Monday, November 30, 2009

Droid sales start strong

Industry analysts are reporting that Verizon Wireless and Motorola have likely sold between 700,000 and 800,000 Droids since the device was launched in early November. In his research note, equity analyst Mark Sue (RBC Capital Markets), says that sales of "1 million Motorola Droids [is] achievable for 4Q09." This would be a tremendous milestone, not only for Motorola and Verizon Wireless, but even more so for Google, whose operating system underpins the Droid.

Motorola Droid, (Credit: Motorola) Whatever new ground the iPhone has broken, its position of market dominance is about to be overwhelmed by this device. AT&T simply does not have the market coverage that Verizon Wireless has. And while the Droid isn't quite as good as the iPhone, history has shown that consumers will gladly sacrifice elegance for cost and utility. This is the same story as Mac versus the PC that played out in the 1990's. The old Mac operating system was vastly superior to the DOS-based PC, and later to the early Windows machines. But at less than half the price, the market clearly voted in favor of Microsoft and has only taken brief glances back.

Again, the iPhone is a better device. But in the end, that simply will not matter.

Source: Big marketing budget drives Moto Droid sales
by Marguerite Reardon, Senior Writer, CNET

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cautious Optimism

Goldman Sachs has released its 2009 IT Spending Survey and results indicate that technology spending will recover modestly in 2010. This is in line with growth projections for the economy-at-large. David Rosenberg, of CNet News highlights a few key points from the report:
  • With recessionary buying cycle clearly through the trough, the remaining question centers on the pace of recovery for 2010.
  • Infrastructure, application development, and systems integration remain top spending areas, especially as CIOs start to consider newer technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing.
  • There is pent-up demand in hardware most notable, positive for storage and server/PC refresh.
  • The appetite for offshore services appears to be below trend at current levels.
  • HP, NetApp, CommVault, Red Hat, Riverbed, and are notable names showing positive upward momentum in our latest survey.
To me, there's nothing earth-shattering in this news. Political conditions in the USA being what they are, firms will not make major investments in technology, staffing, or infrastructure until this administration has been reined in. Mostly what we see in the above list are fairly basic, "cost-of-doing-business" type stuff. PCs and servers will need to be replaced. And as high-performance servers and storage units continue to drop in price, decision makers will see those investments as part of their cost-saving strategies.

Notice that there is nothing for Professional Services firms to get overly excited about. 2010 may be another challenging year for consultants, who must prove value everyday.

Read David Rosenberg's article at:
Survey: IT spending to recover in 2010

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big market share gains for Windows 7

At this point, no one can claim to be surprised by today's announcement that Windows 7 was running more computers than Apple OSX. The data was compiled during the past weekend (November 21-22) by Net Applications and showed that Win7 was running 5.07% (daily average) of the PCs that were connected to the internet. Apple OSX was running 5.0% of the computers, so the difference does not appear, at first, to be all that significant. But considering that the number of PCs worldwide passed the 1 billion mark over 15 months ago, that 0.07% difference equates to more than 700,000 computers.

Granted, this is a small window to measure and one would expect that the advantage will swing back and forth over the coming months, we already know how the movie will end. Apple's ability to exploit the bad dream that was Vista is fading quickly. And although Apple certainly won over a non-trivial segment of the marketplace, (After all, 5% of all the PCs worldwide is 5,000,000 machines) Microsoft is well on their way to reestablishing their position of dominance of the personal computing market.

Read more at ComputerWorld

Friday, November 20, 2009

The meaning of Win7's sales numbers

Microsoft is understandably pleased to announce that Windows 7 is off to a strong start, claiming they have sold more than double the copies of any other operating system over the same time period. Despite the market gains by Apple, Google and Linux, this tells me that Microsoft's season of desktop dominance is far from over. Vista was truly a mistake, just like Win98 and WinME. But Win7 has accomplished exactly what Microsoft had hoped it would do.... make a Vista a memory.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

100K Droids Sold

According to an industry analyst, Verizon Wireless sold about 100,000 Droids over this past weekend (Fri 6 Nov to Sun 8 Nov). Although Verizon Wireless (VZ, NYSE) is not confirming those numbers, no one is really disputing them.

What is a matter of dispute is whether 100K phones is "strong" start or a "weak" start. Those who say it's a weak start compare the phone's performance to the iPhone, with which the Droid is meant to compete. "The iPhone sold multiples of that amount in its first weekend for the original version," according to Roger Entner, an analyst at Nielsen Co.

But I tend to lean towards the "strong" start camp... partly because I'm naturally an optimist. But I also recognize that the iPhone was the first to the party. It was new and sensational. And no one can dispute that Apple does a phenomenal job of building market excitement in advance of a product launch.

The Droid is an answer to the iPhone; a response not an initiator. So it will not have the same buzz and excitement. It's not as disruptive a technology. People who were unwilling to switch to the iPhone 2½ years ago are not going to be as willing to switch to the Droid today.

On the other hand (I'm also an economist), when current Verizon Wireless contracts start coming up for renewal, I believe you'll see a tremendous number of users switching from BlackBerry's, Palm Pre's, and other smart-phones, over to the Droid. Because of that, I see the sale of 100,000 phones in 36 hours as a sign that strong Droid sales are highly likely over the next two to three years.

Credit where credit is due ...
ComputerWorld's article on Droid Sales -- by Matt Hamblen, originally published November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

ROI for Exchange 2010

On November 9, Microsoft will make Exchange 2010 available for general release. This, of course, creates on more decision that CIOs and CTOs will be considering in the upcoming year. Of course, there is rarely a tangible return on what is almost always a significant investment when it comes to in-place upgrades. The incremental benefits of the new system usually are not compelling enough, by themselves, to justify the disruption, risk and expense.

Exchange 2010 might be an exception, however. Microsoft claims that Exchange 2010 has 70% less disk I/O requirements than Exchange 2007. This makes viable the slower, cheaper disks of DAS (direct-attached storage), freeing up more expensive SAN storage for other, more I/O intensive systems. This is an area that has great potential for savings, as organizations are creating and keeping more and more content, and therefore increasing the need for storage.

My recommendation is to carefully consider setting aside budget to evaluate Exchange 2010 in the first quarter of next year, with an eye towards executing the upgrade during the second half. This will provide some time for Microsoft to fix the inevitable bugs and for the market to either prove or refute the I/O claim.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Google Dashboard gives you control

On Thursday, Google announced on The Official Google Blog the release of Google Dashboard. If you have a Google account (through GMail, Google Talk, Blogger, etc.), then the company has been collecting a fairly comprehensive history. They have a record of your recent web searches, your RSS subscriptions, your chat history ... you name it, they've recorded it.

Understandably, this has folks a bit nervous.

It has me nervous.

The Google Dashboard is a step towards giving users the ability to see what information Google has collected, delete it (if desired) and to stop the company from collecting it. To use it, go to Your Dashboard after you've logged into your Google account. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wait before moving to Win7

On Friday, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based computer support company stuck its neck out. Rescuecom, in an interview with ComputerWorld, is advising users to wait for the first Service Pack to be released before upgrading an existing PC to Windows 7; especially if that PC is still working well.

This is certainly sound advice. WinXP is remarkably stable and mature ... and Microsoft is still releasing bug fixes and security updates. Win7 is a dramatic departure from WinXP and, while it has outstanding functionality, is still quite unproven in the marketplace. Microsoft is working feverishly to resolve a reboot problem reported a few weeks ago, just to illustrate the point.

Nevertheless, this firm may end up as a target, just for stating a fairly obvious truth. First versions of major releases are always buggy, and not for the novice. But, I suspect that we are only three to six months away from the first service pack. And then, Win7 will settle down quite nicely.

Read the ComputerWorld article here ...
Wait for Service Pack 1 to show up, or back up data and buy a new PC