Saturday, September 29, 2007



Hi everyone,

I wanted to share this site with anyone who still glances at this blog. My older brother put it together and I'm helping him get it out on the web. Drop me a line if you have any suggestions or encounter anything that looks like a bug. If you know of any good free stuff out there (including open source software and free ware please add it.

"Freenormous is a social site oriented solely on the idea of free stuff. It has free samples, free stuff, free after rebate items, etc. The point is voting up legit offers (say an offer for Dove Soap on Dove.com) as opposed to scammy offers. It's a digg clone with a different angle."

http://www.freenormous.com/

Thanks,

E

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Presentation Styles: Gates vs Jobs

Here's a good post on different presentation styles. Nice contrast between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

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Worth taking a look.
The overall blog is also a good reference.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Free iPhone SIM Unlocking Software Available

From Mac Rumors: Original Link

Mac News

The folks over at iPhone Dev Wiki posted a free SIM unlock tool for the iPhone. Similar to the other solutions, this software-only solution should allow you to SIM unlock your iPhone, allowing you to use any GSM cell phone carrier. In the U.S. this limits your alternative choice to T-Mobile (over AT&T), but in other countries, GSM carriers are far more common.

The software is being mirrored (Gizmodo mirror) by a number of locations along with downloadable source code. Tutorials are still being developed but some early instructions have become available. At this time the instructions are not very user-friendly, so casual users may want to wait until a more automated solution is published.

More download links and information has been compiled in this forum thread by ascham87.

A few commercial solutions had previously been made available, ranging from $50-$100 per unlock.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Google Browser Sync - Sync your browser settings across computers

It's a old feature but I just learned it today. This feature will be very useful to me..... and to the people who buy new computers often.


Firefox extensions

Google Browser Sync


Synchronize your browser settings across computers. Restore tabs and windows from your previous session.
Learn more

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

iPhone sold 270,000, lower than expected.


Will Steve smile last? Personally, I don't believe what Analyst said, I will buy the iPhone eventually (maybe wait to 2nd generation).


The following part is from WSJ today (7/26/2007).

Apple Inc.'s iPhone has been a magnet for hype. But the company's iPods and Macintosh computers were the stars of the quarter.

The Cupertino, Calif., company said record sales of iPods and Macs helped the company post a 73% increase in its fiscal third-quarter earnings and a 24% rise in revenue. Apple also said it sold 270,000 iPhones in the period and reiterated its goal of selling 10 million of the cellphones by the end of next year.




Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Redefining the Surface--Microsoft Style

It's time to think outside the box and Microsoft is demonstrating it today. Ever since Steve Jobs demonstrated multi-touch screen in his forthcoming iPhone, there has been a lot of speculations on what this technology means for user interface and consumer interactions. In our discussions of the 3 laws by 3 domain matrix, we clearly were expecting new form factors for the computing not just cell phones but other devices and applications as well. We recognized that we are at the dawn of pervasive computing where the computer is hidden and unobtrusive.

These two videos from Microsoft illustrates the possibilities. Now, it's time to think of applications and what they mean for greater customer value.

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See the competitive implications for Apple?
Who else?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Evolution in Color Display--Sony Style

We all know that we are limited by the size, weight and shape of digital displays.
Sony Corporation has developed a razor-thin display that bends like paper while showing full-color video.
Thin-display TV
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what new ideas and functionality can you begin to visualize once this goes from the lab to mainstream much as LCD displays and plasma televisions have invaded our daily lives?
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It is a breakthrough because it is not only thin but can be bent by a human hand (and presumably not lose its shape). Sony spokesperson said:
"In the future, it could get wrapped around a lamppost or a person's wrist, even worn as clothing," said Sony spokesman Chisato Kitsukawa. "Perhaps it can be put up like wallpaper."

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Apparently there is a demo video but I have not been able to locate it. I will post it when I do. The news article describing this is here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the heels of our final exam, this Fast Company article is a good profile of Disney's efforts to adapt to the digital age. It profiles Albert Cheng, the executive vice president of digital media, and talks about his efforts to turn Disney into a leader in the digital entertainment world.

"ABC has been the real leader here," says Will Richmond, founder of Broadband Directions, a market-intelligence firm. "They're pushing into uncharted territory." That explains what Anne Sweeney, the co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, calls the company's unofficial mantra: Create what's next. And that's where Cheng's team comes in. "We've aggregated all the great thinkers and fast movers in this group," she says. "It's a lab."

Disney's digital startup is turning the conventional television network into what Cheng calls a "branded multiplatform ecosystem." In the process, it is changing TV viewing as we know it. You can gather online in private TV rooms to watch the teen drama Wildfire; compete in online fantasy leagues around the cads and prima donnas on daytime soaps; vote online for plot points in the High School Musical sequel (43 million votes tallied); or read the Grey's Anatomy staff blog. ("Let me tell you," one of the show's writers begins, "the day after we see Izzie and George have sex is a pretty frightening time to come on here and try to explain why.... We know you're shocked. We hear you.") The new platforms are also inspiring new types of content, like the online mini-telenovelas spun off from Ugly Betty, one of ABC's prime-time hits.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DRM-free Music?: Amazon follows Apple

Amazon announced today that it plans to launch an online music service that will sell only DRM-free music tracks. EMI Music Group--which has already announced a similar arrangement with Apple iTunes--is a major label under this arrangement. In addition, there are supposedly 12,000 unnamed labels.

Amazon indicated that its DRM-free MP3s will free customers to play their music on any device-- such as Apple ipod, Microsoft Zune and others (in addition to burning CDs). EMI is clearly seeking to broaden their channel to consumers beyond Apple itunes store with this arrangement.

Does this pose a major competitive threat to Apple iTunes? Only if certain labels decide to distribute their music through Amazon (and not Apple). Otherwise, it is competitively neutral between Apple and Amazon while allowing the music labels to have multiple channels.

The question then is: Will Wal-Mart be far behind?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Shift Happens: Globalization and Information Technology

This may be worth watching and thinking about..
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I am sure you can make a presentation that lays out in simple-yet-powerful ways, how IT impacts business (and society) in a broad sense.

Good Luck 2007 Graduates!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Web 2.0: Who is Sick and Where?


Here is an interesting web 2.0 initiative that is interesting. Will it really be updated and accurate?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Strategy 2.0: Overview Presentation

This is an overview presentation that I contributed to a workshop on Network Business Ecology that we held at Boston University today. Many of the ideas are familiar to the students of IS714 but I have laid out five steps that are useful for a company to think about the shifts from industrial era competition to network era competition.

Plus, I get to experiment with slideshare.net. I think it could be a useful site for looking at a wide variety of presentations in different formats. Its role is to complement blogging by making ideas available and accessible in presentation formats.

Here is the presentation.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Disney and Apple itunes

The Walt Disney Co. reported yesterday that its second quarter profits rose 27%. While Roger Igor, CEO refused to break down a measure of its digital revenue from its websites compared to sale of movies through Apple, the following statistics are worth noting.
1. So far, Disney and Apple iTunes have sold around 23.7 million TV
episodes and 2 million movies.
2. Disney viewers watched nearly 92 million ad-supported TV episodes via
ABC.com website and 91 million shows on Disney.com website.
3. The rate of movie downloads seems steady at around 9,000 per day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Premium Content for TV

Comcast seeks same-day movie releases as theaters

Comcast Corp., the biggest U.S. cable operator, has held talks with Hollywood studios to show movies on cable on the same day as they open in theaters, the company said on Monday as rivals also outlined plans for more premium content on television.

MORE ON DEMAND:

Time Warner Cable Inc., the No. 2 operator, also said it is planning a new service called 'Catch-Up' which would allow subscribers to view recent first-run television shows.

Comcast's Burke also gave his company's strongest public support to Cablevision Systems Corp.'s planned network-based digital video recorder, or DVR, service.

Cablevision's plans were stalled by a court ruling which agreed with a claim by several studios and TV networks that Cablevision's plans to allow viewers to store programs remotely on its network would violate copyright agreements. The company said last month it is appealing the ruling.

"We will do the network DVR if the courts rule it permissible," said Burke.

Simon and Schuster to use YouTube to Market Books

According to WSJ (May 8, 2007):
CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster book-publishing arm next month will launch an Internet book channel called Bookvideos.tv that will be hosted on YouTube.com and other video-sharing sites. For an industry constantly held back by scant marketing dollars, the plan represents a new and inexpensive digital way to promote books and try to turn their authors into brands.

The publisher is committed to a flight of 40 videos that will be personality-driven rather than focusing solely on specific new titles. The videos, which be produced by TurnHere Inc., based in Emeryville, Calif., will last two minutes and feature such best-selling authors as Mary Higgins Clark, Zane, and Sandra Brown.
......
Although the videos will be owned by Simon & Schuster, the publisher, in a nod to the free-wheeling digital-video culture, says other sites will be free to link or use the videos in any form. Retailers will have access to the videos, and authors will be able to post them on their own Web sites.

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For now....the publisher says the site will focus purely on its own authors. The question then is will we see other sites with .TV domains or will there be a logical role for an aggregator like NY Times Book Review or C-Span to create more unbiased book review videos?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Does Linux = Anti-Microsoft?

Dell's Linux Problem
Daniel Lyons 05.07.07, 5:00 PM ET

Dell became a hero to Linux fans worldwide when it announced last week that it would begin selling PCs loaded with the Linux operating system instead of Microsoft's Windows.

But a week later Dell (nasdaq: DELL - news - people ) may have blown that good will away. Monday the Round Rock, Texas, computer maker announced another Linux deal--but this one is going to anger Linux supporters.

That's because many of the people who embrace Linux--the open source operating system that is maintained and supported by a community of volunteers--are very particular about the kind of Linux they want to hug. And Dell's decision to work with Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) and Novell (nasdaq: NOVL - news - people ) to promote Novell’s version of Linux is not going to go over well.

Microsoft and Novell last year started working together to make their software programs interact more smoothly. Microsoft even agreed to help sell Novell’s version of Linux. The idea was to help customers who want to use both Windows and Linux.

And importantly, Microsoft and Novell also agreed not to sue each other over intellectual property.

Linux fans went nuts. Why? Because they hate Microsoft. They viewed the deal as a way for Microsoft to assert that Linux violated some Microsoft patents. Novell, by going along, was collaborating with the enemy, they said.

Linux loyalists flamed Novell on message boards and Web sites, with many saying they would stop using Novell products. There’s even a requisite Web site calling for customers to boycott Novell.

Now Dell has become a collaborator too. The company already sells Red Hat's (nyse: RHT - news - people ) Linux, but says a lot of its customers are interested in the “[intellectual property] assurance” that Novell and Microsoft offer.

Dell is a longtime Microsoft ally, but it has been taking on water for the past year. If embracing Linux helps bail it out, it will embrace Linux.

“I’ve got to focus on delivering the best products that our customers are asking for,” says Rick Becker, vice president of solutions at Dell.

Recently, Linux supporters swarmed Dell after the company put up a Web site called IdeaStorm asking for suggestions. Like teenage girls voting for Sanjaya on American Idol, thousands of Linux fans wrote to Dell and “voted” for PCs loaded with Linux, making this the No. 1 request on IdeaStorm.

Dell responded by announcing it would sell PCs bearing a version of Linux called Ubuntu. It’s not clear yet how many customers will actually buy these machines.

But that point may be moot. By agreeing to do business with Microsoft and Novell, Dell risks becoming a pariah in the Linux community.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Do We Really Need a Security Industry?

Interesting article from Wired Magazine. "Why aren't IT products and services naturally secure, and what would it mean for the industry if they were?"

Highlights from the article:

Fold security into the underlying products, and the companies marketing those products will have an incentive to invest in security upfront, to avoid having to spend more cash obviating the problems later. Their profits would rise in step with the overall level of security on the internet.

The IT services market is pushing us in this direction... Last year BT bought Counterpane, further embedding network security services into the IT infrastructure. BT has customers that don't want to deal with network management at all; they just want it to work. They want the internet to be like the phone network, or the power grid, or the water system; they want it to be a utility. For these customers, security isn't even something they purchase: It's one small part of a larger IT services deal. It's the same reason IBM bought ISS: to be able to have a more integrated solution to sell to customers.

Of course, security products won't disappear -- at least, not in my lifetime. There'll still be firewalls, antivirus software and everything else. There'll still be startup companies developing clever and innovative security technologies. But the end user won't care about them. They'll be embedded within the services sold by large IT outsourcing companies like BT, EDS and IBM, or ISPs like EarthLink and Comcast. Or they'll be a check-box item somewhere in the core switch.

Mac users' Web 2.0 affinity seen driving Apple share gains

This is quite an interesting article connecting MAC user's Web2.0 users behavior to Apple's share price. It also points out the power of the internet community - the more feedback from each user, the more power it will be. Also, the vale of more activities in the community is not merely bring value to the Site - but also creating value to the whole related products in various industries.



Article from: AppleInsider

Friday, May 4, 2007

Mac users' Web 2.0 affinity seen driving Apple share gains

By Katie Marsal

Published: 02:00 PM EST Investment analysts at ThinkEquity Partners LLC are reiterating their Buy rating on shares of Apple this week, citing recent studies that show Mac users are twice as active in the Web 2.0 ecosystem and purchase better technology than their PC counterparts.

CIO: Balancing Innovation and Implementation

Here's a brief article (actually an extended interview written as an article) that I did for the Silicon.com magazine in London recently. It raises some of the questions and issues that we have explored in our sessions during Spring 2007.

For other views on the role of CIO, see here.
What distinguishes a strategic, or “future-state,” CIO? Fundamentally, the CIO role encompasses three aspects: the function head (focused on operations), the transformational leader (focused on alignment, enablement and process change) and the business strategist. The strategist targets how a company creates shareholder value and serves its customers. The strategic CIO is a business leader who happens to use technology as the core tool to create competitive advantage. CIOs who primarily have an operations or transformational role look at a company from the inside out—starting with how they operate and then looking out to the customer. Strategic CIOs look at the company from the outside in and ask, How is the company perceived by customers? What is the technology platform our competitors are using to compete against us?

These three aspects highlight the trade-off between technical and strategic aspects of how IT supports and shapes business strategy of modern corporations.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Kodak: Winds of Change

Please take a look at it.

Microsoft + Yahoo > Google?

I read this news this morning and think MS + Yahoo idea is not good. Unless the vision + good strategy in both business and IT fields, the 2nd + 3rd will not be able to beat 1st position. Compaq + HP is the best example.


Source: WSJ news:

(Aticle draft)
Microsoft, Yahoo Reconsider Merger

A year ago, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. explored the idea of combining to form a greater competitor to Google Inc.
The talks led nowhere leaving Microsoft and Yahoo to forge their own paths in pursuit of Google. How did they do? Well, they're talking again.
In what appear to be early-stage discussions, executives at Microsoft and Yahoo are taking a fresh look at a merger of the two companies or some kind of match-up that would pair their companies' respective strengths, say people familiar with the situation. (see full article at WSJ)


Microsoft planning to acquire Yahoo?

One interesting news story from Reuters today concerns rumors that Microsoft is planning to buy Yahoo. This is an obvious move for Microsoft in its fight to better compete against Google.

I am concerned, however, whether this possible deal is good for Microsoft or Yahoo. Microsoft needs to increase its presence in the online search business, but purchasing Yahoo might be too big of an acquisition to swallow and would probably cost a lot (approximately $50 billion). Yahoo may or may not also face a decline in users if the Yahoo brand name is weakened by an association with Microsoft.

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. has stepped up its pursuit of a deal to buy Yahoo Inc., two newspapers reported on Friday, as the two companies re-enter talks to strike a deal and fend off a common competitor in Web search leader Google Inc."

Microsoft eyeing deal to buy Yahoo: reports

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Google and Web 2.0

Here is a recent video interview with Eric Schmidt at the Web 2.0 expos that may be worth watching for some of you interested in this space.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Controlling Your Message in the MySpace Age

We've spent a lot of time discussing the value user-generated content in the context of Wikipedia and the like. But what happens when user-generated content threatens to supercede your official message?

This TechPresident article describes how Joe Kennedy, a paralegal from Los Angeles, created an unofficial MySpace page for presidential candidate Barack Obama. The site became hugely popular, but concerns about the validity of the information and risk of unofficial information prompted the campaign to attempt to gain control of it. Negotiations broke down, and MySpace was forced to step in and lock out Kennedy's account.
How all this happened is a complicated tale that is still unfolding, and none of the parties involved--Anthony, the Obama online team, and the MySpace political operation--emerge from this story unscathed. Speaking on background, Obama campaign staffers are spreading word that Anthony just wanted a "big payday." Anthony in turn has posted a missive on his blog (that was originally sent to me as an email) accusing the Obama team of "bullying...[and] rotten and dishonest" behavior. However one parses those accusations ... the Obama campaign's reputation as the most net-savvy of 2008 has taken a big hit.
While this article deals with politics, there are lessons for companies as well. How to do manage the tension between encouraging grassroots "buzz" and controlling your message online? Will MySpace squatting become as prevelent as cybersquatting?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Apple's Mac share inches upwards during first quarter

I believe Apple will continue higher its PC market share based on its Intel-Mac and compatible with Microsoft's Windows XP and Vista.


From Apple Insider

Apple's Mac share inches upwards during first quarter

By Katie Marsal

Published: 09:30 AM EST

Data just released by market research firm IDC indicates that Apple's share of the worldwide personal computer market rose slightly during the first calendar quarter of the year, despite the simultaneous launch of Microsoft's first major operating system upgrade in over five years.

For the three-month period ending March, the Mac maker registered a 2.6 percent global share, up from 2.5 percent during the December quarter and from 2.1 percent during the year-ago quarter.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tim Berners-Lee on the Semantic Web

As a follow up to the previous posts on the Semantic Web, I would like to share a link to the MIT Technology Review Home Page. Right now there is a video of Tim Berners-Lee talking about the Semantic Web. This short video is the best way I have seen to quickly get an understanding of what the Semantic Web is about. This is very exciting stuff!!

Link:

http://www.technologyreview.com/

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Blackberry Software on Windows Mobile-based Devices

The following announcement from Research in Motion is a further illustration of decoupling hardware from software that we have been discussing in the course. Clearly, RIM is trying to capitalize on the larger network of mobile devices--beyond those manufactured by RIM.

Press Release

April 23, 2007
RIM Announces New BlackBerry Application Suite for Windows Mobile-based Devices

New Software Will Deliver Virtual BlackBerry Solution

Waterloo, ON - Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced plans to expand its support for Windows Mobile®-based devices with a new software application suite that will enable devices from third-party manufacturers to benefit from the popular BlackBerry® software applications and services*. RIM plans to begin offering the new software application suite later this year for select devices based on Windows Mobile 6. Once installed, the software will provide users with a virtual BlackBerry application experience, including support for BlackBerry email, phone, calendar, address book, tasks, memos, browser, instant messaging and other applications developed for the BlackBerry platform. Devices running the BlackBerry application suite will be able to connect to BlackBerry services via BlackBerry® Enterprise Server as well as BlackBerry® Internet Service.

“Extending BlackBerry applications to a broader range of devices is an important element of RIM's strategy to provide an open platform that supports industry standards and addresses the various needs of our customers and partners,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “This new software will provide a range of important benefits, including easier support of Windows Mobile-based devices within BlackBerry Enterprise Server environments, a consistent user interface for BlackBerry applications across various devices, and the ability to run third-party applications developed for the BlackBerry platform.”

The new BlackBerry application suite will complement existing Windows Mobile 6 functionality and will appear as an icon on the screen in the same manner as other third-party applications. Upon clicking the BlackBerry icon, a suite of BlackBerry applications will load and will feature the familiar user interface of a BlackBerry smartphone. The device's existing Windows Mobile applications are preserved, allowing the user to easily and quickly switch between the Windows Mobile applications and the BlackBerry application suite.

"RIM's decision to expand its support for Windows Mobile will resonate well with customers, developers and carriers alike," said Carrie MacGillivray, Senior Analyst, Mobile Enterprise Network Services, IDC. "Security, manageability, usability, international coverage, network efficiency, mobile application support, back-end integration and device selection are all important considerations for a wireless platform and RIM continues to invest in the BlackBerry platform on all fronts."

"AT&T and RIM have enjoyed a long and successful history providing customers with innovative products and services. AT&T is a world leader in providing BlackBerry-based wireless solutions and we look forward to building on that momentum with RIM," said Michael Woodward, Executive Director, Mobile Professional Solutions, for AT&T. "The market for wireless email and other wireless applications is growing rapidly and we view RIM's broadening support for Windows Mobile, with new feature-rich and IT-friendly BlackBerry software, as another positive catalyst that will further expand the appeal of the BlackBerry platform with customers."

Key benefits of running the new BlackBerry application suite on a Windows Mobile-based device will include:

* The added benefit of BlackBerry applications, such as email, phone, text messaging, browser, instant messaging and organizer with a consistent user interface and messaging experience.
* BlackBerry “push” technology – messages and information updates can be delivered automatically to the Windows Mobile-based device, enabling users to be more responsive to colleagues, clients, friends and family.
* Support for BlackBerry® Mobile Data System (BlackBerry MDS) allowing organizations to develop their own BlackBerry applications or deploy third-party BlackBerry applications that can run on Windows Mobile-based devices as well as BlackBerry smartphones.
* Support for various input methods, including QWERTY keyboards, 5-way navigation, touch screen and stylus operation so users can continue to use the unique hardware features of their Windows Mobile-based device.
* Support on BlackBerry® Internet Service, which provides push-based email from up to 10 supported email accounts (including most popular ISP accounts), attachment viewing and web browsing with optimized wireless efficiency.
* Support on BlackBerry® Enterprise Server, which tightly integrates with Microsoft® Exchange, IBM® Lotus® Domino® or Novell® GroupWise® to provide synchronized, push-based wireless access to email and other corporate data with the industry's most advanced security features, over-the-air IT policy enforcement capabilities and optimized wireless efficiency.



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What risks and dangers do they face--however?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Apple Net Gains 88% as iPod, Mac Sales

From last day's Wall Street Journal, Apple Inc. reported its profit increased 88% to $770 million and revenue jumped 21% to $5.26 billion because the lower costs on components like flash-memory chips for its iPod products. The company's shares surged 6.3 percent in extended trading. With sales growing 36 percent—more than three times the industry growth rate, the Mac is gaining market share.

Why apple can succeed? Apple started the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and remade the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple leads the industry in innovation with its computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple also spearhead the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and will enter the mobile phone market this year with its revolutionary iPhone. Apple never stop looking for innovation to differentiate its products and lower its cost to catch up more market share and profit, it always lead the market trend and the industry.

Harvard and Kansas Study Confirms File-Sharing Is Not Responsible For Drops In CD Sales

This article discusses the results of a recent HBS and KU Business School study that finds that file-sharing is not responsible for the 2000-2005 25% drop in music CD shipments. Using album sales and downloads data for portions of 2002, the researchers used statistical analysis to identify that the consequences of downloads could not have had more than a 0.7% impact on the overall sales drop. These are some of the drivers they posit are responsible for the sales decrease:

1. Wal-Mart and other big box retailers are selling more music CDs than ever and their increasing inventory control efficiencies are translating into lower overall inventory levels and lower opportunities for spoilage.

2. Video games, DVDs and you guessed it - teen cell phone use.

So maybe the RIAA should try suing SAP, Oracle, Microsoft (XBOX) and Nokia??

All kidding aside, I hope that this study helps reduce the litigation frenzy and fear surrounding file-sharing technology. I would welcome more efforts into developing new business models that utilize the core concepts of file-sharing to create innovation in open, distributed and organic frameworks...

Monday, April 23, 2007

NetVibes = the ultimate mash-up

I found this website linked from an article on Slate.com. NetVibes.com is the ultimate mash-up that follows a model similar to Google's personalized homepage. The capabilities are much farther reaching since you can add content from a myriad of sources - not just Google. For instance, image search capabilities exist for searching multiple databases including Flickr, Google, Ask, and Yahoo! just by clicking various tabs.

It's a must visit website if you have not heard about it already. Upon loading, the website is fully customizable and can serve as a one-stop portal to the web.

NetVibes
Slate.com article

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Whether Time Warner Should Reduce its Cable-TV Holdings

From an article of The Wall Street Journal, April 17th, the world's biggest media company- Time Warner Inc. is considering whether it should substantially reduce its cable-TV holdings over time. Cable is the biggest contributor to profits in Time Warner. Time Warner 2006 revenue got $11.8 billions in Cable System and $10.3 billions in Cable Networks, which counted about 48.3% of its total revenue. Since it already owns AOL, some executives in Time Warner wonder whether it should get out of cable and double down on the Web by buying another major internet company. This issue will be put at a meeting next month before the board.

As we know, when the internet emerges as a viable venue of watching TV, the long-term future of cable is murkey. Of course, a totally exit is the least case to be adopted. If Time Warner gradually reduce its most stake, say around 80%, in Time Warner Cable Inc. through acquisitions would be a good idea. Getting rid of big part of its cable holdings will make Time Warner more reliant on its role of a provider of filmed entertainment and print and web content. The fact is whether Time Warner get rid of or reduce a majority of the cable hodlings, it is a sign that the cable industry is shifting. It would free up resources for more investment in the web. Whatever Time Warner will do, it should try the best way to build their shareholders' value.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Globalization - Microsoft's next move

An article in New York Times yesterday indicated Microsoft's next step towards globalization and maintain a dominant position in operating system and office software. Microsoft plans to offer a stripped down version of Windows XP and Office 2007 for $3 per copy. This is a very aggressive move by Microsoft in fulfilling its ambition to dominate the developing nations. While official press indicates that this policy is not a reponse to piracy issues, the "stripping down" is a clear signal that Microsoft is worried about piracy. Creating a stripped down version would actually increase the development cost of such software and would not be sensible if Microsoft did not need to prevent arbitrage or piracy issues.

The challenge for Microsoft's ambition would be whether finding hardware partners to provide low cost packages is successful. One Laptop per Child already plans to introduce machines @ $150 while offering Linux, it would be vital for Microsoft to find partners to offer similar range machines or at lower prices. Furthermore, Microsoft has yet created a network effect in these developing nations, the $3 OS, while inexpensive to developed nations, would be no contest to the free open Linux.

If and when this product is available to the developing nations, I think Microsoft should also offer the product to underprivileged children and underfunded schools to help realized the potentials of these children.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Where Your Tax Dollars Go

Found this interesting: Visual representation of where your taxes go. Thought I'd drop it here so you can check it out.


MySpace News & Digg

News Corp. launched MySpace News today. The new service allows users to vote on their favorite articles (like Digg), but at this point users will not be able to add their own news stories. Instead, MySpace will aggregate the news from other sources (like Google News).

It will be interesting to see the response of Digg. Digg allows users to both vote on their favorite articles AND upload their own news. Digg allegedly refused to sell to News Corp. when Rupert Murdoch refused to put up the $150M target price, so there's obviously some contention between the two.

This gets back to the whole discussion of the value of blogging. Digg allows users full control, whereas MySpace News will control the content. I personally would turn to Digg when I want to be amused and I'm not as concerned with the validity of the source. However, when it comes to news, I think the MySpace News model is better because MySpace has to ensure the validity of its content in order to maintain its reputation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Internet in Sight

I came across this article today and thought it was interesting. We have been talking so much about how the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies have been transforming business, causing technological revolutions every so often, and it seems many think that the Internet itself is going to undergo a revolution in the near future.

Basically, the article talks about how many researchers are in favor of scraping the current Internet and redesigning it from the ground up to accommodate society's future technical needs. They caution that it won't be a smooth transition, but it may not be any more difficult than the move from tradition telephone service to VoIP. I'm just glad researchers have finally figured out all of our future technical needs...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Google will sell ads on clear channel

Google's attempt to boost offline ad-brokering. Google will be selling ads on radio stations owned by clear channel.

Google will sell ads on clear channel

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — Web search leader Google has broken into radio with a multi-year advertising sales agreement with the largest U.S. broadcaster, Clear Channel Radio, the companies said on Sunday.
The deal, long anticipated by the radio industry, marks the progress Google is making as it expands into offline media, not just in radio, but also television and newspapers — even in the face of resistance from some traditional media players.
Last week, it revealed a parallel deal to supply satellite TV broadcaster EchoStar and its 13 million viewers.
Clear Channel said it has agreed for Google to sell a guaranteed portion of the 30-second spots available on its 675 radio stations in top U.S. markets, in a bid to expand the universe of local radio advertisers to Google's online buyers.
Financial terms were not disclosed. A Clear Channel executive said Google has access to less than 5% of the radio broadcaster's overall inventory of advertising air time. The U.S. radio industry generates $20 billion in annual sales.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Google to buy DoubleClick for $3.1B

It seems as though Google is further pursuing the digital advertising space to complement its existing search technologies.

Google to buy DoubleClick for $3.1B

"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Web advertising leader Google Inc. (NasdaqGS:GOOG - News) said on Friday it will acquire DoubleClick Inc., a leading online advertising network, for $3.1 billion, consolidating Google's grip on the Internet ad market.

The deal represents the largest acquisition in Google's history and comes just six months after Google paid $1.65 billion to acquire video-sharing site YouTube. Terms of the deal call for Google to pay cash to DoubleClick investors.

The DoubleClick acquisition promises to fortify Google, the juggernaut of search-based advertising on the Web, as it expands into print, radio, video, mobile and TV ad markets. The combination should also bolster the ad targeting and analysis capabilities that Google can offer advertising customers."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Teaching Web 2.0

Here is a nice article from Investor's Business Daily regarding how universities are now creating more courses that focus on Web 2.0 to better prepare students for the global economy. The article goes on to mention some examples of Web 2.0 courses at the University of Arizona, Carnegie Mellon University, and Texas Tech University. I was hoping SMG IS714 made the list but, alas, it did not.

Here is the full text of the article:

Majoring In Web 2.0: Emerging Tech Goes To School

"More American college students are going to school to study the business of the Internet.

As the World Wide Web has transformed the globe into a vast digital village, countless people collaborate online to share knowledge. Now some universities are offering new courses to harness the growing power of the Web.

In this climate, U.S. colleges are tackling subjects that range from social networking to offshore outsourcing. Educators say such new Web skills will be needed to keep pace with the global economy.

The U.S. and India each turn out more than 200,000 graduates in computer science and engineering per year, according to research from Duke University. Yet China produces nearly three times that many tech grads in a year.

The U.S. work force will face a shortfall of some 15 million job candidates over the coming decade, says Cushing Anderson, an IDC analyst. He says this talent shortage will be most acute in information technology, finance and sales."

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Opening up the White-space!

Google, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, HP and othes major technology companies have submitted a proposal to the FCC to allow them to take advantage of so-called "whitespace" to make internet available through traditional TV airwaves.

The way it works is that there are radio channels and TV channels and there are channels (the whitespace) in between the two to prevent the signals from "bleeding" into one another.

Now, the consortium mentioned above wants the FCC to let them use these "idle" channels to beam internet access straight to your home! Microsoft has introduced a prototype to the FCC that prevents bleeding from happening and the group is eagerly awaiting a decision.

Think about the new levels of access this would grant companies if this is allowed!

See the link below for more information

http://www.bizreport.com/2007/03/microsoft_google_dell_hp_intel_phillips_lobby_for_highspeed.html

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Changing Media Landscape

Here is a new entrant in the changing media landscape with a focus on Hi-Def.

Here is a video you can download on Internet TV Revolution.
Internet+TV+Revolution

What does this mean as an application in other sectors?

More on The Changing Geography of Work

Here is a rich link to some of the work in this area being undertaken at McKinsey.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

No shortage of US Engineers?

A new study from Duke University states that there is no shortage of engineers in the United States, and that offshoring is all about cost savings.

This report, entitled "Issues in Science and Technology" and published in the latest National Academy of Sciences magazine further explores the topic of engineering graduation rates of India, China and the United States, the subject of a 2005 Duke study.

In the report, concerns are raised that China is racing ahead of both the United States and India in its ability to perform basic research. It also asserts that the United States is risking losing its global edge by outsourcing critical R&D and India is falling behind by playing politics with education. Meanwhile, it considers China well-positioned for the future.

Duke's 2005 study corrected a long-heard myth about India and China graduating 12 times as many engineers as the United States, finding instead that the United States graduates a comparable number.

"You had the brightest kids worrying about their jobs being outsourced. We thought, if kids at Duke were worried, then let's do a study about what's going on in education," Vivek Wadhwa, executive in residence at Duke University's master's in engineering management program and a co-author of the study, told eWEEK at the time.

"The first thing you do in a study is you look at the facts. But we couldn't find any facts. The more we dug, the more we looked, the more we discovered there were no facts," said Wadhwa.

However, Duke's 2005 study reported serious problems with the quality of Indian and Chinese bachelor-level engineering graduates, and predicted both shortages in India and unemployment in China. The current report finds these predictions to be accurate, with China's National Reform Commission reporting that the majority of its 2006 graduates will not find work. There are also oft-heard whisperings of a engineering shortage in India, though private colleges and "finishing schools" are going far to make up for the Indian deficiencies, the report said.

PointerReport: Offshoring's cost advantage is slipping. Click here to read more.

Yet, it is cost savings, and not the education of Indian and Chinese workers, or a shortage of American engineers that has caused offshore outsourcing, the study asserts.

"Respondents said the advantages of hiring U.S. engineers were strong communication skills, an understanding of U.S. industry, superior business acumen, strong education or training, strong technical skills, proximity to work centers, lack of cultural issues, and a sense of creativity and desire to challenge the status quo," wrote Wadhwa in the 2007 report.

"The key advantage of hiring Chinese entry-level engineers was cost savings, whereas a few respondents cited strong education or training and a willingness to work long hours. Similarly, cost savings were cited as a major advantage of hiring Indian entry-level engineers, whereas other advantages were technical knowledge, English language skills, strong education or training, ability to learn quickly, and a strong work ethic."

The report concludes by stating that outsourcing will continue to build enough momentum that the next big piece to be offshored is R&D, and that these jobs will require more Master's degrees and PhDs, something China graduates more of in engineering than the United States. The number of India's engineering PhD's has remained flat, while China's has surged, the report said.

eWEEK.com Special Report: Outsourcing the Enterprise

The study ultimately found that the United States has a tremendous amount of work to do to keep up, above and beyond fixing K-12 education.

"Even if the nation did everything that is needed, it will probably take 10 to 15 years before major benefits become apparent. Given the pace at which globalization is happening, by that time the United States would have lost its global competitive edge. The nation cannot wait for education to set matters right," said Wadhwa.

Furthermore, even while the education system does improve, the report pressures for a more welcome attitude toward skilled immigrants.

"It is clear that skilled immigrants bring a lot to the United States: They contribute to the economy, create jobs and lead innovation. H1B's are temporary visas and come with many restrictions. If the nation truly needs workers with special skills, it should make them welcome by providing them with permanent resident status," Wadhwa said.

"Temporary workers cannot start businesses, and the nation currently is not giving them the opportunity to integrate into society and help the United States compete globally. We must also make it easier for foreign students to stay after they graduate."



U.S. reaches 2008 cap for skilled-worker visa petitions in single day

After the discussion about the "changing geography of work", I found it interesting to see this headline in today's newspapers concerning the limit on H-1B visas.

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday it reached its limit for 2008 skilled-worker visa petitions in a single day and will not accept any more, to the dismay of technology companies that rely on the visas to hire foreign employees. The agency began accepting petitions Monday for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 and said it received about 150,000 applications by mid-afternoon. The temporary H-1B visas are for foreign workers with high-tech skills or in specialty occupations."

U.S. reaches 2008 cap for skilled-worker visa petitions in single day


While we have discussed the cost issues involved with the off-shoring of call center workers to India, government policies may also be affecting the way U.S. businesses address their need for skilled workers in the changing international labor market.

Tom Friedman's Video: The Other Side of Outsourcing

The full video is available on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

We Are Smarter Than Me

A group of academics and professionals came up with the idea of writing a business text using a similar peer-contributed and edited process to Wikipedia. The focus of the book will be on how internet communities and networks will influence business. It sounds a lot like the discussions in our class. To date the community is made up of 4,238 members. The name of the project is We Are Smarter Than Me. Profits generated by the sale of the book will go to a charity, of which the community members will vote on. I think it should be an interesting text, but how will they keep the themes consistent throughout the text? Don't Wiki's by their nature promote chaos? Will they handle later editions in the same way? If so, will they get the original authors to revise it? Or, would it be better if a new set of authors revised each edition?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Push Comes to Shove for Control of Web Video


NYT Article plays well into the media and entertainment discussion from the weekend's Tech Strategy Competition:


FOR now, the biggest news in the exploding realm of online video is not much more than a news release. Still, the recent announcement from the News Corporation and NBC Universal of a new online video venture shows a big change in how traditional media companies are trying to confront their digital futures without looking like dinosaurs dodging comets.

At the same time, the companies’ tactics are a striking attempt to shift the old-fashioned way that most audiences have obtained their media into the wide-open digital maw.

Last year, Google’s acquisition of YouTube, the Internet’s most-visited video Web site, was a clear signal for media companies. Ever since, they have been scrambling to find ways to make money and to keep as much control as possible over their output.

YouTube, of course, has very little revenue right now, but its huge popularity and implied money-making potential were reflected in the $1.65 billion that Google paid for it. (And as far as proven Internet concepts go, media companies are not smitten by the economics of Apple’s iTunes, either, even though many networks including NBC and Fox, owned by the News Corporation, are selling shows on it.)

...

The only problem is that, for now, the two-year-old YouTube is far and away the most popular site for video online. And rival start-ups like Joost, from the guys who created Skype, are coming up fast. Clearly, the last breathless press release on the subject has yet to be written.

There's more to the article, you can read the rest here.

Google In the TV Ad Business

Today's WSJ included an article about Google and its foray into the TV ad market. Google will start selling advertisement through an online auctioning system. They will be selling advertising to be aired by EchoStar Communications Corp. which has 13 million households subscribing to its dish service.

"Under an arrangement announced Tuesday, Google will sell TV ad spots through an online auction system, with advertisers bidding the amount they are willing to pay per thousand households that view each commercial."

TV networks have previously been reluctant to relinquish control of the advertising process for fear that they would lose some opportunity to capture value, but now seem convinced that they can limit Google to a small portion of their advertising operation.

"TV networks and some advertisers and media buyers have in the past proved reluctant to join Internet-based efforts to change how TV ads are sold, at least partly out of concern that their business would become commoditized. But advertising executives briefed by Google on its plans welcomed the announcement, saying it could improve the market for cable and satellite-TV ads and nonpremium ad purchases. Some added, however, that Google's auction system wouldn't replace the way the premium spots, such as those for prime-time broadcast television, are sold."

"I don't think anybody is thinking this is going to change large national broadcast," says David Kenny, chief executive of Publicis Groupe's Digitas digital unit. "This is something that brings a lot of value to the more fragmented end of television."

Perhaps Google will excel at this endeavor because they seem to understand the value of information better than most. Businesses will want to pay for more accurate advertising to their target markets.

"Advertisers who use Google's Web-based system for buying commercial spots have the option of selecting specific TV networks, times of day and regions where the ads will be viewed. Eventually Google intends to allow advertisers to target specific groups of viewers, based on information about the viewer demographics for each channel."

The only thing that may limit Google is the restriction imposed upon the gathering of information for privacy reasons. There may be a limit to how focused the advertsing can be in a TV environment as opposed to an internet environment.

"Google is relying on information collected from set-top boxes by operators such as EchoStar, which it says does not permit it to identify any specific subscribers. At least initially, Google is not matching commercials with the content of TV programs or showing ads to specific users based on previous viewing habits or other personal information. The Internet company says concern for user privacy will be a factor in any future efforts to target TV advertising more specifically."

Will Google succeed in this endeavor? It seems they understand the consumer of media and the value of information. TV executives may be underestimatoing Google's ability to bring efficiency and effectiveness to the TV ad process.

Full article text:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117556557187757819.html?mod=home_whats_news_us

Breakfast 2.0?

In the vein of Google's recent bathroom connectivity offering, I thought this was interesting.




ABCs of Outsourcing

The following are excerpts from the CIO magazine article “ABC: An Introduction to Outsourcing” by Stephanie Overby, March 09, 2007. The article does a great job of covering all of the major issues that a CIO should explore when considering outsourcing IT functions. The full article is available at: http://www.cio.com/article/print/40380

*Why is outsourcing so hard?
-The failure rate of outsourcing relationships can be anywhere from 40 to 70 percent.
-The problem is the inherent conflict of interest
-The most prevalent cause of outsourcing failure is the rush to outsource in the absence of a good business case.
-Discrete processes that have well-defined business rules, are successful 90 percent of the time
-Co-sourcing alliances, in which client and vendor jointly manage projects are successful only 63 percent of the time
-"Strategic partnerships", in which a single outsourcer takes responsibility for a big bundle of IT services are successful 50 percent of the time
-Risks increase as the boundaries between client and vendor responsibilities blur and the scope of responsibilities expands.

*Should I outsource everything to one vendor? Or should I use a best-of-breed approach?
-The trend has turned toward the multi-vendor approach, incorporating the services of several best-of-breed vendors to meet IT demands.
-CIOs need to dedicate staff to oversee each vendor relationship and establish regular reviews of vendor performance with measurement applications such as dashboards or vendor scorecards.
-CIOs need to spell out that vendors should cooperate and refrain from blaming each other
-Qualified staff, with financial as well as technical skills, are needed to help run a project management office

*What are the "hidden costs" of outsourcing?
-Depending on what is outsourced and to whom, studies show that an organization will end up spending 10 percent above that figure to set up the deal and manage it over the long haul.
-That figure goes up exponentially—anywhere from 15 to 65 percent—when the work is sent offshore and the costs of travel and difficulties of aligning different cultures are added to the mix.

*How important is ongoing relationship management to outsourcing success?
-One study found that customers said at least 15 percent of their total outsourcing contract value is at stake when it comes to getting vendor management right.
-A highly collaborative relationship based on effective contract management and trust can add value to an outsourcing relationship.
-An acrimonious relationship, however, can detract significantly from the value of the arrangement, the positives degraded by the greater need for monitoring and auditing.
-Successful outsourcing is built on "a network of relationships not transactions," and outsourcing governance is the single most important factor in determining the success of an outsourcing deal
-Gartner found that fewer than 30 percent of enterprises will have formal sourcing strategies and appropriate governance in place.
-In a 2004 survey of 130 CIOs, 42 percent said they were dissatisfied with their outsourcing relationships, according to outsourcing advisory company EquaTerra, primarily due to poorly developed, underbudgeted and undersourced governance models.

*Where’s the best place in the world to outsource IT?
-It depends on what you’re outsourcing, why, and your in-house capabilities for managing the relationship.
-The best place in the globe in terms of people skills and availability for IT services remains the United States, according to A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index 2005.
-Top financial structures to support outsourcing? Philippines and Ghana.
-Best IT services business environment? Singapore.
-India and China (to a lesser degree) still dominate for IT services in the Asian region, although turnover in India and intellectual property issues in China (and rising wages in both locations) remain significant concerns.
-Central and Eastern Europe are attractive destinations, but costs are rising there, too.
-Offshoring is actually increasing in Africa and the Middle East, but political instability poses ongoing challenges there.
-The decision about where to outsource should be one of the last in the outsourcing decision- making tree.
-Figure out what your outsourcing requirements are first.

Monday, April 2, 2007

What exactly is Google?

There's an interesting cover story in BusinessWeek--Who's afraid of Google?
It talks about some possible directions Google may be headed: World's biggest computer? The bigger internet?...etc.
The most interesting part to me is that-- Google may end up like a " NASDAQ for all advertisements, applying the efficiency and measurability of search ads to radio, print, and television."

Mobile Blog


Twitter.com moves the boundaries of blogging from PC to multi-platform. It enables you to read/write your messages on the web-site or on your mobile phone.
This will change the way we blog, as blogging currently is an after-action process where we have to sit down and think in order to create an intelligent blog.
Twitter allows users to instantly upload their blog through their cell phone. Blogging will become more dynamic and spontaneous. Its real time data can be used for various information services, such as traffic info, weather info. Its information will be made available for on-the-go.
Users will also be more engaged in generating contents as its blog can be more easily accessed. And its simplicity will help attract technologically challenged people.

Outsourcing and Offshoring

Here is a video worth watching--a WSJ interview with Alan Blinder of Princeton.

Apple-EMI Deal (minus the DRM constraint)

Most observers have commented that the DRM restrictions on Apple's itunes is a limiting factor as users want to be able to access their purchased content from itunes as easily as content they get from buying a CD. The flip-side is the possibility of rampant illegal proliferation.

Apple wants to sell more high-capacity and newer generation ipods. The industry has recognized the inevitable shift to digital downloads as a dominant distribution channel. DRM is a thorny issue that is in between Apple and the content owners.

Enter Steve Jobs with his thoughts. His Essay is here. That set of a flurry of discussions and deliberations.

Today's announcement may turn out historic.

The deal announced today between EMI and Apple is noteworthy. The following excerpt from AP is worth reviewing.

EMI Group PLC will begin offering downloads of its music on Apple Inc.'s iTunes music store from next month minus anti-piracy software that limits its use on some players, following a deal announced Monday that is expected to prompt a sea change in the global digital music industry.

EMI, the world's third-largest music label and home to the Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Coldplay, and Kylie Minogue, said that it is responding to an overwhelming demand from music buyers who want the ability to download tracks onto different devices.

Analysts said the deal with Apple was a bold move from London-based EMI that would be closely watched -- and then almost certainly followed -- by the three other music majors, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music.

"This is a message to the industry as a whole about where the digital market is going in the future," said Ovum senior analyst Carl Gressum.

The iTunes web site will be the first online retail outlet to sell the new "premium" package from EMI, which will offer all the record company's online content without restrictive anti-piracy software, known as DRM, and with enhanced sound quality.

So, what about those that have brought DRM-restricted songs from EMI? They can now by unrestricted versions for an additional fee of 30 cents for each title. According to Apple:
iTunes will also offer customers a simple, one-click option to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free format for 30 cents a song. All EMI music videos will also be available in DRM-free format with no change in price.

The following from WSJ elaborates on the rationale for this move.
EMI's move comes after months of private discussions and public advocacy by Internet and technology-industry executives, including Mr. Jobs, aimed at encouraging the music industry to change its approach to licensing music for sale online. In February, Mr. Jobs took the unusual step of posting an 1,800-word essay on Apple's Web site urging major recording companies to consider dropping their insistence that music be sold over the Internet with DRM software.

Mr. Jobs contended that DRM software has been ineffective at solving digital piracy of music. That is in large part, he argued, because the vast majority of music is sold today on CDs, which generally don't contain copy protection, making them easily sharable over the Internet through file-sharing technologies. Although Mr. Jobs wasn't the first to suggest such a change for the music industry, his essay spurred a vigorous debate throughout the technology and entertainment industries. Also fueling the discussion recently has been a steepening drop in CD sales, which has forced the music industry to try to accelerate its digital future.

Privately, most labels rejected the idea out of hand, but EMI, the world's third-largest music company by sales after Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, already was quietly exploring dropping DRM. EMI has struggled to overcome poor results and a laggard digital strategy, potentially contributing to its willingness to take a bold stance on DRM.


It raises many questions as we think about IT-enabled transformations in the music and media landscape.

1. Will itunes be able to maintain its dominance?
2. What role for Microsoft and Zune?
3. Will we see differential pricing?
4. What does this mean for video content distribution?
5. When will other music labels follow suit?
6. What new business models can record companies adopt to increase revenue and maximize growth and profits?

_____________

Sunday, April 1, 2007

2nd Annual International Business Tech Strategy Case Competition

Check out the blog for highlights of the competition, winners, pictures and interviews with the teams. Do leave comments!

Google introduces Gmail Paper


















It's a FREE service to allow user print out mail in GMail account - including Photo Attachments! The photos will be printed out on high-quality glossy photo-paper.
Link
Source:
http://mail.google.com/mail/help/paper/more.html


Caution: Today is April 1st......God knows what news will be coming.....

Google Enters WiFi Market!


Google recently announced that it has released the Beta version of its TiSP WiFi service. Installation is easy as it comes in a kit with all materials needed. The system is incredibly simple in that it uses the city municipal sewerage system as the conduit for the telecommunications cables.
Advanced features include professional installation by a team of nanobots, delivery of products purchased via google shopping cart via the sewarage system and an enterprise version that includes technical support in the event of "backup, brownout or data wipes." Check it out today at http://www.google.com/tisp/

Joost--another emerging player in the media landscape

Joost. This simple video introduction captures the essence of their business vision.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

WIll your cell phone speak bar code soon?



Interesting article from the NYTimes (.com of course) about new technology that lets people take pictures of bar codes with their cellphones and then receive corresponding information on their cell phones.

Interesting idea... if you are remotely curious you will decode, unless you speak bar code because you will probably be curious to know what this sign means... unless you are a robot, then you would know it is just a link to web page for new AI drivers.

Enjoy 0010101101 !


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Microsoft's Response to iPhone?

This is from Microsoft Labs. It looks like they will spin this off as a start-up entity. Worth watching if this signals a broader move by Microsoft to unleash value through spin-offs.



Will this do better than Zune?

Winners: Mobile service companies

As the fast development of mobile phone technology, people today can use their cell phones to view news, check email, play game and even watch TV. My opinion is that mobile service companies, such as Verizon and T-mobile, will be the biggest winners in the future media and entertainment industry.

Besides the high demand for mobile entertainment and the large user base of mobile service companies, there are many business models for mobile service companies if they provide entertainment content. They can charge users subscription fees for the service or they can provide free entertainment service but gain revenue through advertisement.

I guess the future cell phone will be a mini laptop. It will beat iPod and portable game device, and become the most popular mobile entertainment device. The mobile service companies will finally benefit from providing entertainment services.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Can Apple TV win?

I have not seen any significant value created by Apple TV, at least this first-generation product. Today's computers, especially the laptops, could be easily connected to TV, and you can use TV as a monitor to display anything on your computer. However, most people do not know how to do it. If the Apple TV only can sync the content from your computer and play it on TV, I do not see why I would pay $299 to buy it. The wireless is a good selling point, but is it worth the money? If the next generation of Apple TV can enable user to download movie from iTunes directly without the help of computer, it might be able to be a winner in the future entertainment market.

I might be wrong, because there are some not-so-valuable products that still can stay in the market. For example, even a jar can be easily opened with some little help of a spoon, the jar opener still can be sold for about 60 bucks. Maybe its cool design makes it a good decoration in kitchen.

User Generated Content and its business model

As more and more content are becoming user generated (whether it be a video segment from a broadcasted media or authentic media), the business model could be created targeting the users themselves.
I think of Adobe's PDF example for this situation. I believe network provider such as 'youtube' should start charging the uploaders per transaction/length of media.
It's the uploaders who are much more motivated to use the service in order to get their ideas across or gain personal recognition. Motivated individuals would be willing to pay small fee for spreading their presence on the web. This will also control the credibility of contents, as people wouldn't pay money to create practical jokes or useless content.
Content provider can also use the service by uploading their content on the network. Using streaming media method, they could still air the content with advertisements in them. Whoever wishing to upload the same content without advertisements will have to pay as much money as the commercial content providers (long length of media). This will mitigate incentives to upload illegal content.

Google + Comcast

By collecting all the user information through the demographic and searching history, Google + Comcast are able to suggest the TV show and screen the commercials for the users. Each individual has the “customized TV schedule” record in the TiVO.

We Win

Reinforcing Time Magazine's Person of the Year is the idea that the public can now pull the content that we want to listen to, to watch and enjoy. Media & Entertainment are losing the power they had to push and control the content to the masses. The future is shifting to audiences being able to determine which content they want to enjoy. It's a shift from push to pull, resulting in a win for the public (more choice, more customization, greater freedom). The future is On Demand Media & Entertainment.

Gerd Leonhard Music & Media Futurist on 'Media goes PULL'

Lower entry barriers for local bands.

Local artists who do not have access to the massive media budgets provided by record companies will be huge winners thanks to online distribution. For example a band in Boston could put their most popular song online and sell it directly to customers worldwide.

By making use of viral marketing techniques small time players can market themselves effectively at virtually no cost. Email forwarding campaigns combined with postings on sites like MySpace and YouTube allow individuals to promote their content free of charge.

The barriers to entry created by marketing and branding efforts as well as access to traditional distribution channels have been significantly diminished by the introduction of online distribution.

For example I highly reccommend the Mario Brothers Theme Song by a band called 4" Stud. It's on iTunes.


Winner: Apple

I agree with Ruvi’s statement that technology companies are just trying to keep up with their competitors. This is just a casual observation, but it seems that most firms are just flailing. Things are changing so rapidly that it doesn’t appear many have a concrete defined strategy. The only company that appears to have a calm and steady strategy is Apple. Business is messy, and inside Apple things may be going crazy, but with iPhone and iTV, Apple is steadily capitalizing on media convergence. Perhaps Wall Street is picking up on this, too. Apple’s stock is up 56% over the past year. Meanwhile, Sprint, who is aggressively pushing its WiMax technology, is down 25%.

The Winning Business Model

It seems that the people that like advanced "techie" features most are the engineers actually creating the products. What made the iPod/iTunes platform successful is that it made it easy to get music online, legally, and then transfer it to a portable device. What made Google successful was the ease of searching and cataloging the internet. What made Microsoft successful was the ease of using the PC (e.g. Windows), and in later years the ease of connecting to the internet. The winning business model is one which delivers value to the players on both sides of the platform (2-sided networks) in a clear, easy to use, market driven fashion. Firms that will fail in this space are ones which think that creating competitive advantage is the same as adding "bells and whistles." Ultimately it will confuse the customer. AOL and Yahoo are examples of this approach, both of which are losing market share to Google. Too many firms want to be everthing to everyone. In this mass-customized web 2.0 world one must be the only thing to each person. This can only happen through advanced automation that enables firms to intimately know their customers.

Winners = Small Bands

Given the widespread prevalence of Apple's iTunes, I think that small bands that were previously ignored by the record industry will end up as big winners. High quality production software is becoming more and more available, leading to greater access to the mass of bands. Therefore, bands will no longer have to rely on record labels to produce and distribute their music, as iTunes and other such services provide an excellent distribution network. I don't think that the record lables will fold, however, as the American public still craves packaged, bubble gum like pop music (witness the fanaticism around American idol).

Who will be the winner in the future media & entertainment field?




Winner: Apple
Loser: Original players in the middle of the value chain (i.e. retail stores)
Business Model: Apple's iTunes + iPhone (iPod) + Apple TV

Every big firm is trying to be the only player in the living room - like other gaming, cable services provider, and etc., Apple is having more edge on the stage. Along the success of the iPod, Apple has been making some innovation into the living room, like Airport Express, the light, portable wireless station can play music remotely from your iTunes. All previous attempts will go to the final business model - Apple's iTunes + iPhone (iPod) + Apple TV

Of course, PS3 from Sony, Xbox 360 from Microsoft, and other players such as Comcast, Tivo, and etc. will still be its iPod user into the field and locked people in the business.

You Tube might be a fad

I doubt how many more people will creat new contents in longer term future. People started to get crazy once they heard about something new. I think blog is one of those examples. Once they started to think it is not cool any more, the new posting rate will go down. I think it is definately fad. Also Youtube needs to figure out more how to use those sources they have. I think other companies enjoys more benefits by using contents in Youtubes. They need to utilize what they have.

winners, losers, business model

I go on the opposite side of Growe

i think consumers will win in the end, due to more sophisticated, relevant ads presented to them in a variety of formats. The pressure to present to these customers while avoiding harassing them will foster new innovation in ways in which ads are created and distributed. It will be sort of a sub-liminal (but not really) advertising campaign.

The losers will be any advertising agency that is mainly in paper ads and not connected to the software technology. While TV will still be a medium for years to come as well as paper, to truly leverage the advertising campaigns of the future companies will have to have cheaper, reliable resources to distribute their campaigns along traditional and Non-traditional mediums.


Business model is either going to be PPM or PPA, i go towards PPM (impression) because advertising is meant to buy, but most meant to inform and to base your costs only on when people buy is risky for a lot of companies

Time Warner losing the battle in the Media & Entertainment Industry

I think Time Warner may be facing trouble in the new media landscape. The merger with AOL could probably be considered disastrous, at best. The music industry is in the midst of a major upheaval with the rise of digital music websites like iTunes, slowing CD sales, and the shift to selling individual songs instead of entire albums. The television industry is also evolving with new Web 2.0 websites like YouTube and others. The news media is additionally having to change to a online format because of declining newspaper subscriptions. All of these things affect Time Warner's various business operations. Inevitably, Time Warner will have to fight multiple battles within the new paradigms of the media industry to remain competitive. Just today, Time Warner announced that it will stop publishing "Life" magazine.

Satellite Radio - business model in question

Satellite radio's business model does not seem to be a winner currently. Especially within the automotive industry, it seems that subscription service should be dropped in place of manufacturers striking deals with XM/Sirius to provide seemless and continuous service for people in their new cars. But as Cable TV never overtook network TV, Satellite won't replace FM/AM. There have also been questions about podcasting taking over satellite radio but there are high costs in terms of acquiring content and then the time it takes in transferring it.

YouTube's success?

Google may be a winner in other product areas, but the future success of YouTube is questionable as it will continue getting hit with lawsuits claiming infringement on intellectual property rights of large entertainment companies just like Napster. I doubt that Google wants to face off with Time Warner, Paramount, Viacom, etc. all at once, so the winner in this space will be one that uses a more conventional business model for video clips a la iTunes.

Apple

Apple will be a winner in this space with products like AppleTV and continuing to make deals with networks and movie studios to distribute more and more content through itunes to be viewed anytime and any way the consumer chooses - on a laptop, an ipod, an iphone, tv...

Loser: Industry, profit, good incomes, evolution - Winner: Marx, Lennin, Stalin, Gorbi

As far as I have been able to tell, Web 2.0 technologies are most equipped at creating greater efficiency in marketplaces and removing the ability to make money in an industry.

Farecaster will encourage even steeper competition in a field where players go bankrupt every 5 years. Streaming movies will remove the need for NetFlix, Blockbuster, or the corner video store (and the employees within). Music sharing will destroy big execs, hair bands, and Ferrari dealerships.

All of this is fine by me, I don't work in any of those industries, and I like free music more than most. I worked at Blockbuster when I was 17 and I hated it, so I am glad to see them go down the tubes.

However, when all market inefficiencies are removed, jobs will go with them. As more jobs become virtual, they will travel to the lowest cost locations. Today it is hard to outsource a consultant, but with cheap video streaming, LCD TVs, and people comfortable with the idea of remote commuting, outsourcing a consultant (or any MBA level job) will be very easy too. Then we will all have something to worry about. I have seen many times how Web technologies can make life faster, easier (for some), and remove mark-up, but I have yet to see how many of these can sustainably make money and consistently add value to their shareholders.