Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Archive for August 2007

Wal-Mart Embraces Selling MP3 Songs For 94c Online

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WSJ and others report Wal-Mart has begun selling some songs and albums online the popular and DRM-free MP3 format. Previously they have sold online via Microsoft’s less-than-popular WMA format.

The pricing is what interests me most. Wal-Mart has entered at 94c whereas iTunes is charging 1.29. That’s a big % difference but still only couch change. We’ll see if, once there’s enough MP3 offered in iTunes and at Wal-Mart.com if this changes market dynamics. It will also be interesting to see whether Wal-Mart’s decision gives Apple increased leverage in its future negotiations with the music labels.

One interesting note – while Wal-Mart may indeed be supporting a more open standard with MP3, it still likes PC’s better & blocks other operating systems from interacting with their online download services:

“We’re sorry, your operating system is incompatible. To provide the best download experience, we can no longer support Windows 98, ME or NT. Please visit again after you upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP. Visit our Help section for complete system requirements information.”

Hello Wal-Mart, it’s called a Mac! :)

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Written by Dave Stephens

08/21/07 5:41 AM at 5:41 am

Posted in Opinion

iPhone – That Didn’t Take Long

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I recommend those interested in following how the iPhone is shaking up the mobile handset and mobile carrier market take a look at this ChangeWave report. Here are a few highlights:

  • 16% of those that planned to buy a new phone within 6 months were planning on buying the iPhone – the highest of any device or manufacturer. Motorola came in second with 14%
  • Of those who already purchased an iPhone 77% said that were “very satisfied” – the next closest, Blackberry / RIM, registered a likewise impressive 50% number
  • AT&T continues to benefit from the exclusive Apple relationship as “planned switchers” are coming in at 30% to AT&T whereas on 19% to Verizon

It’s still too early to call the iPhone a runaway success. But the fact that it is even registering alongside established vendors in surveys like these bodes well.

Voluntary disclosure – i hold a few shares of aapl stock, own an iPhone and am typing this into my MacBook :)

Written by Dave Stephens

08/13/07 8:41 AM at 8:41 am

Posted in Opinion

SaaS Growth Projections

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I’ve offered only modest prior endorsements of SaaS. But the movement has undeniably continued to gain momentum. A recent Gartner publication offers some additional data on SaaS progress. It projects 21% SaaS growth in the enterprise software space – totaling $5.7B for 2007.

The report does go into some detail around where SaaS has achieved good market penetration and where it has opportunities. A great example of a SaaS success is web conferencing software – what company in their right mind would want to run their own. Yet there are lots of nooks and crannies in enterprise software – and so many have gone un-touched – either because of a perceived need to differentiate through customization or simply because of market forces.

How SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft respond to the movement is still TBD – SAP has been clearest in its intentions – and though many see its response as incomplete – the other two behemoths seem to be either very cagey or whistling past the graveyard.

Written by Dave Stephens

08/13/07 7:19 AM at 7:19 am

Posted in Opinion