Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Microsoft marries Nokia, finally!



Ballmer and Elop finally get it together and have announced that Microsoft will be buying Nokias mobile phone business. The deal comes at a time that Steve Ballmer is stepping down as CEO. Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO and ex Microsoft, under fire by Nokia shareholders for focusing too much on Microsoft technology, looks set to become the new Microsoft CEO.

The Microsoft purchase is an obvious one (i thought it would happen in 2011): pretty much the only thing Microsoft can do to keep Windows Phone a potential player in the mobile OS business.

Granted, Microsoft will now be competing head on with "partners" Samsung et all and might have difficulty getting other handset manufacturers to bundle Windows. However, the mobile device market is just too important and Microsoft must move aggresively to retain its industry leading position. The money involved is reasonable at $ 7,2 billion and considering the cash Microsoft has, its a steal.

This sure looks like Steve Ballmer's parting shot. An excellent one that makes Microsoft appear much less rooted in old style desktops and more focused on the future: mobile devices.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

HP stops VCX (formerly 3com NBX) VoIP PBX line


It’s been announced some time ago and widely expected, but recently HP finally pulled the plug on its VoIP PBX product, HP VCX. This product had received little investment over the last few years and had dwindling sales, so who cares?

Well there is still a significant amount of customers out there that run the platform and made major investments into it. As it’s a proprietary platform, customers will have to ditch their investment and buy an entirely new system. Not only do these companies now have to buy new hardware and software, they also have to retrain their users and administration staff. There is also the cost of down time. It’s not the first time this happened, either. Not so long ago Nortel went bankrupt and Avaya, who bought Nortel, forced customers to move to an Avaya system.

All this is proof how important it is to go for an open standard SIP system.  Some customers still think that buying a big sticker price PBX from a large company means they are assured the product will always be available. They assume there will be continued investment in the product. Well HP VCX is further proof that these days are over. High prices, big brand names, it’s simply no guarantee that the product will be around in the years to come.

My advice to companies is to go open standard. Invest in a technology adopted by a whole industry - SIP. A technology for which there is a big choice of hardware; IP Phones, Gateways, SIP trunk providers etc. Invest in PBX software running on an operating system you know well and you can manage without additional training costs (be it Linux or Windows, whichever you know better). These points will be a much better safeguard from a costly ‘forced’ move than a “big” brand or high purchase price!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Acunetix WebsiteDefender released


Two years of work has come to fruition with the release of Acunetix  WebsiteDefender – a service to secure your website against hackers and malware. Where as Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner was designed for companies that have custom web applications, WebsiteDefender was designed to help smaller companies that use “out of the box” web applications keep their websites secure.


WebsiteDefender will alert against Malware and allow you to easily remove it. Malware infections can have all sorts of nasty effects, one of which is that your site will get banned from Google! WebsiteDefender also monitors for hacker activity and will alert you in time to be able to do something about it. Lastly, it will regularly backup your whole website, including Wordpress database, themes and plugins if you use Wordpress. Restoring your website can be done with a few mouse clicks.


I think its a great new product - would love to hear your feedback! You can signup for a free initial scan here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Facebook is the next Google


I have been quietly collecting Facebook shares in the past few days. At $31 – 32 they are reasonably priced. Never mind how the IPO went. Yes, at $38 the shares were a bit expensive, but then Facebook is no ordinary company. 

Facebook is a big thing. Bigger then Google was ten years ago when it went public. In number of users, Facebook is the third biggest country in the world. And it reached that number in a just a few years. Extrapolate that - and a few years from now, Facebook delivers the single biggest “market” - on a plate. A global market. A way to deliver your product to the world, without having to develop a media and PR strategy for each country. 

Facebook delivers another holy grail in marketing: Targeting. Facebook knows the sex and age of most of its users, plus their interests. And this makes Facebook unique. Google, by contrast, offers almost no targeting at all.

Facebook engages – in the US, people spend 20% of their time on the internet on Facebook. Users come back on a daily basis. Yes, the current advert format does not engage users, but the point is that the users are there. Now Facebook just needs to come up with a better advertising format. And it has many options to choose from. 

Then there is the hosting of games and pages. Companies attract visitors to their page and are increasingly hosting their content there. Gaming companies target Facebook users and pay Facebook a fat commission. Facebook controls content and apps on its network and can make money of that.

And last but not least Facebook has an absolutely massive brand. Pretty much anything that’s human and alive and breeding has heard of Facebook.

So Facebook is a no – brainer. At least in my brain. Yes, shares are currently at approximately seventy five times profit. But with its potential, even the dimmest of management teams can triple profit overnight and grow it tenfold in just a few years. And then Facebook will be a bargain. Google IPO’d at $85 back in 2004. Its shares are now at $600. My guess is that Facebook will easily out perform that. So go and buy Facebook shares? Well, maybe, just maybe... 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Micosoft – Server OS maker par excellence

Microsoft gets a lot of flak for its many lame products. It’s difficult to decide which is the lamest of all. The Me too Windows Phone, the pathetic Bing or the “so NOT “ Microsoft Live? Or maybe the Windows desktop OS? Its on death row, its head neatly greased, and waits happily and patiently to be executed - even though it will take years. And Microsoft Office can now be DONE online, but cant DO online. It just waits. To be undone by time.

But behind all this doom and gloom shines Microsoft’s little lauded and often forgotten jewel – the Windows Server OS. Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 8 even more so, are the ultimate in server computing. Yes, if you want to run Apache with a PHP app (Wordpress), nothing beats Linux. But for everything else you need Windows Server. Windows Server is performant. Scaleable. Manageable. Programmable.

With terminal services you can virtualize desktops and apps. And its inbuilt virtualization makes it easy for administrators to run several machines on one server and easily configure redundancy and automated backup of not just apps but the whole OS. Windows Server makes it easy to go to the cloud, but allows you to decide to wait. Windows Server is THAT reliable and manageable you can hold on to your precious data a while longer. Share your data with Google or your hosting provider at some point in the future.

And Windows Server 8, already far ahead, lifts the bar even higher. Hyper-V is greatly improved. The internal switches between VMs can now be intelligently configured and traffic throttled or filtered. Hyper-V Replica can backup virtual machines automatically itself at intervals. And differentially. Put your server back in time with a few mouse clicks in case of emergency.

Storage for your servers can be virtualized and moved to other hardware with a few mouse clicks. You can move virtualized servers onto other servers - LIVE.

You can even send a LIVE VM to a remote host, thanks to network virtualization. Domain controllers can now also be virtualized and the Hyper V hypervisor will recognize domain controllers and deal with them intelligently avoiding conflicts.

And Windows Server management got easier too. Not just the management of a single server but of all your servers, including virtualized ones.

Windows Server 8 is cool. And it’s the future of Microsoft.

Friday, September 16, 2011

HTC Wildfire S frees me of iTunes



I recently bought an HTC Wildfire S and have been very impressed with the phone. The Android operating system is evolving rapidly, and in terms of usability its pretty close to an iPhone. But HTC Wildfire trumps the iPhone on several points:



  1. It has a smaller form factor and is more durable.
  2. Its half the price.
  3. The operating system is more open allowing you to install your own apps.
  4. I'd say the the text input keyboard on the HTC is better.
  5. The HTC has speech recognition for text messages and mail which works really well.
  6. You can rid yourself of the awful iTunes software!!


I have also been using 3CXphone on Android with the new tunnel feature connected to our 3CX Phone System. I can now use our company PBX from pretty much any hotspot in town. Easy and free…

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Google buys Motorola and secures android market growth


Google just bought Motorola for 12,5 billion, and in my view this is a very good thing for the entire industry. The mobile device market has been growing at an amazing pace, and this largely because of the innovation that iPhone and Android based devices are delivering. In time, mobile devices powered by iPhone/iPads and Android devices will replace the traditional desktop and reshape the IT landscape. A whole host of new products and opportunities for IT vendors and resellers.

And this innovation and growth could only be blocked by one thing – the US patent system. Supposedly it protects innovators but it does exactly the opposite. Android already faced significant lawsuits which could deter device makers of using the platform. However, with Googles Motorola buy, Googles has a huge patent portfolio that can be used to defend itself against Apple and others. With google protecting Android and companies developing for Android, the market is suddenly a lot safer. And thus market growth and innovation has been secured. Heads up to Google!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Microsoft and Skype = Why?

I still can not see benefit for Microsoft. At least not a 8,5 billion benefit. OK so Skype is a big brand, has some decent infrastructure & technology and 660 million users. Thats all good. But most of those users are already Microsoft Users, running Windows. So its kinda like buying customers you already have. The infrastructure is decent, but linux based, and the technology cant be worth that much money.

Microsoft has become very communications focused, it would appear as Bill Gates and Steven Ballmer view this as the way forward for Microsoft. However Microsoft's core business, operating systems and productivity software (office) is under attack and needs to advance much more quickly for Microsoft to keep that business long term. iPads, Android tablets and soon GoogleChrome books are capturing significant market share and changing the way we interact with computers. The "desktop", as we know it, is fast becoming history. Its just too static and difficult to manage. So with the desktop being Microsoft's core business, I am sure Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have some plan for Skype to push forward their Windows and Office products - but i am not getting it. How exactly?

Until now i have not read any convincing analysis or comments by Microsoft how Skype can really help Microsoft push forward. I would think a significant buy at the operating system or enterprise level would make more sense. Maybe Vmware, Citrix, or potentially invest in hardware vendors to make notebooks that are more integrated with Windows to be able to match a MacBook air or iPad.

Skype will of course help the Microsoft Lync product. However, Microsoft Lync is hardly a significant product for Microsoft. Not now and neither in the future. At the same time Microsoft is making it self into a telecom company, and of course telecom companies are going to be wary of this development and avoid Lync. VoIP providers worldwide would be silly to push interoperability with Lync, after all its likely that Microsoft will take their business sooner or later. And telecom companies still have considerable clout.

So, I remain skeptical of this purchase by Microsoft.