Groupon’s success has been astronomical – at least if you agree with their accounting measures – but success always spawns imitators. Ever since Groupon turned down a massive offer by Google to purchase the company, the daily deals scene has become crowded with poorly thought out Groupon rip-offs and “Me too!” competitors, along with some top-tier alternatives. So, there are plenty of companies vying to be the next Groupon. But are any of them having much success? New evidence suggests that a vast number of daily deals sites are going the way of the dodo, and doing it quickly.
Maybe we’re looking for leadership in the wrong places during these tough economic times. While politicians pound the pulpit and blather on about job creation, few of them are able to actually get anything done, regardless of party affiliation. On the other hand, a new report claims that one company is singlehandedly creating a crapload (approximately) of jobs and revenue. That company is Facebook. Is a Mark Zuckerberg 2012 campaign around the corner?
The long-time Finnish maker of mobile phones, Nokia, announced today that they are preparing to reduce their workforce, according to Reuters. The cuts will start with 800 in Nokia's home market of Finland. Overall, the company expects to eliminate 1800 jobs worldwide. This total number was announced back in October, but it was not clear at the time where the cuts would come from.
Observers suspect that many of the job losses are due to the de-emphasis of Symbian development. The layoffs are expected to go into effect in January. These employees aren't being completely cut loose, though. Nokia has agreed to provide severance packages equal to 5-15 months of salary. While some of Nokia's recent decisions leave us scratching our heads, it's never good news to hear about tech layoffs. Do you think this says anything about Nokia's future?
As the economy picks up, so too does the demand for cloud computing hardware, says market research firm IDC. In a report released this week, IDC said it expects server revenue for private cloud computing to grow from $7.3 billion (2009) to $11.8 billion in 2014.
The public cloud market, which is a significantly smaller segment, is also on pace to experience growth, with IDC predicting a rise in revenue from $582 million to $718 million the same time period.
"Now is a great time for many IT organizations to begin seriously considering this technology and employing public and private clouds in order to simplify sprawling IT environments," said Kathernie Broderick, research analyst, Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends.
On a related note, the IDC report notes that public clouds won't see the same broad adoption as private clouds, partly because the public sector will be less enterprise focused.
Recession? What recession? There's no such thing in the cell phone industry, at least not anymore, says iSuppli. The market research firm proclaimed the end of the cell phone recession after the industry closed out 2009 with a bang.
Cell phones ended 2009 with shipments of 1.15 billion units. That's slightly down from the 1.2 billion units shipped in 2008, but it's the fourth quarter performance that has iSuppli gushing over the cell phone market. Mobile handset shipments reached 335 million in the final quarter of 2009, up 15.5 percent from the 290 million shipped in the previous quarter.
"Given the recovery of the market in the final quarter of 2009, and with Europe, Latin America and the Middle East/Africa regions doing exceptionally well during the period, the recession can be said to be officially over for the cell phone industry," said Tina Teng, senior analyst for wireless systems at iSuppli. "The continued growth this year of total handsets - up a projected 11.3 percent to 1.3 billion units - further bolsters such a view."
The future looks equally bright, says iSuppli, which projects that smartphones will see growth of 35.5 percent in 2010. This will be helped by the introduction of entry-level handsets and 3G network expansion expected to take place this year.
Denise Dubie over at NetworkWorld has posted an interesting piece on how enterprise IT leaders looking ahead to 2010 may find themselves coming up short on staff and high-tech skills needed to grow their business during an economic recovery.
Dubie points to research from various sources who all have found that high-tech suits are fearful about how to handle business in the coming year if left with a lean staff. Robert Half Technology, for example, found that 43 percent 1,400 CIOs polled recognize that their IT departments are either somewhat or very understaffed in relation to current workloads.
"Many companies have cut technology staff levels too deeply, making it challenging for IT departments to keep pace with demands," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "Although businesses may be able to operate with stretched teams in the short term, being perpetually understaffed isn't sustainable and can detract from the overall productivity and morale of the organization."
Let's also not forget that there remains a question of whether IT workers will remain loyal once the recession ends. In that same report, Willmer noted that "staffing cuts and the reduction or elimination of benefits have left many employees feeling overworked and undervalued."
According to a recent survey by Accenture on IT investments, information technology will play a key role in the global economic recovery. Accenture noted that about 72 percent of business and IT execs say their "organizations place greater value on the IT function today than they did before the economic crisis," and believe that IT will prove integral to getting the economy back on track.
"The results of the survey show that firms recognize the need to invest in technology to defend and accelerate their competitive position, even in difficult times, which has not always been the case in the past," said Keith Haviland, Accenture's Global Managing Director for Systems Integration Consulting. "The turmoil over the last 18 months has underscored the need for further flexibility and scalability to stay ahead in business and drive agile business change."
Many execs said they expect technology spending to increase in their organization either selectively (47 percent) or across the board (10 percent) in the next year. Perhaps more surprisingly, around 61 percent of the non-IT executives pinged said they expect IT spending to rise.
Windows 7’s launch may have turned in an impressive 234% growth in sales over Vista, but at least one industry analyst report is suggesting it may not be enough to bring Microsoft out of the red. Boxed copies of the software enjoyed strong pre-orders, but as many of you know, the vast majority of these were sold at a significant discount with an average selling price of only $76 in the week ending October 24th. Sales of PCs through the OEM sales channel also grew by 95% during the launch week, but it has since settled down considerably.
According to the report, Microsoft’s fortunes in 2010 will largely depend on whether the global economic conditions improve, and if IT budgets increase along with it. Strong sales to consumers is one thing, but getting businesses to embrace a tech refresh is the real trick to Microsoft’s recovery. Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell suggested that his company is planning for the worst, and is being “reasonably cautious” about the prospect of enterprises adopting Windows 7.
"It looks like the Win7 inspired upgrade cycle can start in late 2010 and run through early 2013," Katherine Egbert, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in an Oct. 12 report. "We expect new hardware purchases to precede the software upgrades by about 6 months." Either way, business will need to replace aging hardware and software eventually, but the big question for Microsoft is “when”.
We can think of several reasons to invest in Windows 7. It's faster than Vista and more secure than XP. The new taskbar rocks. UAC is much less intrusive than it was in Vista. And did we mention it's fast? But if you're still not convinced Windows 7 should be your next OS, consider that you could be helping the economy rebound, according to research firm IDC.
Take this however you will, but according to a report in the Boston Globe, Microsoft hired the research firm to conduct a study of the ripple effect of the Windows 7 launch. During the course of its research, IDC found that U.S.-based companies could hire some 25,000 extra works to cope with the Windows 7 launch.
"There is a bounce effect based on the introduction of Windows 7," Said Amie White, vice president for global research at IDC.
In addition to creating jobs, IDC also estimates that technology companies across the nation stand to sell an extra $110 billion in Windows 7-related products and services through the end of 2010. This will have a trickle down effect as these same companies pump $41 billion to develop, sell, and support new products for Win 7 users, the Boston Globe reports.
Your Econ class probably never covered Facbook, but maybe it should. According to the Silicon Alley Insider, Facebook is "beating the s--- out of its numbers," and it's all thanks to Zynga's virtual goods.
Farmville, Texas Hold'em, and other social games are turning out to be cash cows. By some estimates, Zynga is pulling in a staggering $580,000 per day, with a good chunk of that coming from selling its users virtual goods. To ensure the well doesn't dry up, Zynga has spent a reported $50 million on Facebook ads.
"Zynga is an aggressive player in this space … possibly the most aggressive," writes AllFacebook.com. "There is two parts to their strategy. The first is to fund developers that have game ideas, promote them, and for those that are successful, they snatch them up, often at pennies on the dollar. The second is outright acquisition of successful application that they didn’t fund."
While Zynga has proven that selling virtual goods can be booming business, the future looks even brighter. There's talk of Zynga and Facebook teaming up to build a "Pay With Facebook" payment system that would both take on Paypal, and allow the companies to cash in twice on selling virtual goods.