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Microsoft

How Poor Branding and Positioning Have Led to Tech and Auto Failure

March 27, 2011

Lessons Learned From Microsoft, Cisco, Volkswagen, Mazda and Apple Misteps

Why do Cisco and Microsoft have trouble entering new consumer markets and why does Apple have challenges when trying to get into the enterprise server market? According to an article from Rob Enderle, President and Prinpal Analyst, Enderle Group the reason has to do with poor management choices which have more to do with seniority than ability - coupled with starving new products of the resources they need to make it.

I agree with many of the points he makes and the fact Redmond actually decided turd brown was a great color to use when competing with Apple is hard to digest (sorry).  But in addition to the thoughts from Enderle I would add there is a positioning challenge facing these companies as well. In today's world where everything seems to revolve around clicks and search ads, most companies don't even seem to know what positioning means.

And its too bad because companies fail every day because they generate lots of leads that won't turn into business.





Apple Sues Amazon over App Store Name

March 21, 2011

Apple, not content to sue Microsoft for using the term App Store is now going after Amazon citing potential confusion in the market. In reality though it is tough to see how App store is not a generic term and/or concept. I am not a lawyer but I’ve pointed out before when Apple sued Microsoft that App and Store are terms which have been around for many years – do they become something you can protect when you put them together? I guess a judge will decide during this preliminary injunction which is a fast-paced trial which could have interesting consequences for the computer industry if Amazon loses.

How China is Unleashing a Sales Boom for Tech and Media

March 14, 2011

Shanghai at Night
In many parts of the world, rampant pirating of products takes its toll on businesses costing billions of dollars of lost sales and value. While countries like Iran violate rampantly with no signs of improvement, others are slowly making changes.

China is one of the countries under the spotlight because it is growing incredibly fast and so many manufacturing jobs have fled to the country and in return, many there aren't paying the originators for software, movies, music and various other products.

The US has complained to China for years and although there hasn't been much progress, there has at least been the promise of progress from the country's leaders. This is why I called the Apple App Store the OPEC of the West in June of last year. My thinking was, even though I am not a fan of closed app stores, at least Apple is ensuring people get paid for their hard work.




Destress and Boost Productivity With Less Notifications

March 11, 2011

If you are a knowledge worker, there is no doubt getting frequent notifications is a mixed blessing as you make sure you are on top of everything without having to search for what's new. My friend in Sardinia, Luca Filigheddu explains how much stress you can relieve by turning off all the notifications and in general I agree.

I get an email every few moments it seems so I do not use email alerts but I do have alerts for some Twitter and Facebook functions as well as news alerts for a number of news apps on my devices. Perhaps I should turn them off - as they do get annoying and they show up on all my mobile devices.

The one certainty is as we keep installing more apps - the opportunity for us to turn on notifications increases and if we aren't careful, we slowly decrease our productivity as interuptions are the enemy of concentration.

Avaya's Phil Edholm told me years back that your brain can adjust to multitasking and excel at becoming interrupt-driven. In other words, ADHD can be induced.





Cisco Lowers Umi Price as Margins Become a Bigger Concern

March 10, 2011

Analysis of Cisco's strategy from consumer to enterprise, servers and switches

Its pretty simple really, if you are getting something which is pretty good and its free, you aren't likely to pay a lot for something better. I pointed out as much when I wrote about the 10 reasons why Cisco Umi telepresence would fail. This is why the number one reason on my list was Skype... Spending $599 for Umi equipment and then $24.99 per month makes great sense if Skype wasn't free or better yet didn't exist.

This is why when TMCnet reported that Cisco has slashed the price on this solution, it could only be seen as good news and a validation of what I considered to be an obvious marketing and pricing challenge.



How YouTube Takes Consumer Time from TV

March 10, 2011

In the past I have discussed how TV disruption may happen more slowly than you think because of the tens of billions of dollars in affiliate fees changing hands. But this doesn't mean there aren't brilliant innovators out there using YouTube and other sites to become stars.

Consumer warning: Craziness, profanity and catchiness below


For example I was sent this Charlie Sheen Winning music video today and it is quite catchy. I found it playing "itself" in my head at lunch. Its a Songify This creation by the Gregory Brothers and a look at some of their top videos shows views in range of the many millions - about 60 million "season one" in fact.

So the challenge for TV is not only new methods of delivery but competition for the viewer's time.






Competing Effectively in a Facebook and Google World

March 9, 2011

With a sky-high valuation over $70B Facebook has to be super-aggressive to ensure they can support a valuation which seems to grow by the tens of billions every few months. And with the ability to hire some of the best and brightest engineers it is obvious the company should be exploring a range of new ways to justify its lofty valuation which is worth about 75% of Cisco Systems.

This past January I listed the 11 Things Facebook Should Do With Their New $1.5B and number two on the list was competing with iTunes/Netflix.  Specifically, this is what I said:

Tier 3 Platform-as-a-Service Gets $8.5 Funding

March 9, 2011

Skype Pre-IPO Report Card

March 7, 2011

It was back in 2007 when my fellow bloggers and journalists told me that Skype was a dog, had no future, couldn’t make money and wasn’t going anywhere. I begged to differ – the way I saw it the company simply didn’t execute on its potential. I quickly jotted down 11 ideas the company should pursue and in my post I even offered myself to Meg Whitman as a consultant to help implement my ideas.

Fast forward a few years and Meg is gone, and the company was sold and is now implementing the ideas – slowly but surely but many have been implanted in the last week which is why this analysis makes sense to present today.

Socializing Search

February 25, 2011

In the last few weeks there have been a higher than usual amount of articles on search quality where mainstream media sources have shined a bright light on companies who are achieving high levels of search rank using methods which could be questionable. A small eyeglass manufacturer for example actually provided poor customer service seemingly on purpose so the company could benefit from a higher perceived search rank as a result of negative comments from customers.

In another case, J.C. Penny was using an outside SEO company to place links on low quality pages all over the web and when the New York Times wrote an article about it, Google scrambled to penalize the company's results. Then Overstock made headlines when it was learned it offered discounts to colleges while encouraging them to post links back to the company.

The point here is fairly obvious...



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