Ventureless Capital

Analysis and thoughts on the business behind the tech industry (w/ some Microsoft spin)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What’s beneath the EU Microsoft fine?

I'm very curious to understand what's beneath this whole European Commission Microsoft fine. By that I mean the underlying motives. I've never looked deeply in to this whole European debacle and have 0 context on European government, politics or interests.

The EC/EU must have some alterior motive because all the anti-competitive claims are blatantly bull. Do they just need the money? (ie. the fine is a foregone conclusion no matter how hard MSFT tries) So I Googled for "EU Microsoft behind" to find:

(sidenote: I felt guilty and followed up with Live Search, the results were quite comparable considering my searches ambiguity)

EU ROTA had some good writing and sounds like he/she has some well founded insights, here's an entry relating to MS: EU Elites: So Far Behind You Think You Are Ahead

It has a quote that supports my hypothesis: "Ms. Kroes' office would probably have to be downsized considerably if the original Windows case was rightfully dropped".

The whole anti-competitive socialist nations in economic purgatory seems like an interesting dynamic to understand. Anyone have other editorial sources that are more positive? I like how EU ROTA seems to have good supporting data, but I'm generally clueless on the Europe topic so that's not saying much coming from me. I'll have to do more research and follow up.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

MySpace - Zidane - ASP.NET

The MySpace stats are rocking out the blog world today (I saw it on TechCrunch). I never would've expected it to beat Google and Yahoo in traffic... ever (even if it's just this week).

Hat's off to "my friend" Tom, or whoever that deserves the credit, for building something for the age 12-34 segment that no one else quite gets except for MTV maybe. The rest of us engineers sure can't seem to figure it out and I'm not convinced Zuckerberg gets it either. Hat's off to Murdoch for being a pimp too. Now he just needs to figure out how to partner (maybe even acquire?) Sony Computer Entertainment so News Corp can get some interactive MyStation action in to every household. (You'll find that I'm fascinated with someone making proper use of the Playstation franchise, while leaving uber-engineer Kutaragi in the corner with his dunce cap to figure out how pumping crap through those 8 Cell vector processing units changes the world of media)

Check out Zidane's Adidas marketing MySpace. Everyone at work was talking about head-butting today so I figure I may as well too. Anyways, MySpace brand campaigns like this (along with just about every music artist from pop to indie) validate MySpace's differentation: they don't have to worry about click fraud like those Google guys because MySpace will just create its own happy CPM. Though Yahoo! ought to be scared... their 360 product doesn't seem to get the MySpace phenomenon and Trip Planner is just a verticalized MySpace.

And finally, it was a victory for Microsoft today as well: ASP.NET served this week's most visited US Internet site! Go Bob Muglia and the STB! Who needs proprietary Linux clusters cobbled together by hacker nerds, when you can pay some consultants to setup a some friendly Windows machines. But uh-oh, there sure is a lot of Flash on MySpace.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Schmidt’s Hiding Something on Click Fraud

After reading this post from John Battelle, I think Schmidt is hiding something:

  1. a top secret master plan where Google eradicates clickfraud overnight and changes the world of media yet again
  2. or his track record of being a doofus (validated by ValleyWag of course!)

Let's give Mr. Eric the benefit of the doubt and assume #1 is the case... those sheiste do-gooders just pulled one on us: Google Checkout (formerly known as GBuy)!
Google Ad-Sales Account Manager circa 2007: "Hey guys, if you use GBuy as your payment system then you get cost-per-sale... isn't that what we all wanted! No more clickfraud and the ultimate in pay-for-performance! And it sure beats that CPC stuff those Yahoo dinosaurs are offering."

The events that ensue:

  • eBay waves their fists, why didn't we execute on that! Meg calls up Terry: "so about that merger..."
  • Amazon reminisces about the disaster that was A9 and what "could" have been.
  • Microsoft opens 107 heads for Windows Live Money Collection Center (for the People Ready business), throws a partner conference, and starts blogging. Oh yeah, and Steve throws a chair.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Google failed me (aka Blogger sucks)

Google: my long trusted search engine, my mail client of choice and slowly but surely my IM tool of choice… but alas! Blogger sucks! Being a blogging newbie, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the Google solution.

I did some research in to this whole Trackbacks and Categories thing (great comparison posting here by an Emily Robbins) and why would I possibly want a blog without those features?

So I checked out Wordpress and it’s just better:

  1. It has Trackbacks and Categories
  2. I like the themes better
  3. The WYSIWYG editor actually works
  4. It’s default settings make more sense
  5. It just works (ie… what is publish vs publish-index?… what’s up with backlinks wheres the nice little text box for them?)
  6. It comes with visitor stats… I don’t get redirected to FIVE choices (eg. StatCounter.com)

Thus I’ve just ported over my postings to Wordpress and have decided to maintain two sites for the time being:
http://venturelesscapital.blogspot.com
http://venturelesscapital.wordpress.com

Cross posting is probably a real waste of time, but I’ll consider it an experiment to see which blog gets more traffic. Admittedly, I do prefer the blogspot domain…

Sidenote: Speaking of crappy products acquired by Google: the resounding thud known as Dodgeball. I’ve also heard through the grapevine that Applied Semantics was pretty worthless. Anyone know otherwise?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mac OS X on Playstation 3 might work

This Engadget posting:

Apple logo appears on PlayStation 3 site

... was rather interesting. Well at least until the reality check update explained the mix up.

Regardless, let's entertain the idea of OS X on Playstation 3... Consumers would win at the very least. I've certainly been thinking about getting a Mac Mini to attach to the 42" HDTV. I imagine it's technically feasible.

Food for thought:
  1. What could you charge for an OS X kit for PS3? I vote $249 with a Sony/Apple Front Row remote (dropping to $199 at some point).
  2. Does Sony still eat the full COGS for the PS or does Apple share the burden?
  3. What's the software licensing story? Does Sony get royalties for "PS3 X" software ($20+ a pop or maybe even % of retail)? Will you need to buy two copies of iLife... one for your Macbook and one for your PS3?
  4. What's the hardware/peripheral licensing story?
Good for Sony:
  1. It explains the ludicrously bold statements by Ken and Kaz: "ahh... OS X = 4th dimension!"
  2. It justifies the $499/599 price point (Mac Mini's start at $599)
  3. Big extra points in the "Xbox360 differentiation" category, particularly in the North American and EMEA markets where Xbox most competitive.
  4. Potentially a nice ARPU bump for PS 3 (think iWork + iLife + GarageBand Remix = 3 more royalties per unit)
Bad for Sony:
  1. Furthers iPod/iTunes dominance (Sony should throw in the pride towel, but I bet iPod still leaves a bitter taste with the old school execs back in Japan)
  2. Kills their PS3 music service story (overrated business potential as far as I'm concerned judging by the likes of Napster... so maybe not so bad after all)
Good for Apple:
  1. If they happen to be concerned about Vista, Media Center or Xbox360... it would definitely put a damper on Mr. Bach. Sidenote: according to ZDNet "60% of PCs sold through retail stores now run Media Center OS."
  2. Provides more sockets for their services. Another sidenote: part of Apple's growing Capex looks to be in data centers: is there more than iTunes and "iVideo" in store?
Bad for Apple:
  1. Cannibalize sales of Mac mini and iMac... unclear how much those products contribute to the ~$3.5 billion in overall desktop revenue booked in '05. (iPod was in the $4.5 billion range) Though... OS X on PS3 margins could be significantly higher than a Mac mini.
Looks like OS X on PS3 wins 6 to 3!

Better yet, imagine the potential of a Sony Computer Entertainment/Apple merger... combining the Playstation and iPod brands. PlaystationPods would certainly round out the iPod offering (just slap 12GB of that Samsung NAND memory on a PSP).

How would that work out for the rest of Sony? Not sure, I think I'll have brood on that topic a little more and leave it for a future post.

Oh well. I guess the current rumor is that we'll be seeing Linux + some Sony shell on PS3. Works for me, I like the PSP shell.

Hi

And thus begins my foray into internet self-promotion... I'll start by thanking my sources of inspiration:

1. the corporate cluster f@#$ experience (TM)
2. www.internetoutsider.com
3. the fascinating world of software economics

...which happily map to what I think this blog will be about:
1. the corporate cluster f@#$ experience (TM)
2. quantitative and qualitative business analysis (not technology focused)
3. Tech industry "strategery"

I happen to work at Microsoft. I'd like to call out that theme #1 is by no means unique to my fine employer. And let's say that I don't plan on pulling a "minimsft" as much as I appreciate his fine editorials. (ie. exposing a little too much of the company's internals for my own and the company's good... as noble as his goals are...)

- respice finem

PS... on the title:
"Ventureless" stuck in my head in describing theme #1... appending that with capital just seemed natural... and furthermore captures the romanticized image of billion dollar IPOs that make themes #2 and #3 so broadly interesting.