Daily Archives: May 4, 2006

Strong bloggers don’t link?

Richard Querin channels Seth Goldstein, who writes that strong bloggers no longer link.

I have no idea what planet they are living in, but if I read a blog that doesn't link it usually sucks.

But, anyway, James Kendrick links to an RSS News Aggregator for HDTVs.

I do admit, though, that I haven't been reading many feeds lately. Instead I've been trying to live life, and get around Microsoft.

Today I was hanging out with Steve Ball and famous guitarist Robert Fripp, who was on campus doing some more recording for potential use in Windows Vista. That guy is cool. Certainly cooler than a blogger that never links.

Microsoft gets into new world of advertising

Well, it's official. Microsoft is now in the new world of contextual advertising. It's just like the old world of advertising (Microsoft sells billions of dollars of advertising every year, even before today) but it's more efficient.

But, I don't need to hype this new world up. You all know what I'm talking about. Just look at how Google is getting its money. Or read Memeorandum today.

So, why does Microsoft care so much about the world that Google is the leader in? Well, cause the advertising industry is a lot bigger than the software industry. Translation: the MBA's here see a lot more growth potential in advertising-backed software than they do in software that you go to Fry's and buy.

Not that the model of "buy your software here" is dead. Xbox is proving that. I've already spent hundreds of dollars on games, both on Xbox Live arcade and in stores like BestBuy and Fry's.

But, they look at Google, which has operating margins of 34% (with quarterly revenue growth of 79%), and Yahoo, which has operating margins of 18.79% (which has quarterly revenue growth of 33.5%), and they get excited.

Great, so we're in the game now.

Now what? Well, I look at it like we're in the record business and we need to find great bands to build audiences. Then the advertising folks will be able to put ads on those things and we'll all be happy.

So, do we build a great business by copying the "bands" from other companies? (I'll be honest, that's what we've pretty much done so far). To me that just sounds so boring and uninteresting. Imagine you work a music company and your boss tells you to "copy the Beatles."

Yeah, that'll really work.

The next three years will define Microsoft as a company. It'll be interesting to see how our innovation engine roars to life. We've been making some great acquisitions and hiring some great people. And I hear a major engine tuneup is underway thanks to other things that I can't talk about yet.

The trick is, can we find a new way to compete. One that doesn't rely on the old tricks that teams fell back on in the past? Luckily this time around there's piles of money to be had for all three companies — if we create value and find new audiences.

Just because there was Michael Jackson, or Elvis, or the Beatles, doesn't mean that the Black Eyed Peas couldn't come along and make a sizeable business.

Metaphor switch time. :-)

It's real easy in the technology world to follow the path someone else broke through the ice. But that's lazy.

Microsoft needs a few icebreaking ships to forge a new path.

I see a few being built. But we need more.

Ultra Mobile PC’s panned by New York Times

David Pogue says that the Ultra Mobile PCs that are starting to ship answers the who, what, when, where, but left out the "why."

I must apologize. I'm very bullish about UMPCs, but there's something more flawed than what David hints at: the price.

I assumed that OEMs would be able to get the price down closer to $500 than $1,000. At $1,000 you can buy a high-powered laptop. These things just won't do well until they drop in price.

If they were cheaper, I could answer the "why" for David. But they aren't. Until they are, we're doomed to a niche market, no matter how useful or cool they are.

Pricing +is+ important here. It's embarrassing that we haven't been able to get the price down to a noticeable gap between low-end laptops.

When the pricing comes down I'll get excited again. I still will probably buy one at $1,000, because I can see enough geeky uses for it (coffee table picture frame, remote control, GPS device and media player for car, etc) but I'm a geek. The fact that I get excited by something doesn't mean the normal person on the street will get excited by it too.