News and analysis about Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo! from Business Week, New York Times, Market Watch, Forbes, Fortune, ZDnet, wired
Read at http://www.unitedBIT.com
News and analysis about Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo! from Business Week, New York Times, Market Watch, Forbes, Fortune, ZDnet, wired
Read at http://www.unitedBIT.com
Yahoo’s second-biggest investor urged Microsoft to raise its $42 billion bid for the Web pioneer and warned Yahoo it has few options left, raising the pressure on them to seal a deal.
Read more at http://www.unitedBIT.com
By Elena Malykhina
Dimdim, a startup made up of entrepreneurs and technologists, on Monday launched a free Web meeting service that’s meant to compete with Cisco Systems’ WebEx and Microsoft’s PlaceWare. The service, also called Dimdim, will be showcased at this week’s DEMOfall 07 conference where new products, technologies, and companies make their debut. The free service is offered as a private beta for now, but will be widely available on registration basis in two to three months.
Dimdim is browser-based and doesn’t require any software to be installed, which makes it easy to use, said DD Ganguly, the company’s CEO and co-founder, in an interview. “A customer once told us: ‘This is just like visiting a web site.’ Anyone who can use a browser irrespective of technical ability can use Dimdim,” Ganguly said.
Dimdim uses a rich Internet application with advanced collaboration features. The service allows people to share their desktop files, show slides, and chat using a webcam. Cisco and Microsoft offer similar capabilities as part of their Web meeting services. Cisco acquired Web conferencing company WebEx earlier this year, with plans to integrate its own voice and video products into the WebEx offering.
CEO Ganguly said what makes Dimdim unique is itsfoundation. “We’re about democratizing collaboration,” Ganguly said.
The service integrates open source components, such as the Google Web toolkit for Ajax applications, the Red5 open source Flash server, and the Tomcat application server, with Dimdim’s open source software.
Additionally, it works on computers that run different operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
There are three versions of Dimdim available: a free browser-based version, open source server-side software that can be downloaded from Sourceforge.net, and an enterprise version that can be purchased for a fee by small and medium-sized businesses.
The enterprise version is customizable and scalable. For example, it allows hundreds of participants to be on a Web conference at the same time, whereas the free version doesn’t. Dimdim also offers 24/7 support for the enterprise version.
Schools and universities can integrate Dimdim’s server-side software with e-learning apps, while companies can integrate it with customer-relationship management (CRM) apps for a better collaboration experience, said Ganguly.
Dimdim is supported by venture funding from firms that also have invested in Skype, Hotmail, and MySQL. The investors include Draper Richards, Index Ventures, and Nexus India Capital.
Circulation & Readership
InformationWeek’s audience consists of 1.6 million CIOs and business technology managers and staff found in more than 250,000 locations: 45.6% live in North America, 27.3% in Europe, 20.9% in Asia, 3.8% in Latin America, 2.4% in Africa and the Middle East.
440,000 IT professionals alone read the magazine each week. It’s first in reach to CIOs (107,000) and technology buyers with the biggest annual budgets ($250,000 to $1 million). 72.8% of the readers are IT executives and senior staff; 27.2% are in business management. Their average annual spend is $45.7 million.
InformationWeek is much more than a weekly print magazine. It’s “at the center of our business technology news gathering and analysis,” says Preston. The style and tone are practical and detailed. It’s the publication to which industry professionals turn for subjects, such as vertical industries and IT.
o In Depth (their take on the latest business technology topic)
o News Filter (how top stories affect readers)
o News & Analysis (cover story)
o Tech Portal (security, software, wireless, mobile)
o High Five (business professional’s insights)
o IT Confidential (industry trends and events)
o Down to Business (urgent issues)
o Personal Tech Guide (useful tech tools)
Special issues: The magazine fields more than 20 research studies every year. Topics include: salary survey, information security survey, CIO agenda, mobile and wireless and business intelligence.
The Web site gets 1.4 million unique monthly visitors and 300,000 weekly enewsletter subscribers.
The five newsletters and their circulation:
o InformationWeek Daily: 100,000
o This Week on InformationWeek: 55,000
o InformationWeek Between the Lines: 100,000
o InformationWeek’s Outsourcing Newsletter: 30,000
o TechCareers Report: 15,000
How to Pitch InformationWeek – 10 Tips
Tip #1. Familiarize yourself with the magazine
Acquire some knowledge of InformationWeek’s content and the focus of the reporters you contact. Indeed, lack of knowledge about the publication is one of Preston’s pet peeves. “Build relationships with reporters. Don’t just blanket them with the same messages you send everyone else.” And don’t think of your query as a pitch. “Ideally, you are not selling something to us; you are providing information that we want.”
Tip #2. Provide contacts
If you have a product you would like InformationWeek to review, provide a few consumer contacts so reporters can get feedback from them. Offer as much detail about the technology and its manufacturer as possible. Avoid industry-speak; describe concisely the characteristics of the product, its purpose, price and audience.
Tip #3. Keep it simple
Keep your information simple and straightforward, yet fascinating enough for a case study. They don’t accept embargoed material. They prefer to take “an end-user enterprise perspective.”
Tip #4. Send an email
Most editors favor email. If you must leave a voicemail, clearly state your name and phone number. Don’t ramble (i.e., don’t wait until the system cuts you off).
Tip #5. Craft subject line
Write succinct yet meaningful subject lines that don’t include the words “press release,” exclamation points or all caps. Then, customize your plain text pitches to the journalist’s coverage.
Tip# 6. Don’t send attachments
Don’t include email attachments, especially unsolicited ones. Do include the following bulleted points: what, when, who, where and how.
Tip #7. Limit number of slides
If you send a PowerPoint presentation, limit it to five slides.
Tip #8. Target your queries
Check InformationWeek’s editorial calendar to better time your queries.
Tip #9. Contact the right reporter
Send your story leads directly to the reporter who covers the beat or technology you’re involved in. You can find a list of reporters, beats and contact information here:
Tip #10. Identify time zones
Consider time differences when contacting them. Not everyone is based in New York.
Contribute to InformationWeek
Staff writers and freelancers produce most of the magazine’s content. If you want to freelance, send an email to the managing editor/features.
InformationWeek does not publish unsolicited articles; make sure a story is approved before you spend much time on it. The magazine does accept opinion columns, however. They like to hear your perspective on relevant issues.
Also, consider the Lightning Post — the site’s discussion forum. It connects readers to editors. They don’t promise to answer you, but they do promise to read your message. “Because of sheer volume, we may not respond to every query,” Preston says.
Editors prefer emails to press kits. Always include contact information and a product summary with whatever you send.
Meet Preston and Other Editors
Preston says you can meet the magazine’s editors in any of their offices. They are even available at “the principal’s site, if the principal and story is compelling enough.”
Editors attend various conferences and trade shows. The major one: InformationWeek500, a three-day show at which the 500 most innovative business technology users are named.
By Rob Preston
The software industry is fast consolidating around only a handful of dominant players: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP in the first tier, and Hewlett-Packard, EMC, CA, and Symantec in a second, more narrowly focused one. Quibble if you want about which companies belong where, but it’s clear that software is going the way of the PC, auto, lighting fixture, consumer goods, and other mature manufacturing industries: ruled by the giants.
Are we done yet? Hardly. Expect much more consolidation in the months and years ahead. What follows is a purely speculative though objective analysis on what could follow, company by massive software company.
See more at http://www.unitedBIT.com
Venture capitalist Mike Fitzgerald says he’s more inclined to invest in software startups that embrace the service model.
Fitzgerald, founder of Commonwealth Capital Ventures in Waltham, Mass., says SaaS is a win-win for the software company and customers. Sales cycles are shorter for SaaS startups because it’s easy for potential buyers to try the product. And if a customer starts with a limited rollout, a department head can pay out of discretionary budget, or even use a credit card, instead of sending a purchase order through normal channels.
On the customer side, capital expenditures for SaaS are significantly lower than a traditional premises deployment, and the product gets into users hands more quickly. Customers begin extracting value right away.
A service model also provides a predictable revenue stream for the software company, because payments come in every month. That means the company can make more accurate predictions about its quarterly numbers.
By contrast, premises software vendors face more uncertainty. Because they get a large portion of revenue from the initial license sale, the timing of a purchase can make or break a quarter.
“Oracle taught the enterprise software crowd to buy at the end of the quarter to get a better deal,” says Fitzgerald. “And if you miss an order, you blew a quarter and now on the Street you’re a bum.”
The downside is that SaaS vendors don’t get a large chunk of license money up front. The number of new accounts a SaaS vendor has to open is a multiple of a traditional software company.
“You need to get an accumulation of payments to be large enough to support your operation,” says Fitzgerald. “It forces a SaaS company to be more productive for every dollar of sales and marketing.”
And as with any venture, SaaS startups need to identify an underserved market. Translation? Fitzgerald has no plans to invest in a CRM startup.
That said, Fitzgerald is bullish on the service model. “SaaS is the future of the software business.”
Dream Factory makes rich Internet apps for project management, presentations, document sharing, and other types of collaboration.
Ribbit develops software that integrates cell calls with Web-based Salesforce apps. It lets you, for example, attach a voice message from a sales prospect to a Salesforce “task” and store it for later playback.
Right90 provides a sales forecasting tool for manufacturing companies. The company, which had three customers a year ago, now has 17 (including electronics giant Sharp) since plugging into AppExchange.
StakeWare has an app that lets companies track their “social responsibility.” A dashboard provides views of company performance in areas such as the environment and human rights.
Vertical Response enables e-mail marketing campaigns using your Salesforce contact list. Because such e-mail blasts tend to be smaller and between known parties, more messages get opened (“open” rates can be as high as 30%) and fewer get blocked as spam.
Aggregate Knowledge, whose discovery software makes content or product recommendations to Web site visitors based on what like-minded people have done.
Agistix, a hosted logistics application that helps companies keep track of packages and freight through various channels.
Gydget, which provides a widget-building platform for entertainment companies and sports franchises, with potential application in other industries.
Mino Wireless, which cuts costs for BlackBerry users who place overseas calls by routing calls over VoIP and providing centralized administration for groups of users. (Mino won InformationWeek‘s first-ever startup competition in September.)
Rebit, maker of a foolproof PC backup appliance that works by simply plugging into a USB port. (Not to be confused with Ribbit, the Salesforce incubator company, both of which have a green frog as their logo.)
Ruckus Wireless, whose 802.11 access points extend wireless signals greater distances and around obstacles.
Stratavia, a developer of data center automation software.
Untangle, which offers no-cost network access and spam filtering software based on open source.
by Stephen Wellman
In recent months I’ve seen a lot of anxiety in the tech marketplace. Bloggers, pundits, and industry insiders all seem to suggest that Web 2.0 is headed for Correction 2.0. Are we in the middle of another bubble?
The bubble talk started in 2005 when eBay agreed to acquire Skype. Since then, we’ve learned that Skype hasn’t earned its high price tag, with co-founder Niklas Zennstrom even admitting as much.
In recent weeks GPS firm Navteq sold for an impressive $8.1 billion to Nokia while Google’s stock price continues to climb. And to top it all off, last week Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook in a deal that supposedly gives the golden child of Web 2.0 a market value of $15 billion.
Web skeptics point to these trends and, channeling Susan Powter, scream: Stop the insanity!
During the fallout from the dot-com era, there was a lot of finger pointing and loads of general animosity directed at the Internet. But during the down years that followed, the Web exploded while the skeptics entrenched in their old-line companies watched from the sidelines. Google grew up during a down market. Key Web trends, like blogging, also exploded during the downturn.
I had firsthand experience with this. I worked at a Web startup during the downturn. When I would reveal this fact at the time, people would look at me with equal parts scorn and pity. I once had someone blame me for the stock market crash because I worked at an e-tailer during the late 1990s.
What I find odd about this Web skepticism is that it points a lot of derision at the Web. Other industries that have downturns don’t attract this much animosity. I don’t see any financial analysts out there pointing fingers at real estate agents or condo builders for the current meltdown in the U.S. real estate market.
Let’s look at the ghost in the room. Everyone is scared that the Web will repeat the mistakes of the dot-com era. Well, how about all those dot-coms that flamed out seven years ago? For all the Pets.com buzzards of yesteryear, there are plenty of dot-com era companies still charging on. Web giants such as Amazon.com and eBay have proven themselves as viable, profitable global businesses. And even though Yahoo lost to Google, it’s still around and it’s still a going concern.
A few business analysts last year pointed out that the survival rate of dot-com era companies was “on par or higher than other emerging industries” and that there may have been far too few dot-com startups, contrary to the conventional wisdom that emerged at the time of the collapse.
If you factor in that the dot-com era produced a large number of viable businesses in an era where many of these companies ran on little to no profit — if not outright losses — for years, today’s crop of Web 2.0 startups looks even stronger. Even Facebook, a site that earns special scorn from Web skeptics, is profitable. Yahoo at the same time period in the dot-com explosion didn’t look as strong financially as many of the bright, shining stars of Web 2.0.
Simply put, I just don’t think that the current class of Web startups looks anywhere near as dangerous as those from the late 1990s. And given that startups today are smaller, leaner, and actually profitable, they may do even better than their parents’ generation. And if the parents did well (much better in hindsight than most thought in 2000-2001), how much success could these Web 2.0 kids achieve?
Now, does this mean that I think Facebook is really worth $15 billion right now? Not necessarily. Does this mean that I don’t think there will be another Web downturn? Not at all. That which goes up must come down. That’s just capitalism. If you don’t like the risk, then don’t play for the rewards.
What do you think? Is Web 2.0 headed for a huge crash? Or is the Web only heating up?