Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Monday, January 10, 2011

  • Jan 10 / 2011
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Et Tu …

Steve Ballmer is dead at the wheel of M$. He is going nowhere in the “cloud”. He is going nowhere in mobile. He has only been able to sell “7″ retail in a monopoly. Feeling the heat, like all dictators fearing a coup, he has pushed out Bob Muglia who at least knew how to make money on servers.

The official announcement presents a good face, making change while M$ is on top, but we know M$ is not on top. GNU/Linux and ARM are threatening on all fronts. M$ has felt the need to adopt ARM because they know they cannot beat it. Web servers and high-power-computing are all going with GNU/Linux. Only the locked-in businesses still running XP are solid in the server market and they are seriously weighing options for GNU/Linux. They can migrate to GNU/Linux more cheaply than they can go to “2008″ and “7″ and using web applications makes the desktop lock-in rather frail. Does any business want to shell out for new licences or to continue paying for ones they already have? Does any business feel they have to work for a living but M$ should be supported like a welfare bum?

Perhaps Bob Muglia told Ballmer something Ballmer did not want to hear like share was declining or perhaps he looked too much like a possible replacement for Ballmer. Who will be next, Steve?

UPDATE see Preston Gralla’s take on this.

UPDATE see TheRegister’s analysis of Ballmer’s position.

  • Jan 10 / 2011
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AMD Painted Into a Corner

AMD has been good for IT. They kept Intel competing on price and performance, somewhat. However:

  • they did an excellent job of developing AMD64 but then neglected 32-bit stuff
  • they neglected low-power computing
  • ARM moved into x86 territory

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  • Jan 10 / 2011
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Whimpy Phone 7 is a Dog That Eats Bandwidth

Volume rather. People are having MB of network traffic daily coming out of their prepaid plans. Oops. Phoning home is expensive with smart-phones. People really should consider the OS they run. Does it work for the user or against the user? Free Software works for the user, a big plus. M$, on the other hand has honed the art of getting others to labour for M$ for free, providing IT support for their buggy software, re-re-rebooting, fighting malware and phoning home (WGdisA etc.).

UPDATE Perhaps the market knows. Android Phones beat iPhones in USA. At this rate, Android phones will out-sell RIM in the next quarter. Whimpy Phone 7? Down 1.8 % points. 2011 is going to be another great year for Android/Linux. I can see it spilling over onto all ARMed-thingies.

  • Jan 10 / 2011
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Life on the Edge for Hardware Manufacturers

Manufacturers of components of PCs of all kinds are in a tough spot. OEMs have placed orders for parts for tablet PCs and there is not capacity to produce it all: parts for desktops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, smart-thingies. To expand capacity to adapt to the new demands is risky as total shipments may or may not rise in the market. To be caught short in capacity is risky as customers may be lost. see “Upstream supply chain facing challenge from strong tablet PC orders”

It is the same question faced by system managers who see increased demand for storage and services but who are not certain that past performance will be repeated in the future. Do we add one more server or a bank of them?

No one knows for certain that tablets will be popular indefinitely. Building capacity to produce for them is a risk. It could be that tablets will replace notebooks in many cases because tablets are more portable and cost less to produce, or it could be that tablets will be an accessory and add to the pie.

I would bet that tablets will be part of the diversity of IT for a long time and I would ramp up production if it were not my money being invested. What manufacturers will do will likely be more cautious. They will shift capacity until the trend is clear. That could hold back adoption of tablets a bit and keep prices high for a while. The new kids on the block will have an opportunity to pick up the slack.

No one knows for sure whether M$’s entry in this market will succeed in a few years. They seem to have missed the boat on smart-phones. I don’t see the attractions of that other OS being large enought to command the market. I do see that enough suppliers of software will port software to ARM in expectation of M$ being there that GNU/Linux, already being on ARM, will get some of the action. The cost of porting software is not trivial nor free of risk. Suppliers of software will want to hedge their bets. One way to do that is to write platform-independent stuff (ie. Java) so the cost of porting becomes less. Java applications will likely see lots of action in 2011. Suppliers who have their applications written in Java will be exposed to much less risk as things sort themselves out. A year or two is sufficient time to port many applications to Java as well as to ARM.

Of one thing I am certain. M$ is not in a position to dictate to the market by announcing vapourware on ARM as they used to be a few years ago. We saw with Vista M$’s inability to dictate. Their share of the market has been dropping steadily since even while their take has increased because the market is growing. The best growth will be with ARM and GNU/Linux in the future.