Software Blades

Steve Gillmor writes:

Sitting in the Imax theater of the Tech Museum of Innovation for the Solaris 10 rollout, I watched Scott McNealy not talk about the futuristic SunRay sitting on the stage. Five years ago I sat in the press room laughing as a bank of SunRays blinked on and off in unison. No way, I thought, nobody is gonna tear me away from my ThinkPad. Now Scott was leaving the SunRay conversation for us to pick up, knowing full well that a zero install free OS with no viruses needs only a good synchronization standard (hello attention.xml) to enable persistent caching for mobile devices.

So complete is the Sun transformation that it fell to McNealy to answer a news conference question about blades with the elegant “software blades,” a nod to Solaris 10s container technology and a bear hug for Jonathan Schwartz virtualization of the Sun revenue model going forward. Its a marriage of the Big Freakin Webtone Switch with software as a service and cycles on demand. In this world, podcasting is nothing more (or less) than long-form ring tones.

Windows still sits in the middle, but now, with the BlackBerry, the iPod, the Mac, Wi-Fi, and RSS, I can route around it. More and more, I miss it less and less.

Microcontent

MarcCanter did a presentation recently. One of the slides outlined some of the evolving spaces:

Smart Email = Gmail, ODDpost, LaszloMail
Blogging = TypePad, Blogger, Blogware, LJ
Aggregators = Bloglines, NewsGator, Rojo
Photo Sharing = Flickr, Fotolog, Buzznet
Social Networking = LinkedIn, Tribe, MySpace
Moblogging = TextAmerica, Lifeblog
Location based = Dodgeball, Midentity
Content Communities = AlwaysOn,1UP

Popular Telephony

Business 2.0 has an article by Om Malik on the start-up:

New York-based startup Popular Telephony is offering a new VOIP technology that dramatically cuts corporate phone costs while letting workers take their office phones anywhere. Its secret: peer-to-peer software called Peerio that’s built right into handsets.

CEO Dmitry Goroshevsky founded the company three years ago to bring PC economics to the office telephone system. A traditional workplace setup requires a dedicated voice network and a private branch exchange, or PBX, to connect to the outside world and can cost upwards of $1 million. Cisco (CSCO) has been selling an IP PBX, which uses a data network for voice calls. But Popular Telephony eliminates pricey hardware altogether. Using a plain old PC, network administrators assign an extension to each phone. Peerio-enabled handsets — which will be sold through discount retailers and office supply stores — plug directly into a company’s data network, where calls are routed through a gateway and then out. Since Peerio is based on Internet protocol, office workers can use their phones wherever there’s a broadband connection. And though companies pay the usual rates to call conventional landline and cell-phone numbers, ringing up other Peerio and VOIP users won’t cost a dime. A handful of licensees are manufacturing the phones, which Goroshevsky expects to hit U.S. shelves in late 2005.

SBC CEO Interview

WSJ talks to Edward E. Whitacre Jr. about his TV plans, among other things.

5 Reasons to Get TV From Your Phone Company, According to Ed Whitacre

  • REASON 1: Phone companies have a trustworthy reputation.

  • REASON 2: Phone companies already offer TV via partnerships with satellite companies and can’t keep up with demand.

  • REASON 3: Cable companies have a tradition of raising prices every year.

  • REASON 4: SBC would likely offer cable channels a la carte.

  • REASON 5: Consumers who buy all their services from SBC would get a big discount.

  • The future as the SBC CEO sees it: “You can be watching television, probably on a thin screen plasma screen. If you get a phone call, the number displays on the television screen, doesn’t interrupt the picture — and it will tell you who’s calling. If you wish to take [the call] you can take it by pushing a button on your remote. You can sit there and view content off of your computer — maybe it’s family pictures. Or, somebody sent you an e-mail; it will pop up on the screen while you’re watching TV in the left-hand corner. If you are watching a basketball game and you would like to have an overhead view, you’d click a button and you change the camera angle. If you’re interested in what everybody else is watching at that time, or maybe what’s hot on TV, you can push a button and it will tell you who’s watching what across the nation.”

    iPhone Reasons

    David Galbraith outlines 9 reasons for Apple to do “nice, shiny, white iPhone”:

    1. All cellphone OS’s suck.

    2. Most non PDA cellphone hardware design seems to have stayed the same, apart from the addition of a camera lens, for the last 2 years.

    3. Unlike computers, for most people, cellphones are a luxury device where good hardware design is a premium.

    4. Apple proved that people would pay for their software and hardware design value-add, in a luxury market, with the iPod.

    5. Cellphones & MP3 players make sense and may converge, making a hedge against this a good move for the iPod.

    6. The market for cellphone hardware is big but the incumbents are stumbling.

    7. Even buying ringtones on cellphones is a $3 billion market (much bigger than the current music download market).

    8. The form factor of the iPod mini is the same as a phone, and Apple pretty well invented the PDA (but just got the form factor wrong with the Newton).

    9. Apple is particularly good at media apps. Wireless cellular iTunes, iCal and iPhoto would be very nice, thank you.

    TECH TALK: Tomorrow’s World: The Road Ahead

    As we look ahead, it is useful to keep some pointers in mind. Predicting the future is very difficult. I am not talking here about trying to predict what will happen. Instead, I am suggesting that we envision the future and actually go about building it out. There is a big difference between the two approaches. Let me explain.

    Making predictions is what the likes of astrologers do. It is also what analysts in research firms do. They take today’s trends and make forecasts of what is likely to happen in the next few years. They are, however, not active participants in creating that future. Their customers are.

    Entrepreneurs and Innovators work on building the future. They imagine tomorrow’s world. And then, they work backwards to architect events in a certain way that the endgame is the one they have thought about. Not all entrepreneurs and innovators succeed in fact, most fail. I am not talking of naturally embracing failure. I am suggesting that if done right and if the actions are based on a solid understanding of tomorrow’s world, there is a good chance that the entrepreneurs and innovators can succeed.

    What is needed is not just a vision for tomorrow’s world, but also a dynamic set of mental models which can self-correct the path to the future based on events as they happen. Many times, we fixate ourselves on a vision, and get blindsided by developments in other areas. At other times, we assume certain events will occur, and if they don’t happen or get delayed, then our plans go in a tizzy. In the world of today which is seeing silos between industries breaking, it is very important to have a constant feedback mechanism much like an aircraft’s fly-by-wire system. The destination is known, but the objective is also to ensure a smooth ride and not knowingly attempt flying through turbulence!

    In this world, the strategy for entrepreneurs and innovators is two-fold: to build enough competencies within, and also to leverage the strength of others. Just as growing children use the strengths of adults around them to accomplish their tasks until they are big enough to manage on their own, growing companies need to be smart to rely on the ecosystem of companies around them to make the dice fall right for them.

    The stakes are high, and the rewards immense. Every decade sees a few giants emerge in the corporate world. Every new trend disrupts some and creates opportunities for others. In the same way, the road to building tomorrow’s world will also create some big winners. The ones who succeed will be those who combine creation with aggregation, strategy with execution, and technology with tactics. Ready for the ride?

    Next Week: Tomorrows World (continued)

    Continue reading