28
Mar

What is prompting interest in Altera from Intel?

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-width This last week the Wall Street Journal published an article written by Dana Mattioli, Dana Cimilluca, and Don Clark about Intel® and Altera® (http://www NULL.wsj NULL.com/articles/intel-in-talks-to-buy-altera-1427485172).

The topic was Intel’s public expression of more than a passing interest in Altera from the perspective of an acquisition. Despite the fact no name could be publicly associated (the following claim is merely attributed to “people familiar with the matter” in the article) with the most important clause in the piece, “Intel Corp. is in advanced talks to buy chip partner Altera Corp”, a lot of editorial content appeared almost instantaneously after the publication of this article in the online WSJ, in what might easily be construed as merely a knee-jerk reaction as the 800 lb gorilla in the PC CPU business starts moving around and sniffing the air.

Is this interest the result of Intel’s obsession with opening other substantial revenue streams? Or is it being prompted by Intel’s inept handling of Altera as its biggest tenant for its foundry business? Or, finally, is it even being prompted by recent market acknowledgement of favorable features of Field Programmable Gateway Architecture (FPGA) semi-conductors (Altera’s main product line) for the development of what amounts to today’s hottest trend in computing — machine learning, algorithms and computer cognition systems. Incidentally, anyone skeptical on this last point should read this call for proposals from the ACM (http://www NULL.sigarch NULL.org/2015/01/17/call-for-proposals-intel-altera-heterogeneous-architecture-research-platform-program/).

I will not take the time here to provide more detail on each of the above points, namely, the need to augment the PC CPU business with something equally compelling for major markets, the foundry business model, or FPGAs as a superior platform for machine learning applications. If you would like further detail on any of these, or all, please contact me and we can talk about it.

If impatient readers with a keen interest in either player in this drama still think it is very important to put together a strategy now to plan for this acquisition taking place, it might save them a lot of effort to simply mention “this notion has come up before” as a quick look at Analyst: Intel may acquire FPGA vendor (http://www NULL.eetimes NULL.com/document NULL.asp?doc_id=1172756), which was published back in 2010 will corroborate.

Bottom line, we need further word from Intel and Altera before any one of us should write much more about this. The setting simply is not clear enough, now, to warrant all of this chatter.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

28
Feb

Microsoft takes three steps worth some thought by anyone following this mature ISV

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthIn late February, 2015, Microsoft announced 3 changes in components of its business worth some thought by anyone with an interest in this mature ISV.

On February 20, 2015 Dan Kedmey wrote about Microsoft’s acquision of Acompli for the Time online magazine. He noted “Acompli is the best example of Microsoft’s new playbook: In a matter of weeks, Microsoft took Acompli’s popular email app and rebranded it as Outlook for iOS and Android, to rave reviews from the tech press.” (readers can view Kedmey’s complete article, titled This Is Microsoft’s New Plan to Invade Your Smartphone (http://time NULL.com/3716303/microsoft-acquisitions/) on the Time magazine web site). But this method of consuming acquisitions and spitting them back out as simply new examples of Microsoft branded products, contrasts with another famous acquisition, namely the Skype purchase. The Skype service has retained its own independent brand despite being a wholly owned component of the Microsoft revenue model. So why the change with Acompli? Further, does it make sense to try (I would argue for yet another time in a long string of unsuccessful attempts) to extend a well known enterprise computing brand name — the Outlook email client — into solidly, at best, BYOD territory? Acompli had a great app following among mobile computing consumers, many of which could likely care less about the email client they use at work.

Then there is the question of the “about face” Microsoft recently took on what looked to be a welcome change of direction towards “the norm” (meaning Chrome and Firefox) in web browser world. As Nathan Ingraham wrote on little more than a month ago on the Verge web site, in an article titled Microsoft officially announces Project Spartan, its new web browser for Windows 10 (http://www NULL.theverge NULL.com/2015/1/21/7863331/microsoft-project-spartan-new-web-browser), Redmond looked like it was going to change the web browser of choice for Windows 10 from Internet Explorer (IE) to something new and promising — the Spartan Browser. As any die hard IE user knows, the quirks and, perhaps, nonsensical differentiations built into Microsoft’s flagship web page browser, make little sense anymore. Market share is eroding day by day. So a change in a popular direction seemed to make a lot of sense.

But then on February 26, 2015, Microsoft back tracked. As Kurt Mackie wrote for the RedmondMag blog in an article titled Microsoft Blinks on Using Open Source Engine for Spartan Browser (http://redmondmag NULL.com/articles/2015/02/26/open-source-and-spartan-browser NULL.aspx), one of the reasons given for the decision amounted to “‘we felt it was important to counter movement towards a monoculture on the Web.'” (please click the link just provided to read Mackie’s complete article). But could “monoculture” be a good think? Even for Microsoft?

Finally, there are a couple of realities about the present IE 11 browser on Windows 7 and the same browser on Windows 8.1 worth some consideration. In keeping with the point Microsoft just made about “monoculture”, and its determination to “counter” movement towards it, the feature sets of these two browsers are, in my opinion, radically dissimilar from Chrome and/or Firefox. These differences, once again in my opinion, are, perhaps, not for the best. Perhaps more worrisome is how my first thoughts about these features take me back to my original opinion about Windows 8 and touch computing on desktop machines in the first place — a big big stretch I did not care to make.

I kind of like the new Microsoft. The Microsoft looking to partner with everybody else. The one not trying so hard to stand out from the crowd. What about you?

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

17
Feb

Microsoft lowers the volume on its Mobile First Cloud First clarion call at least for SharePoint

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthIn the aftermath of SPTechCon Austin, and a number of announcements from Microsoft, not the least of which being the planned debut of SharePoint 2016 (http://www NULL.zdnet NULL.com/article/microsoft-reconfirms-it-will-deliver-an-on-premises-sharepoint-2016-release/), later this year, it is safe to say the volume on “mobile first, cloud first” has been turned down by Redmond.

But not without a fight. Anyone reading a post to the Office blog titled Evolution of SharePoint (http://blogs NULL.office NULL.com/2015/02/02/evolution-sharepoint/) will not find a section dedicated to “SharePoint Server 2016” in this roadmap. Nevertheless, the impact of the following acknowledgement: “But, we realize many customers continue to run their businesses on-premises, within the firewall or with hybrid deployments. That’s why we are committed to making the next version of SharePoint server the most secure, stable and reliable version to date—allowing organizations to take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms” cannot be missed.

Somewhere at Microsoft, a Kubler-Ross level of acceptance (stage 3 of her “On Death and Dying” presentation) has developed about the likelihood of enterprise business and comparably sized organizations in the public and private sector deciding to drop their on-premises SharePoint servers for SharePoint Online/Office 365. Wholesale migration to Office 365 cloud SaaS services will not happen any time soon for this market segment. But a hybrid computing scenario of on-premises computing PLUS a cloud component may work.

I attended SPTechCon Austin along with Asif Rehmani (Asif Rehmani has maintained a position as a SharePoint MVP for each of the last 8 years, and is the CEO of VisualSP (http://www NULL.visualsp NULL.com)). We were exhibitors at the conference. Asif Rehmani also delivered two well attended presentations on no-code approaches to custom process development for SharePoint.

I spoke with representatives from some of the larger companies based in the US (top 5 businesses in the energy sector, global financial firms, and manufacturers of heavy equipment), as well as with representatives from US government agencies at state and federal levels. With the exception of one of these conversations, the others were either entirely focused on SharePoint Server, on-premises, or on a hybrid computing scenario, where SharePoint Online, Office 365 would be implemented in parallel to on-premises servers.

The unique problem represented by SharePoint server, on-premises, in my opinion, is its historical role as a computing platform for the organizations opting to implement it. When applications are customized to enhance their usefulness within a computing platform (like an intranet, or an extranet), it becomes a monumental task to de-couple them from the platform, itself. Microsoft apparently recognized this back in December of 2014 and devoted over 6 hours of its Microsoft Virtual Academy training offer to a presentation on Transform SharePoint Customizations to SharePoint App Model (http://www NULL.microsoftvirtualacademy NULL.com/training-courses/transform-sharepoint-customizations-to-sharepoint-app-model).

Ironically, with a more appropriate perspective squarely in place, in my opinion many more of the larger communities of SharePoint users will be likely to decide to implement SharePoint Online, Office 365 than would otherwise have been the case. At the same time, Microsoft will likely benefit from a popular new on-premises server offer in the form of SharePoint server 2016.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

27
Jan

Lessons learned from Microsoft’s Q2 2015 Earnings Report

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthIn the aftermath of Microsoft’s Q2 FY 2015 earnings conference call and webcast, it is clear a number of well respected Wall Street Analysts–including Rick Sherlund of Nomura Securities–have re-calibrated their future earnings expectations for the company. Sherlund now has a “hold” on the stock. Walter H. Pritchard of Citi changed his rating to sell; readers can read about Pritchard’s opinion in an article published on the StreetInsider.com web site titled UPDATE: Citi Downgrades Microsoft (MSFT) to Sell.

The important points, for me, from the webcast include the following. These points lead me to change my own opinion as to the near term future performance of the business:

  1. Microsoft management (Satya Nadella) presented the Hololens in the context of Windows 10, “Universal Apps” and the consumer market for PC operating systems
  2. Satya Nadella also reported on serious obstacles to further growth for Microsoft for the China and Japan markets
  3. Big improvements in the subscriber numbers for Microsoft’s cloud, IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS businesses (Azure, Office 365) did not translate into big revenue numbers
  4. Management was sanguine about the near term future potential for the business, contributing to the downward revision of earning forecasts
  5. Lots of opinions have been voiced about just what the earnings statistics portend for the company. A writer for the Geekwire website identified weaknesses in the devices market. Pritchard’s rating, which I mentioned above, made references to the cost of new product launches (coming this year) as a big drag on revenue. There are many more, which I do not need to summarize here

These 5 points, when considered alongside Microsoft’s ability to still hit the earnings estimate and actually exceed the expected revenue performance for the quarter, lead me to surmise we are all watching a business do what it needs to do to hit its numbers in whatever manner it can. Blackberry is another example of this type of performance. The method may not please the analysts, but the achievement remains the same.

One comment on the drop in OEM revenue for hardware devices: perhaps a contributor to this drop was management’s decision not to charge for licensing the Windows O/S to hardware OEMs building devices with screens 8 inches in size, and smaller. Unfortunately I did not hear this question asked during the webcast. But if this is the case, the tactic still makes a lot of sense, in my opinion, to protect the low end of the market from further incursion by Google’s Chrome O/S.

On the topic of the target market for the Hololens: I was disappointed to hear Satya Nadella affirm a consumer market target, short term, for the device.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

26
Jan

Microsoft’s Q2 FY 15 webcast adds some form to the target market for Hololens and word of a formal end to the Windows XP refresh cycle

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthDuring Microsoft’s Q2 FY 15 webcast (http://www NULL.media-server NULL.com/m/p/kfhzc7oc), Satya Nadella alluded to Windows 10 Universal Apps, and their usefulness for average consumers of Microsoft’s recently debuted Hololens “alternative reality/AR” headset computer.

So Microsoft clearly intends to promote the Hololens to the consumer market. But as to whether or not the consumer market will jump at the opportunity, or not, is another question, which was not addressed during the webcast. It is more likely the early adopters for the device will be organization like the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL was mentioned during the January 20th event. As well, a post on the Hololens was published on the official JPL blog.

Another business with an entry in the headset computer business, Oculus also made news the same day Microsoft held its webcast. In an article titled Oculus CEO on its new VR filmmaking venture Story Studio and Microsoft’s HoloLens (http://blogs NULL.ft NULL.com/tech-blog/2015/01/oculus-ceo-on-its-new-vr-filmmaking-venture-story-studio-and-microsofts-hololens/), Tim Bradshaw summarizes a comment made by Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Oculus about Microsoft’s Hololens, likely target markets and the pace of introducing the technology: “AR [alternative reality] may be further away than Microsoft made it seem last week[. He] suggested the software giant should be “careful” about setting unrealistic expectations.” This opinion seems sensible to me, and, perhaps, one at least the Marketing Communications team at Microsoft might want to adopt.

The rationale behind my recommendation is an article by David Carr, of the New York Times, which appeared on the same day. Carr’s article brings up the whole personal information notion, complete with some thoughts on the level of behavioral re-engineering average consumers will have to go through to adjust to regular use of the Hololens. Of course this type of conjecture hovered around Google Glass for most of its product life. But, nevertheless, stimulating writers like David Carr to voice these opinions so early in the cycle of introducing a product like the Hololens may have been a mistake.

On the question of why the quarter failed to hit all of the analyst estimate targets, it may help readers to note the emphasis Amy Hood, CFO placed on the end of the Windows XP refresh cycle as a reason for these misses. A lot of the commentary already published on the quarterly results have posited notions of serious declines in sales of Windows, Microsoft’s enterprise products, etc. But little mention has been made of the end of the refresh cycle, which may actually make more sense.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

22
Jan

Machine learning and Windows 10 and Windows Phone 8.1

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthMicrosoft’s Windows 10: The Next Chapter (http://news NULL.microsoft NULL.com/windows10story/) event, which was held on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, included a number of new product and features announcements. A lot of editorial copy has been produced on the Holographic computer, the “Hololens”. But other announcements, about machine learning capabilities, while, perhaps not as dramatic, also deserve some comments.

Windows 10 Leverages Machine Learning

During the 2 plus hour webcast, Joe Belfiore demonstrates the new role Microsoft’s Personal Assistant, aka “Cortana”, will play in Windows 10. He makes the point of mentioning Cortana’s capacity to learn, over time.

This machine learning capability is also demonstrated much later in the presentation, within the introduction of the Hololens.

Belfiore’s claims are overstated, at least when they are judged against my use of Cortana on Windows Phones. We own two of these, both are Windows 8.1 Lumia 925 smartphones. Cortana has operated as a feature on these phones for at least the last 90 days, and perhaps even longer. The biggest missing piece for us has been the lack of any improvement in Cortana’s understanding of either of our two users. One of our users has a pronounced accent, which has proven to be the basis of erroneous responses from Cortana, which she has gotten to simple questions.

Our other user, me, recently asked Cortana what it knows about him. Cortana’s reply included mention of a “Notebook”. The “Notebook” is presented in the “Windows 10: Next Chapter” event as a valuable new feature. In the webcast, one of the presenters (probably either Terry Myerson or Joe Belfiore) makes mention of the “Notebook” as an important control people will be able to use to determine just what personal information is available for processing and to limit the cognizance of the system of personal information.

Cortana’s reply to a simple question about what this personal assistant application “knows” about a specific person: “Well, I have my Notebook, so I know what you know you’ve let me know. Y’know?” seems to be more of a disclaimer than anything else. We took a look at the “Notebook”. We framed specific questions about information included in it, but could not get an answer from the system on any questions about any of the entries in the “Notebook”. Recommendation: turn down the hype on machine learning as this component of the system does not seem to have developed much at all since we last took a look at it.

In fairness, we need to also note we have an Android 4.4 KitKat smartphone manufactured by LG and an Apple iPad Air 2. Both of these devices also include personal assistants, “Siri” and “OK Google”, which are capable of understanding verbal commands and formulating audible responses. Neither of these devices are actually any more useful than Microsoft’s Cortana when the requirement amounts to an extended audio discussion with one’s computer device.

Machine learning in all of these applications has a long way to go before it is tangibly useful for personal computing.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

21
Jan

Microsoft debuts many new products while analysts hypothesize about impact on its revenue model

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthOn Wednesday, January 21, 2015, Microsoft published a webcast on its Windows blog. The reason for the webcast was the debut of a number of new products, each of which is scheduled for release later this year. Readers interested in the presentation can view the entire webcast, titled Windows 10: the Next Chapter (http://news NULL.microsoft NULL.com/windows10story/) via the link just provided.

But despite the freshness of the products presented by Terry Myerson, Joe Bellefiore, and Alex Kipman, not to mention the potential for business expansion (or shall I say evolution?) represented by the feature sets of each of these products, some representatives from the analyst community, who attended the event, in person, appeared to fixate on a pair of negative possibilities:

  1. Windows 10 as a free product (for anyone already owning devices with an authorized licensed copy of either Windows 8.1, or Windows 7, or even a Windows Phone with Windows Phone 8.1) threatening what Shira Ovide and Jeff Elder presented (with reference to Rick Sherlund of Nomura Securities) as “about 19% of Microsoft’s revenue in the year ended June 30”
  2. and an announcement of the company doubling down on its commitment to establish a substantial presence in markets for mobile hardware devices despite a diminished presence, which has shrunk, over the last few years, into what looks to be little more than 3%, respectively, of global consumption of smartphone and tablet devices (I gleaned this data from Ovide and Elder’s article in the Online Wall Street Journal, titled Microsoft Shows Off Windows 10 Software (http://www NULL.wsj NULL.com/articles/microsoft-unveils-more-of-windows-10-1421861492?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories))

I am not disputing the relevance of the above points, but I think the potential negative impact of them has been overstated. My position is predicated on two points:

  1. The first of these is a set of APIs, which Alex Kipman presented. Developers can use these APIs to leverage the artificial intelligence/neural networks/cognition features built into Windows 10 to enable mass market consumption of services likewise only accessible via bigger machines
  2. The second is the Windows 10 Holographic system, including the computer and the Holo Studio development environment. Readers should not overlook the inclusion of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in the presentation as a present consumer of the computer. With a very prominent consumer already in place, is it hard to extrapolate other organizations implementing this technology? Perhaps profit-making businesses in, for example, the aircraft manufacturing space?

I cannot provide more detail here about the potential of the APIs, beyond merely noting the extensive market interest in robotics, AI, and machine learning. The revenue potential represented by these two points may cover any revenue short fall from Microsoft’s announced decision to give away the Windows 10 OS for the first year after it is RTM sooner than analysts appear to be thinking.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

20
Jan

Positioning Windows 8 versus Windows 10

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthOn January 20, 2015, the GeekWire website published an article written by Todd Bishop and Blair Hanley Frank, which discusses Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system and a public event (the actual debut of the consumer version of this O/S), which is scheduled to be held on January 21, 2015. The title of the article is Does the world still need Windows? What’s at stake for Microsoft in the Windows 10 consumer preview (http://www NULL.geekwire NULL.com/2015/world-still-need-windows-whats-stake-microsoft-windows-10-consumer-preview/). Bishop and Frank summarize in this article some statistics coming out of NetApplications, which depict an enterprise computing world largely dominated by Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system (56% market share vs 14% market share for a combination of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 desktops).

The statistics are included to buttress a portrayal of some of the challenges in front of this new operating system, as Microsoft prepares for its event. The article argues Microsoft faces an imperative, which it must successfully address, via the January 21st event, to ” . . . assure [the public] that Windows 10 won’t cause them to punch their PC. Windows 8’s dual interface, straddling the line between desktop and tablet features, has caused confusion and frustration for many longtime Windows users.” A similar call for urgency can be found in a number of other articles published on the same topic.

Is it possible Microsoft’s public relations team has encouraged the news community to adopt this approach to the event, which I would summarize as “Windows 10 is a radically different operating system from Windows 8.1”? I have no information to indicate whether this is the case, or not, but the similarity in tone between these articles is, perhaps, attributable to a set of “talking points” someone sent out. At least it is fair to say there has been no press from Redmond countering the tone or substance of these articles.

I have been running Windows 10 Preview on a laptop since the start of the preview program (I believe the program kicked off in October, 2014). The laptop, an HP Envy, shipped with Windows 8.0, which I upgraded to Windows 8.1. In my opinion the differences between Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, at least as of Build 9879, are not radical. The real takeaway, for me, from the Windows 10 Preview experience, is a refinement of Windows 8.1, where the user interface is now a consistent experience of apps and other desktop components. Is it necessary to combine both experiences in one operating system? I would answer it is, given the reality of an enterprise computing world where mobile hardware devices are the norm.

Microsoft is not the only vendor of these systems seeking to present consumers with a “unified” computing experience. Both Apple and Google (Android and Chrome) have come around to the same approach, which should be something of a vindication for the original notion powering Windows 8.1. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s event. It might even be fun.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

14
Jan

IBM introduces a new mainframe computer targeted to some markets better served by clusters of smaller servers

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthIBM debuted its z Systems line of mainframe computers in January, 2015. The product line is targeted to a hot segment of enterprise computing consumers, organizations with a burning need to manage mobile devices, users availing of cloud computing offers and, above all, secure online data processing.

Readers can learn more about this product line on its website, IBM z Systems (http://www-03 NULL.ibm NULL.com/systems/z/announcement NULL.html?lnk=ushpls1). A quick glance at the marketing communications content reveals some popular and absolutely current computing themes:

  • mobile computing
  • enterprise social computing
  • real-time analytics and “in-transaction” analytics
  • secure, cloud computing

Video product presentations are available on the product website, along with a traditional datasheet in PDF format. A quick glance at the datasheet exposes a cluster approach to delivering the computing power of a typical high performance computing (HPC) system. No problem so far, but how does the introduction of a hardware computing platform with these capabilities align alongside IBM’s announced effort to become a major player in the public and private cloud market for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS? Does it make sense for developers building solutions for Hadoop, Map Reduce, and other cluster architectures optimized for lots of comparatively much smaller CPUs to focus on porting these applications over to IBM’s platform?

Notable on the datasheet is IBM’s suggestion about development platforms. The recommendation is for Java. But a lot of the most promising sector of app development, in, admittedly, very early 2015, is built on scripting languages, with JavaScript getting the most attention. There is also some substantial mention of traditional mainframe computing languages (COBOL) on the datasheet.

So one needs to question just how this product line adds value to IBM’s effort to catch up with its peers in the cloud computing business with systems like these. Certainly a review of the website for these new products is recommended given the themes articulated by the press releases about the z System computers. The most prominent of these are all allusions to mainframe computing, which, in 2014, seems to be something of anathema. Big iron is, unfortunately, no longer the recommended way for most enterprise businesses to proceed, at least not for the ones already committed to Azure, AWS and Google Compute Engine.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved

13
Jan

Rounding off some of Google’s edges makes a pretty picture, but little more

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthKatie Benner, a writer published on the Bloomberg View web site, presented a hypothesis about Google on January 13, 2015. She questions whether some of Google’s recent features, what I would call its edges, are familiar because they are characteristic of another very large tech company – Microsoft. But has she actually rounded these edges to render an otherwise sloppy picture into something somewhat more appealing?

The title of Benner’s article is Google is the New Microsoft. Uh-Oh (http://www NULL.bloombergview NULL.com/articles/2015-01-12/google-is-the-new-microsoft-and-that-should-freak-it-out).

The sticking points, for me, in her characterization of Google as a maturing tech business “print[ing] money” are some otherwise simple mistakes Google has made, which are NOT the kind of mistakes worth anyone’s sympathy. Unfortunately Benner doesn’t talk to these points.

What she does opine about is her portrait of “innovation” (an otherwise meaningless abstraction if there ever was one) as an elusive quality of product development existing somewhere beyond the grasp of “hugely profitable compan[ies]”, like Microsoft.

What is missing from the piece is Benner’s definition of “innovation”. Is it safe to say she does not consider Google Glass to be “innovation?” What about the driverless car? Or, finally, what about inexpensive DNA profiling? As anyone following Google is aware, each of the above products have emerged from the “Googleplex” (the last is offered by a company headed up by Sergey Brin’s wife, 23andme).

So, to follow the point further, if the above products are not examples of innovation, would it be safe to assume Benner is talking to a definition of the term perhaps closer to what Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, presented last year, when he positioned his business as an enterprise focused on delivering solutions to enhance personal productivity? In an earlier post to this blog I wrote on this point, with reference to an article Irving Wladawsky-Berger wrote last year for the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Blog on the concept (readers need only review The Science of Innovation (http://blog NULL.irvingwb NULL.com/blog/2014/12/the-mit-innovation-initiative NULL.html) to get a glimpse of how Wladawsky-Berger understands “innovation”).

To wrap up this exposition, then why doesn’t Benner include Microsoft along with Apple in her ranks of large businesses capable of “innovating core products”. Unfortunately I can not answer these points as, in my opinion, Benner’s article rounds off these hard edges. I would have preferred to see them nailed together into a tight frame for Google’s mistakes, which I regret, are perhaps a lot more pedestrian and far removed from any notion of “innovation”.

The biggest of these, and the most recent as far as my gaining cognizance of its existence, is Google’s architecture for its Android IP business. Deciding not to update some comparatively recent versions of this O/S is a wrong decision not likely to win Google many friends from the OEM community, nor from end consumers. Certainly the decision to abandon these versions was correctable, and a rather simple thing to fix without a lot of buzz about “innovation”.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved