Questions keep pouring in about this deal, so I'll attempt to answer the most common ones here. Practically every analysis I've seen calls this a "head-scratcher", and so they slam the deal simply because they don't understand it.
During the past few months, telecom service providers including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have highlighted their roadmaps and deployment plans for 4G network technologies. These 4G technologies include Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax networks. Enterprises in North America and Europe are in the early stages of 4G network adoption based on results from Forrester’s SMB and Enterprise Networks and Telecommunication survey. Approximately 4% of surveyed enterprises currently implement or are expanding their implementation of fixed or mobile WiMax networks, and 3% of firms are implementing or expanding their implementation of LTE networks. These implementation percentages are expected to increase as the service providers pursue their 4G deployment initiatives.
When Cisco first announced its intent to acquire TANDBERG in October of last year, I talked about how that acquisition was about much more than just video. I still believe that this single event represents the beginning of the converged (audio, video, and Web) conferencing era; but the combined company has indeed been on a streak of video activities. In 2010, Cisco has made more than a dozen video-related announcements about new products and capabilities, including TelePresence Exchange hosting by partners, the Cius HD video-capable collaboration device, new interoperability capabilities delivered via its proposed Telepresence Interoperability Protocol and Intercompany Media Engine, new home DVR capabilities delivered by Cox using Cisco set-top boxes , the Flip SlideHD video camera, video networking for NBC at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, as well as the use of telepresence by ESPN at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
On top of all this video activity, I was recently briefed by Cisco about its new business solution for video (Cisco Prosumer Video) based on the Cisco Flip MinoPRO video camera, and I was struck by two things
Intel and McAfee, the odd couple of technology? At first blush, Intel is not a "best fit" acquirer like HP or IBM which have major software businesses, existing security solutions, and related capabilities such as systems management. And, Intel is not a services company either. So it's straightforward to spot the potential problems that need to be addressed.
But a longer-term perspective indicates that these two companies are on to something fundamental and could create a force to be reckoned with within the tech industry. We believe embedded, or integrated, security is the future. The acquisition is ahead of the market and will thus accelerate this evolution. Standalone security products, and the companies that create them, are on borrowed time. We will see security embedded into hardware, in mobile devices, M2M devices, smart computing devices (e.g., smart grid meters), laptops, and just about everything else. Embedding security at the chip level is not a new concept either. Companies like Renesas and ARM already do this. Cisco has also been embedding security into the network, while Microsoft has embedded it into the platform. In systems, we see embedded security in Internet service provider (ISP) devices most prevalently today.
Today (August 9, 2010) Microsoft and Polycom made public their future-looking plans to continue to work together to develop and deliver unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions. The two companies have worked together for some time in the UC&C market, for example:
Polycom has long designed and sold universal serial bus (USB) and voice over IP (VoIP) phones tuned for Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) server.
This article from The Wall Street Journal offers a fascinating glimpse into some inner workings at Microsoft. The short version of the story: the IE team was building in some pretty powerful anti-tracking technology into IE 8.0; Microsoft’s ad business got wind of it; the functionality got quashed or crippled. Microsoft's ad group saw the privacy controls as a significant threat to their business: namely, that curbing data collection reduces the effectiveness of advertising. The article notes:
“When Microsoft released the browser in its final form in March 2009, the privacy features were a lot different from what its planners had envisioned. The feature, called InPrivate Filtering, isn’t turned on by default, and resets to OFF every time the browser closes down."
Software AG announced today a significant change in their executive structure. After the acquisition of webMethods back in 2007, the second largest software vendor in Germany acquired IDS Scheer last year, at topic we explored already in this report.
If you follow Software AG over this time, you might realize that the way CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich runs a post merger process may involve dramatic disruptions in the executive structure of the company. Dave Mitchell, the former webMethods CEO left some months after that acquisition. Today, the Chief Product Officer, Dr. Peter Kürpick surprisingly left the company. Peter was a member of the executive board since 2005, and, although his contract officially runs until 2013, he is leaving at his own request immediately. He stood for the successful turnaround of Software AG’s product strategy and repositioned Software AG from an outmoded mainframe shop into a leading global integration player. The successful merging of Software AG’s mainframe and integration know-how with the newer webMethods product stack into one interoperable integration stack was one of Peter’s major achievements. Peter also took over the responsibility for Software AG’s ETS (mainframe) product strategy after the integration business reached a solid stability. He would have had the skills and experience to create a consistent technology stack spanning from the mainframe over the WebMethods integration up to the business architecture tools of IDS Scheer (ARIS).
I haven’t posted recently for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most pressing of which is because I have been immersed in some serious research into (environmental) sustainability. I want to take a moment here to outline this exciting research agenda.
We recently published an update of our green IT survey of global enterprises and SMBs. My colleague Chris Mines highlighted some of the key findings in his blog. In this report we introduced our new categories of sustainability solutions and services to help provide a clear taxonomy of the varying solutions available in the marketplace. This taxonomy comprises three main sectors: IT energy and resource efficiency (as known as "green IT"), IT-enabled green business processes (what we term “IT for green”), and corporate sustainability planning and governance (“green business”). The graphic below provides some examples of each of the categories.