Chris Selland

I get up, and nothing gets me down

Now is the time to stand up and talk, and be a hero.

Or not, and be complicit.

For my part, I don’t give a damn that Senator Feinstein and others in our government say that this is “called protecting America.”

It doesn’t, it’s Orwellian and it kills liberty and freedom on a scale never seen before. It’s not a way to stop terrorism. It IS terrorism.

The courts are allowing this. The government loves this. The only ones left to oppose it are us.


The most important issue of our time.

It is indeed time to stand up.

Triangulating On Truth – The Totalitarian State | Uncrunched

I must break you

Finally got around to reading Dalton Caldwell’s letter to Mark Zuckerberg. If you are in the social software business you should too.

I can relate because I’ve been there - quite recently as a matter of fact. I won’t name names but it sounds like ‘sh*tter’.

Caldwell captures the essence of the challenge for developers like him, but also for the big social ‘platform’ providers.

Once you start down the slippery-slope of messing with developers and users, I don’t have any confidence you will stop.

I believe that future social platforms will behave more like infrastructure, and less like media companies. I believe that a number of smaller, interoperable social platforms with a clear, sustainable business models will usurp you. These future companies will be valued at a small fraction of what Facebook and Twitter currently are. I think that is OK. Platforms are judged by the value generated by their ecosystem, not by the value the platforms directly capture.

He’s absolutely correct, and if history isn’t exactly repeating itself, it’s at least rhyming.

I spent many years in and around the ecosystem of former platform juggernaut Microsoft (believe it or not, there was a time - not long ago - when Microsoft was not only a but the dominant force in technology. Yes, I’m that old…). When Microsoft was clubbing companies like IBM, DEC & Novell (again, I’m old) it was specifically because of the loyalty they had engendered from their developer ecosystem.

And when they started competing with that ecosystem in the mid-late ‘90’s, it was the beginning of the end (although my friend Ray Wang, among others, has been asserting that they are belatedly recognizing the errors of their ways).

For a more current example, take a look at the IOS vs. Android market - without 3rd-party developer support, it doesn’t matter how good your phone is

The biggest challenge facing Facebook and Twitter right now is that, because of the pressure being placed on them by the financial community, their need to monetize - directly - prevents them from having the time or the ability to cultivate the 3rd-party-developer ecosystem they need to establish their social platforms as dominant.

In many ways, it’s nice to be Zuck - but I’m not sure I’d want to be him right now. Even if he wants to be a good guy and cultivate Dalton and others, he can’t.

Whose hands does this play into right now? My money’s on Google

The Innovator's Dilemma Meets (and Eats) the Cash Cow at Microsoft

Microsoft is frequently cited as an undervalued stock and a profit machine.

But the Innovator’s Dilemma is meeting the BCG Matrix at Microsoft - right now - as the advent of cloud computing destroys the value - and profitability - of their primary Windows and Offices franchises. To the company’s credit, they have recognized the challenge and aggressively attempted to respond, but the financial impact is becoming clear.

Microsoft traditionally sold packaged software that, once developed, costs little to manufacture and distribute. In moving more business to the cloud, the world’s largest software maker must take on the costs of running data centers. These expenses include powering, cooling, housing and maintaining servers that run the programs for clients.

Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., estimates that cloud-related costs will range from 15 percent to 25 percent of revenue. That’s about 10 percent more than selling standard packaged software, he said.

Microsoft is in a very tough spot. Like him or not, you really don’t want to be Steve Ballmer right now.

Microsoft marketing strikes again.. $MSFT


CNNMoney Tech Tumblr: Eric Schmidt thinks Bing rules



Image source: Google, with a little help from MSPaint

Was Eric Schmidt defending Google or Bing in his testimony to Congress on Wednesday?

Google’s chairman mentioned Microsoft’s search engine 11 times in his speech, praising it in every instance. He noted how Bing has “continued to gain…

“They worked on Bing’s Twitter search capabilities; Twitter mapping on Bing; Docs, a way to create and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on Facebook; the TeamCrossword game; and recently, a way to use Microsoft’s Kinect motion-detection system to enable videogame playersinteract with ads.”

“Amazon has swiftly become the most disruptive company in the media and technology industries. Its potential in this space is simply off the charts: bigger than Apple’s, bigger than Google’s or Microsoft’s. It’s becoming a purer version of all three.”

Microsoft & Nokia - now what?

Obviously the market didn’t care much for the newly-announced $MSFT / $NOK partnership. In the near-term, it’s both a cash drain and a confirmation that Microsoft’s mobile efforts are failing, and of course for Nokia it’s an obvious surrender flag for its now-effectively-dead software aspirations.

But longer-term, I’m not quite as negative - there are some interesting possibilities. This could very possibly be the beginning of the devolution of Microsoft that I and others have been predicting for some time. Microsoft now effectively controls all of the assets necessary to build out - and maybe spin off - a ‘Microsoft Mobile’ division that would include a set of well-integrated hardware & software assets.

Of course, there’s no guarantee such a venture will succeed, but I wouldn’t write them off either. Windows Phone 7 (Microsoft’s latest phone OS) is acknowledged as being a very good Facebook & ‘social’ phone - and Nokia is very good at building innovative hardware. Imagine a series of innovative, consumer-focused ‘Facebook phones’ and another series of business-focused ‘Outlook/Exchange phones’.

Neither Apple nor Android should be quaking in their boots (although $RIMM may be another story) but I do believe that there’s a window of opportunity here for this new venture. Both Microsoft & Nokia had to swallow considerable pride to make this deal (I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in their internal PR meetings prior to the announcement) - but better that than to delude themselves with rosier-sounding but less-realistic alternatives.

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Microsoft’s partners, notably HP and Dell, are running away as quickly as possible. Windows Phone 7 shows promise, but I believe Microsoft understands the same thing Nokia did, from the other side: it has software, but no hardware. In Nokia, Microsoft now has an established, experienced, recognized OEM with one of its own men at the helm.

So in the span of one year, we have Microsoft failing to acquire Nokia, “losing” a top executive, and now having one of the most recognizable mobile hardware vendors in the world under its thumb. There’s no question in my mind that the next generation of flagship Windows Phones will come from Nokia, and for that, Microsoft will have unprecedented influence over the hardware that runs its software. We like to think of Steve Ballmer throwing chairs when his executives leave. I think this time he told Elop, “Fine. Go get me some hardware I can own.” Elop did.

I have absolutely no qualms about calling this new regime at Nokia a puppet government. This is far and away the most brilliant move of Ballmer’s tenure. Whether it pays off is another question entirely.


Kinect looks like a holiday hit for Microsoft $MSFT

After a long string of failed product launches, looks like Microsoft is going to have a hit on its hands with Kinect. Quite possibly a HUGE hit.

I’m sure we’ll be having a product evaluation at home one of these days…

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With 45 million game consoles sold, Xbox 360 is Microsoft’s monster hardware hit. And today, what will surely be its second monster hit goes on sale: the Kinect.

There’s a crazy, magical, omigosh rush the first time you try the Kinect. It’s an experience you’ve never had before.


Time to break up Microsoft? $MSFT

Every time I start thinking ‘Microsoft is cheap (arguably true) and profitable (definitely true)’ and start thinking about buying the stock, I pause as a result of the company’s ongoing and utter incompetence in figuring out anything that looks like a future growth opportunity.

Replacing Steve Ballmer is the obvious and increasingly oft-rumored move, but as Yahoo has proven repeatedly, firing the coach offers no guarantees. It’s time for the board to think bigger - it’s time to think about a breakup of Microsoft. They have certainly built a portfolio of potentially interesting businesses - why not let them stand or fall on their own merits.

I might consider investing in the Xbox business (especially since it takes a crowbar to get my son away from it) but why do I need to buy Bing and Zune and Windows Phone to do so? Office and OS are great cash flow businesses but why not flow that cash to shareholders rather than an ongoing stream of also-rans and losers.

Love to hear what others think…

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The big question after losing more than $6 billion chasing Google—and AOL and Yahoo—around: Is Microsoft getting anything out of its Internet quagmire?

But here’s the disconnect. Microsoft has generated no return on its Internet ventures. It has been nearly a lost decade for Microsoft online. Looking at the profit and losses, you could make an argument that Microsoft would have been better off avoiding the Internet. Strategically, that argument is absolutely crazy. On the financial front, shareholders may just want a dividend.

Things could change. Perhaps Microsoft’s online investment has helped it with the transition to cloud computing somehow. As things stand today, the Web is one big money pit for Microsoft.