Dell is buying 3PAR. Oracle has Sun and Exadata. EMC now has Greenplum. Cisco sells telephony and servers. IBM is selling SATA drives to the enterprise as XIV and is reselling NTAP, but its storage architect is out on the loose, again. Who did I leave out? Oh, HP… The only one NOT making moves is Microsoft?! Actually that’s not completely true… Microsoft continues to “innograte” — the act of innovating by integrating acquired technology into your existing products’ evolution. DATAllegro, Opalis, and so on…
I keep thinking about the famous economic principle that states “you will ultimately be undone by your past”. If EMC could just shed its dependency on Dell’s relationships with all those purchasing agents… If Cisco could just lose the MDS and the Catalyst… if IBM could just forget about the XIV and buy NTAP already!… And HP… Oh HP…
It has become painfully clear that the order of the components in the OSI model, in fact, serves as a roadmap. Never forget that the Application is always at the top. Whatever the application needs, the application gets. If you don’t sell an application, don’t expect to tell anyone what to do. Ever. If your application is actually a utility for another application, don’t forget that fact. Your “utility” is NOT the application.
Oracle has Java, yes. Java is a development tool, not an application, but how about Siebel, PeopleSoft, JDEdwards? Dell has … nothing. HP has … nothing. IBM has DB2 and Lotus. Cisco has Unity — yes Voicemail is an application. EMC has … hmmm VMware? VMware is actually an infrastructure tool — it’s like a server hardware manufacturer that lets you use whatever server vendor you want. EMC also has Documentum — a utility that is configured as an application. Microsoft, on the other hand, has all the applications you can shake a stick at. If Microsoft says their application needs 100-spinning dancers to run, guess what you’re buying?
The way to true technology marketplace leadership is through applications that people actually use. People love Microsoft Office. They love their iPhones, their Androids, their Blackberries (often seen as tools… but they’re not — an iPhone is a collection of applications — remember… “there’s and APP for that!!!”). People also love web-based applications like Facebook, Salesforce, gmail, and LinkedIn. It seems to me… that HP, IBM, Dell, and EMC would do well to think about what people are using to “run their lives” and follow those markets.
Does it matter that Dell has 3PAR? Does it matter that EMC has DataDomain? Does it matter that Oracle has Sun and VirtualIron and BAE, and Java? — I don’t think so — but Oracle DOES have Siebel, PeopleSoft, and JDEdwards — real APPLICATIONS. So at the end of the day, I think it becomes pretty clear who will be pulling and who will be pushing… Take a look at what people are DOING. The truth will show you the way:
- Email — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple (MobileMe). All Cloud-based email systems (and Microsoft even has a version of email that runs inside your firewall <g>)
- Banking — a scattered field with many banks offering their own applications, plus Quicken
- Social Networking — Facebook is dominating, but LinkedIn, MySpace, etc. continue to stay afloat
- Media Sharing — Flickr, SnapFish, PhanFare
- Media Consumption — Netflix, Pandora, Amazon’s Kindle, iTunes — all retailers with massive followings
- Spreadsheets and Documents — Microsoft OWNS this space with trickles from OpenOffice, and iWork
So, just some idle advice from the sidelines for Dell, HP, even EMC — look at what people are doing; and go DO that!