Microsoft & Yahoo, Giants & New England, Obama & McCain

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras in my hometown of New Orleans.  On this day convention defers to imagination.  And plenty of conventional wisdom has stepped aside already this year: in sports, the seemingly unstoppable mastery of Roger Federer and that of the Patriots ended in startling fashion; in the presidential campaign, Obama seems to have surged into a dead-heat with Hillary; and John McCain, counted-out in October, is now the odds-on favorite for his party’s nomination.

So what is the wisdom of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo and how might we benefit from this gamble as they try to prevent Google from doing to them what they did to AOL (America on Line).

– AOL’s model was to capture the customer in the AOL-only experience.  No need to ever leave the world of AOL, whether you wanted to or not.  Monthly fee revenue model.

– Yahoo trumped this model by providing a portal where Yahoo aggregated content developed by others around the Internet.  ‘No need to leave, we’ll bring it to you.’  Banner ad & pop-up revenue model.

– Google trumped Yahoo by using their search engine to take visitors all over the Internet where Google would keep track of their searches and visits to deliver related advertising.  Advertisers, not visitors, pay Google.

Let’s imagine what this merger might imply for our organizations aside from the reminder of the recent, sour history of such mega-merger attempts: e.g. HP & Compaq, AOL & Time Warner, Chrysler & Daimler.

The Internet’s emerging technologies and uses are evolving rapidly to being about:

Innovation not Integration by connecting like-minded people regardless of location or employer.  This is a design point for our systems and services.

Information not Application by connecting those who need to know with the content that they require.

Mobility and Advertising on the mobile device.  Remember AOL and its garden wall approach?  This is what the iPhone is doing to the garden walls of the Telecom companies.  Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft spent $10b here in 2007.

As Tuesday’s Rex parade circles Canal Street, the costumed crowd will shout the conventional “throw me something, mister!” Let’s imagine what other opportunities are in store for them.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!  Christopher Perrien

Sub-prime making news; Video and Mobility making progress

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

– Please don’t ask about the extent of the aftershock of foolish borrowing and careless lending.  On so many fronts in our globalized marketplace, at both the individual and enterprise level, we’re probably going to have to heed the advice of Tancredi in The Leopard:  “If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

Meanwhile, other engines maintain their hum and will move closer to the center stage of widespread technical adoption in 2008.  Two examples that I track are video as a story-telling device and the elevation of the 3rd screen to our 1st screen.

– Last Christmas season my high school son and two of his classmates won a contest at the local upscale mall by producing a sixty second video to promote the shopping season.  They won $400 in equipment for the school and $600 to split three ways.  The recently concluded 2007 contest enjoyed a threefold increase in participation and a tenfold increase in prize money: $6,000 in equipment and $4,000 to split.  Clearly, the mall, the merchants and the aspiring film-makers see solid business value in consumer generated, good-enough, easy to deploy video to tell their stories. 

– So much is happening on the mobility front that it may not be obvious, although GPS features and related acquisitions (Navteq by Nokia and Tele Atlas by Tom Tom) are getting plenty of press.  With the $10b that Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google spent in 2007 to acquire search and advertising related companies and the popular reception to Apple’s iPhone, we will soon have the sort of mobile computing capabilities that consumers in other parts of the world have enjoyed for several years.  

The driving force behind all of this activity is control of search on the mobile device.  The revenue model is that Location Awareness facilitates Search and Search enables targeted Advertising.  Curious is our notion that the 1st screen is the TV and the 2nd screen is the PC, yet we all carry a 3rd screen nearly everywhere we go.  “Can you hear me now?” will rapidly migrate to “We know where you are and can help you to find and to pay for what you want. Just text me.”

cp