The battle between Microsoft and Google over the former’s lucrative and powerful Office suite of word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and other software is fascinating.
It is difficult to see how Google, which is putting a lot of money and effort into its Google Apps suite, can lose since it is starting from zero while its competitor is trying to defend a giant franchise. In fact, I would bet that Google will do very well.
The other day, I described my scepticism about advertising networks on the internet and whether technology would replace the traditional interaction between ad sales forces and media buyers.
John Hagel, whose thoughts on business are always worth reading, has chimed in on the topic with a long post. He states the problem facing advertisers intriguingly:
The Guardian asked various UK media luminaries yesterday what Peter Fincham, the new director of television for ITV, should do with the ITV1 channel. I was particularly struck by the reply given by Daisy Goodwin, an independent producer:
Peter has to decide how far to take ITV1 upmarket and whether he can take the audience with him. So far the changes have been risky, the wrong kind of risk because they haven’t worked.
Um, the wrong kind of risk because they haven’t worked? If all risks were judged on that criterion, then none would ever be taken because it would only be worth investing in certainties.
Robert Peston, my former colleague, points out that, with gold now getting close to $1,000 an ounce, Gordon Brown’s sale of 395 tonnes of the British government’s reserves between 1999 and 2002 is looking more badly-timed by the day.
Rob estimates that the gold that was sold for $3.5bn would now be worth $12.5bn. Mr Brown is clearly a better politician than hedge fund manager, although his record as prime minister is a bit patchy as well.