Monday, October 22, 2007

'E: Internal error opening cache (1)' what the hell is this??

Yet another Ubuntu problem but there is always helping hand in the form of community.Last week,I was installing Virtualbox and I cancelled it while it was downloading required packages.After that whatever I try to install from Synaptic Package Manager I encounter a message 'E:internal error opening cache(1)'.Obviously Googled and found an answer.I have edited my /var/lib/dpkg/status file (sudo gedit /var/lib/dpkg/status) to remove the entry of half-installed Virtualbox.Magically it worked and I could install everything again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

'dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem'

'dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem' Thats the message i got today, when i tried to run apt-get commands in terminal on my Ubuntu 7.0.4.This is second time for me and after upgrading my kernel this problem started.I was puzzled and started Googling.

Here is a magical command that saved me two times so far, which i got from ubuntu forums.It worked both times for me.

'sudo dpkg --configure -a && sudo apt-get -f install' run it in terminal without quotes.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Can Zune 2.0 make good no. 2 to Apple??

Microsoft may release revamped Zune for the holiday season,but many questions they need to answer.Right now, Zune boasts 10% market share in Hard drive based portable media players according to NPD.Once Zune family expands to new models and new markets like Europe it may take no.2 position easily.But that would be still distant no.2.Microsoft repeatedly failed in CE market and duds include IPTV,Tablet PC,Media center and i can add XBOX,Zune also to the list as they are not making money yet.

Windows was huge success 'coz the partners business model worked well.Microsoft tried to replicate that success to counter iPod juggernaut but backfired.Then they took Apple approach i.e. vertical business model.So far,the results are so-so.In-fact Microsoft tried to take different approach to Apple to bring social element to music,which is not received very well in the market 'coz of Zune's crippled WiFi.Even if now Microsoft come up with full fledged WiFi,still Apple is ahead as they again took initiative with iPhone and iPod touch.I wonder how Microsoft will add browsing functionality to Zune with Squircle UI.

But anti-apple voices also growing as the company becoming more like monopolistic in music by controlling end to end market.This can move away some switchers to Microsoft camp if Zune 2.0 is out of the box.This time around Microsoft taking control over manufacturing unlike Zune 1.0,when they had to depend on Toshiba's off the shelf not so appealing design.So,one can expect better industrial design with slick looks.Zune 1.0 UI was appreciated and may be some improvements will make it even better.As per content handling, may be better podcast support is must to win.Some social elements like playlist sharing and ad-hoc things will boost the appeal.

If Microsoft can not excite music fans this season,they may better search for exit route by next holiday season as marigins are dropping everyday in CE industry and it may not be good idea to burn more resources on duds.Even for XBOX also its make or break year,which already lost more than $4 billion.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"no volume control gstreamer plugins and or devices found"

Last week, i faced a bizarre sound problem on my Ubuntu 7.0.4 and all of a sudden my sound card seems disappeared.There was a red mute icon on volume control and if i click on it, it gives a message "no volume control gstreamer plugins and or devices found" .Obviously, i Googled.First i checked whether my user account got access to audio device and then i checked whether restricted codecs are installed properly.Generally, If your user account doesn't have access to audio device you may face this problem.But everything seemed OK in my case (System>Administration>Users and groups).I feared i had to install whole OS again.Luckily the following guide saved me.I reinstalled my ALSA drivers and rebooted my system.Magically it worked and happy ending.This is the third time, i faced sound problem in ubuntu and last time it was with micro phone and YouTube videos.I discussed 'ubuntu microphone problem' in one of my previous post.Hope this helps people who are in need.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Google Search in Indian Languages

Here comes Natural Language Search Engine from Google to cater Indian Languages.They are providing on screen keyboard to overcome the lack of availability of regional language keyboards.Its a welcome move by Google.As usually Google sticking with its clean home page,end user control approach and they are offering it as gadget to personalize your iGoogle.A month ago, i was trying Hindi search engine Raftaar which also provides on screen keyboard . Google India Labs also providing easy Hindi typing online tool and i guess that can be extended to other languages too in the coming days.Research Institutes like CDAC, IISc and HP Labs Bangalore working on some projects to solve regional language bridge between computers and users.

Microsoft also working with domestic Research Institutes to make it reality and they are working on a project called 'Microsoft Bhasha'.Last week IBM also released a Hindi speech recognition software and these initiatives can push the dream further which can bring technology to rural areas.Once tools become widely available we can see proliferation of content in regional languages and emergence of many more portals to serve local interests.Thats how you can bring an average customer to internet and computers.I am preying for that moment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cannibalizing Office sales??Inevitable...

News about ad supported online version of MS Works has been making rounds on net today,though no official confirmation from Microsoft yet.Why MS Works??Why not Office itself??If it is ad supported,then MS should plan to roll out Word,Excel,Powerpoint online versions with basic functionalities.MS Works basically about home productivity that supports Word,Excel and first released for Mac as desktop application software back in 1985.I use Zoho,Google Docs actively.I use Ubuntu Linux and some times i depend on these online applications,though i use open office on desktop.

Microsoft's Office live service for SMBs doesn't provide online MS office service and the name is very much misleading.Recently MS management reaffirmed their support to Software plus service during company's annual financial analyst day.Ballmer promised click to run server based windows applications.Don't forget, MS earns $250M per week on MS office.So,i don't expect them to cannibalize it with online office suit soonly.

But the time has come now, 'coz Google docs adding 3500 SMB customers per day and the threat is growing for desktop based office.Zoho also adding customers left and right.I am sure that MS will jump into this online productivity market before its too late and recent initiative of online CRM to host business apps is a clear indication.If they roll out, it will be probably included as a part in live services pack.Its 250M windows live hot mail users can use those applications.MS also getting pressure from mainstream corporates to bring a click to run office service,which can be cost saving for corporates.I guess it takes at least one good year for MS before it settles down with its web strategy.Till then tweaks and betas.May be some acquisitions too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Which company spending more on R&D

Today i was reading an article published by EDN about High-Tech R&D spenders Rankings.Here is the list compiled by Reed Business information (PDF).250 companies covered in the list which covers Semiconductors and Software fields.

Top 5 spenders

  • Microsoft-$6.6B
  • Siemens-$6.4B
  • IBM-$6.1B
  • Samsung Electronics-$6B
  • Intel-$5.8B
Looks like of so much of money flowing to bring the next killer application to consumers.

Friday, July 20, 2007

They ignored,they laughed and then they followed

Well,I am talking about Microsoft.Six months back when iPhone was announced, Steve Ballmer laughed at its high price point and lack of physical key board.Can anybody remind the price of Office 2007 and Vista.Huh...

Ironically,Ballmer now promotes $900 iPhone clone from HTC.What a drastic change in six months!!Its not unusual in High-Technology industry to ignore,threaten and laugh at competition.Enjoy these two videos which are popular on YouTube.They ignored,they laughed and then they followed.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How to share internet connection

CNET has a video which shows how to share internet between laptops with XP,Vista and Mac.It's simple.It doesn't tell how to do the same in Linux.If you want to do it in Ubuntu, you can install firestarter by using which you can easily configure.Of course, it works for other Linux distributions too.

sudo apt-get install firestarter

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Democracy Player rebranded as Miro

Democracy Player,the internet TV platform rebranded as Miro and you can upgrade to the new Miro 0.9.8 version.Though content support is not great,Miro(aka Democracy Player) can be best used as RSS video aggregator and downloader. These days video became a big thing on web and the 5-10 min video snacks became so popular.According to a Google manager, every day 95% of the YouTube library is watched at least once.That speaks the demand for online video.Mashable have a compiled list of online video sources.Don't forget to read the comments there,'coz readers also contributed good links.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend Ubuntu download:democracy player

Here is your cool weekend download.The internet TV on desktop application.Watch near HD quality videos in full screen from lots of sources like National Geographic and other 1000 free channels.You can subscribe to any RSS video feeds,download and save videos from wide variety of sources like You tube,Google Videos etc..On top of that you can download any bit torrent file using the same application.Another cool thing is it can play virtually every format.The earlier version for Ubuntu used to crash and not worked well for me.But the new 0.9.6 beta is stable and working quite good.Don't worry,it is available for Windows and Mac users also.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Microsoft and Apple,the Friendly rivals

I always doubted whether Microsoft and Apple are the fiercest rivals??To me,the answer is no.I feel the rivalry is all about innovation Vs plagiarism and nothing more.The press and blogosphere adds fuel to the actual facts.For example,Apple recently released safari browser for windows and many people started hype around it.Look at browser market, both IE7,Firefox doing excellent job already.I don't know what safari can do??I would like to give brief analysis why Microsoft and Apple are different companies.

  • Both are software companies but Apple have serious hardware business too.Microsoft markets Xbox,Zune etc. but its primary bread and butter is software.
  • Second thing is Microsoft is majorly an Enterprise company and Apple is a Consumer company.Apple is not much trying to be an Enterprise company.Both companies almost shed PC company image.
  • Both are platform companies but Microsoft is a serious player in application market too.Apple doesn't have much presence in application market except creative market.Apple neither competes with MS Office nor with Google apps.
  • Microsoft competes in many markets like Enterprise(Oracle,SAP,IBM),Online(Yahoo,Google,Salesforce etc.),Entertainment (Sony,Nintendo, etc.) and of course Linux.Apple never had to fight in multiple markets like Microsoft.It picks up its battles carefully.But Microsoft enters wherever it sees money with its give it three times approach.Apple also doesn't have data centers like Microsoft,Google.
  • What if Microsoft's Zune a flop?Microsoft doesn't care much.But for Apple, iPod is a serious business.For Microsoft,Gaming is a serious business and Apple doesn't have clue in gaming market.Coincidentally back in 2001,both started with different visions in consumer market .Apple started with Music and Microsoft started with Gaming.But at the end of the day Microsoft depends heavily on platform(Windows plus Server) and application(Office and Enterprise) market.
  • Microsoft's Eco-system is far bigger than Apple's.Microsoft depends heavily on Partners but Apple is kind of vertical company and competes in niche market.
  • Many people thinking that iPhone would take out market share from windows mobile devices.But if you look at closely, Windows mobile devices competing in Enterprise mobility and iPhone is a music phone.MS office won't run on iPhone.

Well,i can conclude both are far different companies in many senses and both are good for industry for many reasons.After all Microsoft is the biggest Mac software developer out side Apple.They are rivals but certainly not the fiercest as most of us think.They are friendly rivals.

Skype 1.4 beta for linux

The new update by Skype for linux simply not good.No webcam support yet and call quality still don't match windows version.In this version there is no menu bar.I think Skype following Microsoft footsteps.When you want to call ordinary phones and choosing country you need to identify country by 2 letter code.Very annoying and confusing for ordinary users.If you want to download Linux Skype 1.4 beta you can get here.There you can choose your linux distribution accordingly.

Ubuntu Microphone Problems and Solutions

I had a rough time with my microphone last week on my Ubuntu fiesty (7.04).I burned my weekend hours to google it and the story had a happy ending.To my surprise,most of the good links buried under some useless stuff.So,I decided to post those links which helped me and hope would help people who are in need.

Here is the solution that solved my problem.Open your terminal and just copy and paste the following code(got
from Ubuntu support site) to get the latest ALSA drivers which can fix.

tar -xjf alsa-driver-1.0.14.tar.bz2
cd alsa-driver-1.0.14
sudo make
sudo make install

But before trying above trick you can try one more.Double click on the volume icon on the panel.Then Edit>Preferences.Then make sure you have selected Microphone,Mic boost,Capture.Once you do this you can find new capture tab in the volume control panel.Here, make sure nothing is muted(no red x on microphone icon).In options tab make sure you selected Microphone as input source.

Third is editing esd.conf as follows.Type the following code in the terminal.

sudo gedit /etc/esound/esd.conf

Then edit the file like this.It worked for some people and I got this ubuntu forums.

spawn_options=-terminate -nobeeps -as 1
# default options are used in spawned and non-spawned mode

If none of them seems to work , you can visit ubuntu forums where people discussed some other ways of activating microphone.Hope it works.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Where IBM draws its revenues

I was reading an interesting article by EETimes which tells about IBM's increasing focus on technology consulting business.Some say,Microsoft missed that badly(Technology consulting).Irony is IBM no longer concentrates on PC business.Well, last year Big Blue's revenue was staggering $91bn.I always wondered how 800 pound gorilla companies like IBM,Microsoft move agile in market place.I think its about continuously finding new revenue generator markets and stripping off loss making divisions.I encourage my blog visitors to read the full article in their site.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

iPhone competitors

Well,today taiwanese company High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) released a touch interface phone which runs on Microsoft's windows mobile 6 platform.see the full specifications here.You can see a flash demo of HTC touch phone here.It has got a three dimensional interface,which looks interesting.Right now its available in UK and will be released later this month in Asia and throughout Europe.They are planning to release in US by the end of this year.iPhone also releasing this month on 29th.Looks like old PC rivals gearing up for new age hand held market.

Looks like touch interface catching up with all major companies.Here is some major announcements of touch interface mobile devices by different companies.I am listing those only in which phone functionality is primary and ready for commercial market.

Most of these phones other than iPhone using windows mobile software which shows that Microsoft's appetite for leadership in enterprise mobile computing market.This is going to set a new trend in smart phone market like GUI for PC industry.This touch interface phones further stressing the importance of software on phone.Touch interface on phone surely a paradigm shift.Its rather surprise that so far no touch interface phone announcements from giants like Nokia,Motorola and Sony ericsson.For some statistics of phone market refer to one of my previous post.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates together Videos

Yesterday night the two stalwarts were together at
allthings digital conference and interviewed by WSJ journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara swisher.You can watch the full Video here.It was fantastic to see them together on the same stage.They were together on stage twice before(When Microsoft was Application vendor of Macintosh and 1997 Boston macworld conference(here through satellite conference)).At all things D these 2 guys talked at length about their rivalry and future of computing world.To me,Steve looked more charged up.You can find videos of Eric schmidt, John chambers(Cisco CEO) also there.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft's new cow

A big day for Microsoft and today's demo of surface computing shows the new agile Microsoft.Its more agile today than 5-6 years before,mainly 'coz Yahoos and Googles kicking on its back.In the recent years many people lost faith in the company 'coz it ripped off many features from Apples,Googles and Mozillas.After Windows 95 ,Microsoft gradually lost innovation edge.Its profits and revenues raised steadily but the company failed to build fanatic customers like Apple?When was the last time Microsoft customers waited in queue a night before the release of the product??XBOX online gaming is the exception 'coz the company took non-windows approach and the targeted demography also different.

Anyway, the new interface which they call Natural user interface(NUI),truly amazing.Right now,they are targeting Casinos and Restaurants to market the product.Microsoft says the product will be consumerized in 2-3 years time.To do this,they should take PC approach by designing software only and embedding it into hardware partners devices.Touchscreen is nothing new but multi touch is definitely(commercial).Microsoft demonstrated it during CES 2006 and now they are commercializing.There is another small company called Perceptive Pixel, Inc. was founded by Jeff Han a Research Scientist at NYU, in 2006.This company serving security applications currently.Apple also demonstrated multi touch based iPhone.Find some history of multi touch here.

The pressure on Consumer electronics(CE) companies raising as PC companies like Apple,Microsoft redefining consumer electronics experiences with the products like XBOX,iPod,iPhone etc..CE companies largely failed to respond to the new age software plus hardware plus service model.Take for example MP3 player market where traditional CE companies largely failed and where as companies like Apple,Microsoft,San disk getting traction.The PC companies leveraging their software capabilities to deliver more customized experiences to customers.I guess the trend will continue to define the CE market.

Well,i guess Microsoft found its next cow to repeat PC history and it is also investing in robotics which also have the potential.I think this will attract some competition which can fasten the consumerization of this technology.If you close your eyes and imagine multi touch applications,its endless.But it may take some time before we forget keyboard and mouse.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Open source Alternatives

Here is my compiled list, where you can find lots of open source softwares for Linux,Windows and Mac.Most of these good links easily would have buried under exhaustive Google search results.

  • Osalt (My Favorate and lots of good alternatives to commercial ones)
  • Distrowatch (Up to date list of Linux distributions and their websites links)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Will iPhone define the market?Yes it may.

Off late Apple shares riding on high as iPhone release date is around the corner.Apple targeting 1% share in phone market means it believes it can sell 10mn units in a year time.Is that realistic??'Coz Apple is completely new to phone market and the device is too costly($499 for 4Gb,$599 for 8Gb models respectively).Apple says the price is worth 'coz it is coming with the most advanced software ever shipped on phone.Nevertheless the device may start very well 'coz it is coming with touch interface which generated lot of interest and buzz.Apple's brand loyalty can push it further.According to a harvard professor iPhone already got $400mn worth of free publicity.I am sure once iPhone releases in market You tube will be packed out.

According to IDC smart phone segment have reached only 100 million units in all of 2006. Leading this market is Nokia with about 47% share,followed by Motorola with 9% and Research in Motion with about 7%.Now Apple wants to take 3rd spot(10 mn units and 10% smart phone market share) directly in the first year itself.According to Gartner, even popular Blackberry shipments for the year 2006 came in between six and seven million.It looks bit unrealistic for Apple which doesn't have any experience in phone market.But when Apple entered music market back in 2001, everybody said Apple is a PC company and it can not compete in consumer electronics market.But Apple proved everybody wrong.

Apple going to hit a gold spot with iPhone and according to iSuppli the 4 GB model, which will retail for $500, will cost Apple about $246 (total expense, bill of materials only: $230) to get the device to the buyer, yielding a 49.3% margin. The 8 GB model ($600 retail) is about $281,which is estimated to reach a 53% margin.It estimates that Apple going to churn out iPhone profits worth of $2.5bn if it meets the shipment goal.

Another big winner in iPhone game is Cingular which is expected to add 10mn new subscribers(if Apple meets the goal) 'coz it has exclusive contract with iPhone.Many subscribers expected to switch to cingular once they get iPhone in their hands.

So,who is going to be looser??Obviously heat is on RIM,Palm,Nokia etc. to comp up with some thing similar to iPhone.I mentioned it in one of my posts also.I predict by early 2008,market will be crowded with touch screen phones as some companies like LG,Samsung demonstrated it already.A Sweedish startup called Neonode also going to release touch interface phone this year.

I think iPhone may not cannibalize ipod sales 'coz it's initial price is too high,but as iPhone price goes down it may.But Apple may release iPhone look like wi-fi ipod(without phone functionality) separately in the market for sub $250 soonly to keep iPod juggernaut on.iPhone is the most awaited gadget in 2007 and its almost certain that it will hit Grand slam.It remains to be seen how iPhone will change the dynamics of industry.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Emerging mobile phone market

Recently i was looking into some interesting numbers compiled by EEtimes which tells that developing countries currently accounts for more than half of the mobile phone subscriber growth.Interestingly Y-Y growth(2005 to 2006) in India,Pakistan,Bangladesh is 100%.Thats a lightning number.Falling handset prices,Cheap tariffs and rising incomes contributing significantly to these numbers.Its one example that tells how quickly times are changing.I guess logical next step would be broadband but still there are lot of infrastructure and PC penetration issues.But never say never!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

How to find happening stuff on net

Here is my attempt to answer that question.A useful lesson for confused people.

  • Use Alexa,compete services to know the traffic ranking of the sites you are visiting.Keep an eye on google page rank too.
  • Regularly visit websites like Microsoft,Apple,Google and other high tech companies to track their latest moves(press releases).
  • Watch videos of business leaders like Bill Gates,Eric Schmidt,Ballmer,Steve jobs etc. on You tube and Google videos regularly to know first hand industry information and their thoughts.
  • Track press releases by market research firms like Gartner,iSuppli etc. to get peek into stats.
  • Track startups and VC firms to improve your entrepreneurial dimension.
I guess its enough dose but surely improve your tracking skills.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Google's Sweet spot at target

Looks like Google won't be no longer a run away winner in online ad space.Microsoft announced a desperate and much needed acquisition of acquantiva Inc.. for $6bn.A premium paid but it can give Microsoft some momentum in this space to give MSN a face lift.Online ad industry saw some notable acquisitions in the last few weeks apart from Microsoft's.

  • Google- Doubleclick for $3.1bn
  • Yahoo- Real Media for$680mn
  • AOL- ADtech for $100mn
  • WPP Group- 24/7 media for $649mn

This suggests Google competitors are no longer ready to let it have fun.These moves can see the battle field becoming level in the coming 1-2 years.In the recent months Google tried to divert Microsoft's attention by releasing Google apps.But at the end of the day we all know that Google makes its fortune by ads.Only ads.In the coming months ads going to appear in every media we consume like music,podcasts,gaming etc..

I guess Microsoft is bit relaxed now and it can give tweaks to its Live services in the coming months.Though MSN has traffic it was not able to generate any significant revenue for Microsoft but the latest move can change that.Microsoft also focusing on mobile advertising space and it recently acquired a french company Screentonic. Microsoft already have 6mn XBOX live users which is also a great opportunity for it.After all Microsoft added yet another revenue source.Online ad industry size going to be $40bn by 2010 which is growing at 20%.So there is lot of room to be optimistic for these players.World wide $1 trn spend on ads every year and the question how effective these ads are going to take center place.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Microsoft's 235 arrows at Linux

The war is heating up and Microsoft says Linux infringed 235 of its patents.At last some number.

  • Linux kernel - 42
  • The Linux graphical user interfaces -65
  • The Open Office suite of programs -45.
  • E-mail programs infringe -15
  • Other assorted free and open-source software(FOSS) programs-68.

I think this whole issue will again rise the debate whether software programmes should be patentable.It looks like Microsoft may strike deals with Linux vendors to collect royalties like it did with Novell Inc..But question is whether Redhat and others are ready to accept that??Open source have the backup of biggies like IBM,Oracle,SUN and HP.Problem with large companies is they have thousands of unused patents and they are not opening them to startups to encourage innovation.SUN and IBM did some thing towards that direction and Microsoft can follow them.

Open source has always been threat to Microsoft 'coz they milk out their profits from license.If you ask me there should be 2 or more suppliers of Windows to discourage monopoly.In the hardware field for example Nokia gets same type of chips from two different suppliers to curb any monopolistic practices.But in software, Microsoft made it increasingly difficult for customers to switch.Office is one great example in that.I think its now or never for open source and they have to settle the scores with Microsoft to benefit customers.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Linux coming of age

After trying SUSE 10.2 and Redhat FC6,Mandriva i settled with Ubuntu 7.04.I can tell you it's the simplest OS i've ever used and stable too.If you are interested you can order free CDs from Ubuntu site.It has got all kinds of applications softwares like VoIP,Office,Multimedia ,Chat,development tools etc.If you want to use gtalk VoIP feature in Linux there are messengers like jabbin,Gizmo project.Gizmo project allows you to make 10 min free international call per day and their browser based version also available.Ubuntu really riding on high after Dell computers decided to ship some models with Ubuntu.Back in 2000 also Dell shipped some Linux PCs but suddenly stopped.Michael Dell also uses Ubuntu on his notebook.Dell hoping this move can give the company some much needed momentum after it lost in the recent years to HP.I don't know whether they can reduce the price of PCs to sub $400 'coz OS and softwares are free.They have to,otherwise there is no point in buying as you get free Ubuntu CDs ,downloads and support anyway.

I don't think this move will signficantly impact Microsoft Windows as it had great relations with PC manufacturers including Dell.Sensing the danger from ubuntu,Microsoft also announced they will give away $3 software to developing countries.Ubuntu can definitely help developing countries by agressively marketing it.Cannonical software company run by South African entrepreneur Mark shutleworth sponsering Ubuntu project and it's right now the hottest linux distribution on the scene.You can see some videos on youtube to check out more about Ubuntu Beryl 3D desktop effects which looks like light years ahead of Vista's Aero.Difference is Vista costs you around $300 and Ubuntu is absolutely free.Ubuntu surely rocks and linux surely coming of age and i mentioned in one of my previous post also.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Can Silver+Bronze strike Gold?

Well,i'm talking about possible Microsoft-Yahoo merger rumors that became news of the day.The news says that the deal could be worth of $50bn??Microsoft's interest in yahoo is well known and recent msn-yahoo IM deal can say something about cozy relations between the two companies.Pressure is mounting on Microsoft after it lost Double click deal to google.I don't know whether the deal can go ahead or not but lot of questions remains unanswered.

1)Both are struggling with search technology to compete against google,so i don't think the deal can make the situation any better as combined market share would be around 30% compared to Google's 65%.
2)In terms of ad revenues Yahoo launched it's panama ad platform only recently and Microsoft's woes are well known.Both are unestablished and the merger can make situation more worse for them.
3)Microsoft investing more than $7bn on R&D and web services strategy and it believes it can build it's own technology(windows live) than buying.Microsoft also known for it's reluctance to big acquisitions.If you go by this the deal can never become reality.
4)Cultural and integration problems obviously pop up and Microsoft's evil image can make it more complicate.
5)Mergers usually helps companies to complement each other but Yahoo and Microsoft competing in similar areas like E-mail,IM,Search etc.The deal can rise audience numbers but can also attract anti trust watchers attention.
6)May be Microsoft will take some stake in Yahoo rather than acquiring completely.That can workout for both companies for gradual merging.

Currently both companies are clearly struggling in search but Microsoft's deep pockets can make their combined search more powerful and that's what Microsoft has been looking for.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Something is wrong with Zune

It seems Google not updating it's Algorithm.'Coz every time i search for Zune in Google,it suggests me to search with 'Zone' key word.The screen shot shows it recognized the context but yet it fails to replace 'Zone' with 'Zune'.It's been more than 6 months that Zune released in the market and Google search fail to recognize the keyword.Yahoo,Live search works ok in this case.It seems Google also not impressed with Microsoft's ill fated Zune.Soonly Microsoft going to launch Flash version of Zune by year end and at least now Google should add Zune keyword.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

SaaS Signal or Noise??

Few days ago,i was reading interview with Ray Ozzie(Microsoft's Chief Software Architect) and he talked about Microsoft's future in the increasingly webified world.He talked at length about Software as a service(SaaS) and how Microsoft prepared to the new challenges.These days much talk is going on SaaS,especially after Google rolled out it's Docs&Spreadsheets and soonly going to add presentation software service also.Symantec also announced that they are testing free online backup service.Adobe considering to rollout online photoshop version soonly.There are already hundreds of Firefox add-ons available today,which are marking rapidly evolving SaaS.Adobe's Flash media player is also a kind of SaaS and Microsoft expected to field it's own version Silverlight soonly in the market.It all signals that we are heading firmly towards Network computing and browsers,devices going to play a big role in the coming days.In one of my previous post also i mentioned about Network Computing.

Ray Ozzie tells some intersting views about SaaS in his interview and i recommend my blog visitors to read full version.Ray Ozzie's comment about SaaS goes like this.

"So the way I view it is, first generation "software as a service" really just meant browser. Second generation means weave together hardware, software and services to accomplish a specific solution.The iPod is a great example of that. You have hardware, the embedded software on the device and an associated [online] service. Does that mean all solutions have to involve hardware and software services? No. There are going to be many things that are perfectly good to deliver in a browser. There are also going to be many software [applications] that are standalone, which will have only a little piece up on the service. But I think it benefits the customer to think of it holistically".

I feel most of the consumer software will migrate to browser but i am skeptic whether same thing can happen in enterprise market as stripped down browser versions may not produce the same results as featureful desktop versions.Another thing is that SaaS becomes meaningless when you go off line.So customers need to evaluate carefully what value they are getting rather than going by hype.Most of the SaaS market targeted at SME(Small and Medium Enterprises) business segment.Currently only17% of world population uses internet and the numbers expected to grow.No. of PCs also need to grow and recently Microsoft announced that they would provide $3 software in developing countries for those who can not afford.I don't know why $3,they can give older versions of Windows for free like Linux.It all seems like we are entering new era where users no longer charged for Software and collaborative work environment demands going to drive SaaS further.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Joost,the killer of You tube???

At last i got Joost beta tester invitation for which i applied in last month.I downloaded and installed the software and it's really cool experience.But unfortunately as of now i don't have any invitation privilage and may be in the coming days it will be added to my account and the screen shot tells the story .It's really great to watch TV in full screen on computer thanks to Joosts' P2P technology.The founders of Kazaa,Skype back with a bang and i'm sure Joost will be hit and can give a run for You tube's money.It has got some cool features like Search,IM(You can IM people who are watching the same channel),Parental control and some cool widgets like clock,news ticker.Right now widgets choice is limited but according to Joost Blog they are going to release Joost SDK soonly which can enable developers to build widgets.Right now the content available is somewhat limited but i think once it goes public from beta version we can expect more to be added and Viacom a media giant recently signed a deal with Joost.Joost FAQ tells that programmes can't be recorded as it can be watched anytime(on-demand basis).According to Joost site,in one hour of viewing, approximately 320Mb data will be downloaded and 105Mb uploaded, which means that it will exhaust a 1Gb cap in 10 hours.So it consumes too much of bandwidth and may be in the later versions technology can be fine tuned.Soonly they are going to release Linux Joost client also as it currently runs on Windows,Mac platforms.Content uploading is not supported at the moment and they are concentrating only on well known Media brands sponsored content.

Good thing is that Joost attracting some competition from early stage.A European startup called Babelgum also working on Next generation TV over internet and it has very good venture backing also.Adobe's Philo can also be added in the Joost's competitor's list.I think it's alarming time for You tube and they recently added some features like IM with people who are watching the same video and uploading videos directly from mobile etc.But i think real concern is You tube should accept only quality content and i am sure You tube will offer their service in Full screen in the near future in the wake of rising competition.I am also predicting that Microsoft will join the list as their interest in web TV is well known.Surely great days ahead for idiot box???

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Podcasting:The Road Less Travelled

These days my ears chilled out with lots of podcasts and i loaded my recently bought iPod Shuffle with lots of Business podcasts.In case you are wondering what the hell podcast is,i suggest you to go through this Wikipedia article.Podcasts are not limited to iPod and you can carry them on any portable player.After listening to many podcasts(Of course for free), i left with only one question. How these guys are making money??My curiosity drove me further to explore this.

Podcasting in simple words "Your Voice->WWW->Portable Player->Masses"

Today,if you search in Google for podcasting it gives 38mn search results.Despite the promise and potential of the podcasting,It's not yet caught mainstream attention.I mean,the diversity of audience is not so great and it still have a long way to reach critical mass.Today,it's popular in education and academic world where you can listen to lectures on the go.Else where it is struggling to find feet.

Today, if i see there is lot of high quality podcasting content is available on net but the problem is there are no takers.Last year more than 140mn MP3 players shipped and in the same time 1bn Mobile phones also shipped.My view is,if podcasting wants to catch up with masses it should and can happen on Mobile phone only.Imagine you are a tourist and your Mobile phone guiding you through podcast???I believe the potential of podcasting can be exploited on Mobile phone only and that seems like a perfect match.In my
previous post also i mentioned this.

There are potential problems in transmitting podcasts on mobile as it's pretty expensive even if you set up Toll free.Secondly the voice quality may not be as great as portable player.Another problem is as i mentioned advertisers support for podcasting is not so great so far.In 2006 podcasting ad market accounted for $80mn only.When you compare it with today's online advertising revenues(it's around $14bn),it's negligible.But podcasting ad market is expected to grow up to $400mn by 2011.That's more than 100% CAGR and sounds exciting.

Today's podcasting market ecosystem formed by Publisher,Advertiser and Listener.Again in each category there is front end and back end.For example in Publisher category in the back end people who supply podcasting studio equipment and software and in the front end people who actually present the show.But in the current scenario the advertiser and listener both seems to be inactive and that presents a big opportunity for innovation.

Despite all problems i bet on Mobile phone 'coz it's ultimate consumer device where podcasting will be highly effective.So,what's the solution??But i feel,to see podcasting seriously on
Mobile we've to wait for 1 yr 'coz by that time market will see the growth of wi-fi enabled and S/W intensive phones,which will present a perfect market for free ad supported podcasting.iPhone is coming this June and that can kickoff podcasting culture on mobile phone.There are few companies like pod2mob which are trying to deliver podcast links to mobile phones but i think that is too expensive to click.Defining viable business model in this field still unfinished work.Recently You tube also started MMS casting.Future certainly looks bright and there is lot of room for innovation in podcasting which can change the way we live.

Few resources of podcasting(Google can do better job)

  • iTunes(lots of podcasts and iTunes client)
  • Odeo(lots of podcasts)
  • Audacity(A free Audio editor and recorder Software)

These are just few and i encourage my blog visitors to google, to explore podcasting world as podcasts are free and knowledgeable which can match different tastes.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Google's Fools Day Prank

Well,all of a sudden Google declared it is giving ad supported free internet through your Toilet Room.This press statement is really hilarious and it doesn't take much time to know it's a fool's day prank and Google is not new to this.They are telling users who ever signs up for the service will receive a full home self-installation kit, which includes a spindle of fiber-optic cable, a TiSP wireless router, installation CD and setup guide.
Some silly clues to you find the truth.

Why do Google need toilet to connect to net when they can do it through underground cabling or some Wi-Max kind???

What about Google's ambitious San Francisco-wide free wi-fi project???They never told it'll be Toilet project???

They didn't mention Geographical location where they will implement??

Anyway enjoy the prank.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gaming and Microsoft

Microsoft at last stopped further rumors by announcing XBOX Elite today.This came days after Sony PS3 European launch.Microsoft is NO.2 player in Game console market and controls around 20% share with Sony and Nintendo controls 70%,10% respectively.Microsoft entered in Gaming market back in 2001 and steadily made progress though it will not turn profitable till 2008.They already burned more than $3bn and it started paying dividends and today it accounts for 8-10% of Microsoft's revenues.Microsoft entered into this 'coz they thought Game consoles can be threat to Windows PCs 'coz traditionally PC is not known for rich gaming experience and Sony's success further pushed them into this.XBOX was the vision of Robby bach,President of Microsoft's Devices and Entertainment division.

Microsoft's weapon was online gaming and it became huge hit and today it boasts more than 6mn XBOX live users.Off late Sony and Nintendo started online gaming service,but lacks the following of XBOX live.Nintendo's Wii proved a big success for it's innovative virtual controller and it continue to be leader in portable gaming market with 60% market share and sony complements with 40%.Microsoft recently opened XBOX live gaming service to Windows Vista PC users also to attract more people to gaming.Microsoft last Nov started introducing Movies and HD content download service for XBOX users and this move mainly aimed at countering Apple TV threat which made debut in the market recenlty.Microsoft also pursuing its IPTV dream in XBOX 360.

Today,XBOX360 is the best selling Game console in US and Europe but it lacks appeal in Japanese market.Sony,Nintendo both Japanese companies giving XBOX a run for its money on home turf.It’s also common for video-game console makers to lose money on hardware, and make up for the loss via video game-title sales.According to iSuppli Sony looses more money on hardware than Microsoft,though it boasts Powerful and advanced processor.Microsoft already shipped more than 24mn consoles and boasts more Game titles than any other.According to Jupiter research Sony will loose 20% share in the coming years which will benefit Microsoft.I admire XBOX 'coz Microsoft shown some innovation,it didn't link windows with XBOX and it created new online gaming market.It's good to see Microsoft competing like any other as it took many things for granted in PC S/W market.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Billion Dollar Market on Mobile

Recently there have been rumors about G-Phone(Google Version of Mobile Phone).Well,Google may eventually enter into this doggy-dog and explosive market.Today,Mobile phone market is highly competitive and all Phone manufacturers are engaged in intense battle to capture next billion customers.Apple Inc. already announced their plans to enter in phone market and Microsoft has been there with Windows mobile.Microsoft captured almost 10% Market share in Symbian and Open Source dominated smart phone OS Market(Black berry controls around 9%).

Well,what does all this mean?Simply put it,the PC and internet companies vying each other to make mobile phones as Software intensive devices.Mobile phone world is still waiting for killer application and it can happen only when it becomes S/W intensive.In the existing Ecosystem only handset manufacturer and Service provider netting $bn.In the data services market revenues doesn't seems to be picking up as most of them locked to carriers.There has been good market for Ring tones,Games but the true killer application is still waiting in the wings.

So,what can be that billion dollar application on Mobile??Is it Search??Is it GPS targeted ads??Music??VoIP on Mobile??Well,it can be any but Search on mobile seems to be priority to many.’Coz it can be ultimate revenue generator and at the same time companies like Yahoo,Microsoft want to win at least on Mobile Search turf.But problem is easy interface and off late interface wars started as Apple bringing touch screen to iPhone and Microsoft recently acquired Tell me networks(Provider of Voice interactive search from Mobile).There are startups like V-Enable,Promptu,Medio,Jumptap,Midomi,Nuance,Nayiomedia etc. in this space.According to one projection voice search market size can be $11bn by 2008.Well,that’s really big money but the question is who'll make it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Google economy crumbling????

Well,not yet.But recently bought You tube woes never seems to end.Now Viacom Inc. a media giant which owns brands like Paramount,MTV,Dream works etc. sued Google/You tube for making moolah on copyright violated content.They recently asked You tube to remove 160,000 videos,which were viewed more than 1.5bn times.They came up with strong criticism against You tube's loose business model and demanding $1bn as a compensation for violating copyright act.Ironically Viacom recently strike a deal with Joost a P2P video distributing service by skype founders.In fact turkey recently banned You tube(lasted for 3 days)for displaying a video which criticizes country's founder.Well,what if people continue to upload videos targeting nations,religion sentiments???Google is very much aware of these issues but they took chance in case of You tube which they viewed it as long term investment.

But Viacom's move can attract further law suits which can eventually have negative impact on Google's stock performance which is currently performing exceedingly well.But if this happens their cash reserves will be dried and have to regret for not making the most of those reserves.Well,You tube also strike deals with BBC,NBA to distribute their content and they increased their effort to crack down on copyright violated content.But these days content gets recycled in net and it's almost impossible to stop these videos appear on net.Interesting days ahead and the verdict can set tone for the media industry.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Look,Who's Talking

Thomas Rubin, Microsoft's associate general counsel for copyright says Google's business model is 'troubling'.Well,he complains Google makes moolah on copyright violated material.In fact Google recently lost a case in Belgium for indexing Belgium news papers in their search results without consent.Google also involved in similar case before for indexing books without the consent of authors and publishers.Recently bought You tube added to this woes.But,point is it's not Google only,many web2.0 companies dies and thrives on user generated content.In fact many sites are using Wikipedia content and earning advertising dollars also?I think Mr.Thomas Rubin forgot the fact that Microsoft was also one of the contender to acquire You tube along with Google,Yahoo.They would've happily wrote the cheque had they got the deal with You tube.What about Microsoft's Soapbox(You tube Killer)?What about Microsoft's Welcome to social approach?In fact Microsoft also co-exists in the same industry?

I think it's the time for industry to mature in copyright violated content issues as today many mashups built on user generated content.Today,internet grown beyond control and power and if somebody thinks they can control,it becomes ridiculous and stupidity.Media companies also should realize that 'coz of user generated content only their content becoming popular which otherwise would've faded into darkness.

User generated content is here to stay forever and it's up to media companies to partner You tubes,Joosts.This kind of viral marketing will enhance their brand visibility and greater response from customers rather than reducing the revenue numbers.It's almost impossible to educate customers on these issues.There has been a talk on Profit sharing,Copyright protection technologies.But,i am skeptic about these too as vulnerabilities of internet can push them on back foot.Let's hope there will be a pull stop to these issues in the near future.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Truth Happens

Truth is happening it seems.Remember the famous Redhat Inc. campaigning,Mahatma Gandhi words inspired Video??That was one of my favorite videos.I mean the Open source again started gaining some momentum in terms of support from PC Manufacturers.Dell Inc. recently openly expressed that they want to respect customer choice and
given hint that soonly they will release Linux based Notebooks and Desktops.After Michael dell's return to helm,they took web 2.0 approach to revive their business and they launched 2 sites to get customer response which can impact business decisions rapidly.Recently Bigblue IBM also accelerated it's open source efforts by releasing Openclient software,which runs Linux,Windows and Mac.Currently Redhat and Novell doing good job in enterprise server market which forced Microsoft to comedown to strike deal with Novell Inc..

Linux was ridiculed as 'Hype Du Jour' by Market Research firm Gartner back in 1999,but they had to eat their words.In developing countries Linux have good presence but still have lot of work to do to gain at least double digit market share.In fact Microsoft's Vista's muted response should be exploited by open source companies.Steve Ballmer(Microsoft CEO) always ridiculed that Linux is using their intellectual property but he never mentioned the patents in question.In fact worldwide there is a big debate going on the
patentability of Software Programmes particularly in Europe 'coz it prevents innovation in big way.The Problem with Linux was it got 'geeks only' image and this fact kept many users away from it,but recent SUSE,Fedora,UBUNTU(I run 3 of them on my Notebook) all have easy user interface,required application softwares and i don't see any reason why can't they pushed to main stream desktop, which can save lot of money and time to current Windows users.But another problem with Linux is,it is not standardized and there is no compatibility between different distributions.Hope these issues will be resolved soonly and let's hope that 'Truth Happens'.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Yahoo's bash on Web 2.0

Recently i was reading a bizarre news that Yahoo Inc. applied for a patent which claims that the company first invented web 2.0. in '90s.This patent is about "Dynamic Page Generator" that lets a user to customize a webpage template to displays data drawn from other sources.But to the fact Yahoo upgraded it's mail service to Ajax based only recently.If the patent is granted then many web 2.0 companies will be left in jeopardy.If Yahoo wants to do serious Royalty business with this patent then it's more frightening situation.'Coz all web 2.0 companies runs on advertising dollars and most of them still don't have any business model.In fact this can have a big impact on aspiring web 2.0 companies too.I don' understand where from these guys can bring royalties to fill Yahoo's pocket.Yahoo should understand the situation and let away all web 2.0 companies in the interest of future of web and consumers.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Apple vs Rest

I always puzzled about Apple Inc. and their business strategies,not in a small way but in broader sense.I can explain it very well.Usually they bring lot of creativity and aesthetics to their products compare to competitors.But here is my question,Who is competitor?Think about it seriously.Forget about iPod for the time being.Right from starting Apple separated itself from industry with vertical business model.Apple is well known for it's reluctance to work with partners.In fact Apple's Market share in PC business is just under 7%(US Market).My question is that 7% they want to target,when they claim they are far superior to competitors?Is 7% Market share worth of all those creativity and aesthetics??So, what went wrong??First,It's Apple's reluctance to work with partners(Microsoft got edge here).Secondly, their target Market is niche like Publishing and media Industry,Scientific and Academic fields.Thirdly,their products are not as affordable as competitor's.

Off late Apple seems to be realizing some of these facts and since Steve Jobs' return to Apple in 1997,they started playing the game like untouchable.Since then they achieved many milestones like Mac OS X release,iPod,iTunes,Intel partnership,Mac mini,Application S/W development like iMovie,iDVD etc. and now iPhone and iTV.Today,their Market cap stands at roughly $76bn,great achievement for a company which received flak from Michael Dell(CEO of Dell Inc.)with a comment "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders" when asked, in 1997, what he would do if he owned Apple.In fact today Apple's market cap is more than Dell Inc.

But Apple should do something to promote their OS which can give tough competition to Windows and currently it's a clear looser in this market despite it's superiority to windows.They tried it during Vista's launch time by running ads which highlighted how easy the transition to Mac than upgrading to Vista.In fact today you can run any OS on Mac but you can not run Mac OS X on windows.May be opening their OS to non Mac PC in the coming years can definitely do Magic.For the upcoming iPhone Apple using stripped version of OS X and this move welcomed by Bill Gates also 'coz it will make Mobile Phone as a Software intensive device and opens a big window for them as well.In fact Microsoft recently upgraded their Windows Mobile in the wake of this competition.Apple's strength is defining trend than following but some times it's proving as their weakness too.Apple neither targeting Google search nor MS Office but they want to become a consumer brand in media and entertainment industry and according to one hypothetical projection Apple can outperform Microsoft if they both grow at current rate.That may not happen,but Apple surely found it's growth curve.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Google Apps and Positives

Yesterday only i wrote about Google and non search revenues and today Google declared it's intentions to pursue revenues outside Search business. As expected they launched Google apps Premier service(A direct competitor to MS Office Live) targeting small and medium businesses and it clearly tells Google intentions to pouch some Market share in Enterprise softwares from biggies in cost effective and innovative way.Positive thing is,this move reinforced Software as a Service(SaaS) concept further,which is rapidly getting into the skins of Software biggies.Free web design,Web hosting and VoIP Communication offered by this competition making life far easier for Mashups.

But still bulky software like OS have a long way to go before it becomes Web based thin client service.Remember Network Computer concept in mid '90s coined by Larry Ellison??That was way ahead of it's time then but current scenario suggests personal computing increasingly shifting towards network computing and most of the applications migrating from desktop to server based.This is really very interesting time for Corporates,Entrepreneurs and Consumers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Google Conundrum

I always wondered why Google is not promoting their non search services.If you look at Google's 2006 Q4 earnings card,more than 50% revenue contributed by Search only(Advertising revenue).More than 50% revenue source is US only.Google gaining ground in European market but they continue to rely on ad based revenue model very much.I doubt whether they can continue to do so,especially after Yahoo,Microsoft unleashed their search ad platforms.

Google Labs continue to innovate and recently Google started investing in companies like Youtube,dMarc(Radio Broadcasting company),Adscape(Gaming Ad Company) and they strike deals with Apple(iPhone),Samsung and China Mobile to ramp up mobile phone search.But still if you see in the broader sense many people don't even know these services except their search engine and at the same time Google home page continued to be reluctant to promote these services.Remember Dodgeball??No where i could see that Google is trying to promote it.But what happened to Froogle(e-Commerce service) despite it got some space on most coveted home page till recently??In fact Google had to close Google answers service after poor response where as Yahoo answers continue to grow.Google have home page personalization option,but i don't know how many of us really bothered to click on that option???

Yahoo seems to be better in this game as they continue to promote other web services along with search,but Google finding it tough 'coz their USP lies in their home page.Of course search is a ever green and ever growing market but Google surely can do more than search.Google is one of the very few Software companies with more than $100bn Market Cap.Google is one of the very few companies that gave Microsoft sleepless nights.As most of the Google's services tied up with web they should find a way to promote other services as much as they do for search.May be it's experimental time for Google to change home page or create another site which intensely promotes non search services.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Open SUSE 10.2 on Windows

Recently i was running SUSE 10.2 virtual machine on my Notebook (XP Home French Edition) and it was really a good experience to run both simultaneously without rebooting as i was using a seperate partition for Linux.These days companies like Parallels Inc.,VMWare etc. made virtualization easy.You can run multiple operating systems simultaneously using the softwares produced by these companies.Now a days VMWare offering free VMWare player (For both Wondows and Linux) using which you can run any virtual machine.You can download SUSE 10.2(KDE 3.5.5) Virtual machine and open it with VMWare player.The experience is closer to native in virtual machine and if you have a good RAM thats a plus.You can create Virtual Machines easily using easyvmx site.

Now a days the debate on interoperability,Virtualization has become intense and after severe criticism for closed approach,Microsoft recently strike a deal with Novell Inc. to offer Virtualization on enterprise servers.This move mainly aimed at capturing market in server software as linux is a dominant player in server market.There has been also fight between SUN and Microsoft over Office documents interoperability standards(ODF vs Open XML) and Microsoft openly criticized IBM for backing ODF over Open XML.The message is these companies should make consumers winners by making the software independent of platform and this can happen only if they give priority to consumer over individual interests.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Glitch on my Mobile

Recently i had to see a bizarre thing on my Nokia mobile phone(2300 Model).It was displaying calculator menu on the desktop and immediately i captured it with camera.After resetting it was fine.May be some kind of software problem.Nokia,are you watching this????

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Zune Buzz

Microsoft really a great expert in creating buzz and known for bombastic marketing campaigns.Remember Origami Project??Remember flashy vista launches?They created great amount of buzz when they declared they are working on iPod killer but couldn't capitalize on it after the release.But if you observe,the Zune buzz is growing again.First it's their Zune Music filling stations rumors which excited many music lovers.Recent FCC filing fueled Zune Phone rumors further.Now MSN promoting free Zune offers.Further proof reflects in Microsoft's careers site which posted several Zune jobs.Interestingly all these jobs added from January only.They also hinted that they will add Zune service feature in Windows Mobile.They also declared that several new devices up for European launch by festive season.Recent blog post in Zuneinsider(a blog run by Microsoft employee) suggested it could wok with XBOX(Microsoft's Gaming device).If music becomes DRM free(stars are aligning already) then iPodder can also share songs with Zunites and if that happens MS can exploit.

Microsoft adopted web2.0 aproach in Zune hoping to ride on social era,but it's backfired.But they always emphasized that it's a solid 3-5 years investment and they are prepared for all kinds of rejects as they are competing with a guy who controls 80% market.In fact competition is always good and welcome ,'coz customer should always have choices.The intense the competition the greater the benefits to customers.Music is going to stay forever in our lives and this fact is pumping more optimism in MS efforts to entrench music market.So exciting days are ahead for music lovers.

Chip Wars

Intel recently demonstrated 45nm Processors and that is clearly a leap ahead for chip industry.IBM also demonstrated the 45nm Chips on the same day.As Chip industry faces the Moore's Law challenge to shrink the the size of transistor on chip this move will definitely make competitors work hard to play the catch up game.The current technological node is 65nm(recent shift from 90nm).In Europe ST Microelectronics,Freescale(Recently acquired by Private equity investors) and NXP(Spin off from Philips) involved in collective Research and development(Crolles2 a initiative of ST) to combat technological issues involved at 65nm,45nm,32nm technological nodes.But this Crolles2 agreement about to expire in the end of 2007 and both Freescale,NXP with drawing from the alliance after that.This will raise pressure on ST to find new partners soonly as the Europes's largest Semiconductor company faces big challenges to solve the technological issues involved in the nano era.On the other hand Japanese chip makers Toshiba,Sony partnered with IBM to leap to 45nm and further.

In 2006 the world wide Semiconductor sales positioned at $248bn, a 9% increase from year 2005($227bn).According to iSuppli (a Semiconductor Market research firm) global semiconductor sales will raise to $280bn in 2007,a 12.8 increase from previous year.Consumer electronics is going to be the big driver of these numbers as demand for MP3 players,Mobile Handsets(Particularly in emerging markets),Gaming devices,HDTVs etc. surging like any thing.At the same time the technological convergence is on the prowl and the mobile phones are increasingly becoming as capable as PCs.These factors throw challenges to chip makers to vie for market share.

But my concern is Customer centric innovation is missing in many of the today's technologies.Most of the times it is becoming like 'technology for the sake of technology'.For example if you look at today's PC industry this argument will become more evident as they want to give Super Computers to grand mother.The question is do average consumer need that much computing power?At the end of the day average consumer needs limited to Word Processing and some Multimedia capabilities and in fact 90% of the features they get on their PCs will never be used in it's life time.Why do you need a dual core and Vista when you can get away with cheaper AMD Processor and Open source Software?If a consumer wants Music player give him a device which plays music only(Apple did that and reaped great success).But unfortunately Lobbying and Pushy approach really making consumers loosers and at least now companies should recognize what really customer wants.Simple User Interfaces and push button technologies are what customer wants,which makes them feel comforatble than apprehensive.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vodafone ,Welcome to India

After striking partnerships with Youtube,My Space Vodafone completed hectic week on grand note by taking 67% stake in Indian Cellular Service Provider Hutchison Essar. Vodafone never hide their intentions to enter red hot Indian Telecome Industry and they sent signals back in 2005 when they took 10% stake in country's largest cellular service provider Bharti Televentures.Obviously this move will raise the pressure on all domestic players 'coz Vodafone bringing vast Global experience and technology with it.

Let me go through some quick facts.Today,Indian Mobile Phone Industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world ,thanks to the revised FDI policy and proactive reforms taken in early '90s.Today it is adding more than 5 million new subscribers per month.In India currently more than 150mn Mobile phones are there and tele density have reached almost 10%.Compared to china(More than 430mn Mobile Subscribers) ,it's still less.Nearly 80% of the market controlled by 4 Major players and Bharti leads the pack with 23% market share followed by Reliance(21%),BSNL(17%) and Hutch (17% ).The total Indian Telecom Market worth today is roughly $10bn.In India the total coverage area is devided into 4 metros and 19 Circles and each circle is permitted with maximum of 4 licenses.Indian consumer spends on an avearage $5-$6 per month to power his mobile phone.Indian cellular tariffs are the cheapest in the world.

So,what does Vodafone entry means to Indian consumer?As Urban and Semi Urban market reaching satuaration in terms of handsets ,Vodafone should look seriously into data services and rural penetration,as Rural population represnts 70% of the total population.Already out of 6.5Lac villages in india 5 Lac are connected with telephone but in terms of cellular services penetration ,rural areas lag behind urban with a huge gap.To capture this market all domestic companies already engaged in intense fight by offering handsets with attractive tariffs.So this presents a big challenge to them to meet their target which is to capture 25% market by 2010.
Acording to TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) India will reach the 250mn subscriber mark by 2010.

Vodafone should explore innovative services like unlimited data services with Pre-Paid data cards which subsequently triggers market for content creators and publishers.From tariffs and quality of services point of view, no doubt that they will improve in the wake of raising competition.In the coming years they should exploit broadband industry in India which is already seeing growing numbers in Urban areas at least.The verdict is consumer is going to be huge beneficiary of all these moves 'coz of raising competition to retain them.