Posts Tagged Tech

Has Microsoft Fumbled . . . badly and again?

Courtesy of Barry Ritholtz, I read this longish rant against Microsoft.  EntitledMicrooft has failed it charges Microsoft with delivering crappy products, treating its business partners badly and creating sufficient motivation for people to leave their ailing platform that people are doing just that:

The problem is that if you are locked in with a choice of 100% Microsoft or 0% Microsoft, once someone goes, it isn’t a baby step, they are gone. Once you start using Google Docs and the related suites, you have no need for Office. That means you, or likely your company, saves several hundred dollars a head. No need for Office means no need for Exchange. No need for Exchange means no need for Windows Server. No need for Office means no need for Windows. Once the snowball starts rolling, it picks up speed a frightening pace. And that is where we are. The barriers to exit are now even more potent barriers to entry.

It gets brutal after that.

I’m not sure it’s right, but the folks in Redmond have apparently not done themselves any favors.

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Three things the iPad tells us, Part 3

Evolve or Perish

Old Media is still playing Catchup

I said that part of the reason for this three part post was the articles in the WSJ. In the same section was an article about Hollywood Video claiming bankruptcy. They never really adjusted to the internet/netflixs evolution in media consumption. The dinosaurs are learning. Adapt, or die off.

And this article was in the WSJ. The next dinosaur in line.

When music became a 3-15 meg file rather than a time consuming copy job, the music industry didn’t notice. When the internet allowed those files to be shared the world over, the music industry didn’t notice. When the music player started organizing in playlists and genres and ratings, the music industry didn’t notice. Now, were it not for people who understand these things, the music industry would be dead.

Apple, Microsoft, cdbaby, Amazon, and many other groups that understand that music is just one more string of ones and zeros have changed the face of music. Once upon a time, if you wanted music you had the radio to find you new bands, which meant you found the bands that the music industry paid the stations to play. And if you liked the music you bought an album, because getting a single song was, in most cases, not possible.

Today, if you want to find new music you can punch into Pandora and choose music that is similar to what you already listen to, rate it, and improve the stations ability to play what you want, not what pays to be heard. And when you find a song you like, you can buy similar songs, whole albums, the bands entire catalogue, or just that lone song. Even if it isn’t a single. Even if the band has no label. Even, as my kids keep reminding me, if your only in third grade and only have two dollars allowance to spend.

The movie companies are getting the same hard lesson, some details changed. Now the book and magazine publishers are lining up with the newspaper companies. Class in session.

Sadly, this should be an opportunity. The WSJ listed several iPad articles today. Given the nature of the current consumer attitudes and the method of delivery, if they had published only one of the stories for free, and linked to the others for a tiny fee, they might be making money on the web rather than losing it.

I get what music I want, when I want it. I buy only the shows I wish to spend money on, only when I wish to watch them. Why should I pay $2 a week for the Journal when, at most, I read 3-5 stories a week in it? Give me a free summery, link to related articles for pennies, and they would make a few dollars a month from me. But they want the full price, and the full product. Instead, they get nothing….

Because they didn’t build the infrastructure. There is no universal pay system. I entered a credit card number once into iTunes, and I never think about it again. Buying a song is cheap enough to be an impulse, just like a story for a few pennies would be. But not when I have to enter 2 pages of billing information to every paper. The impulse stops by then.

Worse yet, they could be tailoring a page just for me, based on my past purchased stories and tendencies, and making even more money. And the model is already being used. Everywhere. And it works. And the iPad would be just one more way to stuff exactly the information I want into my brain in simple usable form right there at my bedside.

Hell, newspapers and magazines should be paying Apple to give these things away free!

Maybe Apple and Barnes and Noble and Amazon can save papers like the WSJ yet.

Which is the other half of the evolution verses revolution lesson. While the long slow integrated process of evolution is hard to steer, and impossible to push forward, it doesn’t slow down for laggards either. If we don’t want to get crushed under foot, we have to move with the flow.

The question is, do we want to sit back and see where we drift, and when we arrive find that we are unable to change course? Or do we want to look ahead at what we are doing, where our current heading implies we will go, and drive it with purpose?

Maybe as we go down the current road we will keep finding people and groups that save us at the last minute, as the music industry has found in companies like Apple and Pandora. But they also lost some say in their destiny because they put themselves in a position where they didn’t have a choice.

Isn’t it better to choose now rather than not have a choice later?



Three things the iPad tells us, Part 2

Specialization Works

One announcement in the iPad reveal is not getting the attention I think it deserves. The CPU in the new device is a specially tailored chip, designed and built by Apple, internally. Being a geek at heart this reminds me of a battle that has already happened in the tech world.
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Three things the iPad tells us, Part 1

At the risk of looking like the resident geek, I want to follow up Glen’s recent post about the Apple tablet or iPad, “Amazon versus Apple: Penthesilea by a nose?”

In the WSJ today there is an entire collection of articles on the iPad, the so called “Mosses Tablet” Apple showed off yesterday. Looking at what the articles said, and didn’t say, and what they were next to, tells me three things that I think are worth considering. Though all three start in tech, I think all three have very wide implications.
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We Know What To Do At The Beep!

…but not what to do about healthcare.

This is a useless tech comment. Or at least the beginning is a tech comment as transition. Those of you who come here to argue polytics (from the greek poly meaning many, and tics meaning bloodsuckers) may ignore this post. I also think it speaks to general social attitudes and the human condition, but I am not going to force it on you, so go about your lives.

David Pogue, tech columnist and author, is pissed off.
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Sorry My Phone Says I Can’t Sleep With You

I am a bit of a geek. By which I mean a huge tech fan, not someone who bites the heads off chickens. I love big tech, tiny tech, and all the useless things it does. I owned an Atari way back in the day. I had a Handspring Visor. I love my iPhone in ways that may one day be outlawed. I find the “disk drive imperial march” to be one of the greatest things in the history of mankind. (No I won’t link it, look it up yourself. Youtube.)

I also love to make fun of religious fundamentalists. I know that is a little like shooting fish in a barrel. A small barrel. With a tank. From point blank. But I do love it.

Sometimes those Forbidden Loves cross. That is why I knew I had to share this with you all…
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