Hasso Plattner seems right at home in Silicon Valley. SAP, which he helped found 35 years ago and where he is still head of the supervisory board, is best known for its stolid R/3 suite of enterprise applications. But Plattner displays the same sort of restless impatience and frustration with the limitations of the software status quo that are apparent in today’s generation of software entrepreneurs. Is that enough to push SAP faster along the road of one of the most important product transitions it has ever faced – particularly now that protege and one-time heir apparent Shai Agassi has quit?
When I met him earlier this week at SAP’s labs in the Valley, Plattner was fizzing over with what he calls his "new idea" – the on-demand software (codenamed A1S, due to appear next year) that is aimed at small and medium-sized companies, but which also looks like a blueprint for the way much of the business software market will one day work. Read more
Steve Jobs called it Rosetta after the Rosetta Stone – the key to translating the untranslatable. Others have referred to it as the Holy Grail.
The actual, less historic, name of what you might guess is a pretty powerful piece of software is QuickTransit, from Transitive, a company born in Manchester in the north-west of England, but now marketed and managed from Silicon Valley. Read more
MySpace’s interest in buying Photobucket is an interesting evolution of the sector, according to John Borthwick, chief executive of Fotolog, a five-year-old site that features photo uploads as a springboard for social networking.
“This is MySpace recognising the value of the media itself – they have the social network and it’s them saying: We want the media as well,” he says. Read more
World of Warcraft players can now have their own specially designed credit card, although real-world purchases do not translate into virtual currency rewards in the world’s most popular online role-playing game.
WoW, with more than 8.5m players worldwide, has combined with Visa and First National Bank of Omaha to offer the card, with Reward Points being awarded that can be exchanged for free playing time. Read more
Whenever the phrase “inflection point” comes up at Intel, you know the speaker is channeling Andy Grove, the former chief executive who used it to describe a key business moment in his book Only The Paranoid Survive.
The biggest inflection point for Intel was when it came under pressure from Japanese memory producers in the mid-80s and decided to abandon that market and establish itself in the relatively new field of microprocessors. Read more
For those of you who haven’t been keeping score, this is how things stand in the internet advertising business, as revealed in first quarter earnings (the latest news, from AOL, was contained in Time Warner’s earnings on Wednesday.)
Net advertising ($m) Growth from year before (per cent) Read more
Digg’s user revolt, and the site’s subsequent decision not to comply with demands to take down articles containing a key to the copy protection on high-definition video discs, have raised all sorts of interesting questions about censorship, copy protection and democracy in this user-driven, Web 2.0 world.
But won’t someone think of the investors? Kevin Rose, Digg’s founder, has taken millions of dollars in investment from backers including Pierre Omidyar, Marc Andreesen and Graylock Partners. By Mr Rose’s own admission, that investment may now go up in smoke: Read more
Boo.com, the fashion site that was Europe’s biggest dotcom flop, is coming back like some Night of the Living Dead zombie; but this time its business plan is less scary.
Boo relaunches today as a travel website that combines search, booking capabilities and Web 2.0 social networking.
Its parent, Web Reservations International is keen to stress that the new owner is nothing like the old Boo as it generated 300m euros in bookings in 2006 and 19m in profits. At the same time, it is playing on the notoriety of the Boo.com domain to give its site a launch boost.
WRI acquired the domain from fashionmall.com some time ago, according to its PR company, although fashionmall’s website was today still displaying the boo.com logo, with the unfortunate tagline "Style never dies".
Boo died gruesomely in 2000 after burning through $120m in six months. It occupied expensive Carnaby Street offices, its executives, including former Swedish model Kajsa Leander, lived large and its website featured 3D imagery, Flash technology and a Miss Boo avatar that was way above the capabilities of most users’ internet connections in 1999.
Fashionmall appears to have done little with the boo.com domain and relaunches touted in 2000 and 2006 never happened.
Even with its new Web 2.0 clothing, it remains hard to see how WRI can transform Boo’s image from being one of the Top Ten dotcom flops of all time.