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June 30, 2004

Pricing pressure

Big mouth Ellison during court proceedings -

There was going to be tremendous price pressure on our applications business

He gets it, lot of application software companies are still working out of million-dollar-a-pop mentality. Those solutions will be ideal candidate for future Salesforced attacks.

June 30, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hanuman Bridge

This simple observation can jump start many political careers in India. How about starting with the issue of renaming this to Hanuman Bridge.
Impressive discovery if it can withstand scientific scrutiny.

June 30, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

America: the world's biggest hedge fund

More Buttonwood analysis on the impact of interest rate rise -

The current account essentially comprises two things: the trade balance and overseas investment income. America’s trade deficit is bad and getting worse, even though the dollar has fallen by 23% from its recent high in February 2002. A $46.6 billion trade deficit in March had risen to $48.3 billion in April. In the absence of a net surplus from foreign investment, notes Jim O’Neill, the chief international economist at Goldman Sachs, this would mean a current-account deficit for the year of more than $600 billion, or getting on for 6% of GDP. No problem, say the more sanguine: America has long been able to finance its large and growing deficit because it is such a wonderful place in which to invest.

There are, however, a couple of snags with this argument. The first is that Americans find foreign climes more attractive to invest in than foreigners regard America: net foreign direct investment (FDI) has amounted to minus $155 billion over the last 12 months. And who can blame them? Returns on FDI into America were 5.5% in the first quarter, compared with returns of 11.7% on American firms’ foreign investment. Nor is this an aberration: the returns in America have been consistently lower for many years

..the United States is like a giant hedge fund, borrowing huge wodges of cheap money at home and then investing it in higher-yielding foreign assets.

Much of this money is now flowing into hot areas like India and China. Question is whether these newly emerging economies can survive a massive pullback of these American FDI or not. They will eventual survive but with some frequent hiccups like the one we saw right election results in India when FIIs pulled back strongly on the election surprise in the equity market.

June 30, 2004 in Dismal science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sun is a relaxed company!

That according to my friend who works in Sun Microsystem's Bangalore division. This is insider's view that lot of Wipro engineer's jumped boat to join Sun because both work pressure and work quality was too intense to handle in Wipro.

Who would you pick if you were a shareholder?

June 30, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is Reliance The Next Telco Tiger

Promod Haque is on a road-show in India. Seeking new venture opportunities and also declaring India as a big market opportunity for NVP's portfolio companies (mainly Virtela Communications and Veraz).
While giving a keynote speech at Tie Bangalore session, he strongly emphasized that Indian call centers should invest in latest telecom infrastructure in order to have a differentiating offering. Behind all this preaching is the lucrative $12billion worth of Telco gears market which Indian call center market will be needing in next 4 years.

Most of his slides were covering the obvious points such as low-cost offerings, capital efficiency, networked and Global economy, coming wave of always-connected smart-device environment, mobility etc. Two trends were clearly missing - Rise of publish-subscribe model generating new business models in the media sector and the overall impact of open source movement on the Enterprise software economics.

Though from this boring presentation one prediction stands out - According to him in next 5-10 years either Reliance or Bharti Telecom (Both India based Telco upstarts, who are seeing tremendous growth in India) could buy one of the leading carriers in US ! Though nobody will shed any tears on this deal if it really happens.

I will put my money on Reliance, These guys really know how to define the market (by creative bundling and pricing), change the market (by changing the scale) and lord over the market (if not by aggressive pricing then by befriending every politicians out there in the North and South block).


Spending some time inside their Reliance WebWorld retail outlet gives an idea of how these guys use scale, bundling and combine that with aggressive retailing to make a huge impact. Think of this place as a combination of Kinko's, Starbucks, and possibly Sprint PCS retail shops. Once the price point becomes attractive, lot of mom and pop shops doesn't need to own lot of office gear. Just walk-into the nearest WebWorld.

Judging by the crowd this place sure seems to be doing a great business. Other technologies which Reliance is working on includes Tivo-like device( at a fraction of the cost since this is India!), Comcast type content bundling (again at the fraction of the cost).

June 30, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

New economic era begins

NYT on Fed's meeting this week to revise the interest rates -

The new era of rising rates, with its uncertain implications, begins in two days.

June 27, 2004 in Dismal science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2004

Adoption Rate Of Adaptive Enterprise ?

Audrey Rasmussen is a vice president with Enterprise Management Associates
Sharing his results of the reader survey about the adoption of Adaptive Enterprise and On Demand computing solutions -

A commitment to IT from company managers is fundamental to IT
delivering effective service in support of the business. Without
full support from the company's management, IT simply can't come
close to delivering the potential value that it offers to the

For example, one reader found a mess when he first joined his
company. He has begun to get things under control, but there's a
lot more work ahead to make processes more efficient. He's had
several things on his to-do list for at least a year, "but there
haven't been any funds or priorities put on IT. It has been an
uphill battle just getting management to recognize the
importance of these issues, even though I've done ROI
[analysis], etc...Automation? I'm still trying to get reports
generated automatically. Adaptive network? I'd like to be able
to see the network traffic. To get the things done that need to
be done, I need people that can do the job and the money that
the projects require. I haven't had either."

He also mentions that it will be at least 12 to 18 months before
he can even think about the new gadgets.
So if you're in the
company's executive management team and you're not getting much
value out of your IT team, first take a look at your financial
and priority commitment to IT
. It may not be the fault of IT -
the fault could be in your lack of commitment to IT.

Another reader takes issue with the high-end management
initiatives and tools as being only relevant for the Fortune 50
and not the masses. He also takes issue with management tools
that are not designed with the customer in mind, making them
difficult to use, useless or difficult to deploy.

He goes on to identify three problems with the network
management industry. First, things are too complex; it takes too
much time and knowledge to get it right. He'd like the vendors
to deliver something that works well. Second, software is too
costly and doesn't do enough without customization. Third, he
says he's tired of marketing hype and jargon that shifts focus
away from the functionality of the product. This reader touts
lower-end management tools (in the $10,000 to $20,000 range) as
providing good value and being good enough to get the job done.
Some of the tools that he likes in this category are What's Up
Gold, SolarWinds Orion and CiscoWorks LMS.

Yet another reader lamented the negative effects of regulatory
compliance on IT budgets and staffs. He says, "All industries...
are under attack by Sarbanes-Oxley. Software and hardware
purchases in the foreseeable future will be geared toward
fulfilling government regulations imposed by this over-the-top
legislation and/or some facet of it. It has already started. The
cost to U.S. industries will be in the billions... and that's
before any software is developed and put in place to achieve the
bill's ultimate goals... And guess where the estimated $1.6
million [per] large company to get this all done is going to
come from!"

From the limited sample of responses I received from readers, it
looks like you're up to your eyeballs dealing with "just the
ordinary" and trying to keep your heads above water.
Bread-and-butter management tools (if you get the money to
purchase them) are still the order of the day.

Interestingly, I didn't receive any responses from readers who
are planning to start down the Adaptive or On Demand path.

You have to read between the lines to isolate the vendor hype from the actual customer adoption.

June 23, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2004

More What-ifs..

Buttonwood's dreading the worst case

what would happen to the American economy were property prices to tank, at the same time that oil prices soared and the fiscal stimulus ran out. It wouldn’t look pretty, that’s for sure.

Talking about probability, IMHO this dire what-if for triple whammy is highly unlikely.
On the related topic, Dan Gillmor should come to Bangalore to see how Bay Area has a friend when it comes to the real estate market craziness.

June 22, 2004 in Dismal science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2004

Settling in ..

Blogging had been extremely slow in the last couple of weeks. Now that I am settling into our new Bangalore office hopefully I can write with more regularity. This is my second visit to the city within the span of 6months. With all the IT-driven changes happening, one thing remains same - non stop construction activity. I guess it's a sign of development.

Funny incident happened in the office while requesting bai (maidservant) to clean up the rooms. Not able to understand what I was saying She looked up at me and said "Kannada" and "Tamil" only. To that I replied "Hindi" and "English" only. Conversation stopped right there.

I should pick up atleast one south Indian language.

June 15, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2004

Wiki based prototypes look promising

When you are documenting/brainstorming "with" the community then it helps to have a tool which provides best practices support -

MASE is a wiki derived from JspWiki. It is a research prototype developed at the University of Calgary. It can be used as typical corporate intranets but its primary target users are software development teams practicing AgileSoftwareDevelopment (i.e. ExtremeProgramming, ScrumProcess, etc.).
More variants on Wiki available here.

Check it out, Wikis will increasingly become a must-have tool for virtual teams.

June 3, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack