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.