Today on Twitter’s first ever analyst call, the company previewed a massive range of products it’s developing. Here’s a rundown on the most important features.
Activity booking site Vayable is going last-minute with Vayable for iOS.
If you’re like me, you have plenty of annoying noise cluttering your social media experience. Muting could become your best friend.
Every entrepreneur wants to create the next Twitter, and persuade consumers to create entirely new habits online. But here’s why they should focus on making it easier for them to stick to their current habits.
Ahead of receiving his knighthood from the Queen, Apple’s British design chief Jonathan Ive has given a rare interview to the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, outlining some of his thoughts and feelings on how the company’s products achieve a “sense of care.”
Personalized algorithms and social recommendations are great for a lot of things. But when it comes to getting news, these technologies can create an echo chamber, where our existing beliefs are reflected back to us. Uberpaper, a new site from Dmitry Shapiro, wants to combat that.
At least one of the people behind those “industry sources” attributions in Apple rumor articles is very real. Former Samsung manager Suk-Joo Hwang testified before a federal court on Wednesday that he had disclosed information about iPad components before the product was announced.
Talk of consolidation is all around the Infrastructure space at the moment. If you listen to Gartner, that’s bad. If you listen to EMC, it’s good. Admittedly, both Gartner’s Lydia Leong and EMC’s Chuck Hollis were discussing very specific — and different — cases, but I see some common threads that are worth examining. Technology markets, after all, require consolidation at a level that is “just right,” but there is little consensus as to where this sweet spot may lie.
The week began with news that CouchOne and Membase are merging to form Couchbase. Both companies previously developed products in the NoSQL space. CouchOne used its open-source CouchDB to store and query large volumes of document-like data, particularly in the mobile space. Membase used broadly similar approaches to address mission-critical business applications at scale.
The companies didn’t directly compete before, but their technologies were broadly synergistic. The whole may very well be greater than the sum of its parts, as Couchbase has the size, tools and skills to strengthen its position in existing markets while also pursuing new opportunities at the intersection between its strengths. It’s still too early to judge the success of this merger, but on the surface it appears one case in which consolidation may benefit both the new company and its current customers.
In another example of this week’s apparent consolidation fever, Gartner research vice president Lydia Leong examined examples such as Verizon’s $1.4 Billion purchase of Terremark, and asked, “—is consolidation at this stage of the market good for the progress of the cloud IaaS market?”
She thinks not, arguing (correctly) that some healthy competition in a market is a great way to drive innovation. She’s right, of course, but too many players doing broadly similar things can also lead to diffusion of attention, obfuscation and (perhaps counter-intuitively) a dearth of really competitive pricing. With new entrants (such as HP) continuing to join the cloud-infrastructure space, there are plenty of opportunities for technological innovation from some, while others focus on delivering robust, affordable and increasingly accessible commodity solutions to a growing cohort of enterprise customers.
One company certainly doing its bit to bring consolidation to both hardware and software is storage giant EMC. Company vice president Chuck Hollis responded to a post from earlier this week by The Register‘s Chris Mellor. Mellor noted that big storage vendors such as EMC, HP, HDS and others are increasingly focused on further integrating the products they sell into data centers — servers, software, storage, networking and the rest. He fears that, as these pieces become more tightly controlled, it will be increasingly difficult for competitors to enter the data center space.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hollis disagrees, drawing upon consumer technology examples to make his case: “Analogies only go so far, but I think I’ve made my point: converged infrastructure — like their consumer equivalents — can not only shift the focus of innovation, but greatly increase its quantity as well.”
I am inclined to agree more with Mellor than Hollis, but would suggest that customers hold a great deal of power here. Convergence within a product line should lead to efficiencies and cost reductions. Convergence of interface specifications and other standards should make it easier for competitors to enter the ecosystem and target their product offerings to the dominant specifications and formats. Where large vendors overstep the mark and abuse their dominant position in order to actively block new competitors, their customers should express disapproval by voting with their wallets. If choice and competition matter, then purchasers should choose accordingly.
Consolidation and convergence mean many things in this industry, and impact everything from technical minutiae to broad-brush business decisions. Monopolies are undesirable, but the opposite extreme of an unbounded set of companies may also be unhelpful in a maturing market. Contraction, consolidation and alignment of common interests are signs that the exuberance of an unknown new market is settling as suppliers and their customers discover their places.
Question of the week
My closet is so overfull with boxes from Apple that I hardly have room for anything else. I love my Macs, iOS devices, and Apple software. But there are some things about Apple products that just leave me wondering: why don’t they fix this?
After each Apple press event, there is a visible track of turbulence online, in the technology market and on Wall Street, and all that is left for the rest of us to decide is whether or not we will follow or get out-of-the-way.