Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-06-08

  • Obama Protectionism Blasted By Microsoft’s Ballmer And Symantec’s Thompson
    “We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.,” Ballmer said in an interview with Bloomberg News. The Obama administration’s effort to limit deductions on foreign profits would lead to increased costs in the U.S. for Microsoft, requiring Ballmer to fulfill his “fiduciary responsibility” to shareholders by lowering the company’s costs by shifting jobs to other countries with lower corporate tax rates. Bloomberg News also reported that Symantec‘s Thompson “said software companies are frustrated by being called tax cheats and compared with companies that moved their headquarters to low-tax countries such as Bermuda.” Calling the Obama proposals “counterintuitive,” Thompson said, “It is a little bit ironic that most of our most significant trading partners and partners globally have taken the tack that they’ll reduce corporate tax rates to stimulate economic growth and not raise corporate tax rates,” Bloomberg reported.
  • Oracle layoffs
    Based on the large number of search engine referrals to the Spectator this morning, it appears that another layoff is underway at Oracle. As it turns out, a surge in such hits in the past has been an early indicator of layoffs, as news spreads within the organization and people search for more information. If you have information or more details on what functions are affected, and numbers of terminated employees, please post a comment to this post or email me. Anonymity is honored, as always.
  • 21 ways to flog dead horse projects
    After writing my last post, which was on this same topic, I learned about special 21 techniques organizations use to deny their true state of failure. This is from the Humor Archives blog, but it’s actually not funny at all. In reality, this list is a sad and accurate commentary on denial in its various forms and manifestations:
  • Oracle Reportedly Hiring
    Oracle is reportedly recruiting executives to replace the ones it expects to leave or get fired when it takes over Sun, which will be integrated into Oracle, not run as a free standing subsidiary. Sun chairman Scott McNealy (pictured below) is expected to be offered a seat on the Oracle board. Oracle might sell off at least parts of Sun’s storage operation like, say, tape which reportedly holds little fascination for it although Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said otherwise.
  • Spending on Web Ads Fell 5% in First Quarter
    The recession is taking a bite out of the online advertising industry, with a report on Friday showing that U.S. online ad spending declined 5% in the first quarter, despite projections for growth. The data, which represent the first decline since 2002, suggest that the online ad market—recently thought to be insulated from broader economic woes, as marketers shift their dollars from traditional media like print and TV to the Web—has been harder hit than many expected.
  • Rajeev Motwani, Google founders’ professor and early investor, dies
    Rajeev Motwani, the Stanford professor of computer science known best for advising Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, passed away today unexpectedly. Widely praised for his investing acumen — having backed both Google and PayPal early on — he will be remembered for his genuine passion for teaching and technology.
  • Google Rolls Out Google Squared
    Google releases Google Squared, an application for structuring results data into easy-to-read tables. A number of search engines, including the much-publicized Wolfram Alpha, have already been experimenting in this space. Google finds itself adding more features to its lineup in the face of increased search competition from companies such as Microsoft, which recently released its own new search engine, Bing.
  • Venture capitalists see their industry shrinking
    There will be fewer Venture capital firms — the engines that transform Silicon Valley ideas into profitable companies — over the next two years, as investment dries up and returns crumble, industry leaders say. The pension funds and other partners who back venture capitalists complain that returns have withered away over the past eight years. “It is very tough to make a commitment to a new venture fund these days,” said Panda Hershey, director of global private markets for the large pension fund, TIAA-CREf. “Many of us benefited in ’99 and 2000, but subsequently it became very tough for venture as a whole to get returns,” she told a panel at the Venture Capital Investing Conference. “I would say, please produce some returns before we re-up with you.”
  • IBM Taps SPSS Analytics Software
    IBM has deep thinkers, promising research and development, hundreds of high-end custom projects under its belt, and more than a score of new analytic applications available. Analytics has become so important a hot button that IBM has also reassigned more than 4,000 consultants from its BI, information management, performance management, content management and enterprise integration practices into a new Business Analytics & Optimization Services practice. (No doubt these folks will be doing much the same sorts of work, but under the banner of analytics.) What IBM has not had (with a couple of minor exceptions) is dedicated analytics tools that it could put into the hands of the many BI and analytics power users out there working for corporations and government agencies. PASW Statistics (formerly SPSS Statistics) is such a tool. It’s used to access, manage and analyze various types of data to spot ways to improve customer loyalty, decrease marketing costs, minimizing risk and otherwise
  • Open and shut
    Monty Widenius is waiting for a call from Oracle Corp. that he knows will very likely never come. The Finnish software pioneer, who founded open-source database management software company MySQL AB and sold it last year to Sun Microsystems Inc. for $1 billion, has offered his services to Oracle now that his brainchild is to be nestled inside the business software giant. … Widenius has offered to be an ambassador of sorts, to foster the critical relationship between MySQL’s soon-to-be owner and its far-flung creative brain trust. “I will gladly work with Oracle to help them with something they don’t understand, to be a contact for the community,” says Widenius, 47. “But I suspect they just think this is a small project on the side and nothing to get too concerned about.” … While he’d be overjoyed if Oracle reached out to him, Widenius isn’t waiting around. “One way or the other, I’m going to do what I can to protect the users of MySQL.”
  • Red Hat debuts flexible JBoss platform additions
    Java applications, cafeteria style. That’s what Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc. is serving up with its rearchitected, modular JBoss Enterprise Platform and the June 1, 2009, debut of its slimmer siblings, JBoss Enterprise Web Platform and JBoss Enterprise Web Server. The goal of the flexible new JBoss architecture and the additional JBoss application servers is to give data centers choice in the size and sophistication of their Java Web servers. The new architecture will “future-proof” JBoss applications to accommodate as yet unknown new tools and technologies and simplify data center operations with a common JBoss platform, tools and management controls, officials said.
  • Where can you follow all the key developments in the enterprise software and solutions market?
    Right here! You can read this blog online at dbmoore.blogspot.com, or subscribe to this blog via e-mail at http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=1252427&loc=en_US, or read it on your RSS reader at http://dbmoore.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default, or get the feed with tags and summaries on del.icio.us at http://delicious.com/dennisbmoore (http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/dennisbmoore for the RSS feed), or follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/dbmoore, or search the twitter hashtag #EnterpriseTweets. Is that enough ways to publish? Fortunately, services like FeedBurner and TwitterFeed and Del.icio.us and Blogspot make all this syndication easy!
  • M&A Moves Software deal activity picks up; plus, Forrester says software processes are dropping, Obama wants a national tech policy and more software news of the week.
    In the past week alone, CA rescued Cassatt, Intel paid $884 million for Wind River Systems, McAfee acquired Solidcore Systems, SpringSource tagged Hyperic, Intuit spent $170 million on PayCycle, Microsoft agreed to buy Merck’s Rosetta Biosoftware unit, and NetApp and EMC are in a bidding war for DataDomain. (Read all the latest software deal news on SandHill.com’s M&A page.)
  • Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud Receives 2009 CRM Excellence Award From Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine
    Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), the enterprise cloud computing company, today announced that Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC)’s Customer Interaction Solutions(R) magazine (www.cismag.com) has named the Service Cloud as a recipient of a 2009 CRM Excellence Award. Built on the Force.com platform, the Service Cloud transforms customer service through the power of cloud computing, and brings together industry leading cloud computing platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to capture every conversation and leverage every community expert in the cloud.
  • Pemex exec quits after report of trip paid by SAP
    [I’m shocked! Shocked, I say!-DBM] A senior executive at Mexico’s state oil company Pemex has resigned after a national newspaper reported he accepted a free trip to Monaco from German software group SAP, Pemex said on Friday. SAP paid for a four-day trip to Monaco’s Formula One Grand Prix for Manuel Reynauld, who was Pemex’s deputy director of business processes and technology infrastructure, Mexico’s Reforma newspaper reported on Friday. The trip came shortly after Pemex awarded SAP (SAPG.DE) a $30 million contract for software, Reforma said.
  • Tech M&A Clouding Boundaries Between Hardware, Software
    [Also, GOOG making it’s own hardware, Apple merging proprietary hardware and software and cloud services,…-DBM] Other deals are brewing that could see a blurring of the roles between hardware and software companies. Two companies that make data storage devices, NetApp Inc. (NTAP) and EMC Corp. (EMC), have each bid $1.9 billion to acquire Data Domain Inc. (DDUP). Data Domain’s attraction: software that removes duplicate copies of information from computers, a key tool in data centers used to power cloud computing.
  • Oracle Set To Launch Long-Awaited Fusion Middleware In July
    Database giant Oracle Corp. (ORCL) confirmed the launch timetable for its long-awaited Fusion Middleware 11g suite, a set of products that wraps together Oracle’s database tools with software from the many acquisitions it has made. Oracle will unveil Fusion at an event in Washington, D.C., on July 1, the company said Friday. Oracle has been working on Fusion for around four years, since the Redwood City, Calif., company completed its $10.3 billion acquisition of Peoplesoft Inc., a human relations software company it bought in 2005. More recently, Oracle has been working to integrate the technology portfolio it acquired when it bought BEA Systems Inc. (BEA), a company which makes middleware, into Fusion. Middleware tools knit databases together with software applications, such as accounting and human resources software.
  • Microsoft less expensive than VMware, Bob Muglia
    Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s key server and tools division, responded to questions from BoA-ML analysts, the overarching theme that emerged was, “we’re less expensive than the other guy,” whether the other guy in question is VMware, Salesforce, IBM, or Oracle. “Microsoft is making to its virtualization technology (to be released in October) will force server virtualization market leader VMware to “move to higher and higher end features to differentiate [itself].” Muglia noted that while virtualization software helps customers lower the cost of running servers, Microsoft is “now three to five times less expensive than VMware” running the same kind of technology. “The cost differential between Microsoft and VMware is so dramatic that every CIO” will have to take that into consideration.”
  • Brain drain may kill Satyam operations in Chennai
    fter Hyderabad, Satyam’s Chennai operation is taking a beating. With several senior associates of the company either quitting or being handed the pink slip, many of Satyam’s ventures in the city have been left unattended and, hence, fear closure in the future – the Aerospace and Automotive Centre of Excellence (AACE) and the Futurs Lab being two of them. According to sources in the scam-hit IT firm, close to six vice-president rank associates rendering their services to the AACE have resigned from their positions while over 100 junior-level employees have been laid off. Among the VPs who have quit the company are Mahesh Nagarajan, Arunima Thakur, Maneesh Gangal, A V Mohan, Gajbir Singh and Suresh Lanka. It is unlikely that the centre would be able to survive in the absence of these people as they were crucial to its functioning,” said a senior official of Satyam adding that the status of the Futurs lab was much the same. “Even those who have not resigned yet are on the look out for b
  • Dissident Voice : How the Other 0.00000003 Percent Lives
    [WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!-DBM] And plenty of Americans–rightly–hate the rich. While our homes go into foreclosure, while our credit card rates go up, while our jobs disappear and college tuition shoots up, the well-heeled “masters of the universe” on Wall Street are still making out like bandits, but now with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, courtesy of the Obama administration. A lot more people would be even angrier if the mainstream media reported the truth about the rich and powerful in America–who they are and how they “made it” to the top. Consider the 10 richest people in the country as of last September, according to the annual Forbes magazine list.
  • Remembering Rajeev
    Eventually, as Google emerged from Stanford, Rajeev remained a friend and advisor as he has with many people and startups since. Of all the faculty at Stanford, it is with Rajeev that I have stayed the closest and I will miss him dearly. Yet his legacy and personality lives on in the students, projects, and companies he has touched. Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it.
  • Bain Survey: Tech And Telecoms Least Concerned About Recession
    – Broad pessimism about short term prospects, lots of optimism about long-term prospects. – 75% said they will use recession to boost their competitive position. (Statistically impossible, says Bain.) – Benchmarking was the top tool out of 25, gaining in North America, but most are not satisfied with it. – Strategic planning was top tool since 1998 now is #2. – Outsourcing jumped to #4 on tool list. – Business Process Reengineering remains in top ten. – 88% that downsized in 2008 didn’t cut back enough and plan more cuts in 2009. – Just 24% think that market leaders will maintain leadership in 5 years. – 7 out of 10 execs concerned abut meeting their growth targets in 2009. – 6 out of 10 execs expect downturn to last until early 2010.
  • Annals of Innovation: How David Beats Goliath
    In 1985, Ranadivé founded a software company in Silicon Valley devoted to what in the computer world is known as “real time” processing. If a businessman waits until the end of the month to collect and count his receipts, he’s “batch processing.” There is a gap between the events in the company—sales—and his understanding of those events. Wall Street used to be the same way. The information on which a trader based his decisions was scattered across a number of databases. The trader would collect information from here and there, collate and analyze it, and then make a trade. What Ranadivé’s company, TIBCO, did was to consolidate those databases into one stream, so that the trader could collect all the data he wanted instantaneously. Batch processing was replaced by real-time processing. Today, TIBCO’s software powers most of the trading floors on Wall Street.
  • eWeek hypes secure SaaS without checking the facts
    In an article called SaaS Proof Points, eWeek put on the blinders and jumped on the bandwagon declaring such SaaS wisdom as “Not only have modern SAAS applications assuaged security concerns, but the SAAS model itself is seen by some as the most secure approach to handling data”. What!? Wow. Add to that the well-intended declaration of SaaS neophyte Kimberly Rogers of Santander Consumer USA, while detailing her company’s use of Service-now.com. Rogers, who had never worked with a SaaS-based application before, added that “security can be as tight as you want it to be.” Noting such blind faith from a Service-now.com user I was motivated to take a closer look at the provider.
  • Interview – Jim Davis, SAS Institute
    Among the biggest challenges that the SAS marketing team has worked to overcome is the perception that analytical software – advanced forecasting, optimization and data mining technologies – are way too complex, difficult to use, and only useful to a small band of highly trained statisticians and other quantitative experts, or “quants.” With lots of hard work, we’ve been able to show the marketplace that powerful tools are available in business solutions designed to solve industry issues. The biggest marketing challenge now is showing the market how SAS offers unique value with its broad and integrated technologies. The industry terminology is confusing with some companies selling Business Intelligence tools that when you scratch the surface are limited to reporting and query operations. Other SAS competitors only provide data integration software, and still others offer analytics. SAS is the only vendor offering an integrated portfolio of these three very important technologies, as w
  • Climate change driven IT spend: are we being hoodwinked?
    Here we are in 2009 during the worst economic recession in living memory and we now have a new god to worship – Green IT – with all the costs that go with it. My concern is that THIS time, spend will be an order of magnitude above anything we’ve seen in the past and that it MIGHT all be for nothing.
  • The Green Y2K?
    It’s got the feel of 1997-99. I was at Gartner then and we were warning the world about Y2K. The bigger the total remediation cost we projected the more it got reported. The more it got reported, the more opportunistic vendors got. Some companies had spectacular IT project overruns. Others, particularly in their ERP areas, are still suffering from overpriced solutions bought during that mania. Unfortunately, I see the same hysteria building around sustainability and green stuff. Doomsday scenarios. Vendor selling toolboxes when a hammer may suffice. Vendors with hammers that would break no matter how small the nail. Vendors lobbying regulators to require investments. Guilt based value propositions.
  • Grin-ware
    In recent months I have noticed more “grin-ware” – where a vendor latches onto a new trend and behaves as if their whole company or product line or ecosystem has wholeheartedly signed on. Particularly around social media and green initiatives.
  • Seven Signs Your Software Vendor Can’t Innovate Fast Enough
    One approach – determine the total percentage of support and maintenance monies reinvested into the product? Identify what percentage of R&D investment and the amount of innovation vendors have delivered to date. Conversations with over 47 current and former enterprise software executives reveal seven tell tale signs a vendor has slowed down their innovation agenda. Enclosed is the checklist. See if your vendor meets any of these criteria. If they hit four or more, then your vendor’s entering a period of decline:
  • What Customers Want from ERP Vendors on Software Pricing
    Overall, he writes, users now expect (and many are demanding) that their enterprise vendors allow them to buy software licenses when needed, reduce licenses during downturns, and unload shelfware maintenance fees that often result from aggressive sales tactics.
  • Wal-Mart to Start Outsourcing More to India
    Wal-Mart Stores has shortlisted top Indian tech firms, including TCS, Infosys and Wipro, for an outsourcing contract potentially worth up to $500 million over next few years, as the retailer seeks to award multiple contracts for managing its business applications and other back office activities.
  • PostgreSQL vs. mySQL: A Comparison of Speed, Integrity and Popularity
    Today we’re going to look at open source databases. Ten years ago, corporate systems like Oracle and MS Access & SQL Server dominated the landscape. Since then, mySQL and (to a lesser extent) PostgreSQL have made serious inroads into the market. The PostgreSQL vs mySQL debate is a heated one, with passionate (sometimes fanatical) communities on either side. These two camps position themselves differently – PostgreSQL, as the world’s “most advanced,” and MySQL as the world’s most “popular.” When exploring this topic, it will come down to a few determining factors and – in some cases – it will come down to the preference of the developer. For our purposes, we will look at the currently recorded tangible factors and let personal opinion take over after that.
  • TechWave Goes Global
    But the primary changes are: * Rather than one location in the United States, it will be held at a series of five regional events at different international locations. * Rather than a four-and-a-half-day format, the regional events will be two-days long. * The cost of attendance may be significantly reduced, from over $2,000 (U.S.) to somewhere in the range of $200 (U.S.).
  • Enterprise Apps May Flourish With iPhone 3.0 Software
    The enterprise market may be one of the main beneficiaries of the firmware upgrade, as it will let software creators extend corporate-grade programs to the touch-screen smartphone.
  • NetSuite Cops TMC Customer Interaction Solutions Award
    NetSuite officials say the award recognizes “NetSuite’s growing impact on companies looking for powerful, integrated Software as a Service (SaaS (News – Alert)) business management.” The CRM Excellence Awards, now in their tenth year, are based on each rated product’s ability to extend and expand the customer relationship across the entire enterprise, and provide end-to-end customer life cycle management. Other recent industry awards for the on-demand CRM vendor recognize the company’s software products and “contribution to helping organizations streamline business processes and spur growth,” NetSuite officials say. Strategic advisory service ISM recognized NetSuite and NetSuite CRM solutions with a Top 15 CRM Small and Medium Business Software Award for 2009 — marking the eighth straight year ISM has so honored NetSuite — and Network World (News – Alert) listed NetSuite as one of the top 10 cloud computing companies to watch, alongside technology leaders Amazon and Google.
  • Salesforce to Build Palm Pre App
    Salesforce.com, a San Francisco-based SaaS company, is planning to offer a native Palm Pre app later this year, according to Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff. I stopped by Salesforce’s office earlier today to chat about Marc’s keynote address at our upcoming Structure 09 conference. Salesforce already offers a native application for the BlackBerry and iPhone platforms. The native apps, Benioff said, offer a performance premium over pure mobile web apps.
  • SuccessFactors’ Announces Employee Central: A New Revolutionary Product for Organizational Insight and Social Collaboration for the Enterprise
    Employee Central Captures the Real-Time Pulse of the Organization; Gives Companies a Single Source to Capture, Manage Employee Information as well as Make Smarter Decisions About Their People
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