Monthly Archives: November 2010

Google to add asset to move into location based apps?

Rumor this morning that Google will purchase Groupon. For a small fee of $2.5b…hey maybe they could sue SAP as well and recoup half that money!  Groupon allows users to find local deals, coupons and share with your social network. It also leans on mobility as it allows you to download coupons and use your mobile device as the de facto coupon, wonder if this move away from clipping coupons has impacted the scissor industry. It would be a powerful asset for Google and could be tied into assets already leveraged by Google, primarily their powerful Google maps. Or could this also push Google more into the location based application world of Place, Foursquare and Gowalla?

Clearly Facebook has lost a lot of momentum with Places, they seem to now know what to do with the supposed Foursquare killer, maybe Google has seen an opportunity to dive into the space. I could see Google turning around and also acquiring Foursquare or Gowalla and rolling it into a Groupon offering. When you check in via Foursquare, Google could then push coupons from Groupon…Foursquare already does this when there is a “deal” close to where you check in, but it could be that much more powerful with the Groupon offerings. Interesting rumor to say the least.

Another salvo in the Facebook v Google battle?

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Filed under Location Based Applications, Social media

Happy Thanksgiving!

For all of my readers that are in the United States enjoy the holiday and be thankful for all we have. No doubt there are some difficulties we all endure individually and collectively, but we still have much to be thankful for. For all of you that are not enjoying the days off…get back to work….but be thankful as well!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Oracle has something to be thankful about…to the tune of $1.3b

Yes that is $1.3 BILLION that the German software maker will have to pay to Oracle in damages for a scheme to steal customer support and software from Oracle so that SAP could lull those customers over to their solutions. Ouch. SAP’s after tax profit last year was $2billion…wow. This will have some serious repercussions in the software and business world. I would not be surprised if you will hear of more law suits against SAP – similar to the one filed and won by i2 Technologies a few years back.

These law suits are too common in the software world, however they have always been difficult to prove and even more difficult to assess damages – how can you really place a monetary figure on supposed lost sales or clients? And how can you really prove a line of code was stolen? Yet this finding marks a signal that the courts are becoming more savvy in presiding and passing judgment over these matters. The impact of the this announcement will be felt throughout the industry and business:

  • SAP will be seriously hamstrung to go out and acquire other players in the space to bolster their business. The major dent in their cash as well as market value could make them an enticing acquisition target themselves – Microsoft anyone?
  • Oracle will be bolstered by this and they might go out and look for new targets to acquire. Not that they were in need of cash, but getting a nice check for $1.3 billion can make shopping during the holiday season much easier! Could they go out and target a firm like JDA – small fish I realize. Or maybe one of the system integrators out of India…What about Infor?
  • New lawsuits, couple this verdict plus SAP’s willingness to pay off i2 in that lawsuit and I am sure you have every vendor that did business with SAP calling up their legal departments to determine if they can get shot at the giant. SAP’s ecosystem is far and wide so I would not be surprised to hear of many more small and large lawsuits being filed.

Part of me also wonders if SAP knew this might happen, reason why I have been seeing what appears to be a major uptick in television ads from SAP. A preemptive marketing campaign to remind us all how wonderful they are and how many of the things we enjoy “rely” on SAP software.

I am sure that Larry is going to have a very happy Thanksgiving, I wonder if this means he will purchase a new yacht to race in the America’s Cup regatta?

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Filed under Current Events, Technology

You thought you had privacy issues with the TSA…beware of you gaming system’s snooping!

I realize this is the craziest week in the United States when it comes to traveling, one of the reasons I am thankful I hardly have to go further than 45 minutes by car…even that can be stressful at times! Of course couple this with the new TSA regulations for security screening that some are criticizing violate our privacy and civil rights and you have a recipe for a “lovely” travel season, once again I am thankful I will not be participating in this carnival.

Of course what I find interesting is there is an uproar over security actions that are necessary to protect our safety, I realize there have been some cases that are reprehensible, embarrassing and unnecessary, but if we are really up in arms about this violation of civil liberties what about the new XBox Kinect. The Kinect is the answer from Microsoft to go after the Wii market, the gaming market where simple controllers are too pedestrian and instead the way you move your arms, legs, body, head and other body parts will be translated onto the gaming screen.

Looks cool, doesn’t it! And it appears to be the new hot gaming accessory coming to the market, look out Wii! What is more interesting/frightening is the fact that the cameras that are leveraged to see what you are doing and translate those actions into the video game…can also see who is in the room, what they are wearing and what they are watching.  Ummm talk about big brother! I realize from a marketing point of view it is gold, I can run an ad on the television and actually track whether or not your watch…wow. I can use placement ads in your favorite show and see if your eyes go to that spot? Awesome. I can figure out if you live in Boston but are a Steeler fan? Great. I know whether or not you drink Coke or Pepsi? As I have stated before, there is a heated battle over the control of the television, it remains the center of our entertainment universe. The ability to bring “seeing” devices into that space would be a gold mine for marketers, but also touches a dangerous zone of privacy.

Do we really want to grant corporations and marketers such unfettered access into our homes via this game console? I realize that everything we do – surf the web, purchase goods and services, stores we walk into etc etc – is being tracked at some level and many times bundled and sold to entities interested in selling us products and services. However the visual and audio sanctity of our homes remains something that, until now, has been safe from this tracking. Seems to me that this too is under threat.

Is this good or bad? Or should we just accept that privacy is dead and move on!

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Filed under Marketing, Technology

A watched pot never boils – perception of time – Friday Funnies

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Facebook’s email – not about sending mail but about war with Google

The last round between internet giants Google and Facebook is about to be waged over email. I do not mean Zuckerberg sending flaming emails to Sergey and Larry, rather a new email service provide to the public from Facebook. Now you might say, well Facebook already allows you to send email and IM … yes but only to others on Facebook. While that would appear to be enough, since everyone and their mother is now on Facebook, there remains some who are not and therefore you could not email them.

So Facebook is looking to bring a free email service that would pull from its vast repository of social information to bring you a better emailing service. Google has already done some tweaking to Gmail but allowing your messages to be prioritized based on frequency you receive from the sender and other variables. Facebook wants to take this one step further but leveraging the relationships you have on Facebook and determining which emails are really important to you. All very interesting.

However let us not get distracted by this latest round…it is not about providing users with another free email service (Yahoo and Hotmail still lead in free email). It is all about another point of contact with users to gather data and information to better market to and sell to this same audience. Both Google and Facebook realize that the name of the game is gathering and organizing data, all kinds of it. Google has done so via search, Facebook doing it via personal networking. One might argue that Facebook’s data might be more valuable, since those advertisers, services, businesses, agencies and the list goes on all want to market to the individual whether it is to buy toothpaste, life insurance, real estate, consulting services, a tractor or a local eatery. By adding email, Facebook is looking to pull in another sliver of information about what we do and who we are.

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google should not simply look at how many new users the Facebook email service will gain, but realize that the 3rd biggest internet company is continuing to build its information empire. That is the real story behind being able to add another email handle to your profile.

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Filed under Social media, Technology

Second life…on life support?

Ah Second Life, I remember a few years back when it was all the rage. We were all going to create our own avatars, walk around a cyber world and interact with other avatars. Along the way we could purchase goods and services, explore the edges of the cyber world and allow ourselves to be lost in a land of make believe. Okay so this never really took off…Second Life does have a following but less than a million…a far cry from what Facebook or Twitter can boast. So has Second Life been relegated to 2nd tier or even 3rd tier status in the land of social media? In one word: Yes…for now.

Let’s think about this for a moment, the whole premise of Second Life was to take social media and combine it with a Simcity style format. On the surface this appeared to make sense, take a fast growing technology/trend that is social media and combine it with  very successful game – Simcity – and voila you have a powerful combination interface for the mass audience. Unfortunately what was seen as a strength became their weakness.

The intrigue of Second Life was that it was whatever you wanted it to be…your a 45 year old accountant, be a 16 year old surfer in Second Life….you get the picture. Want to walk around, buy land, go to stores, meet people…go ahead. But there was never an end game, never a define purpose for what your avatar was looking to achieve.  You could do a lot of things…but also do nothing.

Similar sim like games, from Zynga -FarmVille and Mafia Wars – are all wildly popular. Why? To me it because they all give users a purpose, while that purpose and goal  might appear silly to some it is entertaining and addictive to many others.  To the point where real money is being spent and real sums of money are being made –  I have heard that the virtual game economy will be in the billions of dollars, that is not chump change. So what does this mean for sites like Second Life? I think there remains a future for the platform, but it needs to focus on what makes it attractive to potential clients. Could they have areas where you can play FarmVille? Or maybe they can find ways to partner with video game makers to integrate Madden 12 into SecondLife – avatars could come watch a game being played on line through XBoxes and PS3s. Maybe Second Life and the Wii partner so that when you are doing the Wii work out it places you in a virtual class in Second Life with a real trainer…cannot go to a class at the gym join one on Second Life via your Wii. Get focused on how to attract and retain your customers, being anything and everything to everyone is not an easy way to profitability.

Second Life is not dead, not challenging Twitter or Facebook for Social Media icon any time soon, but there maybe life left in Second Life.

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Filed under Social media, Virtual Worlds