Bill Gates says we’re back in a bubble — kind of

Hmmm, Bill Gates is reported to have said “we’re back kind of in Internet-bubble era in terms of people thinking: ‘OK, traffic. We want traffic. We want traffic. There are still some areas where it is unclear what’s going to come out of that.”

Yup. The bubble is back Bill says.

A few differences I’ve noticed this time around (so far):

1) I haven’t seen a really stupid business model yet. No selling dog food that would never make enough money to pay for the trucks it was being delivered on. Yeah, there’s too many Web 2 businesses with too much reliance on advertising, but most of these businesses are funded for very little money so the pain to investors for the death of these things is going to be very small (and, I predict most of them will make enough to pay salaries and give back something to their investors, so we won’t see a huge number of bankruptcies like the last time).

2) No retail investors. Joe Kraus pointed this out to me. There haven’t been any IPOs. No “mom and dads” buying stock like the last time around.

3) Irrational exuberance isn’t there. Yeah, we all get together at Arrington’s house or a VC’s office and drink a lot of beer and wine. But, really, those parties are small potatoes affairs compared with some of the shindigs in expensive locations last time around. Most Web 2 companies aren’t spending more than a few thousand in marketing and if they do, it’s to hire someone to build a Google keyword buying and SEO strategy.

4) Wealth is transfering not from retail investors, but from big companies who are battling with each other, to both inventors/entrepreneurs and wholesale investors (VCs).

One thing I’ve noticed is that Bill is taking a very conservative approach to Web companies. He even pointed this out to me and Mike Arrington at the Mix06 conference earlier this year.

It’ll be interesting to see if Bill has the last laugh in this game. I usually don’t bet against him, but I am this time around. Why? Cause I think Microsoft will end up spending more to clone some of this stuff than its competitors paid. Yes, even YouTube. Tell me, how will Microsoft create a video service that gets talked about almost nightly on mainstream media?

It’ll have to spend a lot of money buying cool and exclusive content for its Soapbox service. Funny thing. I couldn’t even remember the URL for it and I’m an insider in this industry. How did I find it? Google. Told me the URL is http://soapbox.msn.com/. So, they haven’t even gotten a cool URL yet. Yeah, that won’t cost $1.6 billion. But I keep hearing about YouTube. YouTube this. YouTube that. Everytime I hear about YouTube doing something they extend their lead on Microsoft.

Hey, Bill. You want to be in the advertising business, right?

Go to your advertisers and tell them “it’s not about traffic” and see what they’ll say.

Comments

  1. How you dare to challenge Bill? the guy that fed you and your family for some time. what arrogance you have..!

  2. How you dare to challenge Bill? the guy that fed you and your family for some time. what arrogance you have..!

  3. By the way: he didn’t feed me or my family and he didn’t hand me money for free. I traded my time and work for my paycheck. Microsoft’s customers and shareholders paid me, by the way. But you’ll never understand such distinctions. And you call me arrogant. Wild.

  4. By the way: he didn’t feed me or my family and he didn’t hand me money for free. I traded my time and work for my paycheck. Microsoft’s customers and shareholders paid me, by the way. But you’ll never understand such distinctions. And you call me arrogant. Wild.

  5. By the way, tomorrow there’s a new company that’ll announce a Web 2.0 product. The whole thing was spent without spending a single dollar.

    Bill Gates doesn’t understand these new “zero cost” businesses.

  6. By the way, tomorrow there’s a new company that’ll announce a Web 2.0 product. The whole thing was spent without spending a single dollar.

    Bill Gates doesn’t understand these new “zero cost” businesses.

  7. When has Microsoft ever had a cool URL? For goodness sake, that would make way too much sense, when such IAMLAME.LIVE.COM / .OFFICE.COM / MICROSOFT.COM are all so available for free.

  8. When has Microsoft ever had a cool URL? For goodness sake, that would make way too much sense, when such IAMLAME.LIVE.COM / .OFFICE.COM / MICROSOFT.COM are all so available for free.

  9. Robert

    I am not sure if Bill doesnt understand that traffic in websites is important to advertisers – the point he makes is that some of the Web 2.0 businesses are yet to prove their business model. You disagree with that?

    Btw let’s wait for the Youtube acquisition to add something substantial to Google’s topline/bottomline before terming it a success. Right now the only ones who are laughing all the way to the bank are its founders.

    Again you are selectively focussing on the items that you want to instead of looking at the bigger picture, making a sweeping generalization about a person’s opinion on it and then dissing the person that he doesnt get it.

  10. Robert

    I am not sure if Bill doesnt understand that traffic in websites is important to advertisers – the point he makes is that some of the Web 2.0 businesses are yet to prove their business model. You disagree with that?

    Btw let’s wait for the Youtube acquisition to add something substantial to Google’s topline/bottomline before terming it a success. Right now the only ones who are laughing all the way to the bank are its founders.

    Again you are selectively focussing on the items that you want to instead of looking at the bigger picture, making a sweeping generalization about a person’s opinion on it and then dissing the person that he doesnt get it.

  11. >>the point he makes is that some of the Web 2.0 businesses are yet to prove their business model. You disagree with that?

    For the most part. Yes.

    Google didn’t buy YouTube for its business value. Not to mention that Google’s market cap has gone up many times more than the $1.6 billion since the purchase was announced. Google bought YouTube to protect its core search advertising business from being attacked by Microsoft and Yahoo.

    So, name a few Web 2.0 companies that you think don’t have a good business model and let’s track them over the next year.

  12. >>the point he makes is that some of the Web 2.0 businesses are yet to prove their business model. You disagree with that?

    For the most part. Yes.

    Google didn’t buy YouTube for its business value. Not to mention that Google’s market cap has gone up many times more than the $1.6 billion since the purchase was announced. Google bought YouTube to protect its core search advertising business from being attacked by Microsoft and Yahoo.

    So, name a few Web 2.0 companies that you think don’t have a good business model and let’s track them over the next year.

  13. I have to disagree with you Robert, YouTube was not making money and you’re right, Google did buy them to protect some of its turf.

    But Google was already in the video buisness with very little success.

    It would be a different story if YouTube was a small but profitable company with potential.
    YouTube’s founders are the smart ones here.

  14. I have to disagree with you Robert, YouTube was not making money and you’re right, Google did buy them to protect some of its turf.

    But Google was already in the video buisness with very little success.

    It would be a different story if YouTube was a small but profitable company with potential.
    YouTube’s founders are the smart ones here.

  15. Very good observation with smart analysis on Web 2.0 less of bubble compared to last one.

    Yeah I remember the dog and cat sites, premature IPOs, luxuary parties, superbowl marketing budget, giving BMW to startup executives, big VC deals.

    Why this time around, things are different.

    It is a whole lot cheaper to build startup. Harddrive, memory, bandwidth cost drop. Many companies are giving their codes out for open source. Many open sources are reliable enough to build enterprise level scalable app. Development time is much faster with lighter weight language. Developers understand Javascript, CSS, DOM, DHTML, AJAX better. Developers practice Agile. Many startups can build app with less developers and work with very little budget, even work at apartment or garage. It is lot easily to hire cheaper developers outside US. It is a lot cheaper to create content b/c most sites are user-generated contents like news sites and social netowrking sites.

    Even Youtube is not a joke. When San Jose Mercury News and NBC announced to cut jobs in reaction to Social Media breaking news faster than journalists, Google/YouTube possible TV contracts, you know the world will never be the same.

    Right now Microsoft is in denial stage. Microsoft is living in its dream world thinking their core clients are moving in the same old direction as it used to be in the last 20 years. Good luck.

    When I read even American Express those conversative companies are attempting to use wiki and eager to use newer technology, I can feel the world is changing.

    I am thinking Microsoft is trying to be sexy like Sean Connery in James Bond movies. But how can Sean Connery at his age can act sexy. Henry Ford is going to make Indiana Jones and we’ll waiting to see if he can fight in those action scenes.

  16. Very good observation with smart analysis on Web 2.0 less of bubble compared to last one.

    Yeah I remember the dog and cat sites, premature IPOs, luxuary parties, superbowl marketing budget, giving BMW to startup executives, big VC deals.

    Why this time around, things are different.

    It is a whole lot cheaper to build startup. Harddrive, memory, bandwidth cost drop. Many companies are giving their codes out for open source. Many open sources are reliable enough to build enterprise level scalable app. Development time is much faster with lighter weight language. Developers understand Javascript, CSS, DOM, DHTML, AJAX better. Developers practice Agile. Many startups can build app with less developers and work with very little budget, even work at apartment or garage. It is lot easily to hire cheaper developers outside US. It is a lot cheaper to create content b/c most sites are user-generated contents like news sites and social netowrking sites.

    Even Youtube is not a joke. When San Jose Mercury News and NBC announced to cut jobs in reaction to Social Media breaking news faster than journalists, Google/YouTube possible TV contracts, you know the world will never be the same.

    Right now Microsoft is in denial stage. Microsoft is living in its dream world thinking their core clients are moving in the same old direction as it used to be in the last 20 years. Good luck.

    When I read even American Express those conversative companies are attempting to use wiki and eager to use newer technology, I can feel the world is changing.

    I am thinking Microsoft is trying to be sexy like Sean Connery in James Bond movies. But how can Sean Connery at his age can act sexy. Henry Ford is going to make Indiana Jones and we’ll waiting to see if he can fight in those action scenes.

  17. Mr. Scoble… All the traffic in the world isn’t going to add much of anything to an advertisers program if it doesn’t convert eyeballs into paying customers. This “engagement” metric you’re banging on is a neat excercise… But, at the end of the day I’ll bet you more advertisers would spring for a PURE pay for performance program than would pay for a PURE cpm program. I know at Thrifty… that’s what I would have chosen. That’s what I’m chosing today on all my placements.

    At best it’s only “kinda” about eyeballs. So, in that sense Mr. Gates is right! The rest, as you know, is about the whole customer life cycle thing (acquisition, retention, conversion, adoption, champion, so on…)

    Not really sure what an “engagement” metric will really add to the world of online advertising (?) When you articulate it… it might just turn out to be brilliant. Until then though, I’m not getting it.

    Gerald, Tulsa

  18. Mr. Scoble… All the traffic in the world isn’t going to add much of anything to an advertisers program if it doesn’t convert eyeballs into paying customers. This “engagement” metric you’re banging on is a neat excercise… But, at the end of the day I’ll bet you more advertisers would spring for a PURE pay for performance program than would pay for a PURE cpm program. I know at Thrifty… that’s what I would have chosen. That’s what I’m chosing today on all my placements.

    At best it’s only “kinda” about eyeballs. So, in that sense Mr. Gates is right! The rest, as you know, is about the whole customer life cycle thing (acquisition, retention, conversion, adoption, champion, so on…)

    Not really sure what an “engagement” metric will really add to the world of online advertising (?) When you articulate it… it might just turn out to be brilliant. Until then though, I’m not getting it.

    Gerald, Tulsa

  19. Robert, 2 observations

    #1) I agree with Gates – he is not a guy who will not see a business oppurtunity. We are entering another bubble no doubt – this time around Goog driving it IMO. Goog’s stock IMO is overstated with its potential and future earnings predictions.

    #2) Your reply to comments in this thread are very unlike you. You are getting defensive which I don’t think you ever were before when you were at MS. Why is that?

    BTW good discussion though :-)

  20. Robert, 2 observations

    #1) I agree with Gates – he is not a guy who will not see a business oppurtunity. We are entering another bubble no doubt – this time around Goog driving it IMO. Goog’s stock IMO is overstated with its potential and future earnings predictions.

    #2) Your reply to comments in this thread are very unlike you. You are getting defensive which I don’t think you ever were before when you were at MS. Why is that?

    BTW good discussion though :-)

  21. Some people imply a distinction between the “advertising” or “media” business and the technology business. Seems to me one of the key innovations we’ve been seeing is the two can not only co-exist but are symbiotic — at least for mass market technologies.

    If that means MSFT can make more money in the future by giving away some of their apps and selling ad inventory within those apps, that’s a good thing.

  22. Some people imply a distinction between the “advertising” or “media” business and the technology business. Seems to me one of the key innovations we’ve been seeing is the two can not only co-exist but are symbiotic — at least for mass market technologies.

    If that means MSFT can make more money in the future by giving away some of their apps and selling ad inventory within those apps, that’s a good thing.

  23. Ok, traffic, thank you Mr. Gates.

    How about developing products that truly help companies?

    Realistically, beyond the transaction (served by web services or SSL or a combination of both), are there any online services which can be rapidly implemented for use at companies beyond OSs, Servers, instant messaging and live desktop searching? Also, when are search vendors going to help people filter better like http://www.optevi.net does? (Shameless but I believe this.)

    Best Wishes!

  24. Ok, traffic, thank you Mr. Gates.

    How about developing products that truly help companies?

    Realistically, beyond the transaction (served by web services or SSL or a combination of both), are there any online services which can be rapidly implemented for use at companies beyond OSs, Servers, instant messaging and live desktop searching? Also, when are search vendors going to help people filter better like http://www.optevi.net does? (Shameless but I believe this.)

    Best Wishes!

  25. Jeelz: >>Your reply to comments in this thread are very unlike you.

    cause I’m sick and tired of anonymous ass****s who can say anything without getting attacked themselves.

    Why don’t you come and live in my shoes for a while and then you’d see just how it feels to have lots of these jerks who won’t post with their names attacking you wrongly.

  26. Jeelz: >>Your reply to comments in this thread are very unlike you.

    cause I’m sick and tired of anonymous ass****s who can say anything without getting attacked themselves.

    Why don’t you come and live in my shoes for a while and then you’d see just how it feels to have lots of these jerks who won’t post with their names attacking you wrongly.

  27. bill gates declaring bubble? same reason as before… trying to stem the tide of microsoftee defections to startups. fat chance.

    microsoft is still a great company, but like others they’re moving way too slow. they’ll still keep their core markets & products rolling along, and XBOX has a lot of opportunity, but they’re moving like a turtle if they want to compete in search & media & advertising.

    microsoft needs to open up a checkbook and buy innovation. it’s not coming from internal anymore, at least not in any notable ways. IAC (or at least ASK), AMZN, FaceBook, Yahoo, Ebay, would all be interesting moves. probably AMZN or Ask would make the most sense for Bellevue, since Yahoo & eBay are likely too big too swallow and their CEOs have egos too big to close the deal.

    in any case, i don’t see Gates moving fast enough to compete in this century, and their core biz (Office, NT) are certainly at risk / under attack. they won’t die tomorrow, but in 10 years i don’t see Microsoft anywhere near as dominant.

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  28. bill gates declaring bubble? same reason as before… trying to stem the tide of microsoftee defections to startups. fat chance.

    microsoft is still a great company, but like others they’re moving way too slow. they’ll still keep their core markets & products rolling along, and XBOX has a lot of opportunity, but they’re moving like a turtle if they want to compete in search & media & advertising.

    microsoft needs to open up a checkbook and buy innovation. it’s not coming from internal anymore, at least not in any notable ways. IAC (or at least ASK), AMZN, FaceBook, Yahoo, Ebay, would all be interesting moves. probably AMZN or Ask would make the most sense for Bellevue, since Yahoo & eBay are likely too big too swallow and their CEOs have egos too big to close the deal.

    in any case, i don’t see Gates moving fast enough to compete in this century, and their core biz (Office, NT) are certainly at risk / under attack. they won’t die tomorrow, but in 10 years i don’t see Microsoft anywhere near as dominant.

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  29. [...] Robert Scoble is taking the other side of Bill’s bet and my money is with Bill (no offense Robert). It’s great that Robert is part of a start-up and raised so much money, but that space is so cowded and so underfunded for what ultimately would be required to win/if their is even to be a winner. So much noise and so much poorly spent venture money in podcasting and blogging that the odds of survival are low. [...]

  30. The current excitement is unsustainable, so in that respect, yes, we are in a bubble. However, I think the money flowing, the exits (valuations on acquisitions) has been reasonable enough and I don’t think they justify a bubble label.

    Some might point to the YouTube acquisition to refute my point, but Google paying 1.65 billion in stock is the same as a company like Yahoo paying 400mm in stock (because Google’s market cap is 4X that of Yahoo’s). You can’t point to the YouTube deal as irrational exuberance once you take Google’s market cap into account.

  31. The current excitement is unsustainable, so in that respect, yes, we are in a bubble. However, I think the money flowing, the exits (valuations on acquisitions) has been reasonable enough and I don’t think they justify a bubble label.

    Some might point to the YouTube acquisition to refute my point, but Google paying 1.65 billion in stock is the same as a company like Yahoo paying 400mm in stock (because Google’s market cap is 4X that of Yahoo’s). You can’t point to the YouTube deal as irrational exuberance once you take Google’s market cap into account.

  32. Personally, I think Microsoft should get out of the online portal business altogether, and instead create apps/services that are hosted by Google. For example, Microsoft creates an online version of Office and makes a deal with Google to host it there. It would work like TV works, where Google plays the role of a TV network, MS Online Office plays the role of a TV show, and they make money from ads.

    That’s what I would do were I in charge of Microsoft. As a consumer, I don’t particularly like that scenario, because Google would be the only “TV network” (if you will), so that space would be monopolized. Also, MS is doing interesting things with Live, that I don’t want to see abandoned.

  33. Personally, I think Microsoft should get out of the online portal business altogether, and instead create apps/services that are hosted by Google. For example, Microsoft creates an online version of Office and makes a deal with Google to host it there. It would work like TV works, where Google plays the role of a TV network, MS Online Office plays the role of a TV show, and they make money from ads.

    That’s what I would do were I in charge of Microsoft. As a consumer, I don’t particularly like that scenario, because Google would be the only “TV network” (if you will), so that space would be monopolized. Also, MS is doing interesting things with Live, that I don’t want to see abandoned.

  34. Robert, it seems that your point regarding YouTube is that they have the user-upload-video market locked up forever, which might be the case. If you’re right, then neither Microsoft nor any other YouTube competitor can do anything about it by definition. So I’m not sure what your stance is. Is it that nobody should bother competing with YouTube? If so, then this is a pretty pointless debate.

    I mean, Google thought that YouTube was worth 1.6 billion and nobody else did. Google bought YouTube for that amount. Now, according to you, that market is locked up, end of story. So what’s your bottom line? Bashing MS for not buying YouTube for 1.7 billion, or bashing them for trying to create their own service, or what? You’re bashing them for something, but I’m not sure what. What is it that you would have MS do?

  35. Robert, it seems that your point regarding YouTube is that they have the user-upload-video market locked up forever, which might be the case. If you’re right, then neither Microsoft nor any other YouTube competitor can do anything about it by definition. So I’m not sure what your stance is. Is it that nobody should bother competing with YouTube? If so, then this is a pretty pointless debate.

    I mean, Google thought that YouTube was worth 1.6 billion and nobody else did. Google bought YouTube for that amount. Now, according to you, that market is locked up, end of story. So what’s your bottom line? Bashing MS for not buying YouTube for 1.7 billion, or bashing them for trying to create their own service, or what? You’re bashing them for something, but I’m not sure what. What is it that you would have MS do?

  36. Brit: no, they don’t have it locked up forever. But to get audience to move from one place to another you’ve gotta give them a reason to move. That won’t be cheap to do that.

    So, yes, go ahead and compete.

    It’s not true that noone else thought it was worth that money, by the way. There were other companies bidding on it. It’s just that Google thought it was worth more than the other companies did.

    What am I bashing MS for? Believing that they’ll be able to build YouTube for less. I seriously doubt it. And when I say “build” I mean “get all the market share and good branding presence and relationships with the advertisers and companies that want to be in front of the YouTube audience.”

    That’ll cost Microsoft a lot. It’ll be interesting to see in five years if they are able to build it and get the audience to switch. I doubt it.

    Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move.

  37. Brit: no, they don’t have it locked up forever. But to get audience to move from one place to another you’ve gotta give them a reason to move. That won’t be cheap to do that.

    So, yes, go ahead and compete.

    It’s not true that noone else thought it was worth that money, by the way. There were other companies bidding on it. It’s just that Google thought it was worth more than the other companies did.

    What am I bashing MS for? Believing that they’ll be able to build YouTube for less. I seriously doubt it. And when I say “build” I mean “get all the market share and good branding presence and relationships with the advertisers and companies that want to be in front of the YouTube audience.”

    That’ll cost Microsoft a lot. It’ll be interesting to see in five years if they are able to build it and get the audience to switch. I doubt it.

    Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move.

  38. It would be un-entrepreneurial for Microsoft not to attack the video market head on.

    As for the comments that it might take them 5 years, well, Vista took that long and most people waited. I guess they’ll wait for anything. Of course, considering the intimidation factor of Linux, who can blame the general public and fearful IT executives. On the other hand, we have many examples where Microsoft didn’t capitalize on the immediate market and mainly in the multimedia market (Real, iPod, etc).

    For the comment about giving up the Portal market, well, Sharepoint owns the corporate intranet so its good practice!

  39. It would be un-entrepreneurial for Microsoft not to attack the video market head on.

    As for the comments that it might take them 5 years, well, Vista took that long and most people waited. I guess they’ll wait for anything. Of course, considering the intimidation factor of Linux, who can blame the general public and fearful IT executives. On the other hand, we have many examples where Microsoft didn’t capitalize on the immediate market and mainly in the multimedia market (Real, iPod, etc).

    For the comment about giving up the Portal market, well, Sharepoint owns the corporate intranet so its good practice!

  40. YouTube is not a joke. Google is willing to pay 1.6 B for YouTube so it won’t all into other’s hand.

    Let’s face it. Pretty interface and technology alone can’t do it. Microsoft can deliver both pretty interface and technology. Google can deliver clean interface and technology. But no one can drive and build YouTube type of users. It takes a lot more than technology to deliver YouTube.

  41. YouTube is not a joke. Google is willing to pay 1.6 B for YouTube so it won’t all into other’s hand.

    Let’s face it. Pretty interface and technology alone can’t do it. Microsoft can deliver both pretty interface and technology. Google can deliver clean interface and technology. But no one can drive and build YouTube type of users. It takes a lot more than technology to deliver YouTube.

  42. Ummm Robert,

    I don’t think you have much of a leg to stand on bashing MSN Soapbox’s url. After reading this thread, I went to PodTech to go watch some of your ScobleShow video blogs. So I typed in http://www.PodTech.com and got Pod Technologies – Energy and Air Quality Solutions!

    I had to do a Windows Live Search to find out that it was http://www.PodTech.net. .net that is.. Or is it http://www.scobleshow.com?

    Robert, go to your advertisers and tell them to advertise on Podtech for Energy and Air Quality Solutions.

  43. Ummm Robert,

    I don’t think you have much of a leg to stand on bashing MSN Soapbox’s url. After reading this thread, I went to PodTech to go watch some of your ScobleShow video blogs. So I typed in http://www.PodTech.com and got Pod Technologies – Energy and Air Quality Solutions!

    I had to do a Windows Live Search to find out that it was http://www.PodTech.net. .net that is.. Or is it http://www.scobleshow.com?

    Robert, go to your advertisers and tell them to advertise on Podtech for Energy and Air Quality Solutions.

  44. Hi Robert,

    Per usual, extremely interesting stuff going on in your blog!

    I, too, had a long, hard look at that IHT article where Bill says: ‘OK, traffic. We want traffic. We want traffic.”…but from a different angle: I don’t think Bill would be saying that if he knew what a cock-up has happened on his Windows Live Messenger global platform recently…Hit 100% capacity and had to do an emergency upgrade on Oct 17; Deployment wasn’t confident that they could do it, so it was postponed until just last weekend!

    I like your comment “Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move” – - and, I’d like to add that Microsoft themselves don’t move as an agile, visionary company anymore. They are no longer a leader; They are a follower / copier with deep pockets. And a chairman who should NOT be the Chief SW Architect of the company! The examples are endless: Vista – 5 years too late; MSN Messenger converted to Windows Live Messenger (and a dead-ringer for Yahoo Messenger’s look and feel…but, still missing some great, key functionality); Zune tries to be an i-pod; and, don’t get me started on their outdated, insular view that “everyone knows SQL Server scales better than Oracle” – this comment from an MSN Project Manager in the UK who’s trying to clean up the Mobile platform mess!

    I could go on and on…there’s another very interesting article recently about Bill Gates’ 3 keys to success which leads me to my closing comment, similar to Jack Stack’s: “How about developing products that truly help companies?” I’ll try to find the link back to that article and post it here or e-mail you with it; Bottom Line is, do you think that one of the 3 Key Success Factors was “Listen to your customer”? ….very rhetorical question.

    Keep up the good work, Robert.

  45. Hi Robert,

    Per usual, extremely interesting stuff going on in your blog!

    I, too, had a long, hard look at that IHT article where Bill says: ‘OK, traffic. We want traffic. We want traffic.”…but from a different angle: I don’t think Bill would be saying that if he knew what a cock-up has happened on his Windows Live Messenger global platform recently…Hit 100% capacity and had to do an emergency upgrade on Oct 17; Deployment wasn’t confident that they could do it, so it was postponed until just last weekend!

    I like your comment “Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move” – - and, I’d like to add that Microsoft themselves don’t move as an agile, visionary company anymore. They are no longer a leader; They are a follower / copier with deep pockets. And a chairman who should NOT be the Chief SW Architect of the company! The examples are endless: Vista – 5 years too late; MSN Messenger converted to Windows Live Messenger (and a dead-ringer for Yahoo Messenger’s look and feel…but, still missing some great, key functionality); Zune tries to be an i-pod; and, don’t get me started on their outdated, insular view that “everyone knows SQL Server scales better than Oracle” – this comment from an MSN Project Manager in the UK who’s trying to clean up the Mobile platform mess!

    I could go on and on…there’s another very interesting article recently about Bill Gates’ 3 keys to success which leads me to my closing comment, similar to Jack Stack’s: “How about developing products that truly help companies?” I’ll try to find the link back to that article and post it here or e-mail you with it; Bottom Line is, do you think that one of the 3 Key Success Factors was “Listen to your customer”? ….very rhetorical question.

    Keep up the good work, Robert.

  46. It is a bubble, it’s just a well contained one. The Silicon Valley has gotten to the point both from a topical and economic standpoint, it could easily separate from the globe and form a small satellite nation in geosynchronous orbit with the earth; complete with it’s own recycled atomosphere and government.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that it’s not a bubble like the dot-com bubble at all. But from a hype point of view it is indeed a bubble since it is fueling a rapid wave of Web 2.0 blogosphere echoes in an almost incestuous manner. Even the normally staid vanguard printed press is feeling the need to quip gleefully on the likes of YouTube or be the first to coin a new term like “Web 3.0″.

    But this time he blast zone is contained to the capital and court of the wagging valley that is ravnenously seeking the next trend to blog about, or to invest in. The rest of the PC world however is responding with a look akin to that of a German shepherd, cocking it’s head in curiousity at it’s nuevo riche owner, who is desperately trying out the latest Dog Whispering technique on it.

    Personally, I find it all to be a lot of fun and since no one is really getting hurt financially as you point out, why not?

  47. It is a bubble, it’s just a well contained one. The Silicon Valley has gotten to the point both from a topical and economic standpoint, it could easily separate from the globe and form a small satellite nation in geosynchronous orbit with the earth; complete with it’s own recycled atomosphere and government.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that it’s not a bubble like the dot-com bubble at all. But from a hype point of view it is indeed a bubble since it is fueling a rapid wave of Web 2.0 blogosphere echoes in an almost incestuous manner. Even the normally staid vanguard printed press is feeling the need to quip gleefully on the likes of YouTube or be the first to coin a new term like “Web 3.0″.

    But this time he blast zone is contained to the capital and court of the wagging valley that is ravnenously seeking the next trend to blog about, or to invest in. The rest of the PC world however is responding with a look akin to that of a German shepherd, cocking it’s head in curiousity at it’s nuevo riche owner, who is desperately trying out the latest Dog Whispering technique on it.

    Personally, I find it all to be a lot of fun and since no one is really getting hurt financially as you point out, why not?

  48. Java is free, as in GPL (and feline noun verbage)

    The Duke of URL is IT Blogwatch, in which Sun open-sources Java. Not to mention the cats that are VERBING UR NOUNZ…

  49. “Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move.”

    You might want to compare the instant messaging market of 2000 vs 2006 and see who is the dominant IM player then vs now.

  50. “Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move.”

    You might want to compare the instant messaging market of 2000 vs 2006 and see who is the dominant IM player then vs now.

  51. I’m so glad that Microsoft finally wised up and stopped letting you write this drivel while you were on their payroll… sad to see someone whose only talent is building up their own ego by putting other people down.

  52. I’m so glad that Microsoft finally wised up and stopped letting you write this drivel while you were on their payroll… sad to see someone whose only talent is building up their own ego by putting other people down.

  53. “Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move.”

    – Robert, I agree with your argument partially, but there is one assumption that you are making here that Microsoft’s Soapbox service would have to turn people away from youtube to be successful. Personally, I believe that two video sites can become extremely popular and that both of them can share the same audience.

    This is not something like, are you a linux user or windows user? This is not even like are you a google/windows live search user? The audience do not have to ditch Youtube for Soapbox. Personally, I would like to upload my videos onto several video sites for more visibility and also use more video sites to find a wide variety of content.

    I think people would welcome more and more content sites and they do not need to have mutually exclusive audience…

    What do you think ?

  54. “Past experience has taught me that Microsoft isn’t very adept at getting existing audiences to move.”

    – Robert, I agree with your argument partially, but there is one assumption that you are making here that Microsoft’s Soapbox service would have to turn people away from youtube to be successful. Personally, I believe that two video sites can become extremely popular and that both of them can share the same audience.

    This is not something like, are you a linux user or windows user? This is not even like are you a google/windows live search user? The audience do not have to ditch Youtube for Soapbox. Personally, I would like to upload my videos onto several video sites for more visibility and also use more video sites to find a wide variety of content.

    I think people would welcome more and more content sites and they do not need to have mutually exclusive audience…

    What do you think ?

  55. Tom: in theory, yeah, two sites can share an audience, but in reality that just isn’t what happens. Most people have heard about “YouTube” now, so if they wanna go find some video they’ll go there.

    How many have heard of Microsoft Sandbox or, even, Google Video? Not many. That’s one reason Google bought YouTube, even though they have Google Video already done and out there.

    Getting audiences is tough. Microsoft has some built in advantages, though. They already have huge audiences that they can bring over via links and other integrations. But even doing that has a cost. Do it too well and you’ll get hit with a DOJ lawsuit, which will cost billions.

  56. Tom: in theory, yeah, two sites can share an audience, but in reality that just isn’t what happens. Most people have heard about “YouTube” now, so if they wanna go find some video they’ll go there.

    How many have heard of Microsoft Sandbox or, even, Google Video? Not many. That’s one reason Google bought YouTube, even though they have Google Video already done and out there.

    Getting audiences is tough. Microsoft has some built in advantages, though. They already have huge audiences that they can bring over via links and other integrations. But even doing that has a cost. Do it too well and you’ll get hit with a DOJ lawsuit, which will cost billions.

  57. [...] Bueno, bueno, post profético de la mañana. Hay quien dice que andamos otra vez de burbuja tecnológica, y los VCs salen como setas. Blogs, Web 2.0, videos, share and communicate, patatín patatán… Otros dicen que ahora la peña anda más tranquila y no nos vamos a dar el batacazo, pero huele un poquito a cuerno quemado. Yo sólo quiero ahorrar lo suficiente para comprarme una vaca e irme a vivir una vida tranquila a Dakota del norte. Sin embargo, si alguien va a hacerse millonario, que me escriba una línea o dos, sí? Si vas a ser billonario, también vale. [...]

  58. [...] Nei giorni attuali, in cui il colosso Google acquista YouTube – un servizio gratuito di condivisione di clip video – per oltre un miliardo e mezzo di dollari, l’ombra di una possibile nuova bolla speculativa sembra farsi avanti. Anche Bill Gates avverte di un fallimento imminente: le aziende continuano a preoccuparsi del traffico internet e del numero di accessi ai propri siti, siamo tornati in una bolla. Robert Scoble, ex dirigente di Microsoft, non è così pessimista e nota maggiore consapevolezza negli affari in rete. Per quanto riguarda, invece, l’aspetto sociale, tutta quella conoscenza nata dal basso, dagli stessi utenti, resterà sicuramente anche se le finanze dovessero, ancora una volta, sgonfiarsi. La domanda che si può sollevare alla luce di questo processo è quindi: cosa accadrà dopo? Il Web 3.0 potrebbe essere l’internet delle cose, cioè ogni oggetto fisico e virtuale sempre connesso alla rete e con cui è possibile interagire in qualsiasi momento. [...]

  59. [...] 被The Economists 誉为Chief humanising officer 的 Scoble这个曾经的微软第一博客男,就像他以前褒扬Apple一样,第一个站出来反驳Gates,Scoble嘲笑到:“SoapBox(微软的视频服务)甚至没有一个像样的域名,我只能靠Google的搜索引擎找到他。”他毫不掩饰的说:“我重来不喜欢和Bill打赌,但这一次,MicroSoft将会花几倍的钱抄袭(clone)那些成功的Web2.0网站。“ [...]