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TECH TALK: Tomorrow’s World: Happenings

November 29th, 2004 · No Comments

There is a lot happening in the world of technology. Even as we think about how we can leverage these changes, let us take at some of the unfolding events first globally, then in India.

Om Malik wrote, in a new column entitled Coverge Sense for Business 2.0:

Though a slow starter, a new era of convergence is upon us, and it is the driving force of change and growth for the entire electronics industry. We’re no longer talking about the PC vs. TV debate, mind you. Think about this: Always-on Internet connections of both the wired and the wireless kind have become commonplace even in the farthest corners of the world. At the same time, Internet speeds are inexorably increasing, in some places topping 50 megabits per second, enough to download programming from three television channels simultaneously. The upshot: Cable companies want to sell voice and wireless services along with their current products, video and data. Phone companies want to add video streams to their package of offerings.

And if that is not enough confluence for you, we’re seeing the continued digitization of media. Folks are buying new music by virtual truckloads from Apple’s iTunes store, while companies like Vodafone are offering television streams on their 3G cell-phone networks. TiVo has entered the popular vernacular, if not the annals of profitability, as it streams cable programming and, soon, Internet programming throughout the home. Radio is leaving its terrestrial roots and is being replaced by signals from the big birds in the sky. Video-on-demand, long an expense item for adventurous cable chief executives, is now as commonplace as a cable set-top box. Microsoft and Intel, two big proponents of personal computers, are betting the farm on the digitization trend.

David Kirkpatrick of Fortune wrote about the challenges faced by the big companies in an article entitled Technology in Turmoil:

It’s no secret that Microsoft is struggling to justify its business model in the face of an open-source onslaught. The newly released open source Firefox shows continued signs of taking market share from Microsoft in the critical browser businesspotentially the software giant’s most valuable chokepoint.

Intel, the other duopoly partner at the top of the industry, also seems suddenly weakened. While some recent articles overstate the scale of threat that AMD poses to Intel, that danger is real nonetheless.

Look at Sunit wasn’t long ago that everyone assumed the company was toast. Now nobody seems sure either way. What does it mean that Sun is making its crown jewel, the Solaris operating system, open source?..Now with Solaris, they can get the same thing with an industrial-strength operating system. And Sun, which was a proprietary hardware company only yesterday it seems, is now one of AMD’s most important allies.

Then over in the enterprise software business, dogged little Salesforce.com continues to define an entirely new approach to using technologyso customers can merely think of what they’re getting as functionality. Who cares if it’s called software or not?

Let’s not leave out servicesThe new globalized business model poses gigantic threats to incumbent services players, particularly those that aren’t sufficiently diversified, like Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young, EDS, and Accenture. As Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani asks, how will these players compete in a world where their customers have the option of vastly lower prices for comparable services from Indian companies? How quickly can they shift their own employee base to the lower-cost model?

Tomorrow: Happenings (continued)


TECH TALK Tomorrow’s World+T

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