Apple's Developer Tour De Force And What It Means For CIOs

CEO Tim Cook opened Apple's worldwide developer conference 2012 this morning in San Francisco. The event sold out the Moscone West venue in 90 minutes, a clear indication that Apple's star is still rising rapidly. (Developers are the first to smell a slowdown in momentum and so are a good indicator of the future.)

Here are my quick impressions of what Apple's announcements mean for developers, hence for CIOs and the IT organization.

  • New versions of its operating systems, OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6, just one year after the last upgrade. That pace of innovation coupled with the rapid adoption Apple has created with free or low-cost upgrades and App Store distribution means that most iPhones and iPads will be running the new software a few months after it ships in the fall and many existing Macs will also get it. Developers get a single market to code to (unlike the intense fragmentation and dusty versions of Android). CIOs get confidence that the latest security and features will be present.
  • A significantly upgraded notebook line with faster MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros and a new Flash-based MacBook Pro with a Retina, very high definition screen. (This announcement caused the first unprompted "oooooo" from the enthusiastic developer audience.) Developers will love the powerful machine. BYO computer aficionados will be happy to have even better ultrabooks and notebooks. CIOs will wonder even louder about where HP and Dell and Microsoft are with comparable computers.
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Google Buys QuickOffice And Embraces The App Internet

Google just bought QuickOffice. I think that means they now get the App Internet and are moving beyond pure Web.

The App Internet is the future of software architecture and the foundation of how people get stuff on their mobile devices (we call that mobile engagement). The App Internet means native (or hybrid HTML5) apps on mobile and desktop devices that use the Internet to get services. It's the native app that makes the user experience good. It's the Internet that makes the user experience relevant to life.

Google has been "pure Web," meaning that they don't want native apps on any device. Of course, they've been moving slowly away from that pure architecture for years now even as its marketing rhetoric has denied it. Remember that when iPhone shipped in 2007 it had a native Google app called Maps on it. And they have readers on their Android devices.

In the meantime, QuickOffice has been growing handily because it gets the App Internet -- any device, anywhere, anytime using a native app. If you want to read or edit Microsoft Office formats on your iPad or Android phone or whatever, you can do it with QuickOffice. That has led consumers and information workers and sometimes entire enterprises (in the case of one life sciences company with 15,000 iPads deployed, for example) to use QuickOffice to access and edit the critical documents they need on their tablets.

What does this mean?

  • For Google, it means they've woken up to embrace the App Internet as the way to deliver great user experiences on mobile devices.
  • For Microsoft, it means Google has done another "embrace and extend" play to take keystrokes away from Microsoft Office. And that ahead of Microsoft's purported but unannounced plans to port Office to iPad.
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Dark Clouds On The Tech Horizon Redux: Europe Drops, China And India Slow, US And Canada Limp Along

Haven't we seen this show before?  Like last year?  Once again, Europe wrestles with and is again losing against its debt crisis.  Once again, after some promising growth in late 2011, the US economy is showing signs of losing steam.  Once again, China and India are flashing distress signals.  And once again, John Boehner and the Congressional Republicans are threatening to refuse to raise the US debt ceiling unless US Federal spending is cut sharply. 

Last year, the mid-year economic troubles did take their toll on tech purchases in the third and four quarters of 2011, but a last-minute resolution to the US debt ceiling issue, the European Central Bank's aggressive lending to banks so they could buy Italian and Spanish government debt, and some strength in US consumer spending, Germany's surprisingly strong growth, and continued growth in China revived global economic growth in Q4 2011 and into Q1 2012.  Much depends on whether this pattern of slump and revival will recur again in 2012.   My bet  is that we will in fact see the same pattern. 

So, let's look at the economic evidence, and then the tech market evidence. 

  • US economy slows but continues to grow.  In the US, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis on May 31 revised down Q1 2o12 real GDP growth to 1.9% from 2.1% in the preliminary report, and on June 1 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a disappointing 69,000 increase in payroll employment in May, the second month of sub-100,000 job growth.  On a more positive note, US retailers and auto makers reported good sales growth in May, while gas prices at the pump continued to fall from peaks earlier.   My take is that we will see real GDP growth in the 1.5% to 2% range in the remainder of 2012, down from my earlier assumption of 2% to 2.5% growth. 
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Women IT Execs Share Insights On Leadership And Risk Taking

Next week at IBM’s Innovate Conference I'll moderate a panel of highly accomplished women executives who will talk about their personal leadership mindset when taking business risks.  The panelists are:

- Cheryl Allison, Director, Raytheon Network Centric Systems

- Ellen Daley, Managing Director, Forrester Research

- Gina Poole, Vice President, IBM Rational Software

- Meg Selfe, Vice President, IBM Rational Software

- Karla Wallace, Senior Manager, General Motors

Note that Forrester’s Ellen Daley will be one of the panelists, joining this impressive group of women execs in IT. If you can’t catch us live at the conference (Tuesday, June 5th at 3:00 PM Eastern), then I hope you’ll join through streaming video (http://www.livestream.com/ibmrational) and Twitter at #ibminnovatewp.

Many people wonder: why offer a panel specifically for women—why not men too?  Good question. Men are just as interested in risk taking and leadership as women, so they are invited to participate in the panel and discussion on the Web and Twitter.

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India's Public Sector Forecast: 2012 To 2017

The most critical factor driving the Indian public sector over the next five years will be India’s 12th national five-year plan, which covers the period from 2012 to 2017. I have just published a report on the plan that provides a comprehensive review of India’s new government spending framework and what it means for ICT vendors looking to successfully position for success.

Forrester estimates that India’s public sector IT purchases will grow at a CAGR of 14% between 2012 and 2017, reaching $108.5 billion in 2017. In 2014, we anticipate a decrease in government spending due to parliamentary elections — but spending will pick up after the election, as maintaining GDP growth will be on the agenda of any new government. We believe that massive infrastructure investments and increasing citizen expectations will fuel public sector IT in spite of the 2014 parliamentary elections. Citizens are pressuring federal, state, and local government to become more proactive and interactive and to provide services in a more organized and user-friendly manner. A recent Forrester survey of government IT buyers in India spotlighted this heightened focus on citizen services:

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