Duct sharing - whatever next! The changing face of wholesale communications

The deregulation of the UK communications market began in 1984 and heralded the start of the competitive era. This week the UK regulator Ofcom removed one of the last vestiges of the monopoly era by requiring BT to open it's ducts to allow wholesale rivals to lay fiber cables in them if they wished to do so. This change was supported by the incumbent BT, which just goes to show how far the industry has changed since the dawn of deregulation!

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Google's buzzkill

Yesterday, my reaction to Google Buzz was bafflement. Today, it's frustration, and I can see why some people are finding Buzz to be infuriating.

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Mardi Gras marketing

The Cranky Product Manager is looking for the worst company and product descriptions. Oh, what a rich bounty that will produce. Here's one of her examples:

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Stock photos are the Muzak of the Web

 Stock photos on corporate web sites are lot like Muzak in elevators, or the distracting TVs left on in restaurants and bars. They're portions of the user experience that normally attracts none of your attention. If you do stop and think about them, they're just plain weird.

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You're not the boss of me, young man

Social media start-ups often seem to overlook an important demographic reality: age. These companies bet their business on behavior that works for young adults (say, 18 to 25), but may fall apart completely for people older than that.

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Not all innovation needs to be disruptive

 You might applaud this recent op-ed article by former Microsoft executive Dick Brass, grumbling how his ex-employer can't innovate the way that Apple does, as evidenced by the recent iPad announcement. Or, you might dismiss it as sour grapes from a disgruntled ex-employee. Both reactions are probably wrong.

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SAP CEO Resigns – Long Live The Co-CEOs

SAP changes its board structure to focus again on product and technology

2009 was a tough year for the whole IT industry but SAP’s performance (-8% in total revenue and -28% in software revenue) was somewhat below the results of many other leading IT companies. The product launch of Business ByDesign is years delayed and clients are still unhappy about the way the new Enterprise Support was introduced. No question, SAP is currently in a difficult situation. At this point SAP announced yesterday that CEO Léo Apotheker’s contract will not be renewed and his resignation is effective immediately. In his place, the company appointed the two board members Jim Hagemann Snabe, responsible for product development and Bill McDermott, in charge of field operations, as co-CEOs.

After 20 years of service with SAP it would not be fair to blame Apotheker, who was certainly instrumental for SAP’s tremendous growth in the past, for the challenges SAP is currently facing. Over several years the company shifted from its traditional strengths, such as products, technology, quality and reliability to a strongly sales driven entity. In fact the whole board of SAP was slowly replaced by a team of pure sales professionals. Product innovation and quality, or customer satisfaction was no longer in the center of corporate strategy, but replaced by sales performance and quotas. In a press and analyst call today Hasso Plattner, Co-Founder of SAP and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, acknowledged that mistakes e.g. with Enterprise Support, were made, but the whole SAP board was involved and it was not Apotheker’s fault.

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The Heretech, episode 34: Jonathan Penn on security

Forrester analyst Jonathan Penn describes nature of security threats, and how they affect tech industry company's product strategy. Will security ever not be in the top 3 IT concerns? Does that represent an opportunity for security start-ups, or not? Plus, newly-published research on the demographics of technology adoption, and the lessons of the movie Avatar for tech industry professionals. (c) 2010 Tom Grant

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Facebook's fatal attraction

Once upon a time, a company named Yahoo! found its core value proposition: providing a browseable and searchable directory of the Internet. Later, it tried to cement its position as launch pad for the Internet by adding e-mail, contacts, and other handy tools.

Other search sites made it feel vulnerable, and people started talking about portals. "The [portals] future of the [portals] Internet is portals," the experts said. "Portals portals portals. And, to sum up, portals."

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The iPad business model

Now that we've all had a few days to ponder Apple's iPad announcement, what are we to make of it? A revolutionary change in the computing industry? More of the same Apple technology, repackaged? A shot in the arm for the publishing industry? A new way for corporations to restrict the free flow of ideas?

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