Archive for Business

How Microsoft conquered China

Billy Gates is a clever business person, this article from CNN discusses How Microsoft conquered China.

Today Gates openly concedes that tolerating piracy turned out to be Microsoft’s best long-term strategy. That’s why Windows is used on an estimated 90% of China’s 120 million PCs. “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not,” Gates says. “Are you kidding? You can get the real thing, and you get the same price.” Indeed, in China’s back alleys, Linux often costs more than Windows because it requires more disks. And Microsoft’s own prices have dropped so low it now sells a $3 package of Windows and Office to students.

A basic desktop computer in China now can be had for about 200-300USD, with a Chinese version of windows pre-installed. Funnily enough if you can find it only full retail (priced) versions of English Windows are available.

From infoworld.

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Google CRM

Google are really opening up their platform for other people to develop interesting apps. Like this CRM, check the video demos it is quite functional and seems to be well integrated with some other Google apps. Even has the mandatory Outlook sync plug-in. I wonder if they have add an interface to gtalk/gchat, might be useful for handling incoming SIP calls, sending alerts, etc.

From the google blog.

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FX Matters

If you do an foreign currency stuff in NZD you should be reading the weekly report. He provides a lot of good background information.

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Reality vs the Open Source Business

Nice quote I’m have to remember in to the future when I have some ‘theoretical arguments’: Open source: Reality bites?

A great philosopher may sit in his study and deny the existence of matter: but if he takes a walk in the street he must take care to leave his theory behind him….

Pyrro said that there was no such thing as pain; and he saw no proof that there were such things as carts, and wagons; and he refused to get out of their way: but Pyrro had, fortunately for him, three or four stout slaves, who followed their master, without following his doctrine; and whenever they saw one of these ideal machines approaching, took him up by the arms and legs, and without attempting to controvert his arguments, put him down in a place of safety.

We may believe anything for a moment, but we shall soon be lashed out of our impertinences by hard and stubborn realities. (4, 7)

Action not theory:

I know I find open source in everything, but it seems to me to be a perfect rendering of James’ pragmatism. It’s not about the theory behind open source that matters. The only thing that matters is the output. That output makes me think that open source is “true” in the Jamesian sense. From “Pragmatism’s Conception of Truth:”

True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we can not. That is the practical difference it makes to us to have true ideas; that, therefore, is the meaning of truth, for it is all that truth is known as…. The truth of an idea is not a stagnant property inherent in it. Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication. Its validity is the process of its valid-ation.

As Matt says, in business the only thing that matters is delivery of a product. Whether this be a nail or a word processor. In the value chain that creates ‘things’ for people’s lifes.  The strength of open source is exactly what RMS saw when he started down the GNU path. Freedom to choose, creates the freedom to innovate which plays to the strengthens of the human condition.

The balancing act always being the profit of the present vs the profit of the future.  Microsoft being a clear example in the former case for software and maybe the original company behind Nautilus File Manager being an example of the later.

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Clearspace and Openfire

Clearspace is a team collaboration java based application that integrates IM, files, wiki and blogs. It is commercial, but has a free-to-use 5 user version. Openfire is a jabber/XMPP server which seems very powerful. It is open-source, but has a commercial version with additional features.

I’ve been planning to try out some Jabber servers once I get my new hardware in place. Openfire has a nice looking admin interface and seems to be well built. I might not have to look far.  Clearspace might also compete with the Alfresco planning I’ve been doing.

From IT Redux.

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Rands In Repose: Trickle Theory

I use this method when I faced with a pile of paper on my desk to file:

My advice is: START. Iterate. Mix-it-Up.

Combined with this short story on how to get things done:

It went like this: one guy would cut and drag brush into the fire, another would cut trees down, and the third would trim fallen trees. This went on for a while and then they’d all switch. Now, drag guy was cut guy, cut guy was hauling wood guy and trim guy was stack guy. During lunch, I sat down and asked, “When do you guys switch jobs?””When we’re bored.”

Beautiful, beautiful Trickle Theory. How cool is this? If you’re working on an impossibly hard or impossibly dull task and you find yourself mentally blocked by boredom or confusion, stop and do something else. The benefits of stopping are stunning.

The absence of fear to failure is often the requirement for success when faced with impossible tasks. Becoming stuck is purely a signal that is time to stop and gather your experience with some reflection, maybe internally while you do something else.

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Tunesafe – A discussion of using S3 as part of a business

Very well written and indepth business case analysis of the use of S3.

Outsiders do not realise how deeply technological development, like scientific research, is shaped and driven by emotion. If you have ever looked at an iPod and wished that you needed one, you will have had an inkling of it. The reason that half of us are in computing at all is that we see computers as things that we can make beautiful things out of: and S3 and EC2 arouse the same emotion.

Some people have criticized S3 and EC2 for being bony, but that is the point of them. You cannot go wrong if you have good, strong bones to build on. If the foundation is right, things just go on getting better. A woman with good bones is six times as beautiful at 60 as she is at 20.

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Economics in Six Minutes

Everyone should spend a few moments and read Economics in Six Minutes:

Economics is the science of utility, which includes people’s preferences and the satisfaction and importance they subjectively derive from goods. Desires are unlimited, but people get less extra value from more and more units of the same good.

A good distillation of the key concepts.

From The Angry Economist.

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The Future is Online – Is the cost going to drive Microsoft out of business?

I’ve read several articles about the increasing price for real estate to build data centers in “resource-rich” location. A corollary to that with a short reference in this article is the increased stock value of companies that provide efficient hardware:

Rackable Systems Inc. (RACK ), which sells highly efficient servers and data storage equipment, has more than tripled its stock price since going public in June, 2005. And a surge in demand for Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD )’s power-sipping server chips is one reason it is humbling rival Intel Corp. (INTC ).

It then struck me as I was reading this:

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Microsoft vs Adobe

Microsoft Monitor in “There’s More to This Story” talk about the current conflict between Microsoft and Adobe over the inclusion of PDF functionality in Office 2007.

Microsoft’s largely single-sided story could put pressure on Adobe, by taking the case for PDF in Office 2007 to customers. Funny, Microsoft has for years ignored customer requests for PDF support in Office.

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