Hal Steger : Thinking Out Cloud
Hal Steger
Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Funambol. 20+ years of marketing & product management experience at high-growth, innovative global software companies.
| This blog is about personal cloud solutions, technology, trends and market developments. Its scope is to comment on and discuss several aspects of personal clouds.

Skype Ends Desktop API. Now What?

I launched Skype this morning and was greeted with a warning message that caused me some alarm (screenshot above). It appears a...

Full Story »

Texting While Driving Laws Don't Work

Let me start by saying texting-while-driving is dangerous yet it is something many continue to do. Moreover, government legislators who try to...

Full Story »

One Year After Super Storm Sandy: Any Change?

As the one year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy that rocked the Greater NY/NJ area last year passes, many articles have...

Full Story »

Vertu Rolls Out "Affordable" Constellation

Titanium, sapphire and calfskin are what you need to make the most expensive phones in the world according to Vertu who should...

Full Story »

Asterlook - "The CTI Asterisk Client for Outlook" Launches

A new software Asterlook, what they're calling "the CTI Asterisk client for Outlook", was just released allowing you to manage incoming and...

Full Story »

FAA Finally Loosens Gadget Rules on Planes

The FAA will allow the use of readers and games throughout flights although smartphone and tablet use seem to be at...

Full Story »

AT&T TL7910 DECT 6.0 Headset Review

The AT&T TL7910 DECT 6.0 headset is one of the best combo PC/phone headsets you can buy with some pretty powerful features....

Full Story »

Personal Cloud Goes Mainstream (warning: 'mature' humor)

November 4, 2013

How do you know when something has attained 'tipping point' status and reached into the mainstream consciousness?

How about when a Saturday Night Live skit makes a semi-obscure reference to someone's personal cloud, as in the following (warning, this would probably be rated PG for some semi-mature content):

Although the skit references a certain company's personal cloud service (which shall go unnamed, although it is pretty obvious), we still like how it calls attention to another use for a personal cloud (even if it involves snooping on someone's personal life, and not by the NSA).

Speaking of the NSA, I saw the other day that someone got in trouble for selling a coffee cup online that had the seal of the NSA with a caption underneath that read, 'The only branch of government that listens' (or something like this). They got in trouble for using the NSA seal without permission, ostensibly.

8 of the Top Mobile Operators Deploy Personal Clouds

September 25, 2013

Having worked with personal clouds from their outset (before they were called personal clouds, I can say with first-hand knowledge that it is virtually impossible to get accurate market data about how many people are really using personal clouds.

This is because the companies that provide personal clouds are either very large or very private and they generally do not want to disclose detailed user stats. If you pay close attention, or you have a wide network of spies or friends in low places, it is possible to glean periodic glimpses of what various companies are doing, such that it is possible to make pretty good educated guesses about what is really going on in the market.

Today, my company, Funambol, published a report on how 8 of the largest mobile operators in the world have deployed or are launching a personal cloud service based on our company's solution. These operators collectively have more than a billion subscribers. Although a fraction of their subscribers are currently using their personal cloud services, the clear trend is that for operators that have been to market the longest, they are getting significant user uptake.

What Service Providers Should Know About Personal Clouds: 25 Strategic Considerations

September 25, 2013

The following is adapted from a free white paper that can be downloaded from my company's website with instant registration at

The personal cloud market is quickly approaching the proverbial tipping point. There are more than one billion end user personal cloud accounts in the world, with double-digit percentage growth forecasted for each of the next several years. At the same time, industry observers believe the market has yet to 'cross the chasm', from early adopters and advanced users to the mainstream, although this is expected shortly. The 'net' result is that there remains ample opportunity, especially for nimble companies.

Personal Clouds Central in Central America

August 27, 2013

I recently traveled to Costa Rica for a family summer vacation. In addition to enjoying the rain forests, monkeys, sloths and other indigenous species, I really liked accessing my personal cloud, for a variety of uses. This journey allowed me to see how personal clouds can be of great value to people who live in areas where mobile internet is spotty or expensive, and where people don't own personal computers.

In my case, we stayed at a place with slow and undependable wifi.

The Future of Mobile Cloud Apps

June 7, 2013

I recently attended a Forrester webinar on the future of mobile apps. Although part of the webinar was about technical topics such as developing native, html5 or hybrid apps, it did cover several other topics that are very salient to the future of mobile cloud apps. These were:


How Confidential Is Data in the Cloud and What Are The Implications?

June 3, 2013

A federal judge recently ordered Google to comply with FBI requests to make customer data available, without a warrant. You can google the story (seems ironic to google a story against Google) or view it at:

In this case, the FBI can present National Security Letters to Google requesting access to customer data, and Google must honor the requests by allowing access. National Security Letters do not require a warrant, they can be issued without judicial due process.

Beginning of the End for the Personal Cloud Freemium Model?

May 31, 2013

If you missed it, the Flickr photo sharing service announced this week that it is now giving users one terabyte of free storage. Their website says this is equal to about 500,000 high res photos - wow!

Depending on your perspective, you might view this as a great pr stunt, a bold move to attract or retain users, or a desperate move to carve out a meaningful and permanent niche in a crowded space.

It does raise a strategic question for the personal cloud industry, which is whether the 'great free terabyte giveaway' is just the first of many services to give away all of the storage that users are likely to ever need, or might this be the last?

Personal Cloud Market Map 2013

May 21, 2013

My company spends a lot of time talking to people about the personal cloud space, including industry analysts, executives, users and many others. A common question is, "what is the personal cloud market, exactly?". For people who do not follow the industry closely, it can be confusing, given the  multitude of companies and offerings in the market.

To simplify things, we often draw a 'market map' that resembles the following:

Operator Clouds: It's The User Experience...

May 2, 2013

At the risk of dating myself as well as using a semi-crass word, one phrase comes to mind in light of the recent launch of a major U.S. carrier cloud.

"It's the economy, stupid"

Except in this case, it would be:

Personal Cloud Video: Sync or Swim (aka progressive downloading vs. streaming)

April 29, 2013

Market research as well as experience with customer deployments globally show that personal cloud and mobile video use is on the rise. As part of this, more people prefer to stream content than download it. This is somewhat akin to the difference between renting and owning content, the former is less expensive and comes with the expectation that video can be watched instantly instead of waiting for a potentially long download. On the other hand, if you need offline use, streaming won't cut it.

1 2 3 Next