HP’s Acquisition Of Palm Is Not A Match Made In Heaven

HP acquired Palm for $1.2 billion in cash, ending recent speculation over who would purchase the struggling handheld device manufacturer. On the surface, this acquisition appears to bolster HP’s mobility strategy with Palm’s webOS mobile operating system, carrier relationships, experienced mobility personnel, and intellectual property.  

However, if you look under the hood, this acquisition has a key flaw. HP currently offers iPAQ PDAs and handsets that use Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, but these devices have had limited success among enterprise users. Will acquiring Palm put HP in a strong position against other competitive mobile operating systems vendors? Not necessarily. In Forrester’s survey of over 1,000 IT decision makers in North American and European enterprises, only 12% of firms officially support or manage Palm devices. In comparison, 70% of enterprises support BlackBerry smartphones, and 29% support Apple iPhones. Android devices, the newest entrants in the mobile OS wars, have strong momentum and are officially supported by 13% of firms.

HP did gain some important assets as part of the acquisition. Palm's carrier relationships are a plus, and HP can leverage its strong international distribution channel to expand the reach of these mobile devices on an international level. Palm’s highly skilled employees, mobile operating system R&D expertise, and intellectual property are also a benefit. In the short term, HP’s acquisition gave Palm a new lease on life, but given the intensely competitive mobile device landscape, HP’s $1.2 billion investment may not pay off in the long term.

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VMware And salesforce.com Join Forces To Push PaaS To Mainstream Adoption With vmforce

VMware And salesforce.com Join Forces To Push PaaS To Mainstream Adoption With vmforce

salesforce.com and VMware announced today the development of a joint product and service offering named vmforce. Forrester had a chance to talk to executives at both companies prior to the announcement, and I am quite impressed by the bold move of the two players. Most developers in corporate environments and ISVs perceive the two stacks as two totally different alternatives when selecting a software platform. While the VMware stack, with its Tomcat-based Spring framework, reached mainstream popularity among Java developers with its more lightweight standard Java approach, salesforce.com’s Force.com stack was mostly attractive to developers who liked to extend CRM packaged apps with individual business logic or to ISVs that created new applications from scratch. In some cases, the Java standard and the more proprietary APEX language at Force.com even appeared as competitive options.

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The Decade of Management Consulting Innovation

Gary Hamel states in his famous book "The Future of Management" that management  has become a maturing technology that has evolved rapidly in the first half of the 20th century and now reached a local peak. I found this intriguing and since I started my research into the consulting services market it has been the maxim of my work.

My journey began in 2008 with doing extensive research on the evolution of management over the past 100 years. We identified the key management paradigms and models and defined what a paradigm and model in management basically is. This analysis led to the first report "Innovating Strategic Management Paradigms And Models To Thrive Amid Global Change". At this time however, we focused primarily on industry and academia-driven paradigms and models.

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Symantec: Looking like a security company again

I attended the Symantec WorldWide Industry Analyst Conference earlier this week. Here is the "net" of my impressions / takeaways from the event, not necessarily reflecting any specific statements by Symantec.

  • Symantec is more pointedly focused on being a security company. Symantec is re-orienting its strategy and position on information protection foremost, with systems management (Altiris, etc) and information management (Veritas, etc) being subservient to that broader mission.

Security took center stage at this event. The storage and availability management portfolio was mentioned quite a lot, especially de-duplication, but most of it was subservient to the broader security context. There was hardly any mention of Altiris solutions until a deep-dive on the second day. Security is certainly Symantec’s strength, even as its Storage and Availability Management portfolio is a major component of its overall revenues and profit.

  • Symantec’s articulated unique value proposition is in providing coordinated security in a world of complex threats. Symantec’s management heritage and breadth of portfolio lends itself to this .

As Symantec competes on the plane of security against Kaspersky, LANDesk, IBM ISS, McAfee, Microsoft, Postini/Google, and Trend Micro, that makes sense.

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Launch of Forrester's 2010 Security Survey

We’re just ramping up at Forrester to start our 2010 Business Data Services’ Security Survey. To begin, I’ve started taking a measured look at last year’s questions and data. Additionally, I’ll be incorporating input from those analysts with their ears closest to the ground in various areas, and will be considering the feedback from our existing BDS clients.

I also welcome input here into what you would find useful for us to ask of senior IT security decision-makers, as development of the survey is take place over the next three weeks.

The survey is scheduled to be fielded in May and early June—with the final data set becoming available in July. The projected sample size is 2,200 organizations across US, Canada, France, UK, and Germany: split roughly 2:1 between North America and Europe, and with a 55/45 split for SMBs (20-1000 employees) vs. enterprises (1000+ employees). Concurrently, we ask a separate set of questions to respondents from “very small businesses” (VSBs) with 2-19 employees.  We also set quotas around industry groupings, so each industry is appropriately represented. We source our panel from LinkedIn, which provides an excellent quality of respondents.

The Security Survey is an invaluable tool that provides insight into a range of topics critical for strategy decision-making: IT Security priorities, challenges; organizational structure and responsibilities; security budgets; current adoption and across all security technology segments, be they as products or as SaaS/managed services, along with associated drivers and challenges around the technology.

Here are a few valuable data points from last year’s survey:

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Security of open source: Sunlight disinfects, but does it introduce germs as well?

The security of open source software took a small hit this week as Mozilla reported that Firefox currently contains a root certificate authority that has no owner.  The fear being that this is a bogus CA inserted by hackers to provide trustworthiness to malicious sites.

This potentially provides an example of a nightmare scenario the anti-open-sourcers talk about: that hackers can inject back doors or introduce vulnerabilities within the open source development process.

Indeed, Fortify is drawing a rather extreme conclusion to this situation with its European director, Richard Kirk, stating that “this tilts the balance in favour of Microsoft’s Explorer”. That’s a ridiculous claim: in the browser war, this event will not move the needle one way or another. All it’s served to do is get much of the security community (which tends to favor openness) to jump on Fortify. Besides, while good theoretical arguments are made on both sides of the “security of open source versus closed source” debate, in practice it comes down to, well….practice. And it has been shown that one of the best practices is openness: whether closed or open source, an open and transparent disclosure process improves security over time.

I do agree with what Fortify’s Kirk says later, that “The important thing to stress, however, is the need for software security testing to identify and remove vulnerabilities from applications, rather than simply trying to block attacks on software by securing the network.”

Lesson #1: DO use these moments to offer constructive advice by raising awareness of issues and solutions.

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Please Join My Video Research Agenda

Over the past three years I have increased my analysis of the video communications market as our clients curiosity about video has mounted.  I would like to invite you to continue this video research agenda with me by sharing your best and worst video experiences, but first some background.

Three years ago I published a report titled “Videoconferencing Rises Again” in which I predicted a rise in adoption and utilization of video conferencing.  In researching this report, I heard a great deal about the ways in which video improved processes as diverse as corporate training, product development, and field force management – Volume of Forrester Client Inquireis realted to Busienss Videoand the various video solutions that best served these processes.  These processes were better served using a new breed of video solutions that relied on high definition resolution (codecs and displays), dependable IP-based networks, and intuitive user interfaces.  Since then video conferencing deployments and utilization have risen again- - like the phoenix rising from the ashes.   

These technological enablers have been supported by the remarkable adoption of video in consumer and social networking solutions, giving rise to a ‘video-native’ generation entering the workforce.  In short order, Forrester clients have taken note and the number of our clients who have inquired about business video has nearly doubled each year as shown in this graph from my most recent video report titled “How Tech Strategists Can Ride The Coming Tidal Wave Of Business Video.”

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