Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘platform wars

Turbo Imagines Searching Through His Facebook Graph

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Facebook had the world waiting for its news yesterday.

There was interminable hyperbole about what the announcement would bring.

Facebook was preparing to conquer the world of mobile.

Facebook would FINALLY be introducing a mobile phone.

Facebook was going to send a coding team to Mars to write a search engine for Martians.

That last part I made up.

But hey, why not, everyone else in the world was conjecturing what was the primary topic of the looming announcement?

Being a marketer, I was caught up in it like everybody else, and also just as much in the dark.

Which was kind of the point.

There’s no question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken a few pages from the Steve Jobs “secrecy in marketing” playbook.

Announce you’re going to have an announce, be as positively vague as possible, and then wait for the speculation onslaught to begin.

In the end, it was all about search, which has for Facebook’s short life been one of its more miserable capabilities, so in that respect, the news was welcomed.

Facebook was going to fix its search capability, allowing its users (albeit initially in a limited beta) the opportunity to search their Facebook social “graph” across a range of functions: People, pictures, interests.

The fact that it took two displaced Google engineers to come into Facebook to build this function adds only a wee bit of irony to the equation.

I, for one, immediately went and asked to participate in the beta, though my invitation will likely loom ignored in Zuck’s inbox for some time.

In the meantime, I will wait impatiently for the opportunity to go out and search my high school Facebook sub-graph to discern, once and for all, the most popular band during our golden years (My money’s on AC/DC, but Pink Floyd might give them a run for their “Money”).

Or, to discover via the serendipity that is inevitably going to characterize Facebook’s search graph, that Austin still largely prefers Uchi (in South Austin) to Mushashino (off Mopac) for its finer sushi, although the latter is always a good escape valve for the Uchi unagi lines snaking along South Lamar.

Or to find out that Facebookers around the world who root for the Chelsea Blues pretty much detest anything to do with Manchester United, with the exception of one person on the planet (me).  I like ’em both, but perhaps that’s just my attempt to pick TWO winners to try and make up for the recent massive deficit left by the wandering Dallas Cowboys.

No, much of this I already know, and Facebook search will simply be my new vindication engine, confirming the best and worst I thought of humanity in one fell graph searching sweep.

I just wonder if the new search graph is going to tell me something I don’t know.

Excuse me while I run over to Google to see if I can find out.

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm

All About The Content Razorblades

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The Interwebs platform wars continue to escalate.

Not days after I read Ken Auletta’s fine New Yorker piece on the U.S. antitrust suit against Apple and several book publishers for alleged price fixing — a scheme that clearly had Amazon and its Kindle Fire in its gunsights — do we discover that Amazon is working with Foxconn on its own mobile mousetrap, one that, like the Fire, would presumably provide easy access to all kinds of compelling content from Amazon’s vast cloud of digital entertainment.

Books, movies, gaming apps…Amazon’s play suggests that the Internet industry is moving into the razor/razorblade club, with the devices being the razors, and the razorblades being all that vast digital content.

I, personally, mostly don’t care which razor I use. I’ve owned tablets and smartphones both Android and iOS now, and most recently have given a Kindle (not the Fire) a test drive.

The most important element for me in the digital content wars are the depth and sophistication of the content libraries themselves.

That is to say, help me move beyond Amazon and Apples’  57 Channels On Demand and Nothing On!

Amazon’s bookstore, of course, has virtually the world’s book population at your disposal, so no complaints when it comes to reading (although I do agree we need healthy, competitive alternatives to the Amazon reading ecosystem).

But when I go into my Amazon Prime movie library, which lets me watch some movies for free with my Prime subscription, it’s like dragging the bottom of the movie barrel.

To some degree, I see the same problem with Netflix, although Netflix has seemed to have worked more diligently to expand its library.  Amazon Prime, on the other hand,  just added a bunch of new episodes of William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line.”

Woo hoo, where do I renew my subscription??!

The cloud providers may be lining to try and lock in as many denizens as they can via their device and subscription services, but the form factor is less important than the catalog function.

What’s kept me from cutting my own cord on the TV is the fact that the Netflix’s and Amazons of the world don’t have enough diversity of content (never mind live event access to major sporting events, which for my money are msotly worth the high cost of monthly cable subscriptions alone).

So if the Apples and Googles and Amazons really want to move these markets, they need to quickly hire some sophisticated business development executives and hard-driving attorneys who can  make some negotiation headway in the hills of Hollywood’s film libraries  rather than try to draw lines around the device footprints.

It’s never about the razors, always about the razorblades.

Written by turbotodd

July 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Platform Warriors, Come Out And Play-Ayy

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My daddy always told me, never bring a knife to a gun fight.

Actually, he didn’t tell me that, but it sounds like something he would say.But what happens when everyone brings a knife to the knife fight??

That sounds a little something like what’s happening with the emerging Platform Wars of 2011.

Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are lining up in the back alley, emotions are heating up, and somebody’s about to get hurt…the only question is, who?

Are the platform war stalwarts ready to rough and tumble it in the virtual streets? WAR-YERs, come out and PLAY-AYY!

The most recent tidings that suggest evidence of this: A machination that allegedly keeps Google+ invite links from appearing on Facebook user news feeds.

CNET’s Josh Lowensohn filed about this recently, and it just sent me cracking up.  No matter its origin or even veracity, it’s the kind of Silicon Alley back alley knife fight we’re going to see a lot more of.

No, Johnny, you can’t play on our side of the playground…you’re not one of the cool kids!

I’m having flashbacks to the OS/2 and Windows wars of the early 1990s (although we in OS/2 land lost that one pretty soundly – although I still miss my beloved Warp toolbar!)

Only this time around, the knives are much bigger and much sharper, and the stakes are that much higher. This time around, it’s not only the ruling consumer IT platform at stake: It’s also the mobile, publishing, and entertainment industry hubs.

Another analogy: This is three dimensional chess with moving pieces, and Deep Blue is nowhere to be found to help figure out what the next move should be.

This all kinda reminds me of that infamous 1979 cult classic, “The Warriors.”

If you know the movie, you remember that siren call: “WAR-YERS, come out and PLAY-AYY!!!”

But instead of the Gramercy Riffs and the Turnbull ACs, we’ve got the Googlers and the Facebookers and the Amazonians and the Applers.  Although imagining Mark Zuckerberg holding a Bowie knife kinda makes me laugh.

Get out your baseball bats, boys and girls, there’s gonna be a rumble!!

In any good rumble, though, you have to keep an eye out for the alliances that are forming –- they could be critical in the coming clash.

Facebook and Microsoft, which put in an early $150M stake, then FB’s acquisition of ConnectU, FriendFeed, Beluga, and a host of others.

Google, first with dMarc, Postini, DoubleClick, YouTube, and now their Motorola Mobility acquisition, which gives them an aggressive mobile and ITV set-top play (someone had to do something to revive the Google TV patient, who was dead on arrival at the Beverly Hills ER).

Amazon, with their acquisition spree of Zappos, Audible, Woot, Lovefilm, the Book Depository, and a host of other vertical commerce and entertainment plays and formidable portfolio of credit-card carrying members (including me) who are loyal to a fault.

Apple, with their vertical integration and fortress-like wall around their hardware and software, not to mention their PR office and social media team and brilliant business development in music and entertainment (maybe Steve Jobs could go teach the President a thing or two about negotiating?)

Apple’s competitive differentiation is the Great Wall of Apple. Steve Jobs doesn’t have  to get along with the other kids in the sandbox — his is only big enough for one genius!

Me, I’ve never been an operating system one-trick pony, and so I figure I’ll play the same quadfecta for the looming platform knife fight.

I’m on Google+ and use Google search every day; I use Facebook to keep in touch with people from high school I hoped I’d never hear from again; I have several Macs, 4 iPods, an iPad, and an Apple TV, and I still don’t know how to get my music from one machine over to another; and Amazon…well, I wouldn’t short that stock anytime soon, as I’m sure I’ve probably given them more sheckels than any of the other platform warriors over the years.

Yes, it’s gonna be a wild ride out to Coney Island.  Director Tony Scott in 2008 suggested he was going to make a remake of “The Warriors,” only this time he said the movie would take place in Los Angeles and would feature thousands of gangs.

Methinks he might want to consider moving the setting up to Silicon Valley and settle for four Goliaths instead of a few thousand Davids.

Written by turbotodd

August 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Google Dance

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Google co-founder and now CEO Larry Page has wasted no time in shaking things up at the search giant, particularly in its bid to become more social.

The Los Angeles Times Technology column has the skinny, and is reporting that Page has elevated key leaders of a number of its business units into SVP positions, and is giving them more “responsibility and accountability.”

At the same time, Nicholas Carson with Business Insider is reporting that “all Google employees will have their 2011 bonuses either go up or go down as much as 25% depending on how well Google ‘perform[s] against our strategy to integrate relationships, sharing and indentity across our products.'”

That is, depending on how social Google gets over the next year.

Ah, Larry, welcome to the world of complex organizations rife with competing interests, internal cooperation and coopetition, and massive complexity.  Are you sure you wanted to become CEO?

As Carlson observes, there’s no question who the target is of this “social bonus.”

Call it “The Facebook Effect.”

Me, I feel like I’m back on the sidelines of the Browser Wars of the late 1990s, waiting for Netscape and Microsoft to constantly try to reup one another on browser features.

Only this time around, there’s much, much more at stake, as these platforms are laying the foundation for consumer (and, possibly, business) IT services for years to come.

So does this mean Mark Zuckerberg’s going to offer up his troops a “search bonus???”

Written by turbotodd

April 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

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