Tagged: microsoft

Value of Free (and Passion)

One of the most significant changes the social software has enabled is the ability for people to find and connect with other people who share their passions. Not only are we able to meet and build relationships across the boundaries of time and space, but we are also able to collaborate on projects and develop new products.

By enabling people to find and connect with others and collaborate in spite of time or geographic boundaries, the social web has, in a way, giving us more free time to explore our creativity and our passions. We have seen an explosion of new ideas and new products online, many are simply artistic expressions, others are tools developed because they were the types of tools the developers wanted to use, and few have been developed with the purpose of making money.

The ability for people to develop tools that they want to use or to connect with others to enhance their skills and work on their Art has been drastically shaking up the business world, not just recently, but since the web first connected people of like minds.

Chris Anderson, the author of The Long Tail, also wrote a great book called Free where he shares several case studies about how Free has shaken up traditional revenue models.

I am particularly intrigued by the Ego of Microsoft when it came to them trying to shrug of Linux.

From Free – page 106- 107
Where had Microsoft been for Linux’s first decade? Mostly hoping that the free operating system would go away or remain insignificant, like most other free software had to date. Even if it didn’t disappear completely, Microsoft executives hoped the appeal of Linux would be mostly to people who already used UNIX, rather than Microsoft’s own operating systems. That wasn’t entirely reassuring – those UNIX customers were a market Microsoft wanted, too – but it was better than direct competition. But more than anything else, Microsoft managers were confused by why any customer would want free software and all the headaches that came with products not polished to a professional sheen.

But the customers did, especially as they built larger and larger data centers to run the fast-growing Web. Maintaining one Linux server might be harder than its equivalent Microsoft counterpart, but if you’re going to deploy hundreds or thousands, learning the quirks of Linux once could save a huge amount of money down the road. By 2003, Linux’s share of the Web server market had grown closer to one-third. One way to stem the tide would have been to match the Linux price: zero. But that was simply too scary to contemplate. Instead, Microsoft mostly sniped from the sidelines.

Within the company, some engineers were already warning that Linux represented a ling-term competitive threat to Microsoft’s core business model and arguing that the company had to mount a more credible response. In 1998, one programmer circulated a memo describing open source software as a “direct revenue and platform threat to Microsoft.” The document, which was leaked and circulated as the “Halloween memo”, goes on to warn that the “free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.”

But in public, Microsoft was taking a very different stance. One news report from December 1998 goes like this: “Microsoft executives dismiss open-source as hype: “Complex future projects (will) require big teams and big capital,” said Ed Muth, a Microsoft group marketing manager. “These are things that Robin Hood and his merry band in Sherwood Forest aren’t well attuned to do.”

I, personally believe that Microsoft has and will continue to lose market share because of their arrogance and Ego when it comes to competitive threats. Dysfunctional egos do not allow people to see when they are not as good as the next guy. Dysfunctional egos that come with success give people the illusion of entitlement. Ultimately, a dysfunctional ego causes people to get blindsided.

When the Real World Meets the Virtual World

originally posted on Concept Hub

I am a fan of good wine, but when I am asked what is my favorite wine or what kind of wines I like, my mind goes blank or I think a standard wine such as Kendall Jackson.

I have read that I should keep a “wine journal.” That is just one more thing for me to keep track of.

But what if we could go to a wine tasting event and when we placed our glass on the table would tell us everything we wanted to know about the wine such as the vineyard, region, price, aroma, what menu items it is served best with, other similar wines, and more. That would be cool. But what if the table then allowed you to send that information to your Facebook profile and to your wine group. That would be quite convenient.

What if I took some friends to a club and we were taking pictures that we would want to share and the club had a table where we could simply place the camera down to see the pictures and select which ones we want to share with our friends.

This same table could be convenient at a retail store when we select the clothing items we want and get fashion advice about what accessories would go well with the item. If the store we are at does not carry the shoes that would be perfect for the dress, we could make the purchase online from that same table. Imagine the shared revenue possibilities for retail not to mention the fact that we would reduce the number of fashion disasters that happen.

All of these ideas are already in the works.

May 29, 2007, Microsoft announced the Surface table which according to Wikipedia has at least a 25-year history of being in development.

This is something you have to see to understand the possibilities.

According to Popular Mechanics

The name Surface comes from “surface computing,” and Microsoft envisions the coffee-table machine as the first of many such devices. Surface computing uses a blend of wireless protocols, special machine-readable tags and shape recognition to seamlessly merge the real and the virtual world — an idea the Milan team refers to as “blended reality.”

The article also describes how the table works.
The social media implications of this table as it becomes more available to the public are unlimited. We already carry our mobile devices to keep our friends up to date on the moment to moment happenings in our lives. Imagine when we can access our networks, our data and our presentations from our lunch table. How will this be possible? See the last post on this blog about cloud computing.

How far away is this? Not far at all. Microsoft is sending the table out to select companies as we speak. You may have already seen the table on the MSNBC Election Coverage.

Atlanta’s own Fuzebox, Inc, a partner of Concept Hub, Inc, has developed an application framework that Microsoft has evaluated as a Surface Table solution. Recently I learned that Fuzebox will be receiving their very own Surface Table, which I will have the privilege to play with.

Soon we will be wondering what is real and what is virtual…and when does it really matter?