Manas Kumar, Thinking out Loud

my thoughts & visions for technology

Archive for the ‘A CEO’s Opinion’ Category

SaaS Wars.Google and Apple ganging up on Adobe

with one comment

Funny enough, I got this image from Google (No cencorship there!!!)

Warning: Some of my regular readers will find this blog post highly controversial and may not be able to relate with it upfront. However, I’m just thinking out loud…

You know how there’s all this hype about SaaS, Cloud Computing and who the ultimate dominant players will be in the marketplace? Well I’m about to expose an uneasy fact about this race for domination between organisations like Google, Adobe, IBM, Microsoft and perhaps even Apple.

First thing to notice is that each of these companies have their own definitions for cloud computing and are not prepared to accept a unified definition of what the heck is this thing called Cloud Computing.

Eric Schmidt from Google said “Cloud computing is exchange of data over a std. TCP/IP connection delivered (perhaps) via an HTML 5 application” – notice the reference to HTML 5 – hold that in your mind for a moment.

Now Adobe has, in the last 2 years developed a bunch of online apps that compete with Google in the area of document publishing (BuzzWord, Presentations and Spreadsheets), File Management etc. Adobe’s trump card is Flash – 98% penetration rate and on top of that- instant browser compatibility – it truly is a trump card for Adobe. Add to it the fact that some of the technologies Adobe is delivering through its Acrobat platform are built using special plugins for Flash that Adobe is (openly) refusing to make available as part of the std Flash SDK. For example the plugin Adobe uses to provide screen sharing inside Connect using Flash. Google it… Then there’s Adobe’s ability to produce apps that look “good” – this all adds up to one significant and unfair advantage.

Now obviously players like Google dont like this idea so out comes the hoo-haa about Flash being inappropriate for delivering rich user experience because “someone” wants to push the alternative – HTML 5. Google, as smart as they are, are a bunch of geeks – they produce highly functional stuff but poor in design and UI appeal. In short – very vanilla.

Alongside this you have Apple refusing to support Flash in any of its market leading products like the iPad/Pod/Phone – however, Apple is happy to support HTML 5. Both Apple and Google want to push Microsoft into the corner – that’s easy enough though…

Now guess which 2 companies are leading the charge with finalising the specifications for HTML 5 – Google and Apple. Are you smelling the burnt offering yet?

Recently Adobe announced that in its next release of the Flash Builder they will provide a way for Flash AS3/4 code to be re-bundled as Objective C code for fast and easy deployment on Apple products.

Apple comes out last week with an announcement stating that on the iPad and iPhone 4.0x only apps built using the X-Code/native Objective C constructs will be allowed on appstores for instant deployment – check it out – this is an all out effort to keep Adobe out of this race for SaaS domination.

Now in the middle of all this Microsoft, in the corner has been pushing its Silverlight platform – which is now supported out-of-the-box in Windows 7 and Vista updates. Personally, I think Microsoft has yet again shot itself on the foot – I know ways that we have been brainstorming about in the area of “how to use Silverlight to compete against Microsoft products online”.

And then there’s Microsoft’s Office online that was due for release in APAC around March, 2010. In this suite of apps there’s an evil product called Outlook.

Ask Michelle from Email on Acid and she’ll tell you how simple HTML emails render inside Microsoft’s Outlook 2007 and 2010 – It’s shocking to say the least. While everyone else has advanced their HTML rendering engines (well done Gmail), it seems like MS is going backwards. Care to comment on this anyone?

Another ironic fact. Have you also noticed: for you to be able to watch an Apple video, you need Quicktime; for watching a microsoft video you need Silverlight or the Windows Media Player plugin. YouTube is already capable of serving videos without Flash using HTML 5. So to continue Adobe’s mandate to maintain Flash player as the standard for delivering video content, Flash 9 announced support for MP4 files with .H264 codec support – So its almost like every time the world is throwing lemons at Adobe, its turning them into lemonade – Good on you guys… I can sooooooo identify with Adobe right now.

So what’s the sum total of all this argument – Google is evil? Apple is arrogant? Microsoft is foolish? (thats proven beyond reasonable doubt), Adobe is being victimised? Perhaps all of the above but the fact of the matter is that anyone who considers themselves even a small player in the SaaS arena (that includes mid-sized guys like us) has a lot to consider/think about in terms of

  • Delivery
  • Design
  • Dependencies

From what I understand, HTML 5 will not be 100% supported and the final documentation not finalised until 2017 (yes thats millions of years away…); but the fact that Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 8 (I struggled to believe it) already support HTML 5 in some capacity – so the battle is at the doorsteps. But it’s all good though, I just hope that Adobe continues to produce lemonade and we’ll see how far these big boys go to chuck lemons at Adobe.

I still believe Adobe has unfair advantage when it comes to design, delivery and dependencies in the online apps arena…

As always, I welcome your comments.

Wisdom of the crowd – democracy of social networks

with 8 comments

Google Rocks!

I know the title of this post is a mouthful, but I was struggling to actually come up with a title that justly headlines the content of this post. I need to warn you that this is by far the most technical post I’ve ever made on my blog. I must admit, I have my reservations about this particular post. I don’t expect this to be the bumper hit like my Tips for Social Networking post last month that attracted 17,000 views within 3 hours of posting. Anyway, it’s worth a try – don’t you reckon?

Well! This post is about introducing you to a mathematical beauty that has been known to science pretty much since the days of binary. I’ll spare you the jargonificaiton – what I’m trying to get at is the mathematical explaination behind the growth of companies like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn.

It’s called the Viral Expansion Loop, something I remember studying in my Math majoring days but only recently the concept was reignited by a business contact Dave Wild, from Smith & Wild who passed me a couple of articles on Forbes and Fast Company. Dave, this post is because of you – You’ve reignited my passion in this area even though it has been inside my head all this while, albeit dormant.

Now the Viral Expansion Loop (VEL) is not the same as Viral Marketing – quite different actually, both in concept and delivery. Viral Expantion Loop is what explains how a variant of the flu virus turns from an “interesting mutation” to an epidemic and then progresses along to become a pandemic. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media for businesses: top 10 tips

with one comment

Social media, as I have mentioned in many of my previous posts, is no longer something reserved for the teen space. Over the past 18 months, social media has grown into a phenomenon that will either have a positive or negetive impact on your business (depending on how you use it).

To understand social media, you need to first understand the transition of the world wide web. You have probably heard the term “Web 2.0” – well in reality does it mean that the internet is in it’s second version? Not quite.

It’s more like the internet has moved onto it’s next level of influence.

You see, all this while the internet has been known to be the information super-highway. You type in a question in Google and out comes the answer. Very two dimensional, very mechanical not to mention how it can be manipulated for personal gain.

Enter Web 2.0 – Now you type a question, when you find the answer, you share it with your friends – your social community. The more answers are shared, the more powerful the community. Web 2.0 has not just given birth to a new era in social interaction, but it has also opened opportunities for taking the web to one level further. Read the rest of this entry »

The imminent death of the OS

with one comment

Got this from Google, like always.

Got this from Google, like always.

The operating system as we know it is coming closer to extinction.

There was a time in computing when the operating system governed what and how you can use software on a PC or Mac. Microsoft for one has made it’s billions by selling the Windows Operating System, and by producing good quality software (Like MS Word) it made sure the revenue streams remained open for generations to come as it kept improving (or sometimes degrading, e.g. Vista) its operating system.

If you want something like Outlook, you have to use the Windows OS, if you want something like Keynote, you have to be on a Mac and so on. Software, for the last 2 decades has depended on the OS to be accessible by the end users. Read the rest of this entry »

7 mistakes to avoid on Twitter

with 7 comments

Found this one on Google. Nice eh?

Found this one on Google. Nice eh?

It seems like all of a sudden, everyone is talking about Twitter.

For businesses that find out about Twitter from a news story or an article in your favourite business magazine, there’s almost a sense of urgency about getting onto Twitter and using it for growing your business.

How many of you know that if you find out about the latest technology through the news, then it’s already too late – everyone has already caught onto it and the “ship has left the harbour”.

Never mind. Let’s talk about Twitter. While many businesses I know are on Twitter, but only a handful are doing it right. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by manaskumar

July 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

How much of your business is in the cloud?

with 2 comments

Cloud Computing Information Super Highway

Cloud Computing Information Super Highway

Hello readers…what a month this has been. I must admit, this month has actually been busier than any other “June” in the last 7 years of my business history. I guess it’s a good thing – I’m not complaining… Anyway, but before I shoot off on a tangent, let me bring your focus onto something that you as a business need to be thinking about going forward.

I am certain that most of you (one of my 8,000 odd readers) would have come across the term “Cloud Computing” – well if you havent then here you go – Cloud Computing.

Here’s how our corporate website defines it

http://www.genesisweb.co.nz/genesis+interactive/content/What+is+cloud+computing/58

Here’s how I personally define it – The central nervous system of the operating system of 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

The Internet is about to CHANGE in a big way

with 4 comments

This article will surely raise some questions for you. But no matter what, please remain calm

This article will surely raise some questions for you. But no matter what, please remain calm

To innovate or not to innovate?

The other day while driving back from a meeting across the shore, I had one of those “flashes”. I happen to get these flashes quite often and it is these that are responsible for some of the most innovative “stuff” we have come up with at Genesis Interactive.

This blog post is not about all the past flashes so I’ll get straight into it now.

The flash: We have this plethora of online “channels” around us; social networking sites, blogging platforms, microblogging platforms, email systems, online softwrae, webpages etc. It seems like we have reached a point in history where innovation exhaustion is inevitable. Here’s what I mean. If you are someone like me, you will have a massive online footprint. Google yourself and you will quickly find out what the “online world” knows about you, your past, your present and God knows what else.

Who is going to consolidate all this informaiton, all this data? How is this going to be done? When?

You have one login for Google services, another for Acrobat; then comes the multiple logins for social media sites, twitter, facebook, myspace, bebo, LinkedIn and so on…Keeping all these logins the same is a major risk making you vulnerable to identity thefts – guess or crack one login and you’ve got access to virtually the life of a person.

Notice I mention these social media platforms in lower cases – signifying that there is nothing “unique” about these names to be considered a Proper Noun. Read the rest of this entry »