iTunes U Milestone, Small CRM, Mobile Phone Users, Social Gaming Bubble

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iTunes U Milestone, Small CRM, Mobile Phone Users, Social Gaming Bubble

Sometimes CRM companies have to remind themselves just what business they're in. They can get so fixated on the delivery method or technical makeup - anybody up for another open source vs. cloud debate? - that they forget they're in the CRM business.

Industry observer Si Chen wrote recently of his friend, Phil Simon, who is writing a book called "The New Small" about how today, "small businesses are taking advantage of emerging technologies."
As Chen says, "we started talking about how open source software is affecting small businesses. I realized that open source has made a fundamental shift in the relationship between technology and small businesses."
Specifically, he explained, "Instead of being a tool of large enterprises, technology is helping today's small businesses leapfrog past their larger competitors, thanks to open source software."
Read more here.

If the rosiest estimates are to be believed, there could be as many as 4 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide, according to a recent white paper from IVR solutions provider Voxeo.
The majority of these users have Short Message Service-capable devices and an increasing number are adopting Web-enabled smartphones. Consumer expectations for speed, convenience and on-demand information have skyrocketed, but as the report finds, "few companies have adapted their communication and support strategies to take advantage of the widespread adoption of additional interaction channels such as SMS, IM, video, the mobile Web" or even Twitter.
A 2009 Nielsen survey found that the average American teenager is sending and receiving more than 2,800 text messages per month - and this isn't even the highest average of a country's teens. ABI Research forecasts mobile messaging revenues to grow to $212 billion by 2013, and more people are incorporating messaging services like SMS, IM and mobile IM into their daily personal and business communications.
By supporting messaging services and the mobile Web where applicable, the report concludes, "businesses address two conflicting customer support goals: improving service and keeping costs as low as possible."
Read more here.

Apple has announced that iTunes U, the online educational catalog it hosts, saw its 300 millionth download.
Not bad for a service that's only been around for three years.
iTunes U "began as a hosted content system for higher education institutions, but it wasn't until 2007 that the catalog was integrated into the iTunes Store, making content such as lectures and interviews available to the public,"according to Macworld.
"We're providing iTunes users with an incredible way to learn on their computer, iPhone, iPod or iPad," Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet services, said in a prepared statement.
This reporter's glad to know he's done his part to keep that figure up, there's no end to the interesting stuff you can find on iTunes U. Be nice if it were easier to search for content, though.
A number of universities from around the world have joined the program, Macworld notes, rattling off Harvard, Northwestern University, Stanford, Oxford, MIT, and more: "There are more than 800 universities worldwide with active iTunes U sites and almost half of them make their content available for free, public download... The content has grown from simply courses and lectures adding campus tours, sports highlights, lab demonstrations, and more."
Read more here.

If you're a FarmVille addict, there are quite a few things that could probably be said about you, but not that you're alone.
A recent study by The NPD Group found that "20 percent of the U.S. population has played a game on a social network at one point or another," for 56.8 million Americans.
Whether this is a good or bad thing, well, that's up to you. Traditional game publishers, media companies and others think it's a great thing, and as the study found, are "investing heavily in social game makers."
Disney paid $563 million for Playdom, the sector's third largest developer, last month -- and as CNBC says, "That price could escalate to $763 million if the unit hits performance targets over time."
Is there a bubble in social gaming investment? Could be. "Although 35 percent of social network gamers are new to gaming, it's clear that a lot of existing gamers have been drawn into the social network gaming arena as well," Anita Frazier, Industry Analyst, The NPD Group told CNBC.
Read more here.

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