Inside Xbox 360

[via Robert Scoble] Paul Thurrott interviews (part 1, part 2) Jeff Henshaw, the Executive Producer for Xbox Digital Entertainment at Microsoft . Excerpts:

The first real wave of revolution that we think Xbox 360 is going to bring to gaming worldwide is high definition gaming. You heard this a lot at E3. If you walked out of E3 without hearing high-def, it would be a miracle…Hi-def to us is, partly, about pixels on the screen. Every Xbox 360 game is going to be 720p minimum, high-def resolution, 16 x 9 aspect ratio. It will look great on both high-def and standard-def televisions because we built in enough graphics horsepower that Xbox 360 in real time can scale down high-def images to standard def.

The Xbox 360 will also bring “always-connected entertainment” to people. And by always-connected, I mean no matter what game you’re playing, users will always have access to their friends online through Xbox Live. On Xbox 360, every single game is Xbox Live enabled because the system itself is Xbox Live aware. So even if you’re playing a single player offline game that has no multiplayer functionality at all, you still have the ability to receive invitations to play with your friends. You also still have the ability to bring up your friends list and see who is playing what, and see whether you’d like to join them.

That goes beyond just gaming. If you’re listening to an audio CD, or watching a DVD movie, you’re still always connected to that group of friends. Even if you’re watching live TV through Media Center Extender, you’re still connected to all of your friends.

Mobile Video Learnings quotes Ray De Ronzo, VP Biz Dev, Idetic:

10. Cable TV model does transfer to mobile
9. Live viewing experience trumps video clips
8. Prime time for Mobile TV is not prime timepeaks in our traffic are morning (drive time comut), afternoon and then evening peak.
7. Mobile TV snackers shape the market
6. Wireless networks dont implodejust ask the Pope . But that rule was just broken with the Micahel Jackson trial and this was our highest traffic ever. We were seeing 1800 simulataneous session at a time with this case..
5. Brands attract subscribers but programming drives viewing (Comcast has jut licensed one of the mobile video channels on MobiTV, to transmit it to its terrestrial broadband subscribers..the first such effort Im aware of.)
4. Easy content discovery my phone is my TV remote control
3. Mobile TV not just a 3G service
2. Package, bundle, up-sell, cross-sell
1. Its live TVonly smaller

SAP ASP? wonders:

If SAP does jump into the on-demand CRM market, it will instantly change the balance of power in the industry. Salesforce has grown rapidly in recent years–it reported just more than $176 million in revenue for fiscal 2005–and it has become nearly synonymous with on-demand business applications.

SAP’s official comment is that it continues to evaluate market opportunities but has no plans to introduce new hosted CRM applications anytime soon. At the company’s Sapphire customer conference in Boston in May, Bill McDermott, the chief executive of SAP America, attempted to downplay the need for SAP to launch a new product.

“Hosted is really only relevant in the small-business space, and Salesforce isn’t delivering the same sort of integrated products we already offer,” McDermott said. “The question for Salesforce is, when these newer CRM users they have attracted need more capabilities, will they move to SAP?”

Though SAP already offers its customers the option of having their CRM applications hosted and managed off-site, the company has yet to introduce a ground-up rewrite of its enterprise software applications specifically for hosted use.

Digital Media Future

“Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation” by JD Lasioca is a new book that offers first-person accounts of how the personal media revolution will impact movies, music, computing, television and games.” Here is an excerpt from Darknet: ‘Darknet’ foreword by Howard Rheingold:

It has taken a decade for people to accept the notion that every computer desktop, and now every pocket and camera phone, is a global printing press, broadcast station, and organizing tool. The early years of the World Wide Web marked a historic shift of power from big institutions to individuals, from those who horde information and ideas to those who want to share them.

No wonder the media powers are in a froth about the Internet.

Now the next phase of digital transformation lies before us, one that involves democratized media, peer-to-peer networks, collaborative tools, social software, and the ubiquitous computing of camera phones; mobile devices; and cheap, tiny chips embedded into our stuff. The outcome of this next phase of the disruptive Internet is much less certain, as battles rage over control of the social, economic, and political regimes that these new technologies will make possible.

How we resolve this culture war will have far-reaching consequences for all of us. Five or ten years from now, who will be able to create and share mediaindividuals, or only powerful interests? When hundreds of millions of people walk down the street carrying connected, always-on devices hundreds of times more powerful than todays computers, what will they be allowed to do?

TECH TALK: Disruptions: 10X Change

Disruptions are technological shifts which provide opportunity for newcomers to take on incumbents and perhaps usurp power. It happens all the time. Todays king is not guaranteed to be tomorrows emperor we have seen this in history and politics, and we see it in business also. While at times, corporations themselves hasten their downfall by questionable decisions (in retrospect), at other times entrepreneurial start-ups with some luck rapidly make their way to the top. There is no magic formula for success. But understanding disruptions and key trends can help avoid mistakes that can accelerate failure.

Disruptions are about change 10X change. Here is what Andy Grove has to say about change (Fortune, July 2003):

As a technologist with an interest in business strategy, I have long been intrigued by what happens to industries when a new technology changes the rules of the game, usually by providing an order of magnitude 10X improvement in cost-effectiveness. The history of technology-based industries communications, computing, and health sciences is marked by such transformations.

Whether rooted in technology or not, 10X changes wreak havoc, forcing all the players to adapt. Often the only way they can do so is by transforming their own business models in fundamental ways. Most of the firms that dominated the old order usually disappear, replaced by new players operating in new relationships under new rules.

Classical competition theory doesn’t address situations like this. In fact, it implicitly assumes that the environment in which a company operates is basically a given and limits itself to suggesting ways in which a company can better its lot in this environment. In contrast, 10X changes are usually initiated by one firm whose strategic action changes the environment for all the others. But at the same time, that firm’s strategic action changes its own environment. And the interaction between the firm’s strategic action and the changing environment can yield dramatic outcomes.

I’d like to borrow a concept from physics to describe the difference between two types of strategic actions. If the effect of a company’s strategic action changes only its own competitive position but not the environment, the action is linear. In contrast, a nonlinear strategic action sets off changes in the environment that the company as well as its competitors then have to cope with.

Nonlinear strategic actions would seem to have immense appeal for the ambitious strategist. Not only can they improve the position of the company within the environment, but they hold the promise of shaping the environment so that it is favorable to the company’s new strategy. They are the Holy Grail of strategic actions.

Many gurus like Clay Christensen have discussed the theory of disruptions and how to handle them. While it is good to study disruptions, they can also be tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs. The times we are living in today are filled with disruptions brought on by forces that interplay with each other, creating multiplier effects.

In this series, I will highlight some of the disruptions that we are seeing in the world of technology brought on by concurrent developments across multiple areas. Like in my past articles, my bias will be towards emerging markets like India.

Tomorrow: Access Devices, Networks, Connectivity