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Marketing Goes Almost Painfully Local

August 2, 2011

Pay attention, you might just overhear something

One of the most memorable business stories I hav e heard was when a consultant friend of mine flew to a large customer to quote on a substantial project. He was traveling with his business partner and happened upon a shuttle bus to the rental car company with his competitor and a partner. None of these consultants had ever met but my friend and his partner had the luck to keep quiet as he overheard the other two people on the shuttle bus finalizing their pitch and setting the price for the project.

Skype for iPad is Baaack

August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad is here!

It was much-anticipated, released, then pulled, then re-released and it works great. The company said there were problems with it causing them to pull and then release it a few hours later. (Update) TMC's Erik Linask thinks the problem is related to chat bug. There isn't much to say except it has better quality than the iPod/iPhone version but the front-facing iPad camera is certainly a major limiting factor in the quality of the video calls you will experience.



An additional feature beyond what you can do on the iPhone is the ability to chat while conducting a video call.





Expert Opinion: Pandora is Less Engaging

July 28, 2011

For well over half a decade, radio has been a one-way medium allowing you to listen to a station or change it. Until Pandora and other streaming radio stations like Slacker and Spotify, radio spoke to you and you basically took what it gave you. If your favorite DJ got on your nerves or the music mix was not what you wanted, you had little choice.

Moreover, if you wanted to know what song was playing or to see the album art, you were stuck.

Keep Bing at Microsoft

July 26, 2011

From a  competitive position, it would be major trouble to remove Bing from the deep pockets of Microsoft. Talk of the business being potentially sold to Facebook when that company needs to focus on fighting Google+ makes little sense. There are few other strong software companies beyond Oracle and Salesforce who I think could do a better job with Bing than Microsoft.

But like I said in May, Microsoft is doing as much as can be expected with Bing.

We know Marc Benioff loves Google so count them out of such a purchase - and Oracle, no fan of Microsoft or Google probably doesn't need the headache or the money-losing business as it is doing fine right now, thank you.

Microsoft has to continue to make Bing better while simultaneously forging stronger relationships with companies who are competing with Google. Facebook and Twitter are two obvious ones - perhaps LinkedIn is another company to work very closely with.

You see as long as Google is a dominant player in so many spaces, Microsoft can play the underdog position and work with all the companies they want.







GigaOm Tells You Why HTML5 Will Be Huge

July 25, 2011

It is no secret that HTML5 is important - the question is how big will it be? Word is out at GigaOm, that it will be huge - and moreover it is coming fast. Thanks to an article from Colleen Taylor, we also learn that Apple will have massive support for the platform. Moreover, Larry Dignan at ZDnet just wrote an article about how Amazon had to cave to Apple regarding in app purchases and how the only alternative for them and other companies is HTML5.

I couldn't be happier to see this activity around HTML5 as this is the week where TMC has launched its first ever DevCon5 event focused on HTML5 design, development and business opportunities.

Metaswitch Thrutu iPhone App Lets Carriers Become Social Hubs

July 20, 2011

Earlier this year I came across Thrutu from Metaswitch newtorks - an application development platform allowing carriers to leverage rich social features and provide them as services to customers. In short, this is the exact sort of solution wireless phone companies need to try to keep their customers engaged and more importantly paying them.

Of even greater importance for service providers is being able to ensure that the contact database doesn't continue to get moved from the carrier cloud to the social cloud. By that I mean, consumers are relying more and more on Facebook and Twitter as their contact database making the carrier and the phones they sell less important.

Thrutu brings social features such as location, contact and photo sharing as well as prodding via a remote vibration (like Facebook's poke) and more via an API which developers can use to do much more.

I saw a demo of it working on Android phones and was impressed and as of this moment the company has released an iPhone version as well. As you may have guessed, you will be better off using such a service on a network voice and data can be shared such as GSM or in an area where there is WiFi and 3G/cellular.

Of course the question you have to ask is whether it is too late for carriers to basically reinvent social networks which are already dominated by the web giants we all know (and many love).







Nosh from Google a P2P Foursquare Meets Zagats

July 19, 2011

I just met with Craig Walker the Founder & CEO of Firespotter Labs and he went over where his Google-backed companies will be innovating in the future. As you may recall, Walker founded Dialpad and Grandcentral which eventually got acquired by and became the foundation of Google Voice. Walker explained his new company will be looking to disrupt markets where there is an opportunity to disrupt.

We can for example expect more disruption in telephony and the hospitality market was referenced by him as a space worth $600 billion/year and yet there has been little innovation beyond the buzzing pagers they give you when there is a line to get a seat.

His company's new app, Nosh available on iOS and Android aims to merge the best of Foursquare and Zagat with the p2p elements of having reviews done by users who could be your friends. You can rate food at the restaurant where you eat and you can share the rating with others - the scale is 1 to 5 stars.



Google+ Targets Facebook not Twitter

July 15, 2011

There have been numerous discussions lately regarding how Google+ could be a Twitter killer and while anything is possible, my research shows that Facebook is in the most trouble. Perhaps the most compelling argument for Google as a Twitter killer comes from Rolfe Winkler at the Wall Street Journal who suggests Google can pay celebrities to switch from Twitter to Google+ and they can even afford to share advertising revenue with the celebs making it worth their while.

This reminds me of the bidding wars Sirius and XM satellite radio went through years back – it got to the point where the companies had to merge because costs got so out of hand that they were having trouble making money.

Justin Timberlake recently invested in MySpace with the hopes of revitalizing it by bringing fans together with artists and if successful, it is possible celebs everywhere will be getting pressure to join, invest and run new and existing social networks.

Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?

July 8, 2011

If you are working with a phone system maker who isn’t innovating rapidly, beware - their days could be numbered.

I hate to be sensational but you have to wonder, with real-time video & voice communications embedded into social networks where a billion or spend a good part of their day, is standalone unified communications now much less important? And with Google+ tying together all of Google’s activities from voice to video to Gmail and chat, will people prefer to make calls from their Google toolbar or something a PBX company provides?

Obviously Avaya with its Flare interface and Cisco’s Quad are examples of being ahead of where the consumer market eventually evolved to.

Quad: The Death of E-mail and Cisco's Social Enterprise Ambitions

June 20, 2011

Quad moves to the cloud, has native Cius tablet support and offers better interoperability

Last week I took a train into the city from TMC’s Connecticut HQ to spend time with the Cisco Quad collaboration team – using Cisco telepresence technology and it was a fascinating look into the company’s foray into a post-email, collaborative enterprise world. First things first, I wrote about Quad and spoke with Murali Sitaram VP/GM of Cisco's Enterprise Platforms unit last September and since then Quad has not been talked about much in the media and has limited buzz in the market. Moreover, Cisco is repositioning itself – lightening up on consumer products meaning much of the company’s messaging has been in other areas of the market including launching consumer telepresence product UMI – something which should never should have gotten the green light.

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