Skype: The Unique Company with American Dreams

Skype is unique in the internet industry. And its unique gene comes from its founders: Niklas Zennstroem and Janus Friis.

Those two guys are tough to get along well with. The destiny drew them together in the telecom company of TELE2, where they learned what telecommunication was. Then they wrote a shareware called Kazaa that gave all IDC and webmaster headaches.

You may never have used this software. It was a P2P downloading sharp tool, which could fill your hard disk up fully within one week.

Just the same as the famous Napster, the large records companies took the Kazza to the court. So Niklas Zennstroem and Janus Friis lived in seclusion for a period.

Kazaa was illegal but its technology was excellent. Those two guys who were familiar with the telecommunication naturally made use of this P2P technology in transmitting voice messages. Then Skype was born. According to Janus Friis Skype was a coinage from one sentence of the east European language, which means that communicating freely.

This miracle software can let you telephone on the network freely. At first this software had many bugs but was easy to use. Just like Kazza Skype spread on the internet like virus without any promotion. Those two used-to-be wanted criminals now become successful people in Silicon Valley.

In 2005 eBay announced the Skype acquisition with 4.1 billion dollars and hoped that it could improve the communications between buyers and shoppers in the e-business. After Skype obtained so much money the days were not peaceful. It got involved in many charges.

In 2010 Skype submitted the application of going listed. We can conclude in these days that this was like a conspiracy. There were not only users and technology around Skype, but also business men in Wall Street. Then in 2011 Microsoft acquired Skype with 8.5 billion dollars. It seems like everyone is happy, eBay, Niklas Zennstroem, Janus Friis. But is Microsoft happy?

Money is never a problem for Microsoft, at least in the last ten years. Microsoft also often buys things, which were mainly unknown technologies. The acquisition like Skype is seldom, which exposes the thirsty and boring of Microsoft.

Facing Google and Apple Microsoft can’t stay calm any longer and feels inferior facing the Google voice and Facetime. Microsoft acknowledged its poor innovation ability by acquiring Skype. Also the MSN seems have no chances to go beyond. Is it just a supplement to MSN, or negative acknowledgement to MSN? Maybe only the team of MSN knows.

Now the problem is that how Microsoft to integrate the Skype into the existing products. We users are worrying that the Skype is only limited on the platform of Windows phone. Is Skype worth 8.5 billion dollars or can Skype be improved under the leadership of Microsoft? We can’t tell it now.

Baidu.com Will Release Online Service like Quora

Baidu.com, Chinese largest search engine and internet company, will release online service like Quora.com.

Quora.com has been thought as the most popular application after Twitter. It is not the newest site about asking questions and providing answers online. The reason of its popularity is that it rewrites the standards of those sites with the new technology and innovations. It has borrowed ideas from many other different websites such as Twitter, Wikipedia and Digg.com.

In 2011 zhihu.com, a Chinese online site almost the same as Quora, copied the model of Quora and brought the online social networking asking and answering service to China. There are many other sites that provide the similar services like Quora.com in China. Being different from other online applications those sites haven’t find a business model to make profits. And now many internet giants in China may also want to get involved in this new field such as Baidu.com.

Baidu.com has already been operating a site that provides service like Yahoo Answers, which is very successful in China. Its plan would encourage other Chinese internet giants to get involved in this new online field, which would threaten other similar sites.

We users always want to get the accurate answers from the internet. We also hope those sites would provide more professional answers. Until now it is uncertain that which business model is suitable for those sites and where those sites can go forward. Maybe only times can tell.

Who Are Stronger? Microsoft or IBM

Recently it was reported that the market value of IBM has exceeded Microsoft, which attracts much attention. And some people think that this means that IBM would exceed Microsoft in the near future. Behind the comparison of market value we pay more attention on the issue that which is stronger in the market. And whether the market value can represent the whole company?

We can easily conclude from the statistics that the revenue of IBM is more than Microsoft. But on the point of profitability Microsoft is stronger than IBM. And on other aspects the revenue increase rate and profit increase rate of Microsoft is higher than IBM. When concerning the two companies’ same business, operating system, Microsoft takes up 78.6 percent of the market and IBM only takes up 7.7 percent. And in the enterprise software field Microsoft also takes the lead.

So generally speaking Microsoft performs better than IBM in the market. But why the market value of IBM exceeds that of Microsoft.

We should take into the consideration of different businesses of those two companies. We all know that now IBM is focusing on providing business solutions for companies. Although Microsoft now is still enjoying market supremacy on the operating system, it doesn’t perform well on the fields of internet and mobile phone OS. So we often ignore the advantages of Microsoft on the pc OS market. So on the share market Microsoft was exceeded by IBM.

Lastly market value can’t represent a whole company. And we can’t say that Wal-Mart is stronger than Google just because of the market values.

Never to Give up the Pursuit of Dreams

One weekend I talked to a stranger while I was warming up before a match. He asked, “What do you do?” I replied that I owned a software company. “Really? How admirable,” he said, “I have been wanting to work in animation design and freelance. This is my dream. But now I am caught up in the wrong office job.” I asked in a low voice, “You are alive, aren’t you?” He went on talking, “You don’t understand. I have been waiting ten years for this dream. But once you are married it would be difficult for you to do what you really like?”

I gave him many suggestions. But he always had plenty of excuses. He kept saying that, “With a family to feed and a full time job I can’t spare any time to do what I like.” At last I stopped talking. And I didn’t want to argue with him on our first meeting.

And now I understand that not everyone wants to devote all their time and energy to their dreams. And many people don’t know that they have to give something up if they want their dreams to come true.

I am still impressed and encouraged by the lines in the movie The Pursuit of Happiness, “You got a dream, you gotta protect it.” “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something, not even me.

When Group Purchase Meets Micro Blog

It would be a wonderful occasion when group purchase meets micro blog. These days everyone may feel blankly. Why? Everybody is on the twitter and the micro blog will take a role in every individual, each company and all aspects of the whole global.

We may always feel blankly when facing the new merging things such as micro blog and group purchase. And I think the micro blog is an internet application with the lowest threshold. Everyone can use it and everyone can only write only a few words. And even if you don’t have anything to say, it is a pleasure just to retweet other people’s words.

In the ancient days the people often call the unknown rivers as dragons. And at the moment there are dragons everywhere. It means there are opportunities everywhere. Of course with opportunities there are many challenges.

Micro blog has become the most popular media, platform and application. There are now many stories and cases that happened on micro blog.

Why is the micro blog so popular? In a nutshell compared to the old media it has been simplified furthermore since the traditional publishing age and the age of web 2.0. And some survey showed that it only takes 30 seconds to twitter a message. And I think in fact it doesn’t take that time.

The second reason is the spread of virus based on the trust chain. For example if I followed a people I know and generally speaking I would trust what he had twitted on the micro blog. And I would not trust the twitters wrote by strange persons. So the micro blog has a mechanism of filtering that is based on the trust chain. Long ago we might choose what to read by ourselves and in the age of media it was the editor who determined what the readers would read. And in the age of micro blog you know everybody. And based on the trust chain the spread is fast.

The third reason is that the micro blog has satisfied many kinds of basic needs of users at all levels, for example the demands of being respected, the needs of social activities, the needs of safety and even the needs of physiology. The simplest demand is that people like to be followed. Compared with the early internet applications and even the TV, radio, blog, BBS, SNS the cost of generating contents is becoming lower and lower. But the degree and socialization becomes higher and higher. And micro blog has become a platform rather than just simple SNS site.

After the popularity of twitter it is the group purchase services. The earliest group purchase sites started in the March of 2010 and now there are about 3000 to 4000 group purchase sites. Although the future of this new business model is hopeful, there are many challenges for the small sites. It has been a tendency for the group purchase services to be combined with micro blogs. And the biggest group purchase site in China has announced that they would not advertise on the search engine in the future, which arouses a debate that whether the search engine is important to e-business. And all of people agreed that there would be a kind of e-business model that can be very powerful. That is e-business based on the socialization. And the group purchase is just that kind of e-business.

A conclusion from a site that focuses on the group purchase sites guide and analysis is that 30 percent of the group purchase revenue is from the micro blog marketing.

What the micro blog means to the group purchase? First, the micro blog marketing is faster than the traditional advertisement. And it doesn’t have to be approved like the advertisement. And the time is critical for the group purchase sites. One twitter message may seem very simple but it can contain many things such as pictures, texts and videos. And the messages on the micro blog platform can be sent and spread very fast. The same message can be sent to millions of people just only in few seconds. And now many people are focusing on the micro blog marketing.

Darwin has written that the species that can survive in the changing environment are not the strongest and the smartest but are the species that can act and adapt quickly facing the changes. Dinosaurs were strong but they are extinct. It is the same in the micro blog age.

Opening Platform and Opening Source Can Lead to Monopoly

The emerging of opening platforms means the thorough termination of the early internet spirits. And this situation can lead to monopoly. And the future competition will be on these two aspects: giants’ competition on the platforms and small companies’ competition on the applications developing. The early equal games of the internet will be ended. And the structure of the internet will become the typical pyramid structure.

It is not the company’s fault to gain the monopoly position by the technology power or its popularity. And it is the company’s fault only when the company tries to prevent the competitor by this monopoly position. The typical example is that Microsoft defeat Netscape with the help of its monopoly position of the operating system.

And little people have noticed that Windows can be called the earliest opening platform. Everyone can develop the free or charged software that is based on the Windows system. And even Microsoft provides help for the software developers. And just this opening platform makes the monopoly position of Windows operating system more solid. History repeats itself. In the era of search and SNS Google and Facebook take the role of Microsoft.

We can conclude that the platform competition would be very fierce in the future. Opening can be combined with monopoly. And opening platform and opening source can lead to monopoly.