Monthly Archives: March 2007

Dell to go after the consumer linux market… again

According to the March 29th Red Herring article, Dell has plans to again offer a Linux PC to the consumer market.  According to the article this is in part due to the “100,000 or so customers who requested it on a Dell web site.”  It would seem that this is also due in part to Dell’s slipping market share and the fact that non-techie’s are beginning to install and use Linux OSs.  Offering their PCs pre-loaded with open-source OS and applications will drive the cost of the PC down and potentially allow it to increase its number of units sold.


Michael Dell Looks Different in a Tux


Long-term, if this move is successful it could also enable Linux to be seen as an alternative to Windows and OS X.  Given Dell’s relatively large support organization they can, for a fee, provide the average user with Linux support.

As the article points out, Dell has offered a consumer Linux PC previously, but this time the conditions appear to be favorable – the various Linux OSs are more stable and feature rich, a larger portion of their consumers are asking for Linux, and Dell needs to replace the consumers that the lost to other pc vendors in its core market.


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Filed under Dell, Linux, Microsoft, OS X, Red Herring, Technology, Ubuntu

Xcerion Announces Internet Operating System




In the third quarter of this year, a Swedish-based company called Xcerion expects to launch XIOS or Xcerion Internet Operating System.  They predict that their XML-based operating system will allow for very inexpensive thin-clients – for example computers running Linux and a browser – to run a combination of applications delivered by Xcerion and third-parties.  Xcerion’s hope is to do what Microsoft did for client-based application development for web-based application development.  From a software developer’s perspective of consumer or business applications, this OS can potentially, dramatically reduce the number of operating systems that they will have to develop products for and support.


Xcerion expects to produce revenue by offering customers the ability to run a free ad-supported version of the application or pay a small annual fee ($5 – $10) to run them ad-free.  The company also expects to manage subscriptions to third-party applications, collecting a portion of the subscription fee.  They are embracing Google’s model for ad-supported revenue.  But, will they be able to mine their customer data well enough so that they can provide advertisers with the same type of targeted ads as Google’s adword program.  If so this model could work well for them, assuming that a large enough population of people use the completely free version.


For those business customers or those not wishing to have ads, time will tell if their pricing model and availability of business applications will enable them to be a viable alternative.  I also wonder about the security of the Xcerion datacenter.  I would expect a number of business users to spend time verifying their security.  But, we have also seen some major organizations begin to move in the direction of SaaS.  Last month announced that Merrill Lynch was rolling out SFDCs new wealth management edition to approximately 25,000 users.


I personally will be very interested to test out this new Operating System.  While Google, Microsoft and others have been working towards the development of web-based applications, this is one of the first organizations to go after a web-based operating system.  If successful – and if not acquired by Google or Microsoft first – this company could give both of these organizations a run for their money.

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Filed under International business, Internet, Linux, Operating System, SaaS, Technology, Xcerion

Tater Mitts!!!



I was sitting here working on my blog, watching the Military channel when a commercial came on – forgot to hit fast forward on the Tivo – for Tater Mitts.  Seeing this commercial made me realize that the end is indeed near.  Anyone who pays $19.95 plus shipping and handling should be caned.

Better yet, just send me the $19.95 plus $6.95 and I will send you something much better… an autographed photo of yours truly.  It never ceases to amaze me the useless crap that is marketed via infomercials.  More surprising is the number of people who line up to buy this stuff.  Hell, who hasn’t seen one of those As Seen on TV stores in one of their local malls.  What’s one more crappy product that will take up space in a drawer?


Filed under Marketing, Rant, Uncategorized, useless crap

Oracle files suit against SAP

When I read the article on the suit filed by Oracle against SAP, I found myself wondering about Oracles license management system.  Time and the courts will tell if SAP is guilty of the charges filed against them by Oracle, but I was surprised that Oracle customers (or SAP employees as the suit claims) would be able to download software that the Oracle customer had not licensed.


Is it legal to pretend to be your competitor’s customer and download software?  If it is legal, is it ethical?  In a competitive business environment, is “all fair in love and war?”


I personally believe that even if the practice is deemed legal, it is definitely unethical to pretend to be a competitor’s customer for the purpose of downloading confidential materials and software.

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Filed under BusinessWeek, Ethics, Oracle, SAP, Technology

Do companies need a second in command?

Second in Command  Recently I read an article written by Nathan Bennett and Stephen Miles which was published in the May 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review entitled, “Second in Command” which discusses the relationship between CEOs and COOs.  The authors point out that no two COOs have the same job description – not even two that have been employed by the same organization.  This, they argue, is a result of the fact that position is determined largely by the needs (and strengths and weaknesses) of the CEO.  They quote statistics that show the gradual decline in the number of COOs who are currently employed.  More interestingly they point out that 17% of COOs, who are promoted to CEO, elect not to hire a replacement COO.  I am surprised by this statistic, because I would imagine that a former COO would understand the benefit that a COO brings to an organization.


Many would agree that, among many other things, the CEO needs to be focused on the long-term direction and strategy of the organization.  The COO should be focused on the day-to-day operations of the business and implementing the CEOs vision.  A mistake that some organizations make is by having a CEO who is too tactically focused.  If we view those companies over a 5, 10 or 15 year period, I am willing to bet that those organizations – with tactically focused CEOs (and no COO) – will be much less successful than those with a CEO and COO.

Companies do need a second in command.  The CEO can not effectively be both strategically and tactically focused.  They need a trusted employee to focus their attention on the daily operations of the business and on executing on the CEOs strategy.

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Filed under CEO, COO, Harvard Business Review, Leadership, Nathan Bennett, Stephen Miles, Strategy, Uncategorized

Wall Street Scandal

I was reading the Matthew Goldstein article on UBS in the March 26th issue of BusinessWeek, and I found myself fixated on one small aspect of the story.  The story briefly outlines portions of Michael Guttenberg’s work history.  I found myself wondering how he went from being a “sales assistant” with Axiom Capital Management to an Executive Director with UBS in four short years.  Now, I will be the first to admit that I do not have intimate knowledge of the New York City Financial Services market, but to an outsider that sounds like a fairly incredible jump.  I found my mind shifting from did he, and twelve others, do what they are accused of or not, to what did he accomplish during those four years that justified that type of jump?


I found another comment in the article to be very interesting as well.  Goldstein, through sources that are “familiar with [Guttenberg’s] duties” labels him as a “glorified marketing executive.”  I find this interesting, because one of my pet peeves is that a number of people that I have come into contact with have a low opinion of the marketing profession.  So much so that they believe almost anyone can do it.  While this article does not provide an exhaustive look at Guttenberg’s resume, it struck me as an example of this type of thinking.  It appears that Guttenberg spent a fair amount of his time in the sales profession, but yet UBS promoted him to a marketing executive position, and on top of that placed him on “an elite committee” within the company.


Time and the courts will tell if Mr. Guttenberg and his colleagues are guilty, in the meantime I am fascinated by the progression of his career prior to this incident.

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Filed under Axiom Capital Management, BusinessWeek, Financial Services, Marketing, Matthew Goldstein, Michael Guttenberg, Sales, Scandal, UBS, Uncategorized, Wall Street


A month or so ago I decided that I was either going to replace the Windows operating system on one of my personal laptops.  I debated about purchasing a new version of Windows or installing Linux.  I quickly decided to give Linux a try and reviewed a number of different version – using the postings of the various communities.  I finally decided to go with Unbuntu and I absolutely love it.  The install was very easy and I really enjoy the clean look and feel of the design.  Now I am wondering why I did not try it earlier.


If you are thinking about giving Linux a try, I would highly recommend Unbuntu.  I am now in the process of switching my other to laptops over to Unbuntu as well.


Filed under Linux, Technology, Ubuntu