Skype’s Town-Hall Idea

Mercury News writes:

nternet phone-calling software maker Skype has created a way to transform blogs from soapboxes into live, town-hall meetings.

Starting today, people who have installed the free Skype software can host audio conversations, known as Skypecasts, with up to 100 people at a time.

In addition, San Francisco-based Six Apart is offering the millions of people who have blogs through its TypePad service the ability to publicize their Skypecasts on their blogs. A person visiting the blog can click a link to join the Skypecast.

Experts say the Skypecast service, which is free, melds Internet phone-calling with the current social-networking craze, evidenced by the huge popularity of Web sites like MySpace. And because a person needs to download Skype to join a Skypecast, the service could grow the company’s already market-leading 100 million subscribers.

Microsoft’s adCenter

WSJ writes:

The auction services let advertisers bid against each other online to have their ads displayed alongside search results. Each time an Internet user searches for specific keywords, such as “digital camera,” the system displays a related ad for, say, a camera retailer. Advertisers pay if a consumer clicks on the ad, with prices per click averaging around 50 cents.

For Microsoft, adCenter is a critical part of a fundamental shift in strategy as the company tries to combine advertising with its traditional software business. AdCenter is “the next big revenue engine for the company,” says Tarek Najm, general manager of adCenter and Microsoft’s lead engineer on the project.

But it’s also a huge bet that demands a new set of skills that Microsoft is learning on the fly. First among Microsoft’s challenges: winning support among advertisers already devoted to Google’s system.

Is the Web the new Hollywood?

That is a question asked by Dan Farber.

“The audience is taking over the programming,” according to Ted Cohen,senior vice president of Digital Development and Distribution at EMI Music. “A few years ago we looked at litigating it, now we are looking at how to monetize it.”

In the last several months, hundreds of video sites have shown up on the Web. However, the big entertainment companies, who fear loss of control, will need to let go to participate in the new media world, Cohen said. With or without permission, users are playing with the video and other content assetsfrom trailers to full length featuresof entertainment companies.

MuniFi Woes

Om Malik writes:

It was only a couple of days back we heard that there were some problems with the coverage in St. Cloud, Florida. And now comes word that Googles Mountain View Network might need more access points in order to get decent coverage. And that might mean delays from the proposed launch date of June 2006. (Google is being optimistic that it will meet the self-imposed deadline.)

Now the other day I was talking to Dewayne Hendricks who is helping build a county-wide wifi network, (not a town or city wide network) in New Mexico using off the shelf components and white label gear. He is having no problems whatsoever, and well, most of these networks are seeing re-configuration, to put it politely.

Maybe its just me, but maybe it has something to do with network planning and the gear which is resulting in dead spots, and spotty coverage.

Om also has a follow-up on the same topic.

Google and the Enterprise

Nicholas Carr points to an article in CIO and writes:

Worthens right that were moving into a new era of business computing. Modular utility services will eventually displace most of the complex, proprietary systems that companies and their IT vendors have painstakingly and often painfully constructed over the last fifty years. And business computing, as it slowly frees itself from its client-server shackles, will indeed become easier, faster and cheaper. Ive called it the end of corporate computing, meaning that most of the computing assets traditionally owned and maintained by individual corporations will come to be owned and maintained by outside utility suppliers.

But what will Googles role be in the future of business IT? Thats much less clear. Worthens correct to point out that Google, unencumbered by a legacy architecture, has been able to build a utility computing infrastructure thats far more advanced than what any big enterprise IT vendor can at this point offer. Where things become dicey is in figuring out how adaptable that infrastructure – and Google’s business model – will prove to be in supplying the computing needs of businesses.

TECH TALK: Blue Ocean Strategy: Two Large Blue Oceans

Over the past couple years or so, as I have been working towards building a number of companies to create the digital infrastructure for tomorrows world, it has become clear to me that the two biggest opportunities are around providing computing as a utility to the tens of millions of homes and infoworkers who do not have access to a computer, and leveraging the mobile data infrastructure that has been built out in India.

Computers will become network devices providing a bigger screen and keyboard to access a wide range of services from the Internet cloud. What is inside todays desktop computer will move to the server and what is inside a cell phone will power tomorrows network computer. This will be the world of utility computing where computers will adopt the business models of mobiles the devices will cost about Rs 5,000 and come with a monthly service change of Rs 500 for broadband connectivity and services.

The mobile phones of tomorrow will be remote controls for our life. They will come with bigger, better keyboards and displays even though there are practical limitations on both in terms of how big a device we will carry. Networks are becoming faster, too. And the device that was once a replacement for the fixed-line phone will occupy an even greater role in our lives.

Tomorrows world will be a world that will converge at the back-end (server-side) but will diverge at the front-end (multiple devices). While there will be no convergence across these screens, the convergence will happen at the back-end with respect to the data store. We will have different views to the same set of data across these devices. The computer and mobile will thus play a complementary role — the small screens of the mobile offset by the full-sized input/output capabilities of the network computer, and the fixed nature of the computer offset by the portability of the mobile phone. India can be the role model for other emerging markets in creating a digital infrastructure which brings information access to hundreds of millions.

There are many other blue oceans when one looks around in India. Given this new digital infrastructure that will get created, how can one rethink different verticals like retail, healthcare, education. How does one look at marketing when everyone in the world has access to a two-way interactive device which they carry with them? This is where the big opportunities of the future lie.

As an entrepreneur, I have always favoured blue oceans over red oceans. It may be the riskier strategy when one begins because one is going where others arent. I tend to like creating new things. There are times when one may be too early, in which case one fails. But if one can think through the future and have the ability to stick it out, blue oceans are the place to be.

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