# Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Google is afraid of the potential of a Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo. On Sunday, Google posted a reaction on the takeover deal. Google's reply is well, amusing.

They cry wolf.They say that the deal is uncompetitive. I find that hard to accept when Microsoft+ Yahoo= a tiny fraction of Google's market share in ad and search traffic. They are also crying foul saying that Microsoft is the big evil machine. This is an easy thing to do in the valley. Everyone hates Microsoft in the valley. Flickr even has a protest group. The valley is home to the anti-Microsoft camp: Oracle, Sun, Apple, and Google. Lots of people in Silicon Valley will automatically say "Microsoft is Evil!" when prompted just as people will automatically say "Down with Bush!" when promoted at a Clinton rally. Why do they hate Microsoft? They are the "evil empire" of course. Microsoft is big, owns too much market share, and is arrogant according to the valley faithful.

But Google has to look in the mirror. They are the big 800 lb gorilla everyone is afraid of! Not Yahoo, not Microsoft!

Google is the reason that Yahoo has failed as a company and is a takeover target. Yahoo use to be the sizzle of the Internet, now Google destroyed them. Google is the reason why the most profitable company of all time, Microsoft, is scared and doing such  a bold move. Yahoo may be Microsoft’s last hope to be a meaningful player on in a Web.20 world. Who's to blame? Google. Google is the big bad machine nowadays.

Back to the deal, Yahoo has three choices.

First they can ride out the offer and try to stay independent. That is unlikely since the company is in such deep trouble. They may also face shareholder lawsuits if they reject Microsoft's offer. Maybe they can take hedge fund money or be acquired by an European telecom or take money from a sovereign wealth fund.

Second they can outsource their search and ads to Google and focus on being a portal. They may raise their revenue by 25% in doing so according to the Wall Street Journal. This would be a total surrender. (Remember it was Yahoo that put Google on the map!) The DOJ may get involved in this case since Google would own search except for smaller players like MSN and Ask.

Third option is to take the Microsoft offer. This is the most likely outcome.

There is likely to be some DOJ action on this case, however, a Yahoo-Microsoft deal would make an actual attractive competitor to Google. Absent of the deal, Yahoo has to do something, most likely outsource the search and ads to Google. Google could be a very dangerous company without any real competition (Microsoft's AdCenter is a poor competitor) in the search advertising space. They would be more evil then Microsoft on the desktop.

Google knows this. This is why their CEO phoned Yahoo and said that they will give Yahoo any "help" they need to fight off the takeover. The status quo suits Google well. That is why they are arguing for it.

But there is no more status quo. If the DOJ blocks the deal and Yahoo remains independent, Yahoo will not remain independent for much longer. Someone else will acquire them, Yahoo is in too much trouble.

Google is afraid. They should be. Their world is about to change drastically. Their share price dropped almost 10% since this deal was announced. If the deal goes through, Microsoft will eventually lose the evil empire title and Google will be crowned the new king of evil. Funny since their motto is "do no evil."

posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 4:41:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Friday, February 1, 2008

At TechEd Developers in Barcelona, Spain last November, I did an interactive session on ASP.NET Scaling tips. It was such a hit they had to move it to a large room-very difficult to make an interactive session. I took tons of questions and just had a conversation with the audience-and even had some rebel rousers in the back who I had to mock publicly. It was a great session (at least I think so).

Turns out that they filmed it behind my back. That is cool since now it will be published on MSDN Spotlight. You can see it here.

posted on Friday, February 1, 2008 7:29:12 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 30, 2008

After watching Facebook's popularity jump with the release of its applications and API, MySpace is releasing its own API for developers on February 5th. Developers can sign up here.The platform will be interoperable with Google’s OpenSocial platform, so applications written for OpenSocial will work on MySpace.

This is a smart move for MySpace. The next version of the Web, Web 2.5, is all about making your site/network as a platform. Think of MySpace and Facebook as MSDOS back in the day. Now that data interoperability is starting to happen (Microsoft is the latest to join the Data Portability Group), sites will compete on the quality of their APIs and ability to attract developers to their platform, not how many users data they keep locked up.

I can see in the future more data/infrastructure sites providing backend social networking services (profile and login via OpenID, storage, social networking software, etc)via web services for front-end sites that focus on the user experience, API and attracting developers. One day Facebook and MySpace may even outsource their storage, profile, and social networking pieces and focus on their API.

posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:33:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 24, 2008

Here is my letter to the State of New York on document formats and interoperability, my home state now wants to ban saving documents in any format but ODF:

Darlene Van Sickle
Principal Attorney
New York State Office for Technology
State Capitol, ESP - PO Box 2062
Albany, NY 12220-0062

Email: erecords-study AT oft.state.ny.us

Dear Ms. Van Sickle:

I am writing in response to the Request for Public Comments regarding document formats and interoperability. I am a technology professional who has spent many years envisioning, implementing and maintaining solutions for companies both large and small. Given the enormous diversity of needs most companies and governments have internally, I am concerned that your office is heading down a path of mandating a solution that will limit choice and increase costs for our State agencies.

Companies I have worked with over the years, such as Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and the National Football League, often have the same concerns that the State does: accessibility to documents, interoperability, and longevity. But each company and each department may have different needs. So solutions are created with goals in mind, rather than to a specific, locked-in solution. Your study suggests the opposite approach, forcing every department and office to build strategies around a locked-in, one-size-fits-all technology.

If your agency decided to prevent any text document from being stored under existing methods - requiring even the simplest text note to be stored in a new, untested format called ODF- it would force the state to undertake a massive conversion of all existing documents for data retention and indexing. Even if the tools to do this significant transition were free, the testing, rollout, and support costs would be enormous.

Finally, locking every state agency and department into today's technology could be the equivalent of mandating 8 track tapes in the era of CDs. While XML is hot technology right now, it's important to note that just a few years ago, the HTML standard used for the web was a wild new idea. Archie, FTP and Gopher were to tools of the day - now they are almost unheard of. If we have learned one thing in the past decade, it's that technology changes quickly.

I would urge the State to allow Agencies and departments to choose the format and technology that best serves their needs, rather than a locked in solution that may fit no one's.


Stephen Forte

Senior Partner, Accord Advisory Group



posted on Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:01:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I am traveling this week in Vilnius, Lithuania. I am visiting my friends at DocLogix, a .NET based document management software development firm in Vilnius, helping them scope out their next version.

While here I realize how small the world has become. Lithuania is a country not many people have heard of, which is too bad since its culture and history goes back over 1,000 years. There are city walls that date back to the 1400s and most castles and churches date back to the 1500s and were rebuilt in the 1700s.

 IMG_0680 - Copy

What I find amazing is that just 17 years ago Lithuania was not an independent country, it was part of the Soviet Union. There are signs of it in some places (like this workers unite photo below), but now Lithuania is a full member of the EU and the NATO alliance. DocLogix's office is in a technology park, once a tank storage and troops barracks for the Soviet Russian Army.

IMG_0678 - Copy

Besides blogging and emailing (Eastern Europe is very wired, there is free wifi everywhere in Vilnius) I have been keeping in touch with Skype and uploading my photos on flickr. Just 5 years ago it was not this easy to be connected to the rest of the world when traveling. The world has changed and getting smaller.


I ate Pig's Ear. I found it surprisingly good (like smoked bacon) and had 3 ears, but the locals eat it all up.

IMG_0704 - Copy

posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 1:35:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Sunday, January 20, 2008

Microsoft will be hosting a Silverlight 1.0 Firestarter event in New York City this month on Saturday, January 26th!   If you missed the Firestarter event Microsoft hosted in the Philly area last month, this is your chance to make up for it.  This day long event is free to anyone who wants to learn about designing and developing with Microsoft Silverlight 1.0.

clip_image002[6]Microsoft Silverlight 1.0 is a cross platform browser plug-in that enables for easy development of media rich web sites.  For more information, visit http://silverlight.net.

Mark your calendars now for January 26th.   Registration is now open!


Here is the agenda:

8:30 am – 9:00 am - Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:45 am - Keynote

10:45 am – 11:45 am - Microsoft Expression Design Tools

11:45 am  – 12:45 pm - XAML Essentials for Silverlight

12:45 pm – 1:30 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm  – 2:30 pm - Developer Tools for Silverlight

2:30 pm  – 3:30 pm - Media, Markers and More

3:30 pm – 3:45 pm - Break

3:45 pm  – 4:45 pm - Silverlight and AJAX

4:45 pm  – 5:00 pm - Giveaways

posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 5:17:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 19, 2008

A few weeks ago I read an article in Wired magazine about how a Silicon Valley start-up named 23andme will decode your DNA. Since the Human Genome was mapped a few years ago, this is now possible. So I signed up. Here is how it works.

I went to the 23andme web site and signed up. It cost US $1,000. They sent me via FedEx a kit. Basically a little tube arrived. I spit into the tube and sent it back today. In about 4 weeks I will be able to log into the 23andme web site and see my results.

It will be very cool. First I will see if my parents are really my parents? (Well I have my Dad's nose and my mom's cheekbones, so I guess they are stuck with me.) Which parent gave me the SQL gene? (I am banking on my great-great-great Grandmother.)

Am I prone to have Cancer? (Two of my Grandparents died of Cancer.) Am I prone to Heart Disease? (My Grandfather died from a heart attack at a young age.) Do I have the royal disease?

Did I inherit my grandfather's sense of smell? Why do I climb mountains and run marathons? Why do I travel so much? Maybe I am related to an explorer like Magellan or something.

Am I related to anyone famous like George Washington or King Tut? (Are Warren and Jimmy Buffet related? They went to 23andme to find out.)   23andme has Ancestry tools! 23andme says: "Genetically, humans are overwhelmingly similar to one another. But over the millennia, slight genetic differences between people have emerged and been passed down. 23andMe's Global Similarity tool compares your genome to those of people around the world. The more similar you are to people in a particular region, the more likely your family tree sprang from that place. Once you locate some likely candidates, we bring them all alive with information about their history, favorite foods, music, languages, and even pets. "

My results are due back in about 4 weeks, of course I will share them here.

One again I am always amazed what people can do with technology.

posted on Saturday, January 19, 2008 11:06:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Thursday, January 17, 2008

Data portability took a huge step forward today. Yahoo! just joined the OpenID 2.0 framework.

OpenID is an open framework that eliminates the need for multiple usernames across different web sites and applications. Today there are 120 million members and a lot of sites that support it (including Plaxo and many others you may use today.) But the best part is that your OpenID ID will always stay with you-even if you close your account. So if you are a Plaxo user with OpenID and a Yahoo! user with OpenID, you can close your Yahoo! account and use the same OpenID with Plaxo. If Google joined OpenID, you can leave Yahoo! and join Google easily.

Speaking of which, there are rumors that Google, IBM and Verisign will join OpenID shortly. Yahoo has 250 million users and will build momentum to OpenID, enough momentum that Google, IBM and Verisign will find compelling to join. Maybe Microsoft will then make its Passport interoperable with OpenID?

Now OpenID is a very attractive platform. This is the beginning of a fundamental change in the Internet. Our profiles will now be potable. Soon we will have true data portability (meanign the date in my LinkedIn or Facebook account can travel with me when I leave). It will lead to a change in how the social networking sites operate. As I stated two weeks ago, Data portability will force the social networking sites to differentiate themselves based on features and functionality. It will make the web lots of fun, creating a platform for apps.

MySpace and Facebook can compete not on the data it holds but on its API and how many developers it attracts to create third party apps on their platform. I have always said that Web 2.0 is web sites as a platform (Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook’s APIs) much like MS DOS was a platform. Web 2.5 is the platform with open data portability standards and single sign-on. We have single sign-on in our sights. Next step is full data portability.

UPDATE (Jan 18, 2008)

Google has been testing OpenID since November in its Blogger product line. As of Friday, Blogger users are able to use their blogs URL as an OpenID login! (Blogger users just have to flip the switch on the admin menu.) This will add approximately 20 million more users to OpenID, on top of the 250 million yesterday. If successful, you can suspect that Google will add OpenID to more of its properties.

posted on Thursday, January 17, 2008 1:04:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback