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2010: The Google v. Microsoft War to Intensify December 23, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Analysts, Blog, Commentary, Competitive, Futuring, Media.
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A great Analyst piece was released by ComputerWorld today outlining the outlook (no pun intended) for the battle between Google and Microsoft in 2010.

Have a look at the article by Sharon Gaudin in the US that was released this morning:


This snippet from the article is a good  summary:

[“These two companies really squared off this year,” said Jim McGregor, an analyst with In-Stat. “Both are looking for dominant positions in the Internet. For Google to increase its business, it needs to move into other territory. For Microsoft to have significant growth opportunities, it needs to become an Internet powerhouse, and they know it. This is not a war that is going to be won by one or two battles. This is going to be a prolonged activity.”

He added that the battle isn’t simply over which can be called top dog, because the fight is critical to both companies. “For Google, it’s about expanding, and for Microsoft, it’s about a life-or-death challenge,” McGregor said.]

I noticed with amounts paid for both Google’s ($15M) and Microsoft’s ($10M) ability to search the Twitter stream this week, we have a fairly healthy indicator of the battle between the two over online search.


Another article this week alluded to Google’s current research (some 25 odd projects) into increasing internet speeds.


I think 2010 is going to be an interesting year in this space as we see the battle for domination of the web pan out.


Glenn Irvine


MS Chief Architect Ray Ozzie discusses Cloud for Corporates May 25, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Competitive, Media.
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Ray Ozzie was reported in the IDG News Service late last week, in one of his rare outings with the Media on his views of Cloud Computing and the appetite for it by the Enterprise Sector.

In essence he believes that the first wave of adoption by Corporates will be the transition of Email and Collaboration technologies to this mode of operation, and this makes perfect sence.

The competition is clearly eyeing both of these solution spaces with offerings from IBM’s Lotus with Lotus Live – Email, and Lotus Live – Engage; as well as Google with GMail and Google Apps.

Talk to any one of these vendors and they will have their complete “Cloud Ready” spiel at hand, and all of their offerings have their marketing engines winding up well beyond the “Beta” messaging often being used.

Have a look at the article with Ozzie’s comments on ComputerWorld here.


Glenn Irvine

What will Microsoft “Midori” mean to Lotus August 5, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Competitive, Uncategorized.
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Recent discussion around the still somewhat “Under Wraps” project code-named Midori at Microsoft is suggesting a Microsoft Future “Post-Windows”. This, and the rise of industry interest in Virtiualisation, SaaS, and Cloud Computing, all point to a near-term future where consumption of software services will go through a significant disrupting period that will affect us all.

The Midori research is Microsoft’s effort at potentially making significant inroads into market-share for the operating system of a Cloud Future. Many Vendors are already on track to produce offerings for this future. IBM have their Blue House Initiative in the Lotus Space.

If Microsoft can use their Brand power to capture the market with an early Type-1 Hypervisor like Midori, it will have quite a bit of influence on this space going forward. (And the tacit support of Microsoft as a delivery model)

For resellers of products of Microsoft or IBM’s Lotus Brand, it is now time to consider an impending sales model for this “Desktopless” future. It will have a significant impact on their business.

While we have seen the problems inherant in the SaaS models with early adopters like Saleforce.com, it is only a matter of time before Quality of Service via the Internet improves to acceptable levels for greater uptake.

That’s when we will see the build-up of the “Wave”


Glenn Irvine

Microsoft are targeting 5 Million Notes Accounts this next year July 25, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Competitive, Media.
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I noticed an article today on NetworkWorld where the COO of Microsoft, Kevin Turner stated to a Financial Analysts Annual Meeting, that they would be targeting 5 Million Seats of Lotus Notes Customers this next year.

It looks like the competitive scene between IBM and Microsoft is heating up again with both Vendors claiming Marketshare gains last year.

And I know both have competitive campaigns and programs focusing on this core area of the market. It’s going to be an interesting ride in some key Australian Accounts over the next 6 months as they both struggle for mind-share and influence.

The proliferation of Sharepoint is also an interesting dynamic as this article from some Forrester research highlights it is essentially this decade’s Excel & Access, and IT departments will struggle to meet user demand for support, as the creation by users of sharepoint instances grows.



Glenn Irvine

Social Computing Industry Happenings, SocialText & the Gartner View July 15, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Media, Uncategorized.
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I was contemplating Mr Lepofsky’s move to SocialText, and started investigating the organisation, which led to a few discoveries.  First – There is an interesting initiative underway between IBM and SocialText to integrate the SocialText Workspace with the Lotus Connections Product.

I will be trying the 14 day trial of SocialText Workspace to better understand the synergies here.

On the page of SocialText’s website that described the collaboration with IBM, there is a reference to Gartner’s 2007 Magic Quadrant Report on Social Computing and Collaboration, which is a good read. Here’s the actual Magic Quadrant Diagram.

Gartner Magic Quadrant - 2007 Social Computing & Collaboration

Gartner Magic Quadrant - 2007 Social Computing & Collaboration

I also noticed an article in today’s ComputerWorld (online) about Social Networking titled “Enterprises the battleground for social networking” also an interesting read, with an interesting comment about how IBM employees have more registered users of LinkedIn than Connections. There is an obvious dynamic in that fact, but noteworthy anyway.


Glenn Irvine

The Value of Enterprise Social Computing July 1, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Media.
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If you ever felt you needed to justify to a C-Level Executive the value of Enterprise Social Computing, this article on LinkedIn achieving a US$1B valuation has to be it. That should be good enough to kick-start a serious investigation of Enterprise Social Computing capabilities like Lotus Connections.




LinkedIn valued at $1 billion

LinkedIn has achieved a $1 billion valuation, according to its CEO.
Juan Carlos Perez (Marc Ferranti) 19/06/2008 13:05:14

LinkedIn, the social-networking site for career advancement and professional interactions, closed a funding round that values it at US$1 billion, something the company considers a validation to its particular approach to this market.

Unlike MySpace and Facebook, which focus on meeting and staying in touch with friends and sharing photos, videos and personal information, LinkedIn is designed for professional networking and job-related matters.

In that sense, LinkedIn has an “all business” feature set and look-and-feel that are drastically different from conventional social-networking sites, like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Hi5.

While often knocked by industry observers for being boring, LinkedIn has stayed true to its niche and currently has about 23 million members, a portion of which pay a fee for premium features. The site also sells advertising.

On Tuesday, Dan Nye, LinkedIn’s CEO, announced in a blog posting details of the funding round and valuation.

“LinkedIn has raised additional funding from our original investors and added another world-class investor to our team. Bain Capital Ventures joins our existing group of investors – Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and Bessemer Ventures – and leads this round of investment at a total of US$53 million,” Nye wrote.

LinkedIn, which had previously raised US$27 million and has been profitable since 2006, is now valued at “slightly over US$1 billion,” according to Nye.

“This significant investment is indicative of the confidence shared by our investors in our business model and our long-term growth strategy,” he wrote.

Social-networking companies have attracted much attention and investment in recent years. News Corp. acquired MySpace for more than half a billion dollars in July 2005. Last year, Facebook’s valuation was estimated at US$15 billion. And AOL acquired Bebo this year for US$850 million.

However, questions remain about these sites’ ability to generate the type of revenue that their popularity and traffic should command. In May, News Corp. announced that Fox Interactive Media, MySpace’s unit, will fail to meet its revenue projections for this fiscal year by about 10 percent.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s attempts to leverage its users’ interactions on the site to sell more and better targeted advertising have met with mixed results. In particular, its Beacon program got the company into a strident privacy controversy and led top officials to acknowledge the program could have been better designed.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for selling advertising on social-networking sites remains companies’ reluctance to promote their products in pages that are created by millions of individuals and that can feature content of an objectionable nature. Another problem: it seems that people aren’t primarily interested in paying attention to ads when they’re in social-networking sites.
It can be argued that these concerns may be lessened at a site like LinkedIn, due to its focus and to the type of interactions its users engage in.

Ray Ozzie’s Ascendancy at Microsoft… What is in store for us June 30, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Media.
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The following article from ComputerWorld/Network World today highlights that Ray Ozzie is still as sharp as ever, and has a keen eye on the industry. His comments not only affect the future of Microsoft and his view as the new Chief Software Architect, but the industry as a whole…

A careful read will highlight where Lotus needs to focus going forward to remain competitive. Hosted models, SaaS, Social and Cloud Computing are all to be seriously considered in my opinion.


Glenn Irvine


Will Ozzie era at Microsoft signal a revolution?

Bill Gates’ exit not the only big change coming to Microsoft

John Fontana (Network World) 18/06/2008 11:00:09

If Bill Gates leaving Microsoft is the end of an era, then Ray Ozzie’s ascension is the beginning of a revolution designed to transform the company’s business model as well as redefine corporate IT infrastructures and how end users access, share and interact with applications and data.Ozzie, who invented Lotus Notes and created Groove before selling it to Microsoft for US$120 million, is Gates’ successor and Microsoft’s point man to lead it into the online services era, what he calls “a time of great turbulence and potential change in the industry.”     

In a 2005 memo to Microsoft’s executive staff, Ozzie said if Microsoft failed to respond to the advertising-supported services and software model sweeping the industry “our business as we know it is at risk.”
To understand the threat and why the golden slipper isn’t on Microsoft’s foot this time, one only need to know that industry experts predict that by May 2009 Google’s search business alone (not including AdSense) will be larger and more profitable than Microsoft’s most famous cash cow — Windows.
The services effort is the biggest test of Ozzie’s storied career.
With Gates leaving his full-time post July 1, the new chief software architect, at Microsoft since 2005, is officially on the clock as it ticks into the future.
His task is to meld Microsoft’s packaged-software pedigree with both consumer and corporate services, what the company calls “software plus services” and battle Google and other Web and Enterprise 2.0 companies.
“He certainly is regarded highly as a technical person, and he carries a certain amount of prestige,” says Dwight Davis, an analyst with Ovum Summit. “But it’s sort of a minefield for Microsoft to go down this path, but it understands it has to go down the path. With Gates gone there is going to be a new environment, and so there is going to be a more federated team at Microsoft. How that plays out is difficult to predict.”

Ozzie, a noted technologist like Gates, has established a framework for Microsoft’s services architecture; presided over the rollout of a mish-mash of consumer and enterprise services; and is spearheading the development of perhaps his most important effort to date — Live Mesh, an online data-sharing and synchronization service introduced in April. It will likely compete with Apple’s newly unveiled MobileMe and start-up services such as SugarSync and Joggle.

Microsoft must also overhaul the nontechnical side where makeovers will be needed for its corporate culture, business model, and partner and customer relationships to accommodate a services model that includes lightning-fast development, new distribution strategies and superior customer service.

It’s all in its infancy, and has already suffered a hit with the failed bid to acquire Yahoo, a move designed to accelerate Microsoft’s online and advertising strategy.

Laying the ground work
Ozzie, however, has already dissected the challenge and is laying out his plan for a services framework that he hopes to have in place by the end of 2008. He has highlighted the importance of advertising to help fund the online effort, including Microsoft’s US$6 billion acquisition of digital marketing vendor aQuantive late last year.

To underscore the task at hand, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said last year that eventually 25 per cent of company revenue will come from Internet advertising; in fiscal 2007 the total was just more than 3.5 per cent.
Improving those numbers could prove difficult.
“If you are able to win market share, eventually the profits have followed, but Microsoft has not shown that it knows how to make money on the Internet,” says Thomas Haigh, a historian of computing at the University of Wisconsin.
To help grow its advertising revenue numbers, Microsoft is investing in search, user retention, technology, operations, sales and communication services.
Ozzie’s services plan centers on three principals: using the Web as a hub, offering choice between on-premises software and hosted services, and providing a “fragmented” programming model that is defined by small components wired together on the fly.

His services framework has four layers: an infrastructure layer that is the physical platform to host and run services; a common services layer for such tools as the adCenter advertising platform, identity, synchronized storage and connectivity; a developer layer that includes protocols and APIs and the all-important Mesh Operating Environment that runs on the client and online; and the application layer that includes Live Mesh, Microsoft services such as hosted Exchange and SharePoint unveiled  in April, and third-party services.Ozzie also said in April virtualization will be critical for hosting services, especially consolidation of workloads to maximize CPU utilization and for isolating resources per customer.     

He added that Microsoft in the past six months has recognized that it needs “a componentized or scalable Windows that starts with embedded and can be repackaged in other forms for a variety of different devices.”
The company last year began showing peeks at a minimalistic version of the Windows kernel called MinWin that is in the early development stages and may be the apple of Ozzie’s eye.

Microsoft currently has Windows Embedded CE and just this week announced that it has released the NavReady 2009 version optimized for portable navigation devices. The embedded operating system includes hooks to Microsoft Live Search.

The next big services unveiling will come in October at Microsoft’s annual Professional Developers Conference, where Live Mesh will get a beta upgrade and be distributed to more testers along with an early preview version of Microsoft’s Oslo  modeling technology. The conference sessions will walk developers through building service-based applications and hooking into the Microsoft services framework.  

Another challenge

At the same time Ozzie rolls out his plans and tries to resolve the dearth of concrete details, Microsoft as an organization must figure out how it will adapt to the services model.
“You can imagine the huge challenges in moving from a product-focused business model and sales culture, and you can imagine the huge philosophical, cultural and business model challenges they need to look at,” says Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management, which provides sales management consulting. Thoreson says Microsoft’s track record with executing the delivery and integration of new products into their existing model is spotty. “The question is how fast will they come out of the chute. Normally, they struggle with that,” he says.
Microsoft will have to deliver a top-notch support model for services customers and will eventually have to redefine its relationship with partners in terms of services.
Help crafting solutions to all these issues will come from the top.
“Priority No. 1 in terms of our long-term outlook is this transformation,” CEO Steve Ballmer told partners last year in a message he is likely to repeat next month when Microsoft’s partners gather in Houston for their annual conference. “It is an ambitious project for us, but it is very important.”
It is important in many ways because Microsoft has so much at stake, so much ground to make up and so much to prove for the first time without Gates at the helm.
“We are breaking from the proprietary lock-and-key model that has become commonplace under Gates’ tenure,” says Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “This next generation of computing is where Microsoft is struggling but where open standards are thriving: SaaS, cloud computing, Web 2.0 – they all run on open source. Ballmer and team have recognized the need for a new model that embraces open systems and where open source co-exists with proprietary software, but only time will tell if these actions really stick.”

Despite the monster it has been over the past two decades, the future may hold a more humble place for Microsoft if Ozzie, Ballmer and crew sans Gates can’t execute on the services plan.