Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marc is missing the point on Oracle

Just noticed Marc Andreessen's comments on Oracle - "The clock is ticking", his point being none of his start-ups use Oracle software. He says that Oracle and other old-line software and infrastructure companies haven't leaped forward to the cloud.

I would agree with Marc if his comments are for Oracle, the database software and not Oracle, company, but it seems his comments are for the company.

Marc is taking a product centric view, and misses the capability view. Infrastructure costs are going down with cloud and the life of the product with license/maintenance fee based model may be limited. The new licensing revenues for the traditional database product is not growing for Oracle for quite sometime and so it transformed itself from being a database company to a complete systems company, encompassing not just middleware and apps but also hardware.

With the control over the complete stack, Oracle has really been shoring up its capability. This is the point that Marc misses. Oracle's recently acquired capabilities will enable it to offer apps on cloud, or platform on cloud or even infrastructure on cloud when it wants. Oracle's recent strategy has been to acquire successful companies when the new business model is proven. Even when the cloud-based trend brings curtains on older business models, there would be new companies leveraging the new opportunities offered by cloud. Oracle can con continue its capability acquisition strategy and remain a leader.

Clock would be ticking for Oracle only if it shuts its eyes and ears. I do not think that is the case. Larry was an early investor in !

Gates and Jobs Interview

While the interview was really informative and interesting, I found a website with several images and jokes regarding said interview. I figured it would be a good resource to share!

Amazon Silk Browser

One of the interesting dimensions to Amazon's Kindle Fire is their announcement of Silk browser.  Please take a look at it in some detail and post your thoughts: How critical is Amazon's development of Silk as cloud-accelerated browser? What this could mean for others in the digital sector dealing with devices with browser functionality? What are the opportunities and challenges for companies in other sectors as they develop their strategies focused on leveraging the power of cloud?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thoughts on Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon announced two new additions to the Kindle Family today. One is Kindle Touch (without the keyboard) and the other is Kindle Fire--a full color, seven inch, WiFi-enabled multi touch tablet running on the Android OS.  
But, if you read the specifications on Amazon's webpage, you will see no overt reference to Android OS and only peripheral reference to the Android Appstore.  It has some interesting features and is an innovative challenger in the multitouch tablet space. 
Amazon Kindle Fire Technical Details

The key features are shown below.
Stunning Color Touchscreen
Favorite Apps and Games
E-Mail and Apps (Amazon Appstore for Android)
Magazines in Rich Color

Fast, Dual-Core Processor
Millions of Books (Amazon's Strength)
Free Cloud Storage (Another of Amazon's Strength)
Fast Web Browsing with Silk (Cloud-Accelerated) Browser

Read Documents 

Streaming Movies Across Devices (Amazon Whispersync)


It is clear that Amazon has leveraged many of its strengths--its collection of digital content (books, music, games and movies), Amazon Cloud Storage and Whispersync to automatically sync library, last page read, bookmarks and also videos.  Furthermore, it has innovated by creating Amazon Silk -- a cloud-accelerated browser to leverage the speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud (in the process, creating tighter integration between its tablet and its cloud).  The Android OS is curiously not mentioned as significant. Incidentally, the only place that Android is mentioned is in reference to the 'Amazon Appstore for Android.'
In terms of connectivity, this device is not linked to any cellular network. It works only on WiFi, thereby Amazon has eliminated any need to partner with telecom operators such as AT&T or Verizon. And, Amazon Prime customers get access to their digital content at no extra charge, thereby integrating traditional services with new digital, tablet-based features (unlike Netflix, which is seeking to split digital streaming from DVD-by-Mail operations). 
With Kindle Fire, Amazon is firmly positioned to compete in the digital sector. Priced at $199, Fire is positioned at a different price point from Apple iPad and Android tablets from Samsung, HTC and others.  Now, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Sony eReader and others have to follow suit. 

From the point of view of tablet manufacturers, it will be interesting to see how they compete against Fire in terms of the aggressive price point--albeit without communication and collaboration functionality. Eighteen months after Apple announced iPad with an aggressive $499 price point, Amazon has introduced a compelling alternative at an aggressive price point supported by extensive library of digital content and powerful cloud functionality. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Will the "Smart Grid" promise ever happen?

We think it will, and in the next 5 years. However, there are some significant questions yet to be answered that will determine what the smart grid will look like in the future.

  • How will standards emerge at each level to achieve critical mass within such a fragmented industry segments? 
  • Which companies will use their position in the network of industry players as a source of influence?
  • When will the technology development pass the threshold of consumer acceptance and who will reach that point first?
  • Who will drive smart grid adoption - energy producers or energy consumers? 
  • Who is willing to pay for the substantial equipment costs?
  • How will the smart grid be monetized?

In order to answer these questions we have build a preliminary smart-grid industry stack selecting companies ranging from the utility to the consumer. Right now there isn't any overlap. It will be interesting to see what the chart looks like once competitors and partnerships are filled in.

Our Team:
Cassie Kern - PG&E
Kevin Harder - Sigma Design
Maggie Lukaszwicz - Siemens
Manuel Zapata - IBM

Monday, September 26, 2011

Information Players in the Healthcare Industry

Here is one view of an industry map of the Healthcare industry. Because of the many linkages that exist, we see the potential for disruption coming from the players that best use Technology to create and capture value.

Our team will examine companies who are positioned to offer Software and Analytics capabilities. Specifically:
Allscripts (Katy Perkins)
Athena Health (Nader Mousa)
Microsoft (Wishwas Mohan)
Verisk (Eli Mather)
Additionally non-profit institutions have a cause and effect relationship with potential disruptions. Therefore, we will also explore the analytics capabilities of
MassHealth. (Chris Glenn)

Do you agree with our view of the industry? Can you think of other companies that are positioned to enter or exit the industry? Do you think incumbency or capability will win out in the next 5 years?

The Digital Media Team:

Did you know that 83% of our learning is done visually? ( That helps explain the explosion in the video media content that the digital wave has brought these last few years. The Digital Media Team took a look at this and wondered…

Now that Netflix has announced a split of its DVD and streaming businesses, how will Amazon react with its streaming segment? What will the production/distribution companies do with their “traditional” business models? Will CBS finally open up its content for streaming on other companies’ services? Will Warner Bros alter its production strategy? How will cable service providers, such as Comcast adjust? With everyone buying everyone, this is a dynamically changing industry.

We are gearing up to answer these questions and hope that you will join us on this quest and voice your thoughts and opinions. The first aspect to ponder is our definition of the video industry layers:

Team Members:

Derek Evenson, Comcast

Abram Guerra, Warner Bros.

Erica Hansen, CBS Entertainment

Joanna Huh, Amazon

Joel Samen, Netflix

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Google takes iTunes head-on with Google Music

Google launched Google Music Beta in May 2011.Users can use any web enabled or Android device to access the online content. It will provide about 50 GB of free online space allowing users to upload and store up-to 20,000 songs.

So what does it really mean for the users ?

Google Music directly addresses some of the limitations imposed by iTunes. One of the limitations with iTunes is that a your music cant move around freely. If you are using iTunes to manage your music you can only do a hard wired transfer to your iPhones. Similarly if buy some music on iPhone and you want to transfer it to your PC you will have to use the same hard wired approach. Well, Google Music directly addresses these limitations. Once you have the music on to the Google's servers you can use it on any device that can connect to the internet.

Another limitation with iTunes was that if you are using Android phones and iTunes you will have to rely on third party applications to transfer the music to Android devices.Google Music provides an easier alternative to get your music on Android.

One thing you can't do with Google Music is to download the music libraries on another devices. Though music beta will allow you to download some music which you can listen to when you don't have internet connection.

You can now make a playlist on one device and have it available to all devices work or home !