Microsoft 2010 Considerations

After a successful trip to Redmond this February I thought it appropriate to provide a view of what’s worth considering this year from our big friendly technology giant. A little filtered as I’m under non disclosure obligations.

The successful launch of Windows 7 is starting to get the giant back on track, however around the place the never ending organisational restructuring is affecting some products getting to market and others are loosing their way. The lack of agility is really affecting innovation. However there are some successes;-

Windows 7 is now significantly driving revenue and starting to create locking to a new generation of pc users.

Office 2010 and its integration with Office live workspaces will see Microsoft emerge as a key cloud and collaboration player. Live workspaces will provide cut down versions of all office products combined with skydrive type collaboration space, enabling users to share and contribute to documents without owning a copy of office. This is a direct challenge to Google Apps and one which offers a more polished approach.

Microsoft’s Azure offering is now starting to gather momentum. The programming capability of the platform will outstrip other cloud operators such as Amazon S3. Azure should be considered at the start of any development project as a cost efficient and flexible way to operating a web based solution.

Sharepoint 2010 is by far the biggest announcement. The platform builds on the success of Moss 2007. It brings together two new elements which will fundamentally enhance the platforms and make it a major a player in the enterprise space;- Fast style search capabilities and social networking capabilities both accelerate the platform into the stratosphere. This will be a real threat to Telligent’s community server moving forward. The platform should be embraced by the entire Microsoft development community, however there is one big weakness, its not an education platform, major work will be required to make it suitable for schools and colleges. However this can be done especially if Silverlight is used.

Live@Edu. This is by far one of the most exciting game changes for education infrastructure technology. The collection of services can offer a real game change to educational establishments. Free services offered to students such as mail, calendaring, skydrive, office workspaces can enable schools and campuses to focus budget on educational technology that improves learning outcomes. Thanks Microsoft for freeing up budget for lifeisaboutlearning.com.

Apple iPad(iSlate, so I was wrong about the name) Predictions

Ahead of Wednesday’s potential announcement from Apple, I’m going to stick my neck on the line and predict what such a potential announcement could mean to consumers, education and the publishing industry.

For anyone who’s not watching cyberspace for new technology announcements, the much anticipated Apple device should be made available for the general public to browse at large on Wednesday(I hope). The iSlate(its not official) has been the hot subject behind most rumours, however to Apple’s credit they have been able to keep this closely guarded secret under wraps. We do not officially know what this device is or even what its going to be called. However we do know that it’s something that will build on the success of the iPhone, iPod touch and the appstore model. It will be aimed at consumers rather than business users and it will try to own their window onto the digital world. The device expects to boast;- built in wireless /3G connectivity, multi touch interface, ireader functionality for magazines and ebooks. Not to mention audio, video and downloadable apps that are the mainstay of the iPhone and iPod touch platform.

What will this mean to us? Well it’s a start, there’s concerns that the device will be priced too high to gather momentum quickly. However the concepts behind the device, its interface approaches and its bundled approach to personal media devices will change the way we think. It will provide a spring board for a new breed of application and a new type of business model which will start to impact on the traditional publishing and magazine sector. Such a device will further enhance the way we live our lives in the cloud and our approach to computing as a whole. Like with the iPhone expect to see copycats following quickly in the footsteps.

Should I be part of this? Certainly. New business models will develop particularly in the education and publishing space. We will be their first as we move our iPhoneCreate offering to support this new extension to Apple’s ever growing development and distribution platform.

And of cause none of this may happen, my fate lye’s in Apples hands;-)

Top Level Domain should I watch out for them in 2010

After initial interest in October 2008, is this something for big brands to be worried about in 2010.

First of all, what is a top level domain(TLD). Putting it simple its the .com or .uk in your domain name. There is a finite number of them and they are controlled by ICANN the internet body responsible for assigning names. Today there are no major threats to big brands from the present listings they are mainly geographical or pseudo listings. i.e. .jobs or .aero.

However back in 2008 it was announced by ICANN to open up these domains for subscription. They launched a draft guidebook suggesting a process to enable international organisations to franchise a TLD. i.e. this could mean that Staarbucks could purchase .staarbucks or Toyota could purchase .toyota. This means a fundamental shift in thinking and strategy for those organisations and their web presence. Not to mention trademark issues and protection of brand.

i.e. how do you deal with domain name structure internationally? How does it affect your current internet presence? How do you protect the TLD for your organisation? How do we protect our brand or products?

Is this something to worry about? Yes in the long term, however not initially. The costs for top level domains will be about US$185,000, with a $25,000 franchisor fee. Legals and I.T. registrations costs will be in addition to this. ICANN have not formally launched the process and are so far working the logistics. They are rolling out a language specific TLD mechanism at the moment that will enable non english domains names, including unicode. We may expect some announcement this year however it is unlikely. Its worth giving a thought to your strategy now and in the short term, think about the multi lingual domain strategy as this is happening now. For example China is well under way. Do your products or company name translate into Mandarin? If so you should think about having a domain name registered in this language.