Where does Microsoft want to go today?
There has been much discussion lately, most of it negativeÂ (you can read more comments on Technorati), about the comeback of boo.com and once again, I find myself on the opposite side of the shared wisdom. Before I go into reasons as to why I think a comeback by Boo.com (a boo.comeback?) makes sense, let me first go into my unique qualifications to make such an assessment: I happen to have worked at Boo.com in the past and I was the insider who exposed some of the challenges the company had faced. I spent a fair amount of my time, in 2000 and 2001, talking at conferences about the lessons learned from this failure and I think that some of those are now fixed. Looking Back In the ensuing 6 years, I’ve been going over and over what went wrong and discovered more lessons along the way: the market conditions were wrong, we were young and arrogant, and, for the most part, we didn’t really understand the magnitude of what we were trying to accomplish: to remind people, our goal was to launch a website in 16 countries (15 EU countries + the US) on day one, localizing our site for…Read More
So the big news coming out of the 2006 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is that all the portals are now trying to go into the video space. Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo have already made their announcements (as has Apple, which is not presenting at CES and is reserving its sparks for next week’s Mac World) and word has been leaking that Google will also get into the space. So it’s time to review, side by side what each player has to offer. Software The first thing I’m taking a look into is what are the software packages each offers: Apple AOL Google Microsoft Yahoo! Browsers supported None Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape or Safari Firefox or Internet Explorer Internet Explorer Internet Explorer or Netscape Media Players Supported iTunes, Quicktime Windows Media Player Google Video Player Windows Media Player iTunes, Windows Media Player Platforms Mac, Windows Mac, Windows Windows only Windows only Mac, Windows DRM Apple FairPlay Microsoft Windows-Media DRM Google DRM (based on OpenSSL) but providers can opt-out Microsoft Windows-Media DRM Microsoft Windows-Media DRM So it looks like we will be dealing with three different types of digital right management systems, making it difficult to actually have content play on every…Read More
Every year, mac users await announcement of exciting new software and hardware product. Last year, Steve Jobs impressed the computing industry by unveiling a couple of new laptops (the 12 and 17 inch PowerBooks) and offering a truckload of new software packages. This year’s keynote, however, was more significant for what was not said that what was. Much will be made about the pricing of the mini iPod, with people debating whether it is too expensive or priced well enough so I’m not going to go over that ground here. My view is that anyone who thinks they can get the 15Gb iPod for only 50 dollars more that the mini-iPod has made the kind of mental leap that Apple expects consumers to make. The decision to introduce a 4 Gb iPod was an interesting one only in the fact that there were no similar announcements about a 2Gb and/or 1Gb device. The question here is why did Apple decide not to introduce products of this kind in the marketplace. I suspect that the reasoning here is that 4Gb is rare enough (In my searches, I could only find one competing device, which has since been discontinued) that it makes…Read More
CIO magazine is running an interesting article showcasing efforts by several companies to use a more modular approach when building new EAI applications. Based on what the article is saying, it looks like we are now reaching a point where going with a single vendor for your complete solution is no longer the preferable choice. The rise of web services as the glue between different system could drastically reshape how large scale applications are built. his has an impact on anyone who’s currently involved in application development as it heralds a new age of modularization. If the trend holds, we will increasingly see extremely specific application modules being developed instead of one-size-fits-all software. That, in turn, might erode the profit margins of software development companies as they will be unable to sell features that the customer does not want. As this more distributed model evolves and services become less and less dependent on the underlying operating system, what will happen to companies like Microsoft, who tie things very closely with their operating system? It seems to me that the software world is about the experience the kind of breaking point the music industry has experienced with the rise of Napster.…Read More