Cisco will shortly be launching its collaboration strategy, and will be changing its “Human Network” advertising campaign (a good branding exercise for Cisco) to reflect a more collaborative theme. The Cisco strategy, we believe, will be to link its collaborative and telepresence offerings and social network tools into a corporate service ecosystem that Cisco will provide online as a service and not as a product. This new venture may create some clashes with carrier customers that have their own plans in the area, but we believe Cisco also plans to sell service through carriers, as Microsoft does with its CSF.
Oracle’s DBMS (database management system) business helped boost its revenues by 14% and profits by 28%, offering the first new data point on the tech space, a favorable one. This continues to show that the strategic cycle is not yet derailed, and that would mean that tech spending in 2009 would not be likely to be impacted significantly by the current market conditions. We have a more complete analysis of this situation scheduled in the current issue of Netwatcher, due to be available by around September 25th
Juniper has announced the first major innovation in its Service Layer Technology area, something it calls the Dynamic Services Architecture. This is a new product set, the first of which is the SRX Services Gateway, built on a platform that tightly couples service feature hosting and both signaling and control plane protocol handling. Cards are software-configurable to support multiple services, firewall services being the first announced.
This is the second of Juniper’s announcements that have created a “higher-than-the-network” layer of technology, the first being the company’s support of hosted control plane software for JUNOS. When you add this to the recent management changes at Juniper, it begins to look as though the company may be taking a turn more toward software and “transformation” versus routers and “convergence”.
Microsoft has released a new TV platform for advertising, Mediaroom, but the product won’t actually be available until June of 2009 according to sources. The release marks a major initiative by Microsoft to become the platform provider for a wide variety of service components in both emerging services like video and older services like voice. Microsoft is seeing the overall industry trend toward a software focus in network planning, a shift that arises from the commoditization of access and transport that the Internet has created. We believe that there will be a war between IT players like HP, IBM, and Microsoft and network players like Cisco for dominance in the network platform software space.
Google’s Chrome browser may be a harbinger of changes to browsers brought about by SaaS applications and online services. As script-based tools and plugins become more important, browsers are beginning to address the performance of applications run within them as differentiators. This reflects a general trend toward integration of IT and networking, and a specific goal of both portal and software players to offer applications all or partly based on online software loaded into a browser. There will be major upgrades to other browsers this fall to improve application performance, so it is not clear that Google’s trend-setting will benefit it for long.
Salesforce.com is heading for the clouds, if not in the eyes of Wall Street. The company posted good growth (almost 50% y/y) but said third-quarter numbers would likely reflect slowing growth, though they guided up for the year. Significantly, they made a big deal of cloud computing and the creation of an ecosystem for developers and application owners.
We have also heard from our enterprise survey base that cloud computing is getting a lot of attention suddenly. One said “Cloud Computing is really making a paradigm shift…The entire concept of Virtualizing Data Centers has caught massive attention all across the industry and now even Financial Services seem to be nodding to this concept that will potentially save huge amount of $$$ plus provide a highly reliable, top of the line Data Center capability plus the capability to provide aggregated services which was just a notion before is turning into reality now.”
The cloud computing wave could have a major impact on 2009 planning for just about everybody, with the possibility that enterprises would turn to cloud-based services as an alternative to building out more in-house data center capacity. So far, however, there is no sign this will impact the sales of the IT giants like IBM and HP.
In yet another move seemingly aimed at Google’s Open Handset Alliance, Ericsson and STMicroelectronics are forming a joint venture (JV) to create software and semiconductors for cellphones. The move comes after rival Nokia bought out Symbian and made it open source, and Google’s Android seems poised to enter the market.
There is a major push toward the creation of ecosystems around mobile devices, and we note that there is a similar drive to create vertical partnerships through APIs at the operator level. It seems clear that the industry has decided that developers are the key to their future.
The upcoming death of analog TV broadcasting may save the U.S. cellular providers from one of the risks of an open handset — the deployment of cellphones able to tune into analog TV. This type of phone is sold by ZTE in China, where analog service will continue for another six years.
There may be a link between the open handset programs and the death of analog, in fact, because the use of cellphones to tune free TV would likely hurt telecoms’ mobile TV plans. We’re hearing that a number of firms are now looking at two dodges to the “no-analog” problem; one is working on a tuner for digital TV small enough to carry in a handset, and the other is looking at using Wi-Fi or WiMAX to deliver DVB-H TV in broadcast mode only, selling advertising to pay the bills.
There are signs that the OSS world and the SDP world are converging, with the driver being a combination of the strategies of major vendors and the shift of service providers toward IT dominance of infrastructure projects.
Major players in the OSS space like Amdocs and Telcordia are becoming players in the SDP space, and vendors like Oracle who have SDP plans are now looking at whether they also must field a full OSS platform.
All of this is happening because the network operators, as part of their IP transformation strategies, are demanding more agile services at lower operating costs. Achieving that combination is not a network mission at all, but rather an OSS/SDP mission, or more broadly a mission of software and systems — IT.
We have noted before the growing momentum for change in the TMF, the only standards body that is taking up both OSS and SDP missions, and we believe that body has read the tea leaves and is positioning itself for maximum relevance in what is likely to be the major 2009 market trend in the carrier space.
Google Android will be making its debut for the holiday season according to reports, with its first phone created by HTC and offered by T-Mobile. The new phone will have a touch screen, larger slide-based keyboard, and support an unknown number of Android applications from developers in the Open Handset Alliance program.
Android is the strongest of the open handset systems in our view; we have joined the programs and examined the material. There are other handset players and providers looking at announcements as well, but we do not believe that any more than one additional player has any chance of making an announcement by year-end.
We hear that HTC/T-Mobile will actually be ready likely in October but may delay a bit to insure pre-publicity is strong and that others don’t have time to capitalize on any holiday marketing successes.