Ronnie05's Blog

HP and the Monkey Act!

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on October 29, 2011

There was this monkey who once wanted to cross the busy road! One day he declared his grand intention to his family and set afoot. Having reached the road, he stepped out but was caught in the melee of the traffic. He would step ahead, step back, step aside, step around, step over, jump, shout, hop, run forward, run back… and make a monkey of himself on the road

A short story but a long similarity with one of the most respected technology companies in the world: Hewlett Packard.HP has forever been caught on transition (it seems) with no strategy or long term thought on the way forward. There are many other examples of companies and boards that have been profligate and have squandered away all investor faith and confidence: Nokia, RIM, Yahoo and more.. and HP is certainly not the worst. It has managed to erode only about 50% of its market capitalization in the last 2 years or so, which is pretty neat.


HP’s stock price has mirrored the caprices of its board and CEOs

So here’s the folly list (or so i think):

1. So everyone wants to be Apple. But there aint no Apple No.2. HP failed to understand its own core proposition and went on the “ape” route.

2. Needless to say all of the HP smartphones and the touchpads found no takers. The markets already had Apple and Android to content with. If ever there was a third front, it was Microsoft.

3. Did HP’s BoD and Lee Apotheokar assume that mobile market to be simplistic enough that a Palm WebOS purchase would suffice? Ever since HP took over Palm, Palm and WebOS got more sidelined than ever.

4. After buying out Palm for 1.25 bln and the $1 bln restructuring cost booked in Q4 2010, the effort has been a drain on the resources and a massive let down for the shareholders.

5. Then came the announcement that HP is moving away from hardware business to software and consultancy focus.Many call this restructuring and I call that an IBM cloning.

6. Surprise! Surprise! Today morning newspapers report that HP actually doesnt want to sell it PC business now. About turn from stated strategic intent less than a month or so back.

7. Beat this then, when HP wants to side with Windows 8 for tablets! So Apothekar buys out Plam and WebOS and outlines a grand strategy for WebOS. Now CEO Meg Whitman does the boring and sundry and wants to get back to Windows 8.

Venturing into Mobile (and moving out), Buying WebOS (and failure to Leverage), Moving out of hardware and coming back to it. The question begs to be asked; Does the HP board know what is it that it is driving at. Or is it the monkey act in between all the chaos and confusion that tech industry always is.

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Digital Disruption- The time to adapt is now. The case study of HTML5

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on October 28, 2011

In the era of converging technologies and boundary-less services paradigm, digitally enabled consumers are seeking to forever alter the way companies serve them. The YouTube, Facebook and Groupon generation of Digital consumers want more benefits, more easily, than they received in an analog world. Coupled with that crowd-sourced ideas and oddities, which are disrupting business paradigms more than ever. The enabled and connected consumers are able to introduce and experiment idea frameworks on a more cheaper and larger/global scale than ever before with the reach of Web technologies. The effects of digital disruption would start over-ruling industries in the immediate future perspective.

Companies, both old economy and new economy are today wary of the digital disruption and are working at such on disruption readiness to counter their disruption vulnerability. An example to serve here is the case of HTML5 which is going to redefine internet and web experiences as never before. Who then are the losers? Microsoft, Apple and Adobe for example, each with an empire that has taken a decade or two to build but may see quick decimation thanks to the platform agnostic media programming and distribution paradigm that HTML5 advocates. Notwithstanding the disruption readiness that these majors are putting in place, HTML5 would still be instrumental in liberating the Web and eroding the high market share standings available with Microsoft, Apple and Adobe.

Ready or not, the only solution available to companies will be to become a digital disruptor to their existing lines of business. By cannibalizing the present and future, will the present day businesses be able to invent the future. Planning for digital disruption is the new mode of doing business, which is constantly seeking the next adjacent possibility and working to quickly deliver product experiences that satisfy the digital consumers.

The Global Tablets growth story (Strategy Analytics)

Posted in Industry updates, Mobile Computing by Manas Ganguly on October 25, 2011

According to a report released by Strategy Analytics, the Q3 2011 global tablet markets are now showing a shift from a Apple Monopoly to a Apple-Android Duopoly.Google’s Android-based tablets have gained market share in the iPad dominated tablet market during the third quarter of 2011. Samsung’s huge marketing effort behind its Galaxy tab series is finally beginning to pay off with Galaxy tablets currently accounting for 9% of the total tablet market.

The global tablet markets grew by 280% y-o-y in Q3. Android steamed the growth by a 440% growth wheras iPad clocked 161% growth. Consequently the iPad which dominated smartphone shipments in Q3 2010 with 96% market share is now on 66% share of the market and Android has 27% of the market.

There is reason to believe Android’s growth on tablets will continue to grow into 2012, as the introduction of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich could help tablet adoption among Android smartphone users.Amazon’s Kindle Fire will also drive Android tablet sales, estimating the company will sell more than 15 million units by 2013.

The catch in these statistics is that Android activations still lag iPad activations.The recently released Good Technology Device Activations Report for Q3 2011 shows that when it comes to tablets in business, enterprise users are clearly choosing iPad over the alternatives, noting “iOS tablets represent over 96 percent of total tablet activations”. Their graphic (below) also speaks volumes.

Android tablet activations remain in the realm of a rounding error compared to what we’re seeing with the iPad and iPad2.However the good news from Android from the same reserach source, Good technology, is that Android activations “steadily grew” during the quarter landing at an average of 29.2 percent while total net iOS activations fell from 78.7 percent in Q2 to 70.8 percent.

All this goes to say is that it is still early days for Tablets, Android and Apple (and possibly a missing Windows8). The markket is currently in the expanding mode and will continue to be so till 2015-16. Low cost constraint based innovation like the $35 Android tablet made by Datawind for India’s ministry of Human Resource Development will power penetration, reach and the mainstreaming of tablets as the next generationcomputing devices over the laptop (and possibly the smartphone).

Ahead! Ahoy! for tablets it is then.

HTML5 – Future of the web (Losers offsetting losses) (Part III)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on October 24, 2011

Read Part I and Part II here.

Apple has benefited from a similar monopoly, but on deployment. Capturing 30% of every application and piece of content sold to an iPhone or iPad user has become a multi-billion dollar business for the boys in Cupertino. With HTML5, an increasing amount of content, and eventually applications, will be able to circumvent the Apple bottleneck. The good news for Apple is that the advent of HTML5 may once and for all put their Achilles heel of not supporting Flash behind them. Apple has rushed to adopt HTML5 across its product line, and Steve Jobs was very direct and vocal that the combination of HTML5, CSS, and Javascript was far superior to Flash as far as Apple was concerned.

Apple’s rush to adopt HTML5 might seem to be at odds with what many financial analysts have described as the major threat HTML5 poses to Apple’s monopoly with the App Store. Apple has been tweaking its implementation of HTML5 in the Safari browser to limit some capabilities, like auto-play of audio and video, using customer satisfaction as the reason. Perhaps it’ll be able to continue to steer developers who want the ultimate experience on iPhones and iPads to continue to use the App Store, even if it’s just to sell wrapped versions of their HTML5 interfaces. In any case, Apple has certainly decided that it has more to gain from embracing the emerging HTML5 standard — growing the potential market for iPads and iPhones — and getting out of its morass with Flash, than it would by dragging its feet or proposing its own alternative. Complicating matters are some ongoing patent disputes between Apple and the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) — which drives standards for the web.

If Adobe and Apple are right in their public assessment of the opportunities which HTML5 presents them, then Microsoft may be the biggest loser — although even desktop vendors will benefit in some ways, as trendy web applications will be able to run on their machines, instead of being limited to tablets. Of the big loosers, is the web monopoly notably Microsoft. HTML5’s platform independence hits Microsoft where it hurts the most: Desktops and Desktop Applications. Obviously Microsoft isn’t standing still, so whether their share of internet-connected devices continues to slip — from 95% to 50% in the last three years — is open to debate, but the dominance will clearly erode, a trend likely to be accelerated by HTML5′s device-independent promise.
Revamping the web with an improved set of content protocols might really benefit everyone.

Clearly, though, Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe have the most at risk, and could still turn out big losers on this one.

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Is there a Business case for LTE in India? (Part II)

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on October 22, 2011

This post is the second of a two part series on the scenario around LTE network deployments in India.Read First post here

Aircel and Bharti Airtel are believed to be targeting the enterprise segment. While the enterprise segment are the biggest in terms of data usage, the success of LTE will depend on the fact that there has to be a compelling reason for large enterprises to move to LTE network.Initial traction on Data services will depend on how well the vertical applications are engineered for key industry verticals. Verticals like healthcare and banking, which have to be always-on are likely to be the early adopters of LTE, provided applications are developed around them. In case this happens, it might be possible to expect a much higher ARPU from LTE. Having said that, going by the 3G experience, it is quite clear that price is going to be a critical factor (if not the deciding factor!) for the uptake of BWA services.

Further to this, the government needs to put in place a telecom policy that could be instrumental in regulatory guidance and support which would impact faster roll-outs of the services at reasonable tariffs. Unlike 3G auction mechanism, where spectrum licences were bought by operators had extremely high bids leaving precious little CAPEX for network roll outs and resulting in high and unreasonable tariffs (for recovery of investment), government needs to play a more inclusive role in successful 4G LTE roll outs. In the 3G auction case, the only winner was the government who made a handsome lot through the bidding process. This time, the government could keep the bids controlled, lease the spectrum, sponsor the networks infrastructure (or cost share) and foster network infrastructure sharing arrangements between the service providers. This would leave a pool for the Telecom sector where investments could be made into value added ancillary services which would promote usage of the network.

Besides enterprise segments, some operators might also be looking at the rural market initially for LTE services. Experts believe that it will be sometime before Indian operators expect returns from this new service. They might have made huge investments, but right now it is unclear as to how long the investment will take to make profit.

Is there a Business case for LTE in India? (Part I)

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on October 20, 2011

This post is the first of a two part series on the scenario around LTE network deployments in India.

Ten years of trailblazing performances and more, the Indian Telecom story needs a new super hero. This is necessitated by the demands of the bandwidth starved data hungry customers are placing an inordinate amount of pressure on the spectrum. The Indian government has been instrumental and forward planning to meet the challenges of increased data bandwidths. That is where 4G LTE services hold out a promise to provide super speed technology on high bandwidth spectrum.

Despite the initial success in field trials, a key question facing the operators is the financial viability and the unclear business models surrounding this emerging technology. Though the industry remains gung-ho about the potential of LTE TDD, it is imperative that the industry evaluates certain critical factors to decide on the business case of the technology. Of the 160 million broadband connections expected by the end of 2014, a good percentage is to come from LTE services which is expected to drive 60 per cent of next level mobile broadband growth.

However, post the lukewarm response to 3G, experts believe that operators need to have a viable business model, clear go-to-market strategy and a marketing campaign designed to target specific segments, niches and user segments of the society to make a business case from the soon-to-be launched Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) technology. There has to be a proper strategy in place to make sure that all investment-related decisions (for LTE TDD) are being taken after due consideration. Operators are yet to make 3G a true business case in India, and if proper targets are not set, many operators may find it challenging to survive.

Contrarian to the earlier view, analysts also believe, what works in favor of operators in India is the relative lukewarm response to 3G, which leaves a lot of scope for LTE to make headway. However, on the flip-side, discouraging numbers for 3G uptake is likely to have some impact on LTE roll-out as well. If 3G has been unable to set the mobile broadband segment on fire in the country, what is it that LTE would offer which will make customers embrace it.

HTML5 – Future of the web (Of Winners and Losers) (Part II)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on October 19, 2011

Continued from earlier post

Mobile application developers will also benefit from having a consistent set of interfaces across their target platforms. Suffering currently from the high cost of developing for multiple platforms, as HTML5 is fleshed out with related technologies like WebGL and hardware device APIs they will increasingly be able to have a single source code base that can be deployed across a wide variety of mobile platforms. Third-party HTML5 frameworks like Sencha and Appcelerator already help make that possible.

Less obvious is the benefit HTML5 offers for mobile device vendors that are lagging in the war to gather applications. Many developers have ignored webOS and BlackBerry because of the high cost of developing a separate version of their applications. Running HTML5 will give those platforms a new lease on life — if webOS hasn’t completely disappeared by the time HTML5 has a chance to try and save it.
Amazon has been quick to realize the potential for HTML5 to unlock more content for its Kindle platform, announcing a new version of the Kindle e-Book format, KF8, that is based on HTML5, and an HTML5-based Kindle reader available on the web. What Amazon will lose in its proprietary lock on the Kindle format it is hoping to make up for with a surge of content suitable for its Kindle readers, resulting from the support of HTML5.

The Losers

From the outside the apparent losers from HTML5 would seem to be Adobe and Apple. Adobe has been king of the cross-platform development hill with Flash, where it has a near-monopoly on development tools. Adobe is quickly gearing up with an impressive set of similar tools for HTML5, but it won’t have the same monopoly position it enjoyed with Flash. Countering its loss of market share, the total market may expand exponentially as HTML5 is likely to experience dramatic growth for the forseeable future — and of course includes the iOS platform as a target, always a sticking point for Flash. In the long run Adobe believes it can use its broad suite of tools to continue to be the leader in standards-based web development tools — HTML5 or not.

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HTML5 – Future of the web (Of Winners and Losers)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on October 17, 2011

HTML5 and the related technologies augmenting and complimenting it are set to modernize the technology of the web. HTML5 is an umbrella term that is often used to include HTML5 itself, plus scores of enhancements to programming and media control capabilities, but the technical changes are just the beginning of HTML5′s impact. What follows are the new capabilities which will be big changes in how money can be generated on the web. There are going to be both significant winners and losers.

Who Wins?

Content providers are the clearest winners from the widespread adoption of HTML5. Instead of having to develop dedicated applications for each mobile platform, to give their customers a compelling experience, they will be able to offer a single, HTML5-based offering that will run across desktops and mobile devices — greatly reducing their development costs.
• DirecTV has launched an HTML5 interface using cross-platform HTML5 framework Sencha, for example.
• Comedy news site The Onion was able to develop its tablet front end in only 6 weeks by relying on HTML5.

Even more important for content providers, making their sites available through HTML5 “web apps” can break the monopoly of app stores. Instead of paying Apple a 30% royalty on a magazine or newspaper subscription, for example, publishers can sell the subscriptions to customers directly — since they won’t need to have their applications distributed through an application store anymore. A simple web authentication of a subscription will suffice, and the web app would be available from any device that supports HTML5.
• The Financial Times has already gone this route, trumpeting the business value, and the added convenience of a single sign-on and consistent interface across platforms for consumers.

Also breathing a sigh of relief as HTML5 is adopted will be the developers of cloud-based software solutions. Box.net has already announced an HTML5 front end, as an alternative to running dedicated applications on each client platform. Other enterprise software vendors using the cloud, like Salesforce.com, aren’t far behind in adopting HTML5 as their client platform. Since the entire premise of the cloud is that everything should be available everywhere, it is only a matter of time before almost all cloud services veer towards HTML5 front ends to become universally accessible.

continued here

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The story behind Nokia Meltemi

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on October 11, 2011

Nokia has been risking an “also ran” tag in the mobile phone markets it used to dominate till about a few quarters back. It is already marginalized in the Smartphone segment and provided the WP-Nokia deal works out great, Nokia is already a thing of yesterday in smartphones. Nokia’s decision not to compete in the US markets and moving out of other hyper smartphone markets such as Japan indicate the weakness.Just as Nokia has been out-innovated in the smartphone market in recent years, the company has been slow to adapt in developing markets where share is being stripped by other big players and gray market handset vendors alike

As Nokia fights to regain its footing, the company recently abandoned Symbian and MeeGo to instead adopt Windows Phone in an effort to stabilize its declining smartphone business. But that move only addresses half of Nokia’s problem. A firm position in the big-margin smartphone market will be paramount to the vendor’s success moving forward, but the market for low-cost devices is still massive. Just as Nokia’s smartphone sales have spiraled downward in recent quarters, Nokia’s feature phone business been in sharp decline as well. Nokia took drastic measures in an effort to turn its smart device business around, and with the announcement of Meltemi, it appears as though the Finnish phone maker also has plans for its low-end phones.

Towards the later purpose, Nokia is developing a Linux-based operating system code-named “Meltemi”. The Meltemi will allow the phone maker to offer devices with smart capabilities at rock bottom prices, extending well beyond the company’s potential reach with Windows Phone in emerging markets. Meltemi will be the Linux based replacement for the Symbian S40 platform that has been workhorse at Nokia. Now with the UI and Apps taking the centre piece in Mobile OS, Symbian S40 wasnt cutting the ice. The choice of Linux is but obvious given that Linux with opensource code makes development easier and cheaper.

Phones powered by Nokia’s Meltemi operating system will not be smartphones at all, and the standings of Windows Phone with Nokia doesn’t change a bit.The new platform is on the one hand very much aligned with Nokia’s mobile phone strategy stated earlier in the year (‘connecting one billion to the internet…’), but it’s also a competitive response to the newest trend seen in the gray handsets markets in the emerging world. China vendors are producing quasi-smartphones, another potentially unmet demand segment at significantly low prices based on the MTK chipsets.

Meltemi will come into play, providing a smartphone lookalike that will essentially be a feature phone to address the demand for these phones in the emerging world and, Nokia hopes, preempt competition from the gray market vendors as well as their main nemesis in this segment – Samsung.

Nokia-WP partnership and the upcoming Nokia-WP Mango smartphones have been hogging the limelight ever since the “burning platform” declaration by Stephen Elop. Windows Phone is only part of the puzzle Nokia is now in the process of piecing together, and its upcoming proprietary OS will play an equally important role in helping Nokia re-establish its position as a global leader.

Highlights of Draft National Telecom policy 2011

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on October 10, 2011

Mission of NTP 2011:- To offer Broadband on Demand to all Indians and develop state of Art network special focus on rural broadband.

Vision of NTP 2011:- To provide secure, reliable and high speed broadband to all.

Rural Initiatives:-
1) To increase the rural density to 60% by 2017 from 35%. And ultimately to 100% by 2020.
2) Provide high speed Broadband to village panchayat through the high speed fibre by 2014.

One Country, one license regime:-
1) Intra Circle MNP to be allowed.
2) Review of the roaming charges, with the ultimate aim of removing them.

Spectrum initiatives:-
1) To provide 500Mhz by 2020, 300Mhz by 2017 and further 200Mhz by 2020.
2) To allow pooling, Sharing and Trading (later on) of Spectrum .
3) Separate spectrum Act to be enacted for the management of spectrum.
4) Spectrum to be de-linked from license. And the price to be determined through market driven process.
5) Periodic Audit of spectrum to make sure that it is utilised efficiently.
6) Roadmap for spectrum every 5 years to ensure the future availability.

Other highlights:-
1) Affordable broadband on demand to 175mn by 2017 and 600mn by 2020, with minimum speed of 2Mbps.
2) Will seek TRAI’s recommendation on new licenses, migration to new licenses and exit policy.
3) To regulate VAS, in order to provide the converged services.
4) Change in the definition of broadband from current speed of 256Kbps to 512Kbps and finally to 2Mbps.
5) Delinking license from the usage of service- network provider is not necessary the service provider.
6) Promote the domestic manufactured equipments upto 80% of total requirement.

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