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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Which Companies Will Lead the IT Industry's New Mainstream Platform?

'Tis the season for predictions.

Let's see.  Well, we have the 2011 world prophecies from top psychic astrologers.  I was elated to read on this web site that "all predictions of life on Earth and End of the World in 2012 will turn out to be false and untrue."  So not only "false" but "untrue" as well.  Now that's a relief.

The 2011 Oscar predictions started making the rounds in October. CNBC announced earlier today that on Dec. 8 it will unveil its predictions for the 2011 economy.  I also saw an article about the 2011 food trend predictions made by 1,500 chefs.  And of course there are thousands of professional sports-related predictions including this one from The Orange Country Register:  Lakers will lose!

But in a sea of annual predictions on subjects that are really just trivial, there's one list that I look forward to each year at this time.  And once again, it did not disappoint.

If you haven't seen International Data Corporation's 2011 IT industry predictions, you can find it here.  You to have register with IDC to read it, but if you want only the summary here's the press release.

Here are the reports' highlights:

  • spending on public IT cloud services will grow at more than five times the rate of the IT industry in 2011, up 30% from this year.  Why?  Because more and more businesses, small, medium and large, are realizing the friendliness of cloud economics, the flexibility and reliability of cloud computing models, and that security issues have been over-stated;
  • mobile computing will continue to explode.  Ok, that's obvious.  But what about this:  IDC says close to 25 billion mobile apps will be downloaded next year! That's compared to "only" 10 billion or so which were downloaded this year.  It's not time to kiss our PCs good-bye quite yet.  But it will be interesting to see how the manufacturers with PCs in their DNA reinvent themselves in a world where mobile computing dominates, and
  • in 2011, business finally gets social.  More than 40% of SMBs will use social networks to promote themselves and we'll see a consolidation tsunami as the bigger software suppliers scoop up social software vendors to fuel their social business efforts.
The key prediction from IDC is not only will cloud computing, mobile computing and social networking grow and mature next year, but they will "coalesce" into a new, mainstream platform.  And the players who are today's leaders in the cloud, mobile and social may not be the same companies who will be leaders of the new coalesced platform.

"In addition to creating new markets and opportunities, this restructuring will overthrow nearly every assumption about who the industry's leaders will be and how they establish and maintain leadership," said Frank Gens, senior VP and chief analyst at IDC.

In 2010, the cloud, mobile and social all found their rhythm.  Things will get even more fascinating next year when they share the same stage on prime time. 

I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New King of the Court

No, it's not LeBron James. It's Apple Computer. Since 2008, Apple has been the most-sued company in the technology industry. It's most recent battle, being heard this week by the International Trade Commission, is against Finnish telecom giant Nokia over patents relating to the iPhone. At stake is the leadership position in the US smartphone market. Apple is trying to protect its right to import the iPhone, while keeping at bay its most powerful rivals, particularly smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system, the world's most popular smartphone software. I'm not going to go into the specifics of this particular case, or any of the dozens of lawsuits Apple has pending, rather, I'm more interested in why Apple has become the most litigious company in technology. The statistic that caught my eye was the time frame of Apple's ascent in courtroom appearances -- 2008 through today. What changed in 2008? Ah yes, the iPhone was available and was the hottest phone on the market. Prior to 2008, most of the technology patent battles happened among companies such as Intel, AMD, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Qualcomm and Oracle. But after 2008, Apple raises to the top of the heap. Apple's ubiquitous presence in the courtroom is because smartphones, and the applications that run on them, have become such essential parts of our lives. Not an hour goes by that I'm not either talking on my smartphone, sending a text, checking email or surfing the web. And who am I kidding? An hour? Try every few minutes, and I'm not alone. In the past, the battleground for our attention was on the PC, so it was natural for HP, Dell, Intel, AMD and Microsoft to sue anyone who dared venture near their turf. Today, that battleground is our iPhones, Droids, and Blackberries. Conventional wisdom in Silicon Valley has long been follow the VC money to determine the hot emerging tech market. But a corollary to that adage is watch who is suing whom to determine what market is currently hot and making money. Today that market is smartphones, and the hot company is Apple.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The 10 Worst Things Your PR Agency Could Tell You

If you ever worked for a big public relations agency, my list of "The 10 Worst Things Your PR Agency Could Tell You" will look very familiar. 

Smaller agencies are guilty of some of the things on the list too.  But generally, smaller agencies and bigger agencies approach client service quite differently.  I've worked for both.  First a boutique tech agency with the mantra of "senior people doing hands on work."  I also worked for a very large global PR agency.

PR pros working at smaller agencies do so for lots of reasons.  It could be the lack of bureaucracy or the opportunity to be involved in more decision making that are the main attractions.  One of the reasons that keeps rising to the top, though, is they want to continue to do client work -- no matter how senior or experienced they may be.

At smaller agencies, where staffs are lean and mean, chances are the senior-most individuals at the firm are rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty.  At larger agencies, this is less frequently the case because there are so many P&L and administrative things to do.  I mean, who has time for client work?

That's my intro.  Here's the list:  
  1. We can't get any coverage for you if your customers won't speak to the media.
  2. We ran through your monthly budget in the first two weeks of the month, so we have to shut things down until the new month.
  3. We can't have the entire account team on our weekly call with you because your budget is too small.
  4. We just took on a competitor of yours as a new client, but don't worry as we have a separate team working on that account.
  5. We just took on a competitor of yours as a new client and since their budget is bigger than yours, we're forced to drop you as a client.
  6. We're increasing our hourly rates as of January 1.
  7. We understand that your business is soft, but your reduced budget is too small for us so we have to part ways.  
  8. We thought you said the press release was approved "as is."  That's why we sent it out.
  9. The lead person on your account is leaving the firm.
  10. We'll get it to you tomorrow, promise.