Microsoft TechEd vs. Apple’s WWDC: Why Apple Won

By Rob Enderle, Enderle Group

If you match Apple’s resources against Microsoft’s you see a huge imbalance.  Microsoft earns more revenues, generates more cash, and its power is heavily leveraged through massive partnerships with PC and Server OEMs and service providers.  Apple is a product company whose power is offset by its partnership with AT&T.  However, if you talk about mindshare, the reverse is true. Apple is driving most every popular client platform. It has enjoyed nearly unmatched growth in value, and its CEO was Fortune magazine’s executive of the last decade while Microsoft’s CEO is under increasing pressure to leave. Read more of this post

Just a Glimpse of Windows Phone 7

Roger Kay examines Microsoft’s much-needed new smartphone OS play. I’m delighted to welcome Roger to the blog.

Next Iteration of Microsoft’s Mobile Platform Connects Well with Backend Services

The much-missing Microsoft mobile effort was on display for a brief flash — which you could easily have missed if you sneezed at the wrong moment — during Server & Tools chief Bob Muglia’s speech at TechEd in New Orleans last week.

In his defense, Muglia is a Server & Tools guy and mobile phones are pretty tangential to his main businesses.  But one couldn’t help noticing a scattered quality to his presentation.  He just had so many areas to cover — each of which easily deserved its own keynote, if not a separate conference — that he could only give them the most succinct treatment individually.  But what he did show of Windows Phone 7 indicates that the effort continues apace and we can expect to see a fairly interesting platform later this year.  Microsoft’s position in the on-fire smartphone category has been eroding in recent years, victim of Apple’s success with the iPhone and the arrival of Android as a viable alternative platform.  Elsewhere and later at the conference, other company executives announced new marketplace policies and highlighted the business value of Windows Phone 7 in 10 mobile sessions. Read more of this post

IBM’s Hardware Sneak Attack

From Judith Hurwitz:

Yesterday I read an interesting blog commenting on why Oracle seems so interested in Sun’s hardware.

I quote from a comment by Brian Aker, former head of architecture for MySQL on the O’Reily Radar blog site.  He comments on his view on why Oracle bought Sun,

Brian Aker: I have my opinions, and they’re based on what I see happening in the market. IBM has been moving their P Series systems into datacenter after datacenter, replacing Sun-based hardware. I believe that Oracle saw this and asked themselves “What is the next thing that IBM is going to do?” That’s easy. IBM is going to start pushing DB2 and the rest of their software stack into those environments. Now whether or not they’ll be successful, I don’t know. I suspect once Oracle reflected on their own need for hardware to scale up on, they saw a need to dive into the hardware business. I’m betting that they looked at Apple’s margins on hardware, and saw potential in doing the same with Sun’s hardware business. I’m sure everything else Sun owned looked nice and scrumptious, but Oracle bought Sun for the hardware.

I think that Brian has a good point. In fact, in a post I wrote a few months ago, I commented on the fact that hardware is back.  It is somewhat ironic. For a long time, the assumption has been that a software platform is the right leverage point to control markets.  Clearly, the tide is shifting.  IBM, for example, has taken full advantage of customer concerns about the future of the Sun platform. But IBM is not stopping there. I predict a hardware sneak attack that encompasses IBM’s platform software strength (i.e., middleware, automation, analytics, and service management) combined with its hardware platforms.

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IBM Software Results Continue To Validate Strategy

Another strong year from IBM demonstrates that its relentless software portfolio build-out has succeeded in its goal of grabbing ever more customer logos, share of wallet, and partners. Growth is a complex challenge at this scale – every acquisition brings revenue, but also staff and technology integration challenges, more complexity for Marketing and Sales to deal with. Add to that the difficulties of the economy, and the magnitude of the investment IBM’s biggest customers make – and how easy it would be for their careful shaving of a few points off their spending to have massive impact – and it would be easy to stumble. Read more of this post

Discussion of Steve Jobs’ Health Info is Becoming Excessive

Apple’s Steve Jobs has had health problems. And in our celebrity-obsessed society, that’s big news. Yes, I know that stockholders have a right to know about material matters that could affect the performance of a firm. And certainly Steve’s contribution to Apple is immeasurably important. But at some point we have to stand up to the relentless pursuit of what he is entitled to consider private information and say “Enough!” Read more of this post