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

Inpsite of the new version of BBD, its failure is not only getting noticed but also highlighted. Marc Benioff in the Q3-09 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 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 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, 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 which used to be  far ahead.

Rackspace is second to 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

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.