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Google Aims At Microsoft – Google Apps In the Enterprise – Google Sets Up Channel Partners January 15, 2009

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In an big move Google is taking the classic enterprise sales move – set up a channel.  Indirect channel marketing is great leverage and if pulled off is very disruptive. I’ve spend many years in the channel business with Hewlett-Packard and the channel model is based upon a simple formula – get thousands of people selling your product everywhere.  However, the key to success is money which Google has plenty of.  If Google can incent channel partners with good products and great margin, they will put a dent in the Microsoft dominance.

Here is more detail. Web search leader Google Inc took another step on Wednesday toward direct competition with Microsoft Corp by recruiting IT resellers to market its Web-based applications to business clients.

From the end of March, authorized resellers will be able to sell, customize and support premium versions of Google Apps, which includes word processing, spreadsheets, calendars and email.

Google Apps is broadly similar to Microsoft‘s top-selling Office package except that Apps is completely Web-based and is part of Google‘s push into so called ‘cloud computing‘ or software-as-a-service. Microsoft said in October it is also looking at adding Web-based features for its Office applications.

Since it launched Google Apps in February 2007, Google has only sold directly to business users over the Web. Analysts said the move to work with third parties is necessary if Google hopes to compete seriously with Microsoft or IBM.

Microsoft, which is the world’s largest software company, sells more than 95 percent of its software through more than 440,000 third party resellers, according to Gartner Research, and intends to spend around $3 billion on managing those sales channels in 2009.

Cloud Doesn’t Work Well With Infrastructure Improvements – Expect Cisco to Follow Microsoft October 3, 2008

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Steve Ballmer has been rabid about the cloud lately. Here is a detailed interview with Ballmer on the cloud direction.

Everyone is talking about applications and OSs and mobility and IP everywhere… yet everyone assumes that the infrastructure will continue to simply take on unprecedented scale, complexity and availability challenges without a rethink.

Come on people the cloud is real and it needs to develop more. It’s still unstable. Expect the traditional network infrastructure players to follow suit – mainly Cisco. This might be a problem for Cisco to go after these adjacent markets and deviate off their core business. Why? Because Cisco has to grow and this is an area that Cisco could do well in.

The pundits need to get their heads out of the clouds and on to the infrastructure that will support all of this. Cloud will have to drive a new integration of management into infrastructure… yet only Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc are really talking about this… the networking players have been relatively silent. This is collaboration and virtualization and about every other initiative over the last ten years on steroids.

Expect the big player on the infrastructure side to get into this big time. Word has it that Cisco is going to get into compute side. If Cisco jumps into the compute cloud expect them to alienate their OEMs – hello Juniper this is an opportunity for you.

Browser Judo – Google Chrome’s Secret Move September 5, 2008

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I like Chrome. Chrome is impressive. Chrome is about the future. However, it lacks the innovation on the video side, but that wasn’t expected in this first version. Bottom line: Chrome doesn’t suck. It’s good. I have been using Chrome since it launched and it hasn’t crashed once.

As I reflect on Chrome and what it means, I’m struck by two things: The immediate hit on Firefox and the strategic blow to Microsoft – I’m calling this Browser Judo. The inventor of the browser hints to some of the same things here.

The big tech story isn’t that Google in essence copied Firefox. It’s browser judo. The judo being put on Microsoft. The move is little old Javascript. On the surface Javascript is Javascript, but Google’s Judo move takes this little (major) element of the web and uses it against Microsoft. Why? Because Microsoft Internet Explorer is weak when it comes to Javascript. In talking to tech geeks over the past few days Chrome is 40x faster then Internet Explorer.

Little Javascript is the Judo move on Microsoft. Microsoft COM is actually very good but Internet Explorer treat Javascript as a separate silo even in how they develop the broswer – it’s a separate coding team. So this makes the hidden classes piece of V8 huge – especially against the big turtle now known as Internet Explorer.

Because of the relationship between COM and Javascript, Microsoft incurs a huge “overhead” penalty in managing pages and interactions – In the geek developer world this is called “taking out the trash” or garbage collecting. IE 8 doesn’t really solve this problem of overhead.

Google is taking a small but important element in Javascript and using to throw down IE in performance. As an end user I see immediate benefits on page loads especially if I use the web a lot – hello that’s what the browser is for. Google has it right in this version.

With Chrome Firefox in the short term is impacted, but the real loser will be Internet Explorer. Dean and his team better get busy and fast. I’m a big fan of Internet Explorer since it’s inception, but it’s time for Internet Explorer to compete and put out a faster product.

Better Microsoft better counter the Browser Judo with a move of their own.

Google Chrome What Does it Mean? – It’s Official – The Search Wars Just Turned into Operating System War September 1, 2008

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NOTE:  Visit the siliconANGLE blog for a community of bloggers on Social Web and Technology Opinion and Analysis.  THANKS

SEARCH WARS now OPERATING SYSTEM WAR – It’s official the search war just turned into the Web 2.0 operating system war. Philip Lenssen just posted what looks like a early version of what Google will be announcing tomorrow – Google Chrome

Folks this is the operating system war in full action. One between Microsoft and Google. Google is coming out with their own browser called Chrome.

This browser is a direct maneuver to block Microsoft IE8 (and other msft moves) from cutting off Google’s ‘hooks’ in search and desktop environments. People (like me) who have been following Google since their inception know that they have infested the desktop with little ‘hooks’ into search which translated into adwords and adsense – e.g. toolbar, tracking, and other services. These little hooks provide the superior user experience in navigation and search as well as power the money printing machine at Google (their ad business).

Google’s dominance in search and user navigation experience is at risk with IE8. Why? Because Microsoft’s window of opportunity to leverage their current (and eroding) monopoly in their operating system and browser market share is closing. This Chrome product is a direct answer to that Microsoft push.

Google’s browser is just that – a competitive strategy to maintain their stronghold and defend their current search offering.

Chrome – Beyond Search

Chrome goes beyond search. Google having a browser (Chrome) is strategic. It’s just one piece of the user environment (aka the edge software) that Google needs to own to have a fully functional operating system. By making Chrome open source Google sends a message to the army of software developers that the Google platform is worthy to develop ontop of. Also Google garners the support from a growing and rabid community of developers while deflect any policy and antitrust discussions.

From a platform perspective Chrome as an open source development project increases the range of edge devices that the software can be ported to. I am talking about Android both phone and set top box environments. Open sourcing the project is good for developers and if played right great for Google. We will see which company is friendlier to developers – meaning how does each platform vendor incorporate new developer technology.

Impact on Startups

I am very bullish on Chrome as a good thing to push competition and innovation. It will be a good thing for startups to leverage this massive platform shift. For startups it’s an opportunity if you can see the vision of these platforms then intersect a business or technology deal into it.

Good Luck Google and I hope to see startups and 3rd party technology in the platform. For me success will be judged by the user experience and the amount of 3rd party participation. Google will fail if they can’t build a developer ecosystem around their platform.

From Phil Lenssen on the details on Google Chrome – Thanks Phil for breaking this story. This is a big deal.

Google gives the technical details into a project of theirs: an open source browser called Google Chrome. The book points to www.google.com/chrome, but I can’t see anything live there yet. In a nut-shell, here’s what the comic announces Google Chrome to be:

  • Google Chrome is Google’s open source browser project. As rumored before under the name of “Google Browser”, this will be based on the existing rendering engine Webkit. Furthermore, it will include Google’s Gears project.
  • The browser will include a JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8, built from scratch by a team in Denmark, and open-sourced as well so other browsers could include it. One aim of V8 was to speed up JavaScript performance in the browser, as it’s such an important component on the web today. Google also say they’re using a “multi-process design” which they say means “a bit more memory up front” but over time also “less memory bloat.” When web pages or plug-ins do use a lot of memory, you can spot them in Chrome’s task manager, “placing blame where blame belongs.”
  • Google Chrome will use special tabs. Instead of traditional tabs like those seen in Firefox, Chrome puts the tab buttons on the upper side of the window, not below the address bar.
  • The browser has an address bar with auto-completion features. Called ’omnibox’, Google says it offers search suggestions, top pages you’ve visited, pages you didn’t visit but which are popular amd more. The omnibox (“omni” is a prefix meaning “all”, as in “omniscient” – “all-knowing”) also lets you enter e.g. “digital camera” if the title of the page you visited was “Canon Digital Camera”. Additionally, the omnibox lets you search a website of which it captured the search box; you need to type the site’s name into the address bar, like “amazon”, and then hit the tab key and enter your search keywords.
  • As a default homepage Chrome presents you with a kind of “speed dial” feature, similar to the one of Opera. On that page you will see your most visited webpages as 9 screenshot thumbnails. To the side, you will also see a couple of your recent searches and your recently bookmarked pages, as well as recently closed tabs.
  • Chrome has a privacy mode; Google says you can create an “incognito” window “and nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer.” The latest version of Internet Explorer calls this InPrivate. Google’s use-case for when you might want to use the “incognito” feature is e.g. to keep a surprise gift a secret. As far as Microsoft’s InPrivate mode is concerned, people also speculated it was a “porn mode.”
  • Web apps can be launched in their own browser window without address bar and toolbar. Mozilla has a project called Prism that aims to do similar (though doing so may train users into accepting non-URL windows as safe or into ignoring the URL, which could increase the effectiveness of phishing attacks).
  • To fight malware and phishing attempts, Chrome is constantly downloading lists of harmful sites. Google also promises that whatever runs in a tab is sandboxed so that it won’t affect your machine and can be safely closed. Plugins the user installed may escape this security model, Google admits.

Update:

Kara Swisher has some insight. I like how she talks about the cold war moving to a frontal attack. Other notable posts – Mathew Ingram as always has laser focus post and Marshall at RWW – hints to what I called on BroadDev.com as the Modern Browser.

Facebook Manufactures Liquidity for Employees – Good Move August 4, 2008

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Eric (on a roll) Eldon is reporting that Facebook is going to announce that it will let employees “cash out” at an internal valuation of $4b.  This amount is well under the valuation that Microsoft placed on the company.

Facebook has an internal valuation of $4 billion, as Venturebeat previously reported. It will begin letting current employees sell 20 percent of their fully vested stock options at that valuation, starting this fall.

Ok I think that Facebook’s engineering of an liquidity event for their employees is a good thing.  I’ve said on this blog that Microsoft’s run at buying Facebook was their IPO.

My sources inside Facebook and at Microsoft both admitted that employees at Facebook were getting restless given that an IPO is not in sight.   The opportunity for employees to sell some of their vested shares in this deal is great for employees and good for the company.

Movin On – Thank God It’s Over – Lame Duck Ichan Yields to Yang and Yahoo July 21, 2008

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Cofounder of Yahoo Jerry Yang can now get down to business. The Carl Icahn takeover saga is finally over. Icahn joins Yahoo’s board. I guess Carl has a lot of shares but his ‘lame duck’ board seat is a consolation prize for technologies version of “The Price is Right”. He lost. Last week we saw a final knock out blow to Icahn had him down for the count. Now we have peace.

“While I continue to believe that the sale of the whole company or the sale of its search business in the right transaction must be given full consideration, I share the view that Yahoo’s valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders,” Mr. Icahn said in the statement. “I believe this is a good outcome and that we will have a strong working relationship going forward.”

Finally Yahoo can get down to business and get the legal bull from Wall Street off their back. Expect a fast resolution to a Microsoft deal or other transaction (hmm AOL..). Yahoo has to move on now and get back to competing.

The market is in the toilet and Yahoo’s cofounder Jerry Yang is in charge again. Lets hope cofounder Jerry has some magic left.

Hey Ballmer: Just Get the Ball in the End Zone Steve! July 14, 2008

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Microsoft sets the record straight on the Yahoo search only deal that has been covered over and over again here at Furrier.org and everywhere else in the blogosphere.

Microsoft makes it clear that they didn’t drop the hammer on Yahoo with a take and leave it deal. Microsoft is closing in and wants this deal so bad.

Come on Steve punch it home.! As they say in football Microsoft has been in the ‘red zone’ on this deal for a long time. It’s ugly one penalty after another. This is getting so bad we might need instant replay. Steve: Just get it in the endzone.

Here is text from their press release
Specifically, on Thursday afternoon, July 10, Mr. Bostock called Steve Ballmer’s office to arrange a call. On that subsequent call, Mr. Bostock told Mr. Ballmer that “with substantial guarantees on the table and an increase in the TAC (traffic acquisition cost) rate, there are the pillars of a search only deal to be done.” Mr. Bostock encouraged Mr. Ballmer to submit a new proposal to Yahoo! for a search-only deal reflecting these terms.

After considering Yahoo!’s request and taking into account Yahoo!’s previous feedback about our prior search proposal, Microsoft determined late Friday to propose an enhanced search transaction. This proposal included significant revenue guarantees, higher TAC rates, an equity investment and an option for Yahoo! to extend the agreement over a 10-year period.

Microsoft’s proposal did not include changes to Yahoo!’s governance.

At the time Microsoft submitted its enhanced proposal, Microsoft asked that Yahoo! confirm whether it would agree that the enhancements were sufficient to form the basis for the parties to engage in negotiations over the weekend on a letter of intent and more detailed term sheets. This discussion has been mischaracterized as a take it or leave it ultimatum, rather than a timetable in order to move forward to intensive negotiations. Yahoo! informed Microsoft on Saturday that it had rejected the proposal.

Microsoft Yahoo then Facebook? Rejected – Microsoft Did Bunker Down in Palo Alto July 2, 2008

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Silicon Alley Insider has an interesting tidbit that confirms my story on June 19th that Microsoft was bunkered down in Palo Alto. It was that weekend that had Microsoft and Yahoo folks all over Palo Alto.

Henry Blodget writes on his blog today the details of what transpired on the weekend prior to June 19 as reported here on Furrier.org. Microsoft was in town to consummate the deal in Palo Alto as well as make a run at Facebook. It’s clear now they did make a run at Facebook but was rejected. Now Microsoft is trying to get support from the other players to stitch together a search plan. With Powerset now in the stable. Microsoft is moving to what looks like an orchestrated maneuver to get a search and online story fast.

He writes “Today’s Wall Street Journal, however, echoes reports that Yahoo left out at least one embarrassing detail from its “Microsoft timeline”–one that confirms that the excuse it used to reject the deal for months was nonsense:”

[On Saturday, May 17, in Palo Alto, Calif., two weeks after Microsoft walked], Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, director Ron Burkle and chairman Mr. Bostock met with Microsoft’s Mr. Ballmer. Messrs. Bostock and Burkle told Mr. Ballmer they were prepared to sell Yahoo for $33 to $34 a share, the price range Microsoft had offered before talks broke down, according to people familiar with the meeting. That would have valued the deal at about $47 billion, or $6 billion less than Yahoo’s previous asking price of $37 a share

Microsoft was moving to get Yahoo search and had the messaging ready then was off to put the ‘checkbook’ in front of Facebook. They were pushed aside. Microsoft isn’t getting both of them but will mount a campaign to get equivalent “pieces” to compete against the ‘tide’ that is search 2.0 and social networks.

Duh? Microsoft – No Brainer – Go Faster Please June 30, 2008

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Microsoft is bragging about how more than 1 million entrepreneurs have recognized the need for a Web presence in today’s digital world.

I don’t know what they are celebrating this for. The world wants web services not bloated software on a device. Please hurry up and get all of the Microsoft Office and other stuff online fast.

Make it free or freemium. Run Microsoft Run. Go faster.

Powerset is Booting Up to Microsoft – Microsoft Buying Spree Has Started June 26, 2008

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As speculated here at Furrier.org first and confirmed by my sources Microsoft left the Yahoo bedroom with the intention of buying up the farm to get a foothold in search. Well folks… game is back on. Matt Marshall is reporting that Microsoft is paying north of $100 million for Powerset. .

Matt’s article is well researched and written. It’s good in depth reporting so I won’t rechew on his stuff. Go there it’s worth a read.

Here is my take.

I knew Powerset was in discussion with Microsoft but I had no idea that this would go through this fast. Powerset is not even ready for prime time according to sources close to the company. The product barely works at scale and I’ve heard of some linguistic issues on their approach.

What does this mean?

This is all about Microsoft buying up the talent in search anything. Smart move. i think so. Overpriced: Yes. But if you think about the talent and the team it is justified.

Semantic search is a moving train. Cracking the code goes way beyond just software advances. Semantic search now intersects data, software, infrastructure, services, and devices. Wait that sounds like Unified Communications.

The Quiet Google Microsoft Battle – Unified Communications Front June 25, 2008

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With the recent Salesforce Google announcement among other recent moves, it’s clear that Google has a full on push to get a position in the Unified Anything market – Unified Communications.

I sat down with Eric Swift, Senior Director, Microsoft Unified Communications team where he answered the question on how Microsoft views to compete with Google.

Here is Eric’s answer – a video post at BroadDev.com

Microsoft Has To Be Pissed – Google the White Knight June 13, 2008

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Kara Swisher has a detailed report of the Microsoft offer to Yahoo. Microsoft has to be pissed.

What we have hear is a failure to communicate (name the movie). Yahoo did the ‘godfather’ deal with Google. Google is Yahoo’s white knight – period.

It’s a smokey back room deal that saves Yahoo from clutches of Wall Street and an escape from the frontal assault from Microsoft.

Microsoft’s only move? Burn the village and buy up the market. I expect Microsoft to go on a rampage and buy up everything that moves. They have to retreat and regroup.

Microsoft’s move: change the game. Google won this battle.

SAI has a great writeup on the details and implications on the Yahoo pass on Microsoft.

It’s the Silicon Valley poison pill.

Zuckerberg’s Opportunity – The Silicon Valley Way – Be Extraordinary Create the Market Make Money; It’s All About the Founder May 20, 2008

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Kara Swisher writes a memo to Mark Zuckerberg about the possible scenarios facing Facebook. She references my post called Facebook IPO – It’s Microsoft Not The NASDAQ . I see this as an opportunity for Facebook. Recently Facebook has been hiring ‘quote seasoned executives’. Facebook’s future is in Mark’s hands – it’s all about the founder.

Silicon Valley has two kinds of companies: 1) build real long term value for employees, investors, and build a great culture, and 2) build a value proposition (venture backed) and sell making the venture capitalist rich and the founders rich. We haven’t seen the kind of company like HP, Apple, or Google for some time (obviously Google is most recent). We have seen tons of companies sell out.

What makes a great company? The Founder and the founding team – Bill and Dave; Steve Jobs, Sergey and Larry; Facebook is stuck in the middle here. Strong founders with passion and drive to build a long term viable company and a cast of characters with ‘seasoned experience’. What’s more important seasoned execs or young and hungry founder led teams?.

In the final analysis it’s all about the founders. When founders get replaced the companies usually die. Why? Because Founders know best.. Founders see things others don’t. Founders can do deals, hire employees, lead people, create products, and do things differently. Founders are extraordinary people. Mark is one of those founders. He’s done amazing things at Facebook. The question is what does he do next.

The Silicon Valley Way is to build great companies, create markets, AND, create wealth for stakeholders (including employees – they don’t have employeess ‘resting and vesting’). Mark as CEO of Facebook has an opportunity now. He is at an inflection point. The same inflection point Bill Gates had when he had to negotiate his way around the big IBM monopoly to get a ‘killer’ license deal for DOS. Remember Google when they did something no one thought was possible – they ran their IPO as an auction and create dual classes of stock. Why? Because the founders were extraordinary.

My advice to Mark – do something extraordinary – stop the PR Bull; Make a strong move in this market – Be Extraordinary.

Microsoft needs you and you need Microsoft – If that doesn’t work substitute Google for Microsoft.

Mark: you are in the drivers seat. Take the cash and structure something extraordinary. Remember going public isn’t the dream job – shareholder bickering, filings, tons of BS.

This is an extraordinary situation in a time in history where conventional wisdom is irrelevant.

UPDATE: NY Times DealBook has a great followup post to my post Zuckerberg Opportunity. The professor Steven Davidoff pens a detailed post around some of the tactical challenges around the Zuckerberg Opportunity

Facebook CEO Responds to Rumors – Stresses They Won’t Be Sold May 19, 2008

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Facebook is saying that they want to be independent but it’s what they aren’t saying that’s very telling.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stresses in a Reuters story that Facebook will not be sold. In response to my blog post of the rumored Microsoft move post Yahoo Search buy this week, Mark denies any deal.

The fact that he is so defensive creates an interesting posture for Facebook. Coverage is so deep on this possible Microsoft Facebook move that something is brewing and fast. I think that it’s a good move for Microsoft to make a bid for Facebook. A Microsoft Facebook combination puts a credible force to compete with Google. Many of the bloggers agree this is a good possibility for both Microsoft and Facebook.

Facebook’s recent moves say alot about what’s going on. For example Facebook is so afraid of Google that their move to shut down Google’s Friend Connect is their version of a ‘save me cry’ except it’s a cry to Microsoft. Their move to shut down Friends Connect is like Yahoo saying to Google save me from Microsoft. Now Facebook is basically saying Microsoft save me from Google.

All unfolding.

Silicon Valley Rumor: Microsoft to Buy Yahoo Search and Then Facebook May 19, 2008

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My sources say that the Yahoo and Microsoft teams are bunkered down in a Palo Alto hotel hammering out the final stages of a transaction that will have Microsoft picking up the Yahoo search business. Word is that this deal will be done this week. While this is not surprising, it does bring to question the motives and plans of Microsoft.

Techmeme is buzzing about the latest Microsoft Yahoo talks that has Microsoft buying the Yahoo Search business only. Here is Microsoft’s and Yahoo official statements.

Why would such a complicated transaction (just Yahoo search with all the headaches and all) be in the cards for Microsoft? After the failed bid for $40 plus billion for all of Yahoo, Microsoft’s intentions are clear. Buy the search business from Yahoo and take that team and go spend at least 20 billion for Facebook. Integrating the search team at Yahoo with Facebook puts a formidable army to take on Google.

What a move this makes. Yahoo gets everyone off their back, Microsoft gets a credible position in search, and buys Facebook to compete with Google. The price about $45 billion.

This is going to be good.

Update: here is a post from Kara Swisher - Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson’s “We Can Compete” memo - Microsoft needs Facebook and Facebook needs Microsoft.

Update 2: Robert Scoble (my former employee :-) ) is taking my report of Microsoft buying Facebook conversation to the next level. This will be developing further but in the meantime the jockeying is going on. This explains the recent moves at many levels… take the employees of Google leaving to join Facebook.. Facebooks posture toward Google, and the general platform behavior lately of Facebook. Maybe they knew that they were pulling a Netscape last week – knowing that Microsoft guns for hostages were coming into town.

Update 3: This is why I love this guy Umair.. Leading minds see the strategy…good post Umair.

Unified Communications is the Web 2.0 Trend for Telephony – Bill Gates Microsoft Innovation Speech at Microsoft CEO Summit May 14, 2008

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This is Bill Gates last CEO Summit. Here is the link to his keynote speech where he talks about innovation.

Here at the UC Summit I just sat through a talk by Eric Swift, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Unified Communications, where Eric talks about the innovation of software in the Unified Communications area. This is ironic because Bill Gates has been talking about the impact of software all the time he has been at the helm of Microsoft. Now it seems that Microsoft is poised to move those advances into new emerging areas like Unified Communications. Unified Communications is the Web 2.0 trend in the telephony sector. It’s big.

Eric goes on to say that presence and identity are at the heart of all their software advances for Unified Communications for users and enterprises. He notes that the biggest challenge is the network problems – loss, latency, jitter, delay, connectivity, security, etc…

Eric Swift highlighted the two biggest trends for adoption of Unified Communications – 1) opt-in for users (verses the brut force implementation practices by enterprises), and 2) the massive adoption of ‘hosted’ services.

Note: I asked Eric to talk about how he sees Live Mesh (vis a vis Unified Communication solutions) – He gave a non-answer; It’s clear that Live Mesh is great solution for consumers and possibly much stronger for Small Medium sized Enterprises verses the deep and heavy Microsoft Unified Communications solution. Microsoft has some positioning to do on Live Mesh and their Unified Communications solution.

Overall I was impressed with the notion of software being the major advance for this new trend. I hope the network guys can solve the software problem around DDOS, delay, jitter, loss, connectivity, and security… Until the network issues are resolved video is a pipe dream in Unified Communications.

Siemens Being Bought?? Unified Communications Keynote at UC Summit 2008 By Mark Straton of Siemens May 13, 2008

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UC Summit is an exclusive conference of leading vendors, analysts, consultants, and opinion leaders in the growing area of Unified Communications (post from cofounder Blair Pleasant on day 1 of the UC Summit). Here we have the opening keynote by Mark Straton Senior Vice President of Siemens Enterprise Systems. Mark delivers the keynote speech at the Unified Communications Summit 2008 – UC Summit 2008.

In this talk Mark talks about the role of software in Unified Communications. More importantly Mark addresses the growing opportunity around consolidation. It has been rumored that Siemens is spinning out or selling its software enterprise group. Candidates include Microsoft, Nortel, IBM, and Cisco.

UC Summit 2008 is the first conference for UCStrategies.com – a growing authority blog on the vertical of unified communications.

Founder of UCStrategies, Jim Burton, comments on the state of Unified Commications. He says “Unified Communications has moved beyond the IP PBX and the soft phone on our PC. Very significantly, its reached the point where end-user behavior has created the need for more flexible communication tools and access to information at any time from anywhere. Going from “what will the customer do with it’ to “how will technology meet the changing communication patterns of the end-user” was a twisty road. But here we are – at a point where the narrow, twisty dirt road is about to widen and become a busy 6-lane highway!”

The interesting think from Mark Straton speech is the speculation that a major consolodation will happen nad that Siemens Enterprise (Unified Communications software group) will be bought in the next 60 days by a major player. My guess it will be someone who values software. The only name Mark didn’t mention in his keynote is Nortel.

If Nortel is the candidate to buy Siemens unified communications division what does this mean to their Microsoft relationship?

Victory for Silicon Valley; The Silicon Valley Poison Pill Worked – As Predicted May 4, 2008

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Today’s Microsoft retreat is a victory for Silicon Valley and all the startups.  Now that the troops are pulling out of Silicon Valley everyone is jumping up and down eager to get down to business – except the bloggers who are all trying to figure out what happened (not including Kara Swisher she was on top of this story from day one).

This outcome was clear to me from day 1 – Yahoo would fight to the death rather than roll over and take it up the butt from Microsoft.  As this chapter of history comes to a close the story is bigger than what the stock number was or one particular issue.  It was bigger than all of that.  As I wrote in February it was the Silicon Valley Poison Pill in action.  The culture in Silicon Valley is deep in tradition and this trophy in Yahoo was not going to Redmond.  Hey I’m a big fan of Microsoft and Dan’l Lewin here in Silicon Valley (except that blogger idiot Mark Ashton), but the culture of Silicon Valley just won out.  This is going to make one great John Markoff story for the NY Times. – go ahead John run with it.

Another story line here is the big win for all those starving Web 2.0 companies looking for a partner – Yes Yahoo will remain free to be a real force in the Web 2.0 community again.  Now with open social (yes reported here first) and with upcoming announcements of Yahoo opening up.  Yahoo is born again.  As we the kids cheer in baseball Yahoo employees are cheering – “2 out rally….2 out rally….2 out rally…2 out rally”.  If this doesn’t wake up the dead at Yahoo nothing will.

This is a win for Web 2.0 and startups around the world but mostly a big win for Silicon Valley.   Yahoooo

Don’t forget how Google is loving this.

Never Met Joel Spolsky But Thanks for Supporting Me on “Live Mess” May 1, 2008

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I never met Joel Spolsky, but I gather that he is regarded as the ‘burning bush’ in some programming circles.  Regarding Live Mesh – Joel just validated my view with this post and probably speaks for other people who have computer science degrees and business savvy.  His post caught my interest because I took heat on my comments from Live Mesh while everyone like Scoble were doing handstands around Mesh.  I read one document and coined the term “Live Mess”.  I took the lumps from guys like Scoble and moved on.  Some folks love it but my impression was the same as Joels.  Will someone other than Microsoft tell me what Live Mesh solves.  I’m open to hearing anything relevant to the computer science, software, or services technology world that we live in today.

Joel says “the incredible amount of bombast; the heroic, utopian grandiloquence; the boastfulness; the complete lack of reality. And people buy it! The business press goes wild!” The hallmark of an architecture astronaut is that they don’t solve an actual problem… they solve something that appears to be the template of a lot of problems. Or at least, they try.”

Here are my tweets from the day of the announcment…

John Furrier Furrier @scobleizer first impression of under the covers is too complex – it’s an OS and not clear to me what it’s purpose is..seems bloated
John Furrier Furrier Microsoft launches new product – Live Mess
John Furrier Furrier microsoft marketing-make things as complex as possible – oh thats the product strategy as well..first impression of mess-too complex for ??

Tech Entrepreneurship Recession – Microsoft Yahoo – Tea Leaves; April 10, 2008

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War! What is it good for! Absolutely nothing! – Say it again!

Are wars really good for business? Is tech entrepreneurship in recession heading toward depression? The battle between Microsoft and Yahoo is reaching it’s climax (if not already). However, there are some very interesting and unique perspectives come from two blog posts that jumped out at me – Kara Swisher and Fred Wilson. Kara has the funniest headline saying “Jesus is coming” with the storyline about the inside scoop on the ‘dance’ between the two. What strikes me with Kara’s post is that Yahoo might already be defeated in the ‘braindrain’ that they have been experiencing. Even if Yahoo survives is it already dead on the vine?

Fred Wilson only draws a reference to the battle in his post about liquidity – saying that with no IPO market we are in trouble and worse the tech giants are playing with assets like toys. I think that Fred is on to something with no liquidity (other than M&A by big firms). Is this really a robust market for innovation where the big guys are doing all the acquiring? Is this the ecosystem that produces good entrepreneurship?

What ties both these posts together is the trend that acquisitions might not be the best for innovation – Kara bluntly states that AOL’s acquisitions aren’t doing well. While Fred says it’s great to get the cash but Yahoo hasn’t done well with their acquisitions. Meanwhile the capital markets are a mess.

As an entrepreneur with four kids I’m concerned about the prospects for all entrepreneurs in this current environment. Maybe I’m just not feeling good today. Startups should have some friction, but not outright frustration. I’ve been doing early stage startups for 10+ years and never seen this much frustration since 2002-03. We are in a tech recession or at least a grinding halt.

I’m one of the most optimistic guys (all entrepreneurs are), but my mood on this startup market: Bear

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