Tag Archive | "Marketing"

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Skype a big fish in the telco sea

Posted on 24 March 2009 by Andreas Vamvatsikos

International voice traffic is on the rise, according to market research companies such as TeleGeography. Cross-border voice traffic increased 14% in 2007 and 12% more in 2008. That amounts to an amazing 384 billion minutes of talk.

But despite all this traffic, voip in general and Skype more specifically have forced prices and margins down and so “old-school” telcos are registering more traffic, but cashing almost the same as they did the year before or maybe even a little less.

On the other hang Skype, only five years since launch is now the largest provider of international voice communications on the planet, controlling the 8% of all traffic of this kind. Free is always nice but even Skype’s paid-for ‘Skype Out’ service – which lets users make calls to standard telephones – is on the rise , generating 8.4 billion minutes of calls in 2008.

So since the competition in the telco market is becoming more intense on all fronts, old-school providers will have to learn new tricks to stay in the game.

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SharePoint success reasons and future headaches

Posted on 20 March 2009 by Andreas Vamvatsikos

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is a great success and its 2007 version (the third iteration of the product) has even become Microsoft’s Best Selling Server. MOSS was made such a success by a combination of four things:

  • A well defined set of business-focused capabilities and features
  • Integration into a well known, widely used and liked framework
  • The ability to extend its functionality by customization and programming
  • Microsoft’s powerful marketing

The first two points make MOSS attractive to enterprises because it gives them the features, manageability, desktop integration and scalability to meet corporate needs. The Microsoft Brand name also helps as well as possible licensing deals that are in place for other Microsoft Products and make MOSS an easy executive decision.
The third makes MOSS attractive to end users that more or less continue to work the way they were used to, but also creates an entire ecosystem in the market for specific add-ons and vertical solutions.

Microsoft with SharePoint actually invented a market segment that was previously covered with combinations of different products filling the Document management, collaboration and portal management roles. MOSS integrates all three components into o single offering bundled with excellent Microsoft Office and Active Directory Integration. Helped by massive Microsoft marketing and an (almost) free basic version, it dominated its own market segment.

And that is how problems start emerging. As MOSS finds its way into more corporate environments and IT departments acknowledge its flexibility and start customizing it, they start coming close to its design boundary. SharePoint was designed to offer MS Office integrated document management with easy to use collaboration features and workflow support. Surely the product can do many more things through customizations but the further away from its core, the more difficult implementations get.
So if the Microsoft Marketing machine keeps pushing MOSS as the one tools to solve all enterprise problems, publicity around SharePoint could start getting less positive as overoptimistic projects based on it fail.

New features in the next version are surely needed but there is also a need to strengthen existing features and functionality and not to add even more breadth to the product, blurring its boundaries even more.

SharePoint is an excellent platform for the things it was designed for, it would be a shame for Microsoft to negate that by trying to make in into the Application Server it never had.

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