Manas Kumar, Thinking out Loud

my thoughts & visions for technology

Archive for the ‘Web Based Applications’ Category

SaaS Wars.Google and Apple ganging up on Adobe

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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.


How much of your business is in the cloud?

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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

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

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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 »

What’s for lunch today?

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Eating Lunch

I don't know these people. They too, probably spend $4k/yr on lunch and coffee.

This morning I took the liberty of doing a little research along the 50meter or so walk from where I park to the office. In this short distance there are a number of cafés and as I ordered my coffee, I ask the Barista how many coffees a day would her regulars have? “2 – 3” was the reply. After finishing my coffee I decided to ask the same question in a few other cafés along my walk, I also asked how much they would spend on food. I even plucked up the courage to ask the same question of a few professional looking people walking up the street with coffee in hand. I don’t think I have to tell you the type of, ‘are you a freak,’ looks that I got as a result.

Hardly scientific I know but enough for my purpose. Here’s what I discovered with my little survey;

On average inner city workers will purchase 2 coffees per day and spend approximately $10 on food. Now let’s do some maths. When you minus leave and public holidays we work around 46 weeks per year or approximately 230 days. A flat white coffee costs around $3.80 per cup, times that by two and that’s $7.60 per day. Wow! That’s $1,748 a year on ‘coffee!’ Add to that the $2,300 we spend on something to eat and you have a total of… $4,048 dollars.

That’s $4k per year that’s going in the top end, dropping out the bottom-line and providing no investment value in the middle. In accounting terms I believe that’s called a deficit. Read the rest of this entry »

The DIE in DYI of Online Business

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I got this from Google - So no credits to me.

I got this from Google - So no credits to me.

Here in New Zealand we are world renowned for our innovation and DYI number 8 wire resourcefulness. On one hand it has helped us to become world leaders in many areas as we are forced to think outside the box and often without the investment capital available to us that say our American counterparts may have.

On the other hand it hamstrings us because it is a point of pride within our culture. No where is this more prevalent than in business. If there is one thing that most business people I know are guilty of it’s inventing processes, forms and especially excel spreadsheets. God… So many excels. Another area is our own bloody mindedness to create our own websites simply because Office or Publisher came pre-loaded on your PC and well you just couldn’t see the value of investing in a website when you could Do-It-Yourself.

So let me ask you… How much revenue have you potentially lost from online business because you did it yourself? You see I can almost guarantee that you know very little about search engine optimization, code structure, content structure or navigation principles. I’d be surprised if your website is customer focused and whether you even know how many visitors you have actually had at your website if any at all.

Now I’m sorry to bruise you like that but I see it all the time and my first thought is always, that in trying to save money their efforts have cost them money in lost potential earnings.

You see doing business online is simple but it’s not easy… and it’s not getting any easier to keep up with what’s happening with online technology.

This is perhaps the one very good reason for you to stop DYI’ing it online and get profession help when it comes to creating your online presence. As web 2.0 technologies become more available and affordable to business you may find yourself in the position where your self reliance is costing you your very business and livelihood.

Those who recognise that professional help is an investment in their business and that online technologies can in fact help your business to grow, be more product and give you a competitive edge will begin to emerge… but they won’t be John or Jill your local competitors, they’ll be Stephen and Saline from half way around the world.

On the local front will be the competitor who has taken on automated tools to empower his sales force like CRM and sales force automation tools which enable his team to make deals faster and more cost effectively. Deal with client interactions more efficiently and build real high value customer relationships.

In this environment that’s what it’s all about… The reality is the investment in these tools is a cost saving formula for many businesses. And if you treat the online environment as a division of your business with the same care that you’d take with a physical branch then you’ll be building something positive.

So the next time you feel the inclination to DYI it in your business stop and honestly ask yourself the question… Is the money I save going to cost me?

Written by manaskumar

March 18, 2009 at 5:05 am

Visitor to Customer – The Magic of Human Interaction

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6 billion people, over 8 billion web pages – Now what are you doing to differentiate your online presence from the rest of the crowd?

No matter how fancy or techy your website looks, ultimately it’s being used by humans. And humans relate better to humans that they ever will to “behind the scenes” technology (no matter how cool you make it).

In one of my previous articles warning business owners of the danger of ignoring the importance of the Human Element, I talked about how the Human Element is what makes a company’s online presence “real”.

You see the web is a very 2-dimensional space and when you have a product or service offering that competes in a “red ocean” market, you need every bit of personality to help you differentiate – afterall, who you are makes a big difference when it comes to people buying your products or services. Read the rest of this entry »

LiveClicks: Exposing the short comings of Google Analytics

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If I was to tell you that the most advanced, feature rich, and reputed website analytics program in the world has a serious flaw in it; would you believe me?

Well, its a big challenge to point the finger at someone as big and mighty as Google but to tell you the truth, I believe Google already knows about this flaw and has chosen to ignore it to avoid any disruption in profits from their cash cow – Google AdWords. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by manaskumar

October 17, 2008 at 4:26 pm