Before this week’s Lockheed Martin network breach story intervened, I wrote a column about the strategic dilemma faced by Microsoft from downward trends in both product pricing and new installations for its flagship Windows and Office products. That’s on top of an overall market transition to mobile where Microsoft does not seem to be playing a leading role. What’s Steve Ballmer to do? I think that to thrive Microsoft has to turn itself into a very different company. Fortunately there are archetypes — other companies that have faced similar pressures yet gone on to reach even great corporate success. I think the time is fast coming for Microsoft to emulate Warren […]
Update — Though I chose to keep secret the identity of the defense contractor to limit the damage it was subsequently revealed by Reuters to be Lockheed-Martin. There was one additional detail presented at the end of a story in Saturday’s New York Times.
Back in March I heard from an old friend whose job it is to protect his company’s network from attack. “Any word on just what was compromised at RSA?” he asked, referring to how the RSA Data Security division of EMC had been hacked. “I suspect it was no more than a serial number, a seed, and possibly the key generation time. The algorithm has been known for years […]
The upcoming 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows, which Microsoftologists have taken to calling Windows 8 because Redmond has yet to announce an official name, has been appearing here and there and getting some press in the process. Microsoft has made a few statements, demonstrated early version of the OS, and some alpha code has even escaped into the wild. And the image that’s emerging is of Windows 8 as Microsoft’s take on the mobile transition, with the new OS running on everything from smart phones to server clusters. It also may represent Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s last chance to preserve his company’s digital dominance.
Ballmer confirmed back in January that the next major version of Windows […]
A third of the readers of this column are not in the USA and I can’t claim anymore that America is on the cutting-edge of all things Internet so I’ll just fall back on the argument that this is happening here and could just as easily be happening in your country, too. Which brings us to today’s story of Charlie Ergen’s plan to dominate the distribution of TV content to America in an all-IP, post-broadcast, post-satellite future. John Malone and Reed Hastings beware!
Echostar owns Dish Network, America’s second-largest satellite TV provider. Charlie Ergen is Echostar’s iconoclastic founder, CEO, and largest shareholder. Just as John Malone does with DirecTV, Charlie runs Dish any old way he […]
The Intertubes are alight this week with old news — that Netflix is the largest user of U.S. Internet bandwidth. Most stories cite a Sandvine report I won’t link to because you’d have to subscribe and I like you too much for that. Better still, look at the very interesting graphic above, courtesy of Arbor Networks. This chart has been floating around the net for a couple of months and shows the result of an Arbor study of several U.S. ISPs illustrating how we Americans spend our Internet bandwidth. There are three lessons I think we can learn from this chart: 1) that BitTorrent is no longer (or perhaps never was) the threat were were […]
Search is a fundamental component of intelligence or even thought. Maybe that’s why Google is now calling it knowledge. Our brains are already good at search. Look around a room and every object your eye passes is identified in your brain. Something out of place? It catches your eye. That is where we are headed with Internet search, though not exactly the way one might expect.
This is where every new generation of computer scientists brings-up the idea of artificial intelligence. If only we made the network smart enough to know not only what we really mean but what we really need. Maybe someday, but for now don’t hold your breath waiting for that one. Starting […]
Back in 2008 I declared that the information economy was giving way to what I called the search economy. The Internet was making it more important to know how to find information than to actually possess that information, because data — and therefore the fully-explored truth of any matter — might be constantly in flux. Even more to the point today, we need the same knowledge on many devices so it is usually better to find the link than to maintain multiple copies of aging data. This might explain in an ass-backwards way why Google just changed the name of its largest tech division from search to knowledge. A more accurate […]
This is one of those columns that will piss-off some of my geekier readers. They’ll complain that I am covering this subject at all, they will declare me dead or at least too stupid to be worth reading, and they will claim to be departing Cringelyville never to return. Frankly, I don’t give a damn. And it is important that I not give a damn, because that’s what freedom of the press is all about. This column concerns a particularly damning story about Goldman Sachs, the big Wall Street bank, that is available online now from the Rolling Stone. But I’m not so interested here in Goldman, or even in our ongoing global […]
There is so much to write about but I’ll begin with Microsoft buying Skype for $8.5 billion. The pundits are debating whether this move by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer makes good business sense, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. The better approach is to wonder what would have happened had Microsoft not bought Skype? Based on the high price alone I’m fairly confident that Ballmer felt he had no choice but to buy. In fact I’m fairly certain he felt that not buying could have doomed Microsoft.
Remember eBay bought Skype a few years ago for $2.6 billion, failed to make a go of it, then took a big write-off and sold much […]
Whether at the casino or the race track, the house always wins. That’s the way it has always been, too, with Internet advertising. Nearly all Internet ad dollars are spent in two ways: 1) buying ads from advertising networks whether that network is Google or Yahoo or even IDGTechNet, which sells space on this rag, or; 2) buying search terms — the right to have your ad shown every time someone searches on the word hermaphrodite, for example. Network profit in those transactions comes from arbitrage — buying low and selling high. But what if there was a more efficient way to buy and sell Internet ads? As of this morning it looks like there […]