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!!


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.

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 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 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

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.

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. 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:

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:

*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 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.

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

Joost--another emerging player in the media landscape

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