Archive for Microsoft

The 2nd day of Hostingcon saw the opening of the Exhibit Hall. This year’s Exhibit Hall is nearly the double the size of the previous year’s hall. However, both halls had the same amount of exhibitors. This translated to many vendors having bigger booths, more walking space, and a larger network lounge and presentation section. Unfortunately, many exhibitors were complaining about the lack of foot traffic. However, if they saw how good the sessions were today I think they would understand why the exhibit hall received few passersby.

Zane Adam from Microsoft began the day with two keynote speeches; one on virtualization and adding software and services to customer plans. The second keynote was a round table that included Antonio Piraino from Tier1, Stephen Cho from Google, Daniel Burton from Salesforce.com, and Emil Sayegh from Rackspace’s Cloud Hosting company Mosso.

My own day began with interviews and therefore I was unable to attend either, However, I do know that the “ban” on Microsoft keynotes by Linux hosts continued this year and that the round table provided some good, if not generalized information.

Day 2 was especially difficult when it came to choosing sessions. The first time slot in fact had four well written and presented sessions. If I were to choose it would have to be a toss up between 20 Ways to Outsmart Your Competitors by Adam Eisner of Tucows and the Accepting Credit Card and PCI/DSS Compliance round table with Curtis R. Curtis moderating.

The second session was calmer with more specialized sessions giving attendees several areas to choose from. Those who use email marketing definitely should have sat in on Jeff Rohrs’ (ExactTarget) Get More From Email Marketing. While those who offer domain name services should have attended It’s No Longer IPv4, Meet IPv6 by Richard Jimmerson of ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers). Lastly, to go with the conference’s theme, Bob Angus of VeriSign presented Selling Premium Services to Cost-conscious Customers.

From this point on the clouds took over. Not just indoors in the conference halls, but outside as well. Though the thunderstorm did not hit, it was beginning to build. Indoors, the individual sessions, the general session, and even the evening’s big networking party all brought cloud computing to mind.

For the non-cloud conscious “Launch Your Product Like a Pro” from NaviSite’s William Toll and Sunmeet Sabharwal.

Figuring out which session to visit at the end of the day was yet another tough decision. All four were extremely good with a star stellar cast of speakers. Gillian Muessig (SEOmoz) delivered High Impact Email, Search, and Social Media Marketing. Neil Daswani from startup Dasient presented Stop Web-based Malware Attacks. Rafael Laguna de la Vera from Open-Xchange discussed messaging through a cloud platform with Driving Cloud Computing with Open Source Messaging. Lastly, Growing Your Business: Getting Upside in a Down Economy from Chris West of CDGcommerce.

With the final general session coming to a close, attendees began shuffling to various places for networking opportunities. For myself, I went to the Microsoft/Parallels Networking Event and had a blast. Afterward I went for a brief stretch of the legs along the Potomac waterfront then headed to bed for another long day. Even with the calmness of the exhibit hall and attendees settling into a rhythm, the rolling clouds in the sky above was a portent for the final day of Hostingcon 2009.

Categories : Conferences
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Jul
31

Yahoo and Microsoft Again

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I have been trying to avoid this issue for quite sometime. Although the impact of the two collaborating on search will affect the Web development and Web hosting world , it seems to me that there are quite a few pundits and journalists out the who have already covered this at length.

However, I think some of them are looking only at the service of the deal and not at the some of the additional benefits to Microsoft or Yahoo (especially Yahoo since their stocks plummeted).

Wall street was very disappointed with the deal since Yahoo doesn’t get any cash up front, but I think it should be known that Yahoo didn’t loose anything therefore didn’t really sell anything therefore not getting a paycheck at the beginning is inconsequential. What they received was a partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft will outsource their search engine and advertising technology to Yahoo. Microsoft gains additional traffic, Yahoo can free up resources for use elsewhere.

A bigger audience doesn’t just mean that Microsoft and Yahoo will gain money through advertising, what it also means is that Microsoft can garner valuable research and can even use Yahoo (or perhaps Bing since Bing will have the smaller audience) as a test bed for developing new search features. Realistically, Microsoft and Yahoo know that this deal won’t unseat Google as the number 1 search engine juggernaut, but what it does do is give both companies the ability to become more competitive down the road.

Yahoo, for instance, can take the money they were using before for search engine R&D and move it into developing tools, APIs, platforms for their user base, etc. Or, they could use that money to research a better search engine without being under the gun to release new updates to the public. 10 years down the road when the partnership ends Yahoo would then have a search engine platform with 10 years of R&D in it. They could also simply pocket the money, save on the expense to increase their profits.

This is not some scheme to try to get number 1 in search engines quick. This is a long term strategy for mutual improvement of two companies in hopes of the eventually unseating of Google as the king of search engines.

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I want everyone to take a moment to think about their competition. Not just the competition, but whoever they believe their arch nemesis is in the arena of capitalism. Now I want you to think about bundling their product, service, and so forth with your own products.

Sorta weird and somewhat against the whole competitive market theme isn’t it?

Now let’s take Microsoft and the EU. The web browser market is an extremely competitive market where the number 1 product (IE) is loosing market share in vast quantities. How vast you may ask? In other industries the differences in market share are the types of shifts that occur in a decade or longer (Microsoft lost 11.5% market share in less than two years where as a number one product like Coke took 10 years to lose 15%).

This is a market very much under the grasp of capitalism and is in fact running the way it should. The products are presented and the CUSTOMERS, not the companies, not the EU, not the US, not governments, and principalities, but the CUSTOMERS have the say in what is good and what isn’t. What customers want they have been getting, tabbed browsing, the ability to add plugins, dynamic bookmarks, RSS feed browsing, etc. The customers show they want these features by, oh my gosh, telling the companies and backing that up by market share.

There is no antitrust going on here, period.

Microsoft was found guilty of antitrust… of course they were, the panel wouldn’t even assemble for an appeal. Microsoft was guilty before the first gavel fell. So Microsoft has to either remove IE from their product or bundle their competitors.

A browser is a fundamental part of computers. How can you download competitors browsers without one? The corollary, how does a company justify bundling the competition with their product?

Lets put this in more real terms. You buy a car. It has a steering wheel. You could go to the local auto store to buy a steering wheel if you like, perhaps you want one with more cushion, go for it. Buy that steering wheel. But without a steering wheel you can’t take the car you bought to get that steering wheel from the auto parts store.

The car, and rightly so, comes bundled with a steering wheel. Would you expect Ford or Honda or Austin Martin or Mercedes to have 10 steering wheels in the trunk so you can pick and choose which ones you want? Don’t be absurd. Or maybe 20 shift knobs, or 100 hubcaps, etc. And yet there are more than one thousand companies who make a living off of custom car accessories.

EU, I have found your new target. Sue the pants off of every car company for antitrust against the custom car accessory industry!

Categories : Commentary
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Mar
17

Serious Lack of Common Sense

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I have been following the EU’s campaign against Microsoft and the most recent skirmish is absolutely unbelievable to me.

The charge is of course the fact that Microsoft bundles Internet Explorer with Windows. And by doing so is considered an antitrust act….

What are they teaching people in business school? An operating system is a sum of parts. It has things such as a place to write on, a calculator, some sort of file manager,… you get the point. With how important the Internet has become, it would make sense that an operating system, designed for all users, would have a web browser (Mac OS X has a browser, heck RedHat Desktop has one).

There is no market

Ballmer: Do not try to monopolize the market; that’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.

EU: What truth?

Ballmer: There is no browser market.

So its an established piece of the operating system. Now lets talk about the browser “market.”

Every major browser that has been made in recent history is free: Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, etc. A market is defined as a system in which goods and services are bought and sold. Well every product in this “market” is free so there is no buying or selling and therefore the browser market doesn’t even exist in the first place and therefore any monopoly or antitrust laws are null.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Claim Incompetence

But let’s get away from semantics. We will assume that it is a market, Mozilla makes quite a lot of money from users who search Google via Firefox, so why not, its a market.

Going back to an OS being a sum of parts. A car is another product that is a sum of parts as is a computer. If I opened a business that sold car seats for Hondas could I not then sue Honda for selling car seats in their cars, which gives them an unfair advantage in the Honda car seat market? Or better yet. You go to an auto parts store you will see shifter knobs, steering wheels, and floor mats. Should all of these manufacturers sue the auto industry for antitrust?

Of course they wouldn’t. They understand business. They know that they must market their products and give reasons for buying their products even though its a cost that is above and beyond that of what a car costs. Internet browser software is free, and can take less than a minute to download and install. Essentially it is a no-risk product. Which means a browser software company merely needs to come up with the slightest of reasons for a consumer to user their browser.

So if we go this route of logic, Mozilla, Google, et al, are aiding the EU in this lawsuit against Microsoft because browser makers are incompetent in understanding market forces. That doesn’t seem fair either, if you detect weakness in your opponent, you pounce. So perhaps the European Commission is incompetent.

The Truth

Firefox owns almost 22% market share, Microsoft owns around 67%, Safari owns 8%, and the rest of the browsers (some 20 or 30 of them) own 3%.

In less than two years, IE has dropped market share by 11.5%, Firefox has gained 6.5%, and Safari has gained 3.5%. In other words, Internet Explorer dropped 15% in less than two years. Another market has seen its number one product drop by 15%… it took 10 years… Coke if you wanted to know specifics.

15% market in 23 months is proof positive that Microsoft Windows isn’t really shielding IE from any browser.

As a side note, only 9% of all Macs use Firefox. Perhaps they should be forced to remove Safari from their operating system.

Categories : Commentary
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Nov
06

Yahoo Pleads for MSN Buyout

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Regulators said no to the Google/Yahoo advertising deal. Yahoo now finds itself in a difficult position. If the ad merger had gone through, Yahoo would have plenty of extra money to be able to move forward with their business plans, however with the loss of that cash and the decline in the economy Yahoo finds itself in a bad position.

So much so that they are now trying to get MSN to put their buyout offer back on the table. Well as the saying goes there has never been a better time to buy. Yahoo’s shares are just under the $14 mark and Yahoo is in a vulnerable position.

According to the Nielsen NetRatings in August, Google owns 60.0% of the search engine traffic, Yahoo 18.1%, and MSN 10.7%. Last time I said this wouldn’t go through because of government involvement but now that I look at the numbers with fresh eyes, I am more inclined to believe this will go through just fine. 28.8%, though not too pretty for the handful of search engine portals that share 11.2% between them, it is viable enough to not be considered harmful for the market.

Although personally, I would not like to see Yahoo under Microsoft, I think it would be a pretty good deal for both. History in the search engine marketplace has shown that neither company has what it takes to take down Google or even hold a candle to them.

So What’s next?

Microsoft has the luxury of waiting. They can sit on this for a bit and see how far Yahoo’s value drops, the more it drops the more desperate Yahoo gets. I think that if Microsoft doesn’t make a move by the end of the month they will probably wait for next year late January/February.

So keep your eyes posted on this. My curiosity actually hopes they do buy them out just to see what will happen in the search engine arena. Will Microhoo find ways to increase their market share? Will Google find a means to beat down the two headed beast? Will coffee prices plunge? Stay tuned! Until next time, happy hosting.

Categories : In the News
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