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I haven’t got a clue (and neither has Sony)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sony announced yesterday that it was pulling out of the PDA marketplace by stopping making the Clie range. There has been much analysis already of this on all the usual suspect sites online.

The good news is that they are managing the process in such a way that existing customers won’t get shafted. They deserve a HUGE amount of kudos for this, I wouldn’t expect that kind of attitude from Palm, Dell or Apple.

Most of the Sony gear that I do like now like their MDR 7506 and 7509 headphones are professional gear that is hard to get hold of, I am saddened that the business isn’t everything that it could be.

Having in the past been involved with Palm and Sony as consultant and a customer I just wanted to share some observations and unanswered questions that had been brewing about their portable devices for a while:

– Why did the Clie range never support the Mac community? Their overly designed devices were ideally targeted at these non conformist computer users. Palm and Handspring supported them, whereas Sony made their product as Mac unfriendly as an iPaq

– Why has Sony bought into to PalmSource and Symbian?

– Why has it taken them so long to get their act together on iPod type devices and services when they were the first people to have a Palm PDA that could play MP3s

– Why is the new Vaio iPod wannabe so ugly and complicated looking?

– Why is there no joined up thinking going on using content to leverage platforms? Do you think that Microsoft would have sat on their hands for this long with the kind of diversity of resources that Sony Corp could knit together?

– Why did they expect people to buy a 600USD device? This is a known dead price point in tech marketing circles, almost the price of a no make laptop and well over double the price of many competitor devices

– Why were Clies so slow to adopt wireless?

– How long are they going to allow Playstation to carry the rest of the business?

– Will SonyEricsson phones benefit from the Clie product design team?

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Big Brother Live on Mobiles

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The UK version of the ‘reality’ TV show Big Brother is being streamed live on to mobile phones. The video is played using a downloadable Java application. The video is available for Symbian mobile phones with a GPRS connection. Endemol were looking to expand broadcasting OTT. It involved a massive amount of video compression too make it work.

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Microsoft’s Microserfs: revolt or just revolting?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last week Microsoft Corp. announced that it was cutting medical benefits, stock discounts and parent leave for employees. The medical benefits cut amounted to a measure to encourage them to use generic drugs rather than prescription drugs in order to the help the company conserve its 50 billion USD cash pile.

The chosen few, are not happy according to results of an internal poll obtained by Reuters.

This follows on from changing the stock options structure, allegedly to improve corporate governance and had the effect of making it less likely that their hard work would be converted into the status of a burnt out millionaire. In addition, Bill Gates has become one of the largest investors in the pharmaceutical sector.

I must admit I don’t feel that sorry for them:

– In the case of the prescription drugs cut, why pay more for a brand that only does the same or is worse than a non-label product? Agreed, oh but wait a moment, that disrespects investments made by companies in intellectual property and building a brand, rather like the arguments that Microsoft employs against the open source LAMP cabal? (LAMP is geek marketer speak for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)

– It shows that Microsoft is becoming a middle aged and mature business. Therefore there is less likely to be a Windows 95 type cancer spreading through technology. The new new thing is likely to happen elsewhere

– Microserfs are likely to be less committed and work less hours, they will no longer feel that they have everything to play for. That means less products launched, products taking a longer time to get to market and less commitment in marketing the products. This provides other companies and start-ups with a better chance of bringing truly innovative products to market, with less chance of suffering a Netscape-like death

– Nothing loosens tongues like dissatisfaction. It is noticeable that that benefits cuts have been brought in after the company made its peace with the US government, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and AOL. However there is still some outstanding court cases like Microsoft v Burst.com, the EU and South Korea that could benefit from some prime time whistle blowing a la Deep Throat’s role in the Watergate Scandal

– It is a bit of a leveller in the Microsoft class structure. Vested staff (full-time employees) were known to lord it over contract employees wearing pin badges with the message “Fuc* You – I’m Vested”. This message kind of rings hollow now. In addition, it lows the still huge challenge facing those workers who would like union recognition. (Microsoft historically has been an anti-union shop, but treated its serfs well)

– Anybody who has seen the blue screen of death, been stymied by a wizard, irritated by a paper clip, or had a corrupt file with two weeks of work in it would be sitting there wondering why the hell Microserfs deserve more than a McDonalds Happy Meal(TM) and sharp kick in the backside. Guys many of your products lack quality, when they’re good they’re cool (Microsoft Word and Excel on the Mac) but the vast majority of time they are like a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands (marketing and candy coloured graphics) used to hide a manure heap. To paraphase Martin Luther – it doesn’t matter what you cover it with a manure heap is still a manure heap

OK before I get pro-Microsoft hate mail, I have enough respect for some of the decent products they’ve made to give the disgruntled Microserfs some words of wisdom:

– Don’t complete another survey on an internal web site, they can trace you from your IP address or other internal network identifiers. They know who you ‘troublemakers’ are. In fact wait until a colleague leaves their PC and do it on theirs instead, now your job is likely to be more secure because guess whose job is more likely to be offshored now? BOGU (a quaint Microsoft phrase that means ‘bend over and grease up’)

– Read Dilbert and Machiavelli’s The Prince diligently to learn how to survive in the Microserf culture

– Get a life, you aren’t going to make dent in the universe, get out meet people, make someone happy and through that hopefully find your own happiness, volunteer at The Samaritans and try to make more of a difference than just screwing over the same poor saps with a new winkle in the licensing agreement

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Blogging & Mesh

Reading Time: 2 minutes

No not some sort of record of a fetish of fishnet tights, but the two main subjects for this entry.

First off, a bit of history. The first film based on a weblog is in the pipeline. Many of you may have read in the news last year about Salam Pax, apparently someone blogging in Baghdad during the last gulf war. The blog despite doubts over its authenticity was turned into a book. Now the film rights of the book have been taken up. Coverage here from the BBC Online.

Friends and journalists who went to Network+InterOp the networking and communications show in Las Vegas have provided some mixed feedback.

– Vendors dwarved the amount of customers at the show. This is being touted as an indication that business customers are not there to buy. I am inclined to think that it is much more of a cultural shift in organisations, when your job could disappear abroad, how can you justify a week long company shopping trip in Las Vegas when you can get the information off the web or by reading journals? Shows have been more of the business culture in the US than in Europe, with the exception of a few events like drupa and CeBIT in Germany

– Lots of people where showing cool technology that will never see the light of day because computer users are in business and the home move at a slower basis than technology advances

– Mesh networks had a higher profile. Mesh is one of them buzzwords that many people have been kicking around for a good while. One way of looking at it is that it allows a number of wireless devices be they a laptop with a wireless card or an airport hub to act as one network. This would allow wireless hotspots to be grown and managed more easily in businesses or in the home. I expect more of a push around this in the next few years, though it would struggle to be used with present technology to distribute high quality video around the home.

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商业 | business | 상업

Update on Fopp Vinyl

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Further to my posting regarding Fopp and its vinyl section. As you can see from the mail below they will still be keeping their LPs, it is only 12″ singles that they are no longer selling.

Hi

just so you know it’s just the 12″ singles that were are losing not the LP’s

Hopefully, you’ll still shop at Fopp.

Cheers

Fopp
1 Earlham Street
Covent Garden
London
WC2H 9LL
T: 020 7379 0883
F: 020 7240 8355
E: earlham.street at fopp.co.uk
W: www.fopp.co.uk

THIS E-MAIL AND ANY ATTACHED FILES ARE CONFIDENTIAL, PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND MAY BE LEGALLY PRIVILEGED. If you are not the intended addressee or have received the e-mail in error,
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—– Original Message —–
From:
To:
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2004 11:01 PM
Subject: store_londoncoventgarden – Posted : 22:01:51 27/03/2004

=================================================
store_londoncoventgarden – Posted : 22:01:51 27/03/2004
=================================================
First Name : Rorsharch
Email address : rorsharch at rorsharch.com
=================================================
Enquiries
=================================================
Enquiry CD :
Enquiry Vinyl :
Enquiry DVD
Enquiry Book :
General Enquiry :
Hi, I was very disappointed to hear today that you will be getting rid of
the vinyl section. You have gone to the trouble of building it up and having
a top quality team to run it alongside a really good selection, not a pile
of crap like many stores. I go to Fopp because I can buy my DVDs, vinyl and
books under one roof. SAVE THE VINYL or I’ll shop elsewhere. Who do I need
to take it up with at your head office?
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