July 24, 2008

July 22, 2008

Bill de hÓra on Apple's AppStore.

The appstore is easily the most interesting part of the iPhone, much more than 3G. The appstore imvho means three things. First the carrier deck constraint is shifted away from the operator or default homepages to getting placed on the appstore's core views (like hot, top 25 and new). Second, and this what is drives the first, "embed date stress" is relaxed somewhat. In the mobile handset biz, phone embed dates are king - missing the date is bad because nobody, statistically speaking, downloads applications - whereas the appstore is easy to use. The appstore allows you to have a hit well after the handset launch. Third, "OTA" (over the air) updates will become the normal way of doing things instead of a feature - bad bug? - requirements 180? - protocol upgrade? Push out a new revision the way we do today with desktop applications and browser plugins. As much as Tim Bray doesn't like sharecropping and objective-c, this is a good for SMEs and innovators. I can imagine handset and opcos cloning the appstore model, right down as far as supporting technology, eg Android supporting an OSGi-a-like, and enhanced developer programs to drive applications. (None of this is good for IMS btw).

July 21, 2008

I think my respect for Michael Arrington just increased somewhat. He's decided to declare war on Microsoft.

It's the zeitgeist, of course.
Gaping Void is talking to Dell about revamping their brand.

My comments :

Seems to me that it's the usual branding vs. commoditization problem. As long as Dell make commodities (PCs) they have no social object to hang a story around. We know what a PC is and what we want from it. Either Dell can give it to us as cheaply as possible or they can't.

If Dell want a social object / brand makeover they have to make products that are differentiated in a way worth talking about. With English Cut and Stormhoek you had a novel story : "a tailor / wine that blogs". With Dell, "a computer company that blogs" isn't going to fly.

Who's making a differentiated PC today? (Apart from Apple who are at a whole other level.) Basically Asus. They have great stories : a whole new form-factor, a whole new price, new technologies (solid state disks), Linux really making things cheaper, etc.

Dell used to have two good stories : "cheaper because we sell direct without dealers" and "you can customize on our web-site and our super-lean process will build to your design in a day". The first story is probably no-longer available. Doesn't *everybody* sell direct? The second seems to have gone AWOL.

"Customizability" could be an idea that Dell still owns. The right web-site, a cute user-interface, could turn computer shopping into an intensely personal Build-a-Bear kind of emotional experience. Dell could offer wider variety of peripherals, accessories etc. They could invest in and promote their supply-chain, gain green credentials through offering you the chance to build "low carbon footprint" PCs from local or lower-polluting sources. They could create an Etsy-like market for casemodders etc.

But they need to have *something* to tell a story about.

Update : what inspiration should Dell take from Nabaztag or Chumby or LiveScribe? The PC is becoming the Device Swarm. How does a traditional, "staid", clone-manufacturer engage with that? Buy the innovative start-ups? Try to make me-too copies? Partner with the originators to sell them with the site? Help foster an eco-system that includes them?

July 15, 2008

July 10, 2008

Yahoo's Open strategy

About time! (If not too late.)

Now, let's see what it gets them. (I have no predictions at this stage.)

Update : Sweet. The mashup-framework is in python (since GAE, becoming the new duct-tape of the web.)

Update 2 : Of course it's not "open-source". I wonder why people thought it was?

July 07, 2008

Interesting comment on Microsft's Equipt.

Bundling Office suite + tethered security-as-a-service == new business model? And if so, is it one which allows Free Software substitutes to take advantage of? (With proprietary anti-virus vendors as the reseller channel.)

July 05, 2008

Russell Beattie on Nokia'a Simbian acquisition.

In my mind, there are different types of OS platforms, created for one of several reasons, broadly separated into monetization, control or shared workload. Monetization - as shown by Microsoft - is that if you control a platform that becomes popular, you can charge money for it indefinitely as it's the basis for many other people's work. Control is what Apple and Blackberry do, where they don't license the platform, but use it to ensure they control everything about what happens on their platform and devices. Shared workload is what the Linux folk are about, where even though they lose control and get no fees, they still derive benefits from not having to do everything themselves, and the platform improves and is used more broadly as well with less investment on their part.

Symbian it seems has attempted to do all of this ...

July 03, 2008

Dave was clearly somewhat wrong about a couple of things here. :-)

July 02, 2008

I wonder what IBM / Rational's Jazz "collaborative development platform" is, really.