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Microsoft

So Google Can Alter its Results Manually?

April 1, 2011



Recently it was reported that former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt tried to have his political contributions hidden from Google. The news reminded me that a few years back I wrote about the cozy relationship between Schmidt and President Obama and how it could be protecting a Google monopoly. Interestingly, based upon Schmidt's contributions - he seems to be fairly middle of the road - supporting candidates on the left and right. So it does seem his close ties with the Obama administration might have served the purpose of protecting his company from future lawsuits.

Microsoft, Google and EU Antitrust - Is Facebook Next?

April 1, 2011

In the recent antitrust allegations being brought against Google by Microsoft, some of the controversy surrounds Microsoft's inability to access YouTube content on its Windows smartphone as well as its Bing search engine. The challenge is being caused by the fact that Google not only has a dominant search position but has implemented technical road blocks to keep competitors from accessing YouTube properly.

Its an interesting argument  and one which can be applied to Facebook as well - if you don't have access to all the social networking data on the site, how can you compete with the company one might ask a regulator in the future.

If EU and other regulators agree and Google has to remove the technical wall blocking YouTube content, we have to wonder what's next. Does every company which becomes large enough have to open up its data to the world as well? These issues will become more and more important over time and Microsoft's ownership stake in Facebook will certainly come into play in this and future cases.

Many of us who have been in the tech space for years realize the irony of Microsoft being on the other side of the anti-competitive issue - but for Google, perhaps the worst company to have to fight is one which has the level of relevant experience Microsoft possesses in this matter.

Google has 90% market-share in Europe and this factor may be one of the most important in the case.







Why Salesforce.com Purchased Radian6

March 30, 2011

The recent Salesforce.com Cloudforce 2011 conference in New York

Word of mouth advertising has always been important to business but today, a small group of people who others trust could be responsible for making or breaking a product or company. This concept is not new as in the past; a small group of journalists could also be responsible for assigning tremendous credibility to a company or product. And in response, companies often treated the media like a sort of royalty – doing their best to influence the influencers.

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:

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