know it’s a bit late, but then I tried out the new Yahoo homepage this weekend
To say the least I was really surprised because I had read, Carol Bartz referring to a wow experience. I had also read Yahoo Finally Rolls Out New Homepage to the Masses–and, Drum Roll, It’s Good

I was left wondering how anyone could use descriptions like wow, its good. I am not sure if they had the time to even go through the homepage.

Some of the things which I noticed or I should say things I could not help noticing.
  1. The homepage looks new. That’s the best I can describe it as
  2. Once you try to sign in. It takes you to a page which looks as if it was designed decades ago.
  3. In My Favorites - I configured Gmail and clicked on the preview, it gave a message to the effect that it could not connect to Gmail
  4. When I tried for the second time, I could seem emails on the preview pane and when I clicked on it, it took me to a page which said something of the effect of link not found.
  5. I didn’t give up, I hit the back button and I tried once more, it took me to the home page of Google.
  6. Another back button and tired once more. I go to the login page of Gmail. I was left wondering. I should have been taken to the inbox of Gmail as I had already provided my login details
Whatever! I gave it up.

If I had heard more realistic views on the new homepage, I would not have tried the new page.

I hope Yahoo! does better for itself by not coming out with half-baked products.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Apple flexing its muscle

While the Apple cult has been built on a legacy of successful products like Mac, iPod et al, however it is the success of it iPhone which has given it a muscle which it never had. These headlines surely makes on feel that Apple is now really flexing its newly acquired muscles
  1. Microsoft Changes 'Laptop Hunters' Ad After Apple Complains
  2. Chinese engineer kills self over lost '4G' iPhone
  3. Why Is Google Latitude A Web App And Not A Native App? Because Apple Said So.
  4. Apple has 91% of market for $1,000+ PCs, says NPD

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Yahoo Board Meeting

I was expecting an announcement around the earnings of Microsoft and Yahoo. While there was no announcement, there was news that a Yahoo board meeting to consider the deal would take place.

The timing of the board meeting is significant, hours after the Microsoft earnings call. Seems that the bad numbers pushed both back to the negotiating table.

Even though some members of the Yahoo board are not in favor of the deal, the deal for all practical purposes is a done deal unless something really blows up at the last steps.

While we have Carl Icahn pushing Carol for a deal, this time around both the boards will be a bit more pragmatic when it comes to valuations.

While the deal is being discussed it would be interesting to see if Microsoft and Yahoo face in regulatory hurdles on the way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Microsoft & Yahoo Deal: For the Yahoo search trenches

For the Yahoo search trenches
  1. It’s confusing & distracting
  2. Its seems as if a PAUSE button has been hit in Yahoo search
  3. The rank and file losing patience
  4. Lets get on with it once for all

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


We are now hearing a bout GDrive....

Apps a typical computing user
  1. Operating system - Chrome OS
  2. File storage - GDrive (speculation)
  3. Docs - Google Docs
  4. Browsing - Chrome
  5. Email & IM - Gmail, Gtalk and now the Wave
  6. Photos - Flickr
  7. Socials - Blogging - Blogger
  8. Google Apps
  9. Music - ???? - Waiting for Google to unveil the GTunes
I wonder when we hear of a GTunes from Google?

Microsoft & Yahoo earnings (cont'd)

I was expecting something on the deal during Yahoo's earning call. While Carol avoided any direct mention but then she wanted to give kudos to Microsoft for Bing. Well it couldn’t have been more direct.
Now coming to Microsoft's earning call, Microsoft's result will decide what they say about Yahoo. Results from Microsoft meet or beat expectation, little or no comment on Yahoo. Results disappoint, be ready to hear something positive about Yahoo and most analysts believe Microsoft may disappoint.
Ballmer saying something nice about the Yahoo home page would be a nice way to acknowledge Carol's complements on Bing

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Microsoft & Yahoo earnings

While not a lot is expected on the earnings front.

We will hear something on the deal between the two.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Microsoft's code to Linux

Microsoft's submission of source code to the Linux kernel is part of a growing realization of that it can not longer dominate on either the server or the desktop.

Credit for this success does not prove anything about the strength of Linux. It just shows the strength of trends which are drivings developments around the cloud and virtualization.

While Microsoft may not be able to dominate, it sure is trying to make the best of the trends of virtualization and the cloud and use this source code as differentiators in its competition against WMware.

Twitter, forget Facebook, unlimited opportunities in Africa, India and other markets

Twitter is very worried about Facebook as among other things it can make SMS status updates more available. Reading about SMS updates made me wonder about the differences in the mobile web experience across geographies.

While users in the USA and Europe get the mobile web experience via high end phones which run apps with various features and functionality it is not so in Africa, India and other developing economies of the world. Africa and India which are typically low end handsets markets where SMS’s are used to create the mobile web experience.

While the worries of Twitter about Facebook may or may not come true in the US, it needs to look outside the US for opportunities to ensure that it stays relevant and its not copied and then beaten by companies like Facebook which have a bigger muscle.

However for Twitter to leverage this opportunity before an African Twitter comes up it needs to do the following
  1. Organizational ramp up – a company with 70 odd can forget about Africa and India
  2. Product design – support for languages, English and related scripts would not work in India
  3. Partner – partner with handset manufacturers and operators.
Google already has announced plans for Africa.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Google the silver lining in the clouds surrounding Yahoo!

In the recent months it had become quite clear that a deal with Microsoft was very important for the long term sustainability for Yahoo! However Microsoft with its bravado around Bing positioned itself to be cool towards the deal.

It seems that the attack from Google on Microsoft is having its desired effect. It appears that Ballmer is ducking for cover and rushing to the negotiation table with Yahoo!.

In my post on 11-June i had predicted that the Yahoo, Microsoft deal would be done in 2009, it appears that the pressure from Google could make Microsoft do the deal a bit sooner.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Priorities for Yahoo

  1. Its about execution and not vision
  2. Integrate different parts of things folks do online
  3. Mobile web is important, period.
  4. Mobile web - Hi end phones - Killer apps which provide features and functionality
  5. Mobile phone - Low end phones - Integrate sms+mobile experience to provide an online experience on the PC
  6. While we wait to see what happens with Microsoft, Search to help navigate better in Yahoo
  7. Front page is huge

Friday, July 3, 2009

Competition to Twitter

Success leads to competition. Twitter is successful. OK if not successful it is buzzing. No one can deny that.

Then why is there no clear competitor to Twitter. Facebook changes privacy control, still its not a Twitter.

I am surprised, its uncommon to see success without any real competition ....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Binging the Tweets, a pleasant surprise

While I admittedly have not been a great fan of Bing, I do concede that including Tweets in search results can be a potential game changer. It could spell a greater challenge to the concept of searching information via a huge cache of indexed pages

While Google could easily pull a switch and include real time content in it search results, but then this is the first time when Google will be seen catching up on innovation. 

Historically Microsoft's definition of innovation has been copying competitors and coming out with something better. I guess this time Google may have to follow Microsoft model of innovation

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Android vs Windows

I had discussed battle front of Android vs Windows in the fight between Microsoft and Google on 25-Jun.

I was surprised to hear about the move by Nokia to offer an Android netbook in 2010 on 26-Jun. While I had imagined the Android vs windows battle to be long drawn and fought sometime in this future, this announcement confirms the accpetance of Android as a platform by various netbook vendors.

I now believe that this battle does not lie ahead in the long term future, the danger for Windows from Adroid is clear and present.

Oracle moving to the cloud?

I had alluded in my post on 18-Jun about a reorg at Oracle the apps. This has been confirmed by Rueters on 24-Jun.

I had infact sent a mail on 18-Jun to Oracle's Investor Relation seeking confirmation on Ed Abbos employment status at Oracle. There was no response from Oracle. I am still waiting for a response from Oracle.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff in an interaction (watch the video) with Om Malik of Gigaom (on 25-Jun) casually alluded to the fact that Ed Abbo was fired after their earnings call on account of declining apps license revenue (this is Marc's view)

Does the exit of Ed means that there is a change in strategy in apps at Oracle. Does this exit means a move to the cloud for Oracle apps, given that Larry has recently shown greater regard to the cloud

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Google's assault on Microsoft

While Bing and its impact on Google is a hotly discussed debated topic, it seems that Google’s attack on the business model of Microsoft is not getting adequate attention.

Operating Systems - Windows Vs Android
While Android is already available on cell phones, it is going to launch on netbook by the end of this year. While Android is to be seen in ARM netbooks, there is a possibility that Android would be launched in Atom netbooks.

MS Office vs Google Apps
As per a recently published report, Google is set to make a big push for Apps in 2010 and Google appears to be ready to make a much bigger push into third-party distribution and it getting traction with its Apps product line.

Outlook Apps Sync
Apps Sync by Google makes Exchange vulnerable.

It would be interesting to see how Microsoft reacts to these attacks of Google.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Microsoft Yahoo deal - The numbers behind it

"Our shareholders, I told them we were willing to spend 5 to 10 percent of operating income for up to five years in this business, and we feel like we can get an economic return," Ballmer told a business luncheon in Chicago, without elaborating on the timeframe.

What does Ballmer mean by search business? Is search business Bing or does it include the deal with Yahoo.

Ballmer is talking numbers!

Dell's acquisition plans

Preference for Dell's M&A plans would would be storage, software and services (decreasing order of preference).

NetApp has been touted by some as a perfect candidate for Dell.

While many analysts believe that Dell would prefer an acquisition of a storage company, a storage acquisition may impact Dell's arrangements with EMC. EMC accounts for a significant portion of Dells network storage dollars.

In software and services, Dell could attack niches in the enterprise server and storage space.

The suspects by areas include:-

CSC, CapGemini, Sapient, Perot, Syntel, Atos

Netapp, Teradata

Acer, Palm

CA, TIBCO, Salesforce.com, BMC, Citrix

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reorg:- Oracle Apps

Less than 2 years after John Wookey's departure, there seems to be news of reorg at Oracle Apps Development.

Is this a change in strategy, impact of the environment or an unknown reason like John Wookey's departure

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reasons why the Yahoo and Microsoft search deal could happen in 2009

  1. Yahoo's value as company is far less if the agreement on search did not happen.
  2. Yahoo is growing slower that overall growth.
  3. Yahoo is US centric, success in growth geographies is limited.
  4. Talent drain
  5. Carol Bartz would need to show some results for a years worth of work

Given all the talk around boat load of dollars, its just a matter of time when there is an agreement on price and the deal is consummated

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Enterprise beware:- Google Apps and Outlook can now sync

While the target of the plug between Google Apps and Outlook is clearly Microsoft, collateral damage to enterprises may be inevitable.

Lets not discuss the Microsoft, Google rivalry. It has been discussed by many.

Its the risk which organizations face with respect to the data. Its not that data is terribly secure in organizations with mobile devices, just that now it may become even more insecure.

Will Google see a back lash from the large enterprise user.

Private Beta Su.pr

Private Beta (250 Invites) - Nice touch to hype up a URL shortening service by creating an illusion of scarcity.

I used the private beta to take a look inside.

On the surface it looks just like another URL shortening service. While its track back feature does get one excited, but then is it any better than bit.ly or cl.igs

StumbleUpon users may have a different view, but then I am not a StumbleUpon user.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Update: Trying out Opera 10

I really liked Opera Turbo, it really works on different internet speeds.

On the flip side Opera 10 is in beta, but still its very unstable. It crashes, its unstable.

Google has redefined the meaning of beta.

Hadoop Summit 2009: Missing Microsoft.

Its Hadoop Summit 2009

Microsoft is working on its proprietary grid computing platform, Dryad. Still Microsoft attended the Hadoop Summit 2009.

Cut to Hadooop Summit 2009. In 2008, Microsoft purchased Powerset which creates its search index via Hadoop. Yet Microsoft has given Hadoop Summit 2009 a miss.

I wonder why????

Monday, June 8, 2009

Random Rumors around SAP

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft dismissed talk of Microsoft acquiring SAP as random rumors. Talk of IBM acquiring SAP has been discussed so may time.

SAP founders who still hold around 28% stake in the company may not want to sell off to either an IBM or a Microsoft, but their options are limited. There are certain issues which SAP has been unable to address

Geographical Gaps: While SAP has been a global leader in terms of market share, it is essentially a European company. More than half of its revenues are contributed by Europe and around 18% by Germany. It is relatively weaker against Oracle in the US. APAC’s which will be a growth driver has a limited contribution

Gaps in solution offerings: SAP’s infrastructure providers like Microsoft & Oracle are competing against it in the application space.

In SAP, did a turnaround from its organic growth strategy to an acquisitions strategy when it announced its plan to acquire Business Objects on October 7, 2007. While the turnaround has happened in it’s acquisition strategy, it’s still not as aggressive as Oracle’s and gaps in solution offerings still remain. The gaps have in fact widened

SAP’s weakness in the US would be hard to change given Oracle’s strength in the US.

So who will acquire SAP may be a random rumor, its independence in the long term does not appear to be a rumor.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reality Check for Carol Bartz: boatloads of dollar may not be coming your way sometime soon

Carol Bartz would have ideally liked some more time on her hand to dress Yahoo up and put parts of it for a sale. If the dressing down of the Yahoo team dresses Yahoo into something really nice, she may then be able to get the boatload of dollars she desires from search.

While its becoming clearer that Bing though not a Google killer at this time point may be a reality check for Carol for the search business. Bing may force her on the negotiation table with some lower expectations.

What about advertising and content.

Does Yahoo have what it takes to compete with Google on advertising. Am not sure who would be interested in taking on Google via advertising.

Content could get someone in media really interested, but then AOL & Time Warner was not a great story to go by.

Carol needs to deliver something quick or reset expectations

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bing taking share from Google

In my 6/2/2009 post, I had a view that Bing would take share from Google and not from Yahoo.

This view seems to be getting confirmed from the data published by StatCounter.

However once the dust around the launch hype settles down, it may emerge that the change in market share was temporary and and not sustainable. After the initial period of experimentation, one really needs to see how sticky the experience with Bing would be.

The marketing for Bing does not seem to be working

Microsoft is believed to be spending $80 million to $100 million on ads to help market Bing as a as serious alternative to Google.

The marketing campaings of Bing on hulu.com, NCB, MTV Networks etal does not seem to be yielding results as the interest for Bing appears to be the highest in the APAC region, followed by the EU. There appears to be hardly any interest for the Bing in the Americas.

The global web search volume for Bing in the last 7 day shows the the regional interest for Bing is highest in India. The other 9 regions among the top 10 regions are (in decreasing order of interest
  • Australia
  • China
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • Belgium
  • Hong Kong
  • Argentina
  • France
  • Switzerland

Where is the US in this list???

Steve Ballmer said that he “gulped” when he approved the marketing budget for Bing. I guess he will gulp some more seeing US missing from the list.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

eXpresso a collaborative excel application without Firefox support

I read about eXpresso's upgraded collaborative excel application and went on to check it out.

But then I could not check it out as eXpresso currently requires Internet Explorer 6.0 or later

It does not support Firefox. I just gave eXpresso a miss.

I wonder, for someone who is competing against MS Office cannot work without IE.

Is IBM vs Google a new battle to be fought via Cloudera and System S?

In the context of the Smart Grid push made by IBM, System S will be an important tool in the overall scheme of things.
Cloudera’s (Hadoop) entry in to the Smart Grid via the Tennessee Valley Authority may lead into a collision with the Big Blue

When this collision takes place, does the startup have the muscle to take on IBM? Will it seek support from its big brother Google?
Cloudera has the blessings of Eric Schmidt, but will Eric fight a battle on behalf of Cloudera against IBM?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trying out Opera 10

Downloaded the Opera 10. It may be in test but it appears to be fast. I took less than a minute to download, a minute to install and it was running.
It appears to be faster than IE, Firefox and Chrome. Would love to see some results from a speed test.
Initial impressions
  • I liked the speed.
  • I liked the interface
  • Opera Turbo appeared to work
  • Am I switching from Firefox to Opera.... lets see ... maybe not ... maybe yes
BTW this post is via the Opera 10

Could Oracle be interested in Hara?

Hara circulated a press release unveiling an Environmental and Energy Management Solution for the Post-Carbon Economy. What caught my attention about Hara was its management team which carried with itself significant experience of working with SAP and Oracle in the past

Given that in May-09, SAP was buying Clear Standards, which sells software to manage carbon emissions, energy consumption, and water use.

Oracle's play in this space includes a product, Business Activity Monitoring that manages the carbon footprint along the entire supply chain of an organization. While IBM has GreenCert, software for emissions monitoring and certification, it has also partnered with Oracle on carbon data management.

Going by Oracle's past in acquisitions, would be interested in Hara given the moves by SAP and the backgrounds of the management team of Hara. Other start-ups Planet Metrics and Carbonetworks could also be of interest to Oracle.

Not only Oracle but other enterprise vendors would be tracking the carbon management start-ups.

Redliner and the enterprise user

Finally I got around to checking out Redliner.

Redliner accelerates document collaboration and approval for:small law firms and solo practitioners;SMBs;PR professionals;newspaper, magazine and book editors; freelance writers

I am wondering if the target audience as defined by Redliner really needs such a collaborative tool and does Redliner satisfy that need

Some of my observations on the currently available technical preview with a limited preview set

  1. The interface is not very elegant and intuitive
  2. It supports text only docs. It did not see any support for charts, tables, exhibits, images. Am wondering how technical editor would use this without support of such features.
  3. Organizations would see a lot of collaboration taking place when making a presentation. It would be nice to support for ppts.
  4. How can one not talk about spreadsheets. One needs to collaborate on each cell. Wich there was a good collaboration tool.
Conceptually, Redliner is a fine start .... but then it needs to take it to the next level when it really is a productivity tool and then differentiate itself from many similar products.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bing driven by China & India not share taken by Yahoo

Google insights has interesting data on the geographic origin of web search volume for Bing

The prevailing wisdom was that Bing would take share away from Yahoo. However region interest for Bing is the highest in China followed by India, the US, UK, France, Canada, Spain, Germany and South Africa in a decreasing order of interest.

The market share for search in China is dominated by Baidu. Google is a distant second and Yahoo a distant third.

Google is leader in search in India.

So should Bing worry Google more than Yahoo

Google's G2 freebiee for developer community

I wish I could lay my hands on G2 distributed by Google at the Google I/O conference.

But then Google really needs to thank its developer community, with just one handset model out in the market (G2 expected)

The number of Android apps for just one handset speak for themselves

Android Apps available on Android Market = 168

Pricing Category # of Apps
Paid All 33
Free Communication 10
Free Entertainment 7
Free Finance 8
Free Lifestyle 11
Free Multimedia 5
Free News & Weather 8
Free Productivity 8
Free Reference 9
Free Shopping 7
Free Social 8
Free Tools 6
Free Travel 10
Free Games - Arcade & Action 12
Free Games - Brain & Puzzle 10
Free Games - Card & Casino 10
Free Games - Casual 6


Android apps available on Handango = 242

Category # of Apps
Business & professional 12
Education & Reference 46
Entertainment 134
Personal Productivity 30
Software Tools 12
Travel 8

Given the nature of apps available in the market for the Android platform it is quite apparent that the developer community is not taking the platform in the direction of a platform of apps for the enterprise.

WatchDox - Its an interesting tool

WatchDox is a tool I tested today

It is an interesting tool to manage usage and distribution of digital documents. Its a appears to be a tool meant for the enterprise user to ensure confidentiality of documents.

A caveat, it is currently in beta and lets hope we see continuous improvements.

Some of my initial observations on the tool were
  1. It took me 3 mins to upload an excel file for testing ... I thought it was bit slow .... for large enterprise documents it would be even slower
  2. I guess it might be a bit faster with an outlook plugin.... what about support for Lotus Notes via a plugin and other platforms.
  3. Am not sure if WatchDox has tested this tool with different formats. My excel file lost all formatting in the viewer.
  4. It would be interesting to know if ppt's can also be viewed well in this viewer.
It would be interesting to know the pricing models for this service.

Word Verification - Can anyone read this

I can't read this text shown for word verification.Am not sure if any other human eye can do this.
Its time google did some better end user testing