Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

The world heard your tirade against RIM and Android on Monday. I understand that you are nervous over the fact that Android Sales have overtaken iPhone. As any good sales person would, you injected some FUD to deflect the positive press that Android has been receiving.

But it is just that - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Usually, this is a sign of weakness - conceding to the enemy and "retaliating" with FUD. Fundamentally, your rant can be distilled to two issues:
  1. Fragmentation of Android resulting in developers spending more time testing than adding features
  2. Multiple Android Markets making it confusing for end users and developers
As a developer who has applications on both iOS and Android, I can tell you that I do not have the issue of having to "port" my Android code to multiple Android platforms. My code runs as-is across all Android devices.

Now, regarding the issue of multiple Android Markets, I think this is an advantage for Android. As a developer, this gives me multiple channels to have my app get downloaded. It is a matter of time before these markets provide an svn repository for my "bundle" (which includes screen shots, descriptions and the .apk file) that I simply upload to the various markets. The end-user can find the app within their context (either GetJar or Amazon or Google). Moreover, this keeps Google on its toes to constantly innovate. Competition always brings the best out in people.

You have always eschewed "open" and taken the I-know-what-is-best-for-you approach. The success of Linux for desktops/severs did not necessarily raise your antennae because the "fight" was for a much smaller percentage (Windows owns 90+% of the market. Linux/MacOS and others were competing for the scraps). However, the world of Smart Phones is a new era and an opportunity for "world dominance". Things were going well until Android started gaining momentum and started eclipsing the iPhone. Thus, the need for the rant.

I continue to be in awe of your genius. Your ability to provide clear thinking to a befuddled marketplace is phenomenal. Your legacy to our world of technology is unparalleled. So, you can understand my bewilderment with your scare tactics.

I believe there is room for two players in the market (three if RIM gets their act together quickly). Windows 7 is probably late to the party. However, if RIM does not watch out, the third player could well be Windows Phone 7. So, my request to you is to leave Android alone and focus on things that you have control over improving:
  • Reduce (or even remove) the approval time for apps on iTunes
  • Add recommendations to the iTunes store (similar to Amazon) including percentage of people who download the app, percentage of people who bought other apps, etc.
With Best Wishes,

Friday, October 15, 2010

NO on Proposition 23

Proposition 23 suspends the implementation of Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32) that requires major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for a full year.

Excuse me! I am surprised that they even allowed this to get on the ballot!

Who in their right minds can support a proposition that threatens public health and kills clean energy and air pollution standards. The only people benefiting from Prop 23 are the Texas Oil companies - because a YES on 23 would increase our dependence on their costly oil.

Here is a link to an Open Letter from over 100 leading economists, including Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow, warning against any delay in the implementation of California's Clean Energy policies.

On November 2nd, please vote NO on Prop 23.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

HP vs Oracle Round 3

Round 1: August 6th 2010 - HP Fires Mark Hurd for fiscal improprieties. Larry Ellison calls this "the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago."

Round 2: September 6th 2010 - Oracle hires ousted HP Chief Mark Hurd. HP responds with a law suit that "in the course of his duties with Oracle, Hurd will inevitably disclose HP's trade secrets and confidential information."

Round 3. October 1st 2010 - The Silicon Valley Soap Opera took another bizarre turn with the appointment of Leo Apotheker as the new HP CEO. Larry Ellison says publicly that he is "speechless" that HP "picked a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job running SAP."

Will somebody please stand up and tell Larry Ellison that *he* hired a guy who was recently fired from HP because he did not stand up to HP's ethical standards (which are also the standards normally practiced by the rest of us). Who is "speechless" now?

HP really hit it where it hurds the most (sorry, could not resist that!) with the appointment of Ray Lane as the non-executive chairman. Ray Lane has a storied history with Larry Ellison. It will be interesting to see who makes the next move.

I was disappointed with Chris O'Brien's piece in the Mercury News earlier today. He starts off very well building the case for why the other stories (Apple vs Adobe and Google vs Apple) pale in comparison to this one. It was his conclusion on "How can this get better?" that was disappointing. Chris O'Brien opted to take the trite path to possible conclusions.

I think the battlefield is now the marketplace. HP and Oracle are going after the same customers in the Enterprise Data Center. Oracle had the upper hand with Enterprise Software. HP closed that gap with the hiring of Leo Apotheker. With HP's recent acquisitions of 3Par, ArcSight and Fortify they are filling critical holes. I believe that they have the right person at the helm to lead them. I applaud HPs Board in having the courage to hire a rank outsider to help them effectively combat Oracle - an advantage that an insider would not have given them.

We are nearing the end of the first quarter and, by my score, HP is leading by a field goal - with each team having scored a touchdown. We have three more quarters left in the game. The Bay Area is already abuzz with all the activity that has happened so far. Hold on to your seat belts folks. The game has just begun!