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A New Tech Bubble?

December 4, 2010

Are we in a new tech bubble which most of us aren't even aware of? It is certainly quite possible and one thing we have all learned from experience is it is better to be overly cautious than to get burned in yet another frothy explosion.

One observation worth sharing is the rapid spread of information through the Internet means bubbles seem to grow bigger and faster as information flows more freely to those people who want to invest in whatever the latest craze is.

A recent New York Times article discusses the sky-high valuations of so many of today's startups from Twitter valued at $4B to Zynga valued at $5B! Then there is Groupon at over $6B. 

VentureBeat has an article on the matter worth reading as well.

In short, these aren't public companies that are witnessing these massive valuation increases - most are private and are seeing their values increase as VCs are stepping over each other to be part of the next Facebook.







Skype Shows us Closed Can Win

December 3, 2010

Dan York at a recent ITEXPO - specifically the collocated Cloud Communications Summit - Dan is on the right and Thomas Howe is on the left
 

Yesterday I discussed how open always wins referring to the competition between Apple and Google's Android and a side conversation was started on Facebook questioning my assertion. I took the opposite viewpoint in a comment and mentioned that Apple does have a lock on customers via iTunes as well as the App Store which have a tremendous lead in the market.

I was reminded of this discussion when I read how Dan York of Voxeo is espousing the virtues of Skype - a closed provider of communications - when Voxeo and Dan are huge proponents of open ecosystems.

As I read the piece, I became fascinated at how Voxeo has chosen to use Skype as a way to make the company's operations better - utilizing persistent group chats which focus on various subjects.

The point is that using these chats, the company which consists of many people located all over the world and some who travel are able to not only communicate effectively but are able to rapidly be brought up to speed on various topics after getting off an airplane by just logging onto Skype.

Dan mentions that there are other alternatives but it seems from the outside anyway that habit will keep the company using Skype for a long while - even if a better solution comes along immediately.

And this gets us to the counter of the open always wins argument - if you have loyal fans and/or people who habitually uses your interface and are happy with it - or some other differentiator, it becomes tough for competition to come in and take the market over. Even if the new competition is open.

Let's recall that compared to Apple and iOS, Windows Mobile was very open - it just wasn't as good as Apple's OS - and there was no contest from a marketing perspective either.

Apple definitely put together a more pleasing experience and were able to do so in part because they owned the stores, hardware and  packaging.

But now, Windows Phone 7 and Google's Android are taking some of the best parts of the Apple experience and replicating and in some cases improving them.

This in and of itself may not be enough to win against Apple but what the open approach has is a slew of hardware partners making devices in a variety of form factors. Some of these device sizes may catch fire.




















And Then it Hit Me, Open Always Wins

December 2, 2010

We know the history of the PC market - Apple had great products but a closed ecosystem and subsequently the PC - originally based on IBM components and design eventually won the war for the desktop.

In the eighties, I made the choice to move TMC to desktop publishing on a PC instead of Mac because the horsepower per dollar of the PC was so far superior. It turned out the manpower wasted in the short-term based on this decision showed I made the wrong choice. By the mid-nineties however, I was convinced that a single computer platform for our entire organization did make the most sense and as a result in hindsight, I was correct.

Fast forward to today, Apple is designing products which are superior to others but they are generally more expensive and closed. In many cases they are so closed you can't swap a battery or add memory or decide which applications you want without the express approval of Steve Jobs.

This past July, I asked if Apple was making the same mistake from the eighties in the mobile arena because when I saw the Motorola Droid X I realized this device was better than the iPhone in a few important ways.





NSN Boosts Apple Performance with iOS 4.2

November 30, 2010

Has mobile phone signaling been reborn?


A smart move by Nokia Siemens networks was to upgrade its network equipment so that mobile devices can have faster data access while increasing battery life and decreasing network bandwidth use. Apparently Nokia mobile phones and Apple phones with iOS 4.2 software are able to leverage this new way of working to make their devices better.

In one case, as a result of this upgrade, NSN claims an operator has found mobile devices have almost double the battery life. In another, a carrier was found to have up to half the signaling traffic!

These are important steps in the right direction and I am interested in learning whether there is increased or decreased value for heavy data users as opposed to light users. Moreover, is music streaming which is constant assisted more by this technology than web surfing and/or app usage?

The move on the part of NSN is a very good one and now that handset makers have bought in (well it isn't a surprise than Nokia did) I hope to see more collaboration between NEMs and handset providers to enable even more benefits for end-users and carriers.








New Editorial Additions to TMC

November 3, 2010

Mobile Banking and Payments the Next Frontier

November 3, 2010

Without a doubt, one of the greatest new frontiers for technology is to take the banks and credit card companies out – the same way tech companies have taken out retailers, film producers such as Kodak, florists, record companies and more. Expect the major players new players in the space to be Apple, PayPal, Google and Microsoft – interestingly in the late nineties, a Microsoft exec gave a keynote address at a TMC expo and said that we will see mobile payments on the horizon – the prediction will and has come true but one wonders if the world’s largest software company can keep up in the race for mobile – let alone mobile payments.

I have already deposited two checks via mobile phone applications and although it is a weird feeling to rip up checks with your name on them once you are done – it does show how comfortable people will likely become with using their phone as a payment and deposit vehicle. After all, I felt weird the first few times I deposited a check into an ATM machine – many years ago.

Tehrani on Future of Broadband

November 2, 2010

Alcatel-Lucent: Mobile Data to be Sold at a Loss

October 27, 2010

Alcatel-Lucent has a dire warning for wireless carriers and investors… You just aren’t going to make money from wireless broadband. The timing couldn’t be better <sarcasm> to get the news as global carriers are pouring billions into their 4G networks.

What leads the company to this conclusion? The challenge is operators are starting to tier their pricing which means users can get on broadband networks less expensively – moreover, voice revenue is paying much of the carrier bill and as it declines in lockstep with the cost of data plans – carriers could be losing money for years to come.

What if Someone is Trying to Steal This Data?

October 25, 2010

Standing Room Only at ITEXPO West 2010

October 4, 2010

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