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Microsoft

FTC Do Not Track = Unintended Consequences?

December 3, 2010

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.





Kinect + DepthJS = Web Browser Interface

December 2, 2010

It is incredible how much potential there is to take Microsoft's Kinect technology which recognizes body movements in 3D and develop an interface which allows the human body to communicate with a PC - without the need for a mouse. One recent development is DepthJS which uses JavaScript to translate a small number of hand gestures into commands executed by a browser.



The video above shows how it is done - sure it is clunky now, as the interface is still new - but there is lots of potential here for specific applications and while I am in no specific hurry to bury my mouse, it seems like the electronic rodent has had a nice run and perhaps it is time to take the touch interface of smartphones and tablets and marry it with a 3D interface to eliminate desktop mammals altogether.

More from:







Kinect Hack Turns You Into a Jedi

November 21, 2010

Dialogic Connections 2010 Live Blog

November 17, 2010



I am in Budapest, Hungary today and am live blogging the Dialogic Connections event which is hosting a few hundred partners and customers from around the world. A bit of trivia before we get started - Brad Pitt may be staying in our hotel the Hotel Kempinski. One of the people at the event may have seen him last night but then again there may have been a few drinks involved - so don't hold me to this. Apparently Mr. Pitt is is in Budapest right now according to many of the delegates here who were quick to check Google to ensure he is really in the country.

I am speaking in about an hour and will be interviewing Dialogic execs Doug Sabella and Kevin Cook. Hopefully I will remember what they say so I can report on it later.



Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Impresses

November 14, 2010

TMC’s Tom Keating reported the fact that Microsoft OCS will be called Lync going forward and the name is much more conducive as a Skype alternative as asking someone to Lync you sounds much better than asking them to OCS you. Tom and I recently went to Manhattan with a group of analysts and other media to get a demo of the system at Microsoft's Technology center and put it through its paces. We had a chance to see about a dozen or more machines with various endpoints and spent time listening to Jamie Stark the Senior Product Manager walk us through what this new release will do for customers.

Tehrani at Dialogic Connections in Budapest

November 13, 2010

Next week I'll be in Budapest, Hungary at the Dialogic Connections event where I look forward to being involved as an interviewer and learning more about what the company is up to. I look forward to seeing many of you there and here is an easy registration link for the event which has Executive sessions on November 17th and technical sessions on the 16th.

Time Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 8:30 AM
Technical Track
  • IVVR
  • Video Conferencing
  • HD Audio
Dialogic Welcome Distributor Forum Executive 1:1 Technical Track
  • Location Based Services
  • Interview of Nick Jensen and Doug Sabella by Rich Tehrani

    Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC, is a Communications and Technology expert, visionary, author and columnist who has guided the media company through a period of unprecedented growth. Tehrani, who has served as an expert witness and been quoted frequently in such publications as the Economist and New York Times, is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the company. Rich has personally conceived many of TMC’s most innovative, community-building media properties online, in person, and in print.




Over the Top Video a Threat Today?

November 8, 2010

Gary Kim has interesting thoughts about whether consumers are cutting the TV cord or the current subscriber losses we are seeing are due in-part to the economy and consumers deciding to forgo payments on cable.

Here is an excerpt:

Still, that could lead to years of trouble, and could lead to a definitive shift to online video if the content providers decide to shift more support to online delivery. 

Some 13 percent of current multichannel video subscribers in the United States say they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to cancel their current subscription in the next 12 months, and not sign up with a competing provider, according to a survey of 2,000 U.S. households recently conducted by Strategy Analytics (News - Alert).





Xbox 360 Kinect Review

November 6, 2010

I tested the Xbox 360 system with full-body motion sensing system Kinect a few months back and said it was revolutionary. I had a chance to spend hours with it today and that early opinion I developed is right on. This thing is incredible and allows Microsoft to leap ahead of the pack of computer companies looking for the next user interface.

In short, the technology senses the location of your full-body and as a result, games can utilize the location of your body, legs, arms, hands and feet as input.

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