Microsoft-Yahoo Deal: Link for Feb 14, 2008

February 14, 2008

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


Microsoft-Yahoo Deal: Major Yahoo Investor Urges Microsoft To Raise Offer

February 13, 2008

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


Web Meeting Service Startup Takes On Cisco, Microsoft

November 21, 2007

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 its open source foundation. “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.

Source:


How to Pitch InformationWeek

November 19, 2007

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.

Editorial Coverage
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.

Sections include:
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.

InformationWeek.com
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.
http://www.informationweek.com/edcal/2007

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:
http://www.informationweek.com/contactus.jhtml

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.

Press Kits
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.

Source:Marketing Sherpa


Software Industry M&A: What’s Next?

November 19, 2007

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


Go SaaS, Young Man

November 16, 2007

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.”

Source:


Will Google’s OpenSocial API Program Kill Ning?

November 2, 2007

By Stephen Wellman,

Google this week stormed into the social networking world and stole Facebook’s thunder with its new OpenSocial API program, an effort to create an open standard for creating and integrating applications into social networking platforms. While the rest of the blogosphere is pondering Facebook’s fate, I want to ask another question: Does OpenSocial spell the death of Ning?

For those of you who don’t know, Ning is startup that offers a platform designed to let users create and manage their own social networks. Ning has been around since 2004 and it has a list of big Silicon Valley boosters and investors, including Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame.

Ning is targeted at both consumers and businesses.Ning is trumpeting the OpenSocial platform and its participation in it. Ning’s leadership thinks that OpenSocial will allow Ning to explode (in a good way).

I am not as convinced that OpenSocial will be so good for Ning — or other social networking upstarts either. But for the sake of this post, I will focus on Ning.

Ning’s real value prop to date has been its ability to let users build fully custom, white-label social networks. While competitors like Facebook are aggregations of social networks (not just one social network), Ning’s advantage has been its ability to offer more user customization. Lots of different networks using the same platform behind the scenes vs. bunches of networks on the same interface.

Now, with the addition of Google’s OpenSocial APIs, Ning will offer the same kind of functionality as the rest of its rivals, including Facebook’s arch-nemesis MySpace. So if the entire social networking universe will soon offer integrated application functionality using the same standard (assuming Facebook signs on, which I think it will) what does Ning bring to the party?

Hear me out on this. I see how OpenSocial benefits MySpace. And I can see how Facebook might benefit from this too, despite all the naysayers who claim this move could kill Facebook. But, how does Ning really benefit from this?

As I see it, OpenSocial potentially gives Facebook and MySpace the ability to beat Ning at its own game. Assuming Facebook and MySpace integrate OpenSocial and these APIs give users the ability to create and integrate new kinds of applications and functionalities, why not give users the ability to create their own standalone networks in these respective platforms? Why not launch custom networks on both of these platforms and skip Ning all together?

As I see it, all Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, etc. have to do is add an additional level of interface customization and they can easily take Ning’s market right out from under it. Why use Ning when you could build a professional network for a large company on Facebook or a custom network for a movie or TV show on MySpace?

What do you think? Will OpenSocial spell the end of Ning?

Source: