Globalise-Nation

It seems there’s a flurry of German acquisition acitivity in my reader today.  Well, not really a flurry, but certainly signs that Germany are buying anything that smells German.  Commerzbank and Dresdner is a done deal predicted back in DecemberDeutsche Bank and Postbank and now Lufthansa and SAS.  I’m sure there will be more.  My question is… are the Germans trying to reverse Globalisation?

The Androids are coming!

If you search for Android in Google there no surprise that the first hit will take you to Google’s Open Handset Alliance page with tons of information and help on Android, and in fact 90% of the first page results are all about Google’s Android. There is one hit that points to the wikipedia page describing a more familiar definition of an Android.

Now if you look at that page, the results from Google are predictive to say the least, but one surprising fact about the page is that there is no sponsored links! Well there is one, sometimes, but there is no one making money from that page.

Now if your business model is based on advertising revenue and you are the number one search engine in the world with millions of hits per second, there’s no wonder you are a leading success and a global brand. Your revenue is based on selling advertising space, your clients pay for the benefit of reaching your vast audience and rely on you placing there ads on the first page in the right place. Of course you have competition, but being number one and staying at number means that you are smart, competitive and understand what the consumers want better than your rivals.

Staying two steps (or more) ahead of the rest means that they are all competing with each other whilst you are defining the next steps and not just waiting for it to arrive.

So who or what will threaten Google? This recent article in Business Week raises an interesting point.

You see according to the article, over two thirds of Americans have experienced Mobile Internet Services and of course this figure is growing. In Europe and in Asia we’ve been doing it for years and faster, but with wireless cities appearing, WiMax on the way, China and India exploding onto the scene and more recently, Cuba, there will be a shift from the traditional PC to the Mobile device. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t likely to be an overnight shift nor will it be a migration from PC to Mobile. What is happening is that more and more of us are experiencing better quality browsers and applications on the mobile platforms and we are embracing it.

According to Gartner, in 2006 there were just under 1 billion mobile phone units shipped worldwide and in 2007 this was around 1.13 billion. With Apple and RIM entering the market the devices are more attractive and functionally stable compared to the browsing experience on early Nokia and Motorola devices. These new devices really are becoming usable and I can at last see the day where I carry a single device.

With the increase in mobility the target audience for the ad execs is now mouth wateringly vast, BUT, the traditional banner ad and sponsored search ad will not do. The billions of mobile and wireless consumers will not accept the same content squeezed into a mobile device display. So, what’s the plan?

Enter Android. Develop a new mobile operating system that will allow your winning business model to thrive. So far, the advertising on Android is anyone’s guess, but personalisation and profiling seems to be the way forward. The recent launch of Blyk from Orange is a good example of how Google’s business model will continue to thrive on the mobile platform and some are predicting a coverflow type of interface that will contain target advertising as well as the content you request.

Normal service has been resumed.

The BBC reports that Microsoft have walked away from the Yahoo bid.  Does this mean that Yahoo and Microsoft will at last start their engines and get back to producing something new and competitive or will they simply continue on the acquisition trail.  Come on you two…clean up your act and get back to work!

Same old problems.

I remember back in the late 1990s I worked on a project for GE to deploy Microsoft Exchange. GE at the time made a corporate decision to deploy a single messaging platform throughout the globe to overcome what they saw as a business communication problem. They used the analogy of a representative from GE Plastics walking past the representative from GE Lighting in the corridors of General Motors or Chrysler not knowing that they were both working for the same company with the same client and not being able to share any information. They believed that working together Plastics and Lighting could benefit the customer as well as GE. The case was compelling and the sponsorship of a single messaging platform came from the top, it had Jack Welch’s buy-in!

Reading Andrew McAfee’s post today I was reminded of this age and it occurred to me that we are still trying to solve this problem but this time the technology is Enterprise 2.0 and the use of Wikis and Blogs in a bid to reduce the use of email.

His students responses, in my view, are right on the button and his dissection of the responses make perfect sense. They mention cases where Wikis and Blogs can improve the collaboration between diverse businesses and teams within many different organisations, they highlight how collaboration and knowledge sharing can improve business processes, but I still can’t help thinking that whilst technology is evolving and we have new problems to solve, we’ve not fixed the problems that existed all those years ago.

Looking at it from another point of view, maybe we are solving the problem, but in stages. Email was the first step, but we are far from finished.

Tell me

Microsoft, yes Microsoft have launched a voice activated search application for the Blackberry, even before a Windows mobile version! Brushing over that fact, I have to say that I’d love to try it out, but being in the UK it seems I’ll have to wait.

Whilst in the US a couple of weeks ago, I played a lot of golf. Every [other] day we searched local golf courses for times and fees to get the best all round locations. Usually using a desktop/laptop, Google maps and a phone we canvassed local golf courses that met our criteria. As you can imagine, local in Florida is a 30 mile radius and golf courses in a 30 miles radius are plentiful. I’m not going to count.

I can really see how usefull this application can be especially when GPS is stable, fast and effective as it was in Florida.

In the meantime, I’ll be testing Yahoo oneSearch with voice support for Blackbery.

Microsoft Zimbra?

I really like Zimbra’s collaboration suite.  I remember looking into Zimbra, amongst others,  a few years ago when I decided to investigate what alternatives corporate Microsoft Exchange users had if they chose not to follow the MS Exchange road map.

At the time many of the alternatives available on the market lacked mobility, archiving and Outlook integration.  These were some of the criteria at the time.

The lack of functionality is no longer the case.  Zimbra now supports true push to Blackberry devices and also incorporates archiving and discovery.  The reality of moving from a Microsoft server platform is becoming reality.

Having said all that, look a little harder at the corporate level and you’ll see that Zimbra is owned by Yahoo and there is a possibility that this could all fall under a Microsoft brand in the future.  So what will become of Zimbra or indeed Exchange (which incidental is in need of a serious overall from the ground up)?

I can’t wait, but I fear we will all have to.

On Guard!

Having encouraged Alex to play golf he is now leaving me behind with his skill. I have closed the gap recently, but he is certainly the better player (and now a pretty effective coach… my coach). A sense of achievement for both of us.

It then occurred to me, with time on my hands, I’m going to work on my next project.

Ben has suddenly shown an interest in fencing and having researched it and found a school\team, I’m also drawn to give it a stab.

So, when the new term starts, Ben and I will be arming ourselves with our foils, bibs and face-masks at fencing school.

I hope I’ve got the right terminology there, or is it a sword, body armour and helmet?