Apple proves that moats are for dummies

moatAs we all know, Apple last week announced two new iPhones, a payment service (ApplePay), and a line of Apple Watches that require iPhones to work. There’s not much I can say about these products that you can’t read somewhere else. They are bigger and better than what preceded them and — in the case of ApplePay and the AppleWatch — just different. They are all topnotch products that will stand out in the market and have good chances of being successful. So instead of writing about products we already know about, I’d like to write about moats to protect products from competition.

Moats, as you know, are defensive fortifications typically built to surround castles, making them […]

The Fed suckered IBM into a failing cloud strategy?

Ginni_RomettyEconomist David Stockman, who is probably best known for being President Reagan’s budget director back in the era of voodoo economics, has been particularly outspoken about IBM as a poster child for bad policy on the part of the U.S. Federal Reserve. How this would be isn’t immediately obvious but I think is worth exploring because IBM is far from the only company so afflicted. There’s an important effect here to be understood about corporate motivations and their consequences.

So I’ll begin with a story. Almost 40 years ago there was a study I worked on at Stanford’s Institute for Communication Research having to do with helping farmers in Kentucky be […]

IBM back in the USSR?

backintheUSSRMy book, The Decline and Fall of IBM, is now available in paperback, on the iPad and Nook, as well as on the Kindle. A dozen other platforms plus an audio book will be available shortly, but these are the big ones.

Over the weekend I received a very insightful message about the book from reader Steve Jenkins in Australia, where IBM is showing the same behavior problems as everywhere else. Steve has an insight into Big Blue that I wish I had thought to include in the book because I believe he is absolutely correct.

“Finished your e-book, but skimmed the blog comments,” wrote […]

The Decline and Fall of IBM

Cringely_eBook-cover_1563x2500Well my IBM eBook is finally available. Right now that’s just on Amazon.com for the Kindle (just click the link to the right) but by next week it will be on every eBook platform (iPad Nook, etc.) and there will be a trade paperback as well as an audio edition. I’ll announce all of those here as they appear. 

I feel I owe an explanation for the long delay in publishing this book. I finished it in early January, about a week after my mother died, only to learn that my old-school book publisher didn’t want to touch it. Or more properly they wanted […]

WhatsApp is the first of several big acquisitions for Facebook

FaceAppIf yesterday’s announcement of Facebook paying $19 billion in cash and stock for WhatsApp surprised you then maybe you’d forgotten this prediction I published on January 8th:

#6 — Facebook transforms itself (or tries to) with a huge acquisition. I wrote long ago that we’d never see Facebook in the Dow 30 Industrials. The company is awash in users and profits but they’ve lost the pulse of the market if they ever had it. Trying to buy their way into the Millennial melting data market Facebook offered $3 billion for Snapchat, which turned them down then rejected a $4 billion offer from Google. Google actually calculates these things, Facebook does not, so where Google will now reverse-engineer […]