Subba’s Serendipitous moments

July 1, 2009

The U.S. Government’s dashboard — Elegant and simple

After Vivek Kundra launched the open access to U.S. government data he has now launched a new U.S. government dashboard that tracks the U.S. government spending.. This tracks government spending with charts and lists ranking the largest government contractors (Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, etc.) and assistance recipients (Department of Healthcare Services, New York State Dept. of Health, Texas Health & Human Services Commission, etc.). Well, the site design is neat, user friendly but what took my breath away was the way the various trends that were displayed. Certainly they got inspired from gapminder.

This site has been built on Drupal– a open source content management software.

This clearly shows that the U.S. leads in transparency and even the Governments can innovate if they have the right leadership.

I strongly suggest all the Government CIOs visit the site.

Which other government will follow next?

April 20, 2009

Oracle acquires Sun — Unexpected and interesting

Oracle announced that it is going to acquire Sun for $9.50 in cash valuing Sun at about $7.5 billion or $5.6 billion net of Sun’s cash and debt.

The deal comes after talks between IBM and Sun failed. I had analyzed why the IBM may not really need Sun here and here. IBM had offered $9.40 per share. Oracle’s offer is a 40% premium over Sun’s closing price.

However this acquisition by Oracle is both unexpected and very interesting. Sun’s software assets could become better strategic assets to Oracle than Sun’s server or storage business. After Sun acquired MySQL , the relationship between Oracle and Sun had soured. Oracle had acquired Innobase to neutralize MySQL but it hadn’t made much headway. Of course Java could become the pivot of Oracle’s middleware strategy.

The open source database angle becomes interesting. Having MySQL in its stable gives Oracle access to its huge developer base and web applications market. Will Oracle kill MySQL to protect the Oracle 11g cloud margins or milk it for whatever it is worth before allowing it to die in neglect will be interesting to watch.

Sun has a large installed base and becomes an immediate target market for Oracle to target with its applications.

Since Sun’s manufacturing is already outsourced, there’s nothing much left for Oracle to do. It can sell whatever is left in the hardware business — the storage, server and any other chip business to either HP or Dell.

Oracle now fine tunes the database performance on Solaris and sells a combo. HP and others will feel the impact.

Oracle gets the scale and muscle to attack IBM.

On the overall, there seems to be a better strategic fit between Oracle and Sun, than Oracle and IBM. Both companies also have a strong feisty culture and hyper competitive spirits so integrating them could be easier.

What is also interesting is that Sun’s board approved the deal quickly and unanimously after just scoffing IBM’s deal which was just 10 cents less per share.

June 25, 2008

Nokia’s aggressive play against Google

Filed under: Business,Competition,Strategy — Subbaraman Iyer @ 11:29 pm
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Today Nokia announced that it is investing $410 million to acquire full control of Symbian. It further announced that it will give the software away royalty free. In short, open source it.

Given that there are 5 players in the mobile operating system world (RIM, Apple, Palm, Microsoft and Symbian) and one emerging player (Google with Android), it seems that Nokia’s current move is aimed more at Google than anyone else. And for good reason.

With this move not only is Nokia attempting to move the elements of competition from software to handset design, it is also a means of attracting third party application developers in a way other players like Apple and Google have managed to do do.

The coming years will mean one thing — it is no longer a competing world where just the hand set manufacturers are competing with one another. It would mean a network based eco-system oriented competition. It would also be interesting to see if there would be a true open mobile platform and also see how the licensing issues change if proprietary hardware and software can be put into an Android or a Symbian phone.

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