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.

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
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?
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."

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..

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 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.


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 website and 91 million shows on 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.


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 that will be hosted on 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.

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 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.