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 […]

Mobile Carriers Are Trying To Control Your Texting

mom-textWho owns your telephone number? According to Section 251(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, you own your number and can move it to the carrier of your choice. But who owns your texting phone number? It’s the same number, just used for a different purpose. The law says nothing about texting so the major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) are claiming that number is theirs, not yours, even if you are the one paying a little extra for unlimited texting. And the way they see it, unlimited is clearly limited, with carriers and texting services not offered by the Big Four expected soon to pay cash to reach you.

Refresh mobile hits the desktop

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 1.16.26 PMI’ve been away on a secret mission, which must remain secret for awhile longer.

Somehow this summer my so-called career had a revival of sorts. My earnest and heartfelt book, The Decline and Fall of IBM, is doing well and will shortly appear in a number of foreign language editions coming from actual book publishers. In a week or two I’ll publish here a general IBM update that’s mainly material to bring those foreign editions up to the present. The short version is it still sucks being Big Blue.

But wait, there’s more! Suddenly I have four (four!) television projects in the works, two of them literally back […]

The Age of Supply, not Demand

Our-Base-is-Under-AtackI’ve been away for a few days not by choice but because this blog has been under continual attack so I couldn’t log-in. I must have offended someone. Anyway, I appear finally to be back.

I had lunch last week with my old friend Aurel Kleinerman, an MD who also runs a Silicon Valley software company called MITEM, which specializes in combining data from disparate systems and networks onto a single desktop. Had the Obama Administration known about MITEM, linking all those Obamacare health insurance exchanges would have been trivial. Given MITEM’s 500+ corporate and government customers, you’d think the company would have come to the attention of the White House, but […]

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 […]