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An Honest Critique of Microsoft and Steve Ballmer

May 26, 2011

For the last five years there have been calls for Steve Ballmer to step down from Microsoft and I have refrained from comment until today because a confluence of news and events has made commentary necessary. Specifically, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund manager – whose firm Greenlight Capital owns almost 9M shares of Microsoft, said (video) Ballmer is stuck in the past and is ruining Microsoft’s stock.

Technologist Vs. Businessperson: One compliant about Steve Ballmer is that he is more a businessperson than a technologist and as a result, new and innovative products have been developed much more slowly. This point is very tough to argue with and more importantly, what is Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft?

Poor CRM = Go Directly to Jail

May 16, 2011

Remember a few months back when I wrote that providing poor CRM could dent your SEO? The story revolved around website Decormyeyes.com - and its owner Vitaly Borker who was generally rude and insulting to customers. He went so far as to send pictures of their homes to intimidate them. Not only did Google reduce his SEO as a result of an article in the New York Times, he is now going to prison.

eBay Buys Where.com for Hyper-Local Deal Offers

April 20, 2011

In the race to become a leader in the local deal market – companies seem to be tripping over one another. This includes Google who is working organically while making an unsuccessful bid for Groupon. Twitter and Facebook play in this market as well and eBay just acquired Where.com, a Boston-based local-deals and location-based services company for $135M.

PayPal’s Amanda Pires explains they plan to integrate PayPal into the WHERE mobile app to make it even easier for customers to take advantage of the local deals.

Amazon Ad-Supported Kindle

April 12, 2011

The new Kindle with Special Offers costs $114 and shows ads as screen savers and so far has some high-profile customers - Buick, Olay, Visa, and Amazon.com Reward Visa Card (Chase Bank). Some of the offers are quite good, giving back an additional $70 if you get an Amazon Rewards Visa, a $10 credit on an Amazon gift card and more. The details are below:

  • $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
  • $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  • $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
  • $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
  • Free $100 Amazon.com Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
  • Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 Amazon.com credit
  • 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)
The question worth asking is why did it take so long for a mainstream player to come out with an ad-supported mobile device and will Google be far behind? How about Microsoft?

11 Reasons Why Google Needs Retail Stores

April 7, 2011

It is becoming clear the world is gravitating towards everything Apple sells and even worse for the competition is Cupertino is setting the tone for product launches, making the rest of the tech world play perpetual catch up. Even worse, Apple is buying up all available inventory on components forcing companies as big and mighty as RIM to push back the launch of their PlayBook tablet! Of course one of the most important parts of Apple’s success is the stores – those minimalist tech nirvanas attracting people of all ages to literally trip over one another as they touch and feel the latest gadgets and computers connected to huge flat-screens with the latest in audio equipment.

Will Government Inventory Flood the Local Ad Market?

April 6, 2011



Cash strapped state governments and agencies are beginning to experiment by showing ads to visitors to its websites in order to try to bring in revenue to offset budget deficits. While it is unclear if this concept will be successful enough to become widespread, it presents us with the potential for some new and interesting pairings of services with messages. For example, might we see ads for abstinence on websites associated with family planning? Could we see ads promoting smaller government all over the sites of state agencies?

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.

Google +1: 4 Things The Company Forgot to Announce

March 31, 2011

By launching the Google +1 button, the search leader has positioned itself firmly as the follower to social networking leader Facebook and their like button. The concept is very similar if not exactly the same - allowing users to like all sorts of web content including articles and blog posts. It is unclear how popular this initiative will become but with the company owning such a dominant portion of the search market - enough for even Microsoft to start complaining about antitrust issues in Europe, Google can likely get huge numbers of likes - I mean +1s.



The video above shows how it works and if you were hoping for some sort of benefit beyond what is provided with other social sharing buttons, you'll be disappointed.



TMC Launches New Logo for Online Communities or OCs

March 18, 2011

Learn From Newspapers Before The Internet Makes You Extinct

March 15, 2011

If you remember a while back I had a rant about not wanting to save newspapers by using taxpayer money to bail them out. My concern was that newspapers knew the Internet was coming and chose not to innovate. My post was published on Business Insider and yesterday the site put out a graph of $8.0B the industry let evaporate as job sites took all their listings.



Marc Cenedella, CEO of TheLadders.com adds more clarity as to what happened. He says, it was uncomfortable for newspapers to make the leap so they didn't.

I would add it was a cultural problem - a bunch of academics with an entrenched competitive advantage being thrown into a new business model where they were on a level playing field with the best and brightest entrepreneurs was just too much for them.

We saw the same sort of challenges at DEC the company which owned AltaVista the most Google-like company to totally botch the opportunity to monetize search.

Corporate culture is as much of a killer of corporations as disruption.









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