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The Internet Lubricates Protests

December 13, 2010

We have seen how the Internet has changed the telephony business allowing voice and now video conversations to be transmitted as packets. This simple change made Internet voice and video calls free. In addition, we have seen how email has helped drive the US Post Office more quickly into the red.

E-commerce has made it possible to buy virtually anything at prices which are a fraction of what they would have been a decade and a half ago.

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.




















Cisco Social Video Ad I Like

December 1, 2010

Last week I shared a video ad from Calabrio I thought was great and a as a result, Ross Daniels shared a Cisco ad which is quite good as well. For the decades as I have covered the communications and tech space, I have been amazed at how dry marketing and PR can be. I am thrilled to see human interest being injected into promotional messages - making them more engaging and potentially viral.

Check the Cisco ad out below

 


Related articles






Mobile Device More Important than Underwear for Travelers

November 16, 2010

It isn’t often I start a product briefing with a Twitter feed – but when I spoke with Chuck Dietrich, CEO of SlideRocket we started out by looking at a live feed of Tweets describing how awful PowerPoint is. And while the idea isn’t new – after all, death by PowerPoint (Tweet stream) has been used for ages, many people who use the program often know there has to be a better way. And this is the exact area where SlideRocket focuses. But more on that 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.

My Favorite Headline

November 12, 2010

Clearwire Truck Lost at TMC HQ Due to Layoffs?

November 4, 2010



Its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - the story landed literally in our laps. We didn't even need to go outside - well it was raining so I didn't want to go outside (please don't tell anyone I work with). So I went to my team of editors after getting a tip that there is a Clearwire truck right outside my window.



Shows you how oblivious I am - its been there for two days according to one of my coworkers.

But anyway - what could be the reason the truck is here? Could they be testing that personalized 4G service I have been begging for all these months?







Facebook Extends its Mobile Platform

November 4, 2010

Although this is a long article - which I admit I didn't have time to finish  - it is worth a read because it gives you an idea of the Facebook mobile strategy and moreover relates it to the Google Android strategy and explains that Facebook can't take advantage of every opportunity and is opening up more so others can assist.

Hats off to Rob Jackson for spending the time it took to put together this quality piece. Here is an excerpt:

  1. Single Sign-On: Open an application and automatically enjoy the experience with access and perhaps pre-installed knowledge about you and your friends. Sounds a bit like signing into your Android phone with your G-Mail account and having your contacts, calendar, apps, etc… already at your fingertips and syncing up!
  2. Location APIs: If we know where you are and where you’ve been AND we know where your friends are and where they’ve been, there are some very interesting things Facebook can do from a social standpoint. Google tried some of them with Buzz and Latitude but weren’t that successful, but then again, Facebook is a company whose #1 strength is Social so perhaps they can do what Google did not.




Is This What Social CRM 2.0 Looks Like?

November 3, 2010

Will robots talking to robots be the future of social networking?



In the last few months one of the conversations about social CRM which has stuck in my mind was when someone told me that once they find their company mentioned on a social network – they aren’t sure if they should answer – or partake in the conversation. The concern had to do with not seeming creepy from a user-privacy perspective.

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