In recent weeks, Sprint’s shares have been hammered. The share price has fallen by 40% since the beginning of the year, reflecting investors’ concerns about the long-term position of Sprint in the US wireless market. Not surprisingly, Sprint has been the most vocal opponent of the planned $39B acquisition of T-Mobile US by AT&T, which was announced in March 2011. Sprint argues that the deal would manifest itself in a loss of competition in the US wireless market if the fourth- and second-largest wireless carriers in the US merge (Sprint is No. 3). The US Department of Justice (DoJ) seems to share this concern and blocked the acquisition in August 2011 in order to preserve a vibrant and competitive marketplace.
Despite the DoJ’s opposition, most observers expected some form of compromise to emerge, even if it took a court fight to do so. Both AT&T and Deutsche Telekom (DT) reiterated their eagerness to pursue the deal as the DoJ announced its decision. However, in our view, Sprint’s challenging situation increases the likelihood that the deal will not go through as planned: Sprint looks weaker now than several months ago. Its announcement in October 2011 that it will take on additional debt to fund the rollout of its LTE network only increases liquidity concerns. This will sway the DOJ’s position further toward rejecting the deal for good in an effort to support a healthy US wireless market.
HP made the right decision today to keep the Personal Systems Group. Beyond the reasons cited, supply chain and sales synergy and expense of spinning out, it's also crucial for HP to remain in the market for personal devices, which is entering a period of radical transformation and opportunity. The innovations spawned first by RIM with the BlackBerry, followed by the transformative effects of Apple's iPhone and iPad are beginning to ripple into the PC market. Apple's MacBook Air and Lion operating system, combined with Microsoft's Metro interface for Windows 8 herald the beginning of a transformation of personal computing devices. By keeping PSG, HP has the opportunity to innovate and differentiate in the PC market that will move away from commodity patterns.
For vendor strategists at vendors of all sizes, one of the lessons of HP's decision is that consumer businesses are becoming more relevant to succeeding in commercial products for end users. During the announcement call today, CEO Meg Whitman talked about the importance of "consumerization" in winning business from enterprises. I heartily endorse that view and look forward to sharing a report soon on how consumerization is changing commercial product development.
Do you think consumerization was a part of why HP kept PCs?
What effect do you think consumerization will have in IT markets?
While you are at the Forrester Security IT Forum in Miami, you might also want to attend my session on Managed Security Services Providers. In my role as an analyst, I speak to many security leaders that wrestle with the outsourcing question. Security is a sensitive topic and many security executives are uncomfortable transferring operational responsibility for this function to a third party.
This presentation will present techniques to help security managers make decisions on what they can trust to a third party and more importantly, what they should outsource to a third party. This should be a lively presentation and discussion on what is a sometimes-controversial topic. I hope to see you there.
At the upcoming Forrester Security IT Forum (November 9) in Miami, Florida, I will present information on President Obama's cybercrime legislative initiative. This presentation and discussion will focus on the pending legislation in Congress and the Obama administration’s proposal to strengthen cybercrime law. There is a real need for this. Today there are 46 states with cybercrime breach reporting laws. While similar, there are enough differences to make reporting more complex. In addition, these laws only address PII and do very little to address other types of cybercrime. This new proposal addresses both PII and attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure. The proposal stiffens criminal penalties and provides for the Department of Homeland Security to serve as the “new sheriff in town” when it comes to cybercrime.
Also associated with this proposal is a mandatory reporting requirement for organizations that manage more than 10,000 pieces of PII in a twelve-month period, or who provide critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure is a very broad definition and includes financial services, utility, healthcare, as well as other industries. Please join me in Miami, as we present and discuss the proposal and its impact on private industry. I hope you can join us.
First, European leaders appear to have reached agreement on a three-phase initiative that will 1) reduce the debt burden on Greece by about half, reducing its debt-to-GDP level to a potentially affordable level of 120%; 2) push European banks to increase their capital by about $150 billion so they can better withstand writedowns on their portfolio of Greek, Portuguese, Irish, and potentially other government debt; and 3) increase the funding for the European Financial Stability Facility to about €1 trillion (US$1.4 trillion) in order to extend credit if needed to Italy and Spain in addition to Greece, Italy, and Portugal. Taken together, these initiatives if followed through will go a long way to defusing the debt problem that has hung over European economies. It is premature to say the European debt crisis is over -- European leaders have consistently been several months late and several hundred million euros short of the aggressive rescue efforts that the US took to deal with the Lehman Brothers financial crisis. Still, this is the first time that European leaders have come up with a plan that matches the scope of the problem they face. While weak economic growth and continued downturns in most heavily indebted European countries will still persist, we think the risk of a serious recession in Europe may have been averted.
This is a guest post from Kerry Bodine, a Forrester vice president and principal analyst serving Customer Experience Professionals. Kerry will deliver a keynote on the critical role Sourcing & Vendor Management Professionals play in customer experience at Forrester's Sourcing & Vendor Management Forum on Nov. 7-8 in Miami and Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in London.
Many customer experience initiatives don't meet their full potential — or worse, fail completely — because companies don’t have a complete picture of the dynamics that go into creating it. In order to break from their tunnel vision, companies need to understand their customer experience ecosystem: the complex set of relationships among a company’s employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all customer interactions.
In their quest to seek out the root causes of customer experience issues, companies often overlook the impact of sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals — often referred to as “procurement” by the rest of the organization. That’s too bad, because these decision-makers influence the customer experience in two key ways.
They influence which technologies and tools will be purchased. Some of these technologies are used internally. One example is: customer relationship management software, which enables employees across the organization to better understand customers and their ongoing relationships with the company. Other tools — like content management systems — directly affect the information that customers can access through digital touchpoints like the Web and mobile devices.
At Forrester's Security Forum 2011 in Miami, November 9-10, we will be reprising the wildly successful "Hackers Vs. Executives" track session. There will be two leading security professionals sitting on the panel representing the executive viewpoint, and they will be joined on stage by two noted researchers who will provide a hacker's-eye for this session. Rodney Joffe of Neustar will give us a live guided tour of the “Invisible Internet” – the IRC chat rooms and carder forums where the underground cybercrime economy lives. Michael Hamelin of Tufin Technologies – a noted white hat hacker and multiple winner of the DefCon “Capture the Flag” competition – will do another demo to help us understand how attacks work. We will then turn to our panelist representing the executive viewpoint to start an interactive discussion about current and future threats and how best to understand them and protect against them.
Last year this session was packed. It was highly interactive with lots of provocative questions coming from the audience. I encourage you to join us in Miami, November 10th from 11:35 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. for this unique and informative presentation.
Go to the security forum website for more information. Hope to see you there!
There has been a lot of ill-considered press coverage about the “death” of UNIX and coverage of the wholesale migration of UNIX workloads to LINUX, some of which (the latter, not the former) I have contributed to. But to set the record straight, the extinction of UNIX is not going to happen in our lifetime.
While UNIX revenues are not growing at any major clip, it appears as if they have actually had a slight uptick over the past year, probably due to a surge by IBM, and seem to be nicely stuck around the $18 - 20B level annual range. But what is important is the “why,” not the exact dollar figure.
UNIX on proprietary RISC architectures will stay around for several reasons that primarily revolve around their being the only close alternative to mainframes in regards to specific high-end operational characteristics:
Performance – If you need the biggest single-system SMP OS image, UNIX is still the only realistic commercial alternative other than mainframes.
Isolated bulletproof partitionability – If you want to run workload on dynamically scalable and electrically isolated partitions with the option to move workloads between them while running, then UNIX is your answer.
Near-ultimate availability – If you are looking for the highest levels of reliability and availability ex mainframes and custom FT systems, UNIX is the answer. It still possesses slight availability advantages, especially if you factor in the more robust online maintenance capabilities of the leading UNIX OS variants.
SAP's recent acquisition of Crossgate does not mark a significant change in either vendor's level of B2B functionality. It is strictly a matter of SAP exerting control over an increasingly important deployment channel (SaaS-based B2B document exchange). SAP and Crossgate first entered into a partnership in 2007, and the two parties have gradually worked to integrate their respective offerings since that time.
However, this is not the only opportunity that SAP customers have to support their electronic document exchange needs. Seeburger has provided (directly and indirectly) effective B2B alternatives for SAP customers for more than twenty years, and we do not expect this to change. GXS and Sterling Commerce (IBM) also support managed services document exchange for many SAP customers (similar to those of Crossgate). And finally, a growing number of integration providers offer direct B2B document exchange capability based on the AS1/AS2/AS3 protocols.
So this announcement is about "more of the same" than anything else.