As more and more counties are replacing power hungry incandescent
traffic lights with LEDs, the northern states are discovering a
potentially serious problem that is believed to have already caused at
least one death in a car accident.
Analyst Opinion - It can be entertaining to watch companies that have
learned to manage expectations. They set low bars, generally fail at
what they attempt, and yet the folks in charge of the programs often
get bonuses and rewards as if they had successfully executed. I believe
the Windows Vista mess was mainly caused by Microsoft’s behavior.
Similar behavior effectively killed a long line of companies starting
with DEC and running all the way to Sun. Google’s new Chrome OS looks
to be another example of people more interested in pretending to be
doing something, rather than actually doing it well.
Is it just a blip or the beginning of a trend? NPD’s U.S. game console
shipment numbers for June showed a slight uptick in sales over the
catastrophic results for the preceding two months, but it seems that
both Microsoft and Sony are gaining much faster than Nintendo. The Wii
dropped to its weakest competitive position since January 2008.
Market researchers continue to believe that the netbook category will
be posting significant shipment growth. iSuppli said that 3G netbooks
shipments alone will top 17 million this year. Good news for Google and
its Chrome OS, cloud applications and its investment in WiMax company
Mozilla can celebrate a decent launch of its latest browser, Firefox
3.5. The software has cleared the 2% barrier over the weekend, topping
Google’s Chrome browser for the very first time. However, even if
Mozilla’s version transitions seems to be on track, Firefox has lost
steam and is not gaining market share as quickly anymore as in previous
Analyst Opinion - I’m traveling this week and noted that the guy
traveling next to me, who owns his own company, is using an Acer
netbook. It is his primary travel computer. He purchased a 12-cell
aftermarket battery for it and gets 10 to 12 hours of battery life and,
according to him, this is all he needs. Most of the analysts I travel
with have noted that the distinction between netbooks and notebooks has
Opinion – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday gave a casual speech in
front of more than 1500 members and guests of the Executives Club of
Chicago, explaining the importance of innovation during a “reset” of
the economy. The pitch for Microsoft products was careful, and, not
surprisingly, focused on the next Xbox and Bing. What about Windows 7?
Access to fast Internet connection has jumped over the past year. A new
study released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American
Life Project that 63% of Americans now use broadband Internet at home.
But while increasing broadband penetration may not be that surprising,
pricing is. Consumers are confronted with rising cost for their
broadband connections – and cost is now the main barrier for continued
broadband connection, indicating another imminent digital divide.
Analyst Opinion - This is an interesting idea. Do a reality TV program
on the web using Jack Welch, who is arguably a more famous success than
Donald Trump and focus on a real problem. In this initial segment.
Hertz Connect is the target for their efforts. There is no Microsoft
product placement in the show, but ads show up on the side making
general statements about Microsoft's technology. The layout is
creative, the talent is world class with Jack Welch, but the question
is: Does it work?
Opinion – I just hate saying “told you so”. But it seems that even
Apple’s patience with AT&Ts willingness to keep pace with mobile
devices innovation is coming to an end, if I take the liberty to
interpret the dramatic omission of the carrier from yesterday’s keynote
in this way. AT&T and Apple have been in a love and hate
relationship from the very beginning, but as the pain factor climbs,
Apple may be weighing its options and simply ditch Apple. It may be
time to start looking elsewhere.
I still doubt that Bing will be enough for Microsoft to attack Google’s
dominating role in the search market, but if we believe data published
by Comscore then it seems that Bing has increased Microsoft search
market share and, more importantly, it was able to hold on to those
gains in the first week after launch.
At 11:00 a.m. EDT Sam Palmisano, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM along with Dr. Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, columnist and CNN host will host "The Business Partner Leadership Agenda: Building a Smarter Planet" webcast. Join TG Daily’s live blog to follow the event.
Opinion – Now that we all had a chance to play with Microsoft’s new
Bing engine, are we ready to ditch Google? Are we binging instead of
googling? I’d like you to chime in and let us know what you think of
the search discover engine, but here is some food for thought and why I
am pretty sure that Bing will be just another name in Microsoft’s
odyssey for a search engine that can conquer the world.
Analyst Opinion - Finally, search is cool again. The search engine
space, long considered the exclusive domain of Google, is suddenly hot
with innovation. Last week’s launch of the Wolfram|Alpha computational
knowledge engine may not have repaved the search landscape, but it
sends a strong message that the way we find stuff online is about to
change. Wolfram|Alpha isn’t alone: Alternative services like Cuil,
Hakia and Kosmix may not be popularly used verbs yet, but they all
point toward an accelerating rate of change in search.
Analyst Opinion - We are on final countdown for the launch of the Palm
Pre which was the device that easily took the entire buzz from CES this
year much as the iPhone initially did a few years ago. In addition,
Microsoft has launched an in-your-face competitive ad using a financial
argument to drive on Apple's inability to do a subscription music
service. This ad would have likely been vastly more powerful before
the Slacker service was available on the iPod Touch and iPhone. This
ad campaign comes in advance of what is expected to be the killer Zune,
a product that bridges the connected Xbox experience with a music
The IDC report that we covered earlier today said that digital content doubles every 18 months, but there's a problem with this, a big problem.
Analyst Opinion - When I wrote last week’s column suggesting Apple
consider a move downmarket to expand its computer/OS market share and
avoid being perpetually marooned in niche territory, I suspected it
might touch off a bit of a kerfuffle. But like any debate involving
Apple, small kerfuffles quickly become big ones. Few companies these
days generate the level of passion that Apple does.
Analyst Opinion - We had a major reorganization at AMD last week that
should not only make them more efficient. It may also make them the
leading change agent in the server space as we move to a more
cloud-based computing model. However, that begs a change on the client
as well and interestingly enough, I was at Intel this week for an
update on their Digital Home initiative and think this is the best
effort I have seen from them in over a decade.
Opinion – Yawn. Apple replied to Microsoft’s Laptop Hunters ads. Apple
replied with Megan to Lauren and a PC Choice Chat to highlight the
weaknesses of a PC. And yes, Apple forgot to mention its own
weaknesses. And we wonder how dumb computer buyers really are why
Apple’s creative team is convinced that these ads are still funny. We
got it, Apple. Time to move on.
Analyst Opinion - Saying Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is prone to
hyperbole is like saying deep fried bacon strips do little to encourage
a heart-healthy lifestyle. We all know it’s obvious, so we’re hardly
surprised when we read the headlines.