Software 2006

Dan Farber writes about the conference:

M.R. Rangaswami started off Software 2006 outlining three major themes for the event at the Santa Clara Convention Center. He said the industry is undergoing a “quiet but dramatic revolution,” driven by SaaS, open source and SOA architecture.

Rangaswami was followed by Ray Lane, the former Oracle executive and now Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Company venture capitalist, who gave his annual state of the enterprise software address. “The old days are not coming back, and it will never be the samethe landscape is shifting,” Lane said. Business models that include spending 50 to 60 percent of revenue on sales and marketing or 25 percent on research and development to compete with bigger players are over, he said. Suppliers are no longer in control, and buyers are not happy with the products, services and relationships they have with the software providers.

Online Traffic Trends

Washington Post writes:

While growth is slowing at most top Internet sites, it is skyrocketing at sites focused on social networking, blogging and local information.

Top-ranked sites growing the most, ComScore’s data showed, were, a personal publishing site;, where young people do virtual preening and share musical tastes; Wikipedia, an open reference site jointly edited by millions of people; and Citysearch, a network of local guides focused on cities.

The traffic analysis shows the Internet is still a space where new brands such as MySpace can suddenly break into the upper ranks, where older brands such as Citysearch can revive themselves after languishing for years, and where established outfits such as Google often wind up as beneficiaries because they buy or copy services pioneered by upstarts.

Mobile and Computer

Russell Buckley writes:

My vision is that our mobiles are going to morph into something like our digital, thin client, key to our digital data, as well as a communication device. Sometimes we’ll access that data directly, as its stored on our phones – much as we might keep games on there today. And some will be stored on the web, so we’ll use our phones as a way of accessing and unlocking this data.

And yes, sometimes, we’ll need to see that data on a larger screen and use more sophisticated tools to manipulate it – a keyboard and mouse and whatever comes next in that line. But rather than go to a computer, we’ll slot our mobiles into a docking port in a keyboard/screen combo.

Credit Cards and Virtual Worlds

MAKE: Blog writes:

t’s not a matter of if, just when – credit card companies, Pay Pal, Amazon, eBay and the individual “gaming” companies eventually bridge the real and virtual currencies with loyalty programs and private label credit cards – there’s too much money out there to -not- to do this. This “demographic” is the battleground. The more you spend, the more you earn, sorta. Virtual $ isn’t a crappy electronics doo-dad, it’s just a number in a computer. Maybe you’ll get some discounted airline tickets when you hit level 60 too, you deserve it! Earn your way to a new graphics card, why not.

With tens of thousands (and eventually millions) of “in world Makers” selling their virtual goods, routing the real money to and from a closely integrated bank / credit program seems to make sense. The virtual marketplace has happened, it just hasn’t been installed everywhere yet. Maybe this will help a new generation of credit card owners manage their credit, it’s hard to go $20k in debt in WoW, a lot easier in the real world…

Microsoft’s UMPC

Knowledge@Wharton analyses the ultra-mobile personal computer:

t may still be early in the UMPC’s evolution. Research firm Gartner notes that the UMPC may not reach its potential for another two years — when battery life improves and prices come down to $400 from the $599 to $999 estimated sales price today.

No matter how the UMPC fares, it could turn out to be a worthwhile experiment for Microsoft, which can afford to tackle new markets with the UMPC and Xbox 360 video game console because it had $34.7 billion in cash and short-term investments as of December 31, 2005. “In some ways it’s not atypical of Microsoft to invest a lot in a technology that may not deliver an immediate return,” says Whitehouse. “It has been pouring resources into the Xbox for quite a while.”

Microsoft’s UMPC effort may not need to be a short-term financial success to be a long-term winner, adds Raju. “To propagate its software, Microsoft has to have some control over hardware. Eventually there will be one portable device that is more user friendly than a cell phone masquerading as a computer.”

TECH TALK: Let’s Build a Business: 5. Project Gutenberg for India

The last idea (for now) has significant social implications along with the commercial ones. It is the equivalent of Project Gutenberg for India making ebooks out of Indias rich library of writings through the centuries.

So, what is Project Gutenberg? From the website: Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today. Currently, there are 17,000 ebooks available for free on the website, with 2 million copies downloaded each month. The book collection is done entirely by volunteers. In this case, I am willing to make a seed investment to get this started.

Here is some history about Project Gutenberg:

In 1971, Michael Hart was given $100,000,000 worth of computer time on a mainframe of the era. Trying to figure out how to put these very expensive hours to good use, he envisaged a time when there would be millions of connected computers, and typed in the Declaration of Independence (all in upper case–there was no lower case available!). His idea was that everybody who had access to a computer could have a copy of the text. Now, 31 years later, his copy of the Declaration of Independence (with lower-case added!) is still available to everyone on the Internet.

During the 70s, he added some more classic American texts, and through the 80s worked on the Bible and the collected works of Shakespeare. That edition of Shakespeare was never released, due to copyright law changes, but others followed.

Starting in 1991, Project Gutenberg began to take its current form, with many different texts and defined targets. The target for 1991 was one book a month. 1992’s target was two books a month. This target doubled every year through 1996, when it hit 32 books a month.

Today, we have a target of 500 books a month.

India has a very rich literary culture across many centuries and languages. It would be nice to put it all together into a digital archive for future generations. In fact, given the availability of computers and mobiles, the day is not far off when books can be released simultaneously across multiple digital media along with the print copies. Google Books is working with publishers worldwide to bring their texts online. We need something similar for India.

Interested in leading or being part of this venture? Email me at or fill out this feedback form with a brief profile of yourself, your thoughts on the ideas presented, and your thinking about the role that you’d like to play in the venture.

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