The CRTC announced its long awaited broadcast decision, which gives television networks the right to negotiate carriage fees with cable and satellite companies (the Cable Cos). To date, Canadian stations were carried at no cost to the Cable Cos. This model worked for a long time, with both parties profiting from the arrangement. However, a decrease in advertising revenues has put the pinch on the networks and a change in model was almost inevitable. Neither side was willing budge on the issue – both seemingly content to play to the perceived public sympathies in an effort to build support for stated arguments. So what is likely to happen?

Continue Reading »


Google announced the Apps Marketplace yesterday.

The upshot is that Google Apps subscribers will have access to a number of applications that can integrate with existing Google Apps (gmail, calendar etc). Applications are delivered by a network of over 50 partners and include applications like payroll, project management, web conferencing and efax. What’s interesting is the fact that Google is moving beyond productivity (Google Docs, email, search) and is introducing applications that can drive efficiency across the business. Applications like Intuit Payroll, ZohoCRM and myERP.com (I have no idea how well these apps work, I am  just giving examples) present powerful examples of what is possible.

While it is obviously too early to tell, my suspicion is that the App Marketplace will find a home across all segments of the market. Business efficiency applications will likely see more adoption in the SMB market, but tools like project management and workflows will not be out of place in the enterprise (not that they will be adopted from the top and pushed down. More likely that these applications start in a team environment and potentially move outward).

A key challenge will be managing the partner ecosystem. Google will have little control over how partners manage service delivery, particularly when you extend this to management of trouble tickets and the like. As an example, issues with payroll tend not to be well tolerated by customers, while issues with eFax are likely to be tolerated. Unless a strict SLA regime is part of the partner relationship, Google will have little control beyond ensuring that customer feedback is front and centre. I am sure a lot of adoption decisions will be made after examining the number of stars an application has.

Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, made this bold statement yesterday when announcing a new carrier-grade router. He said the same thing in 2007, and 2009. Point made at this stage, I think?

Steve Ballmer has never been short on hyperbole. Why should the cloud be any different? http://bit.ly/b2ImUw

Canada’s foreign ownership regulations have long been criticized as being too restrictive. The Telecom Act of 1996 makes the case clear:

“For the purposes of subsection (1), a corporation is Canadian-owned and controlled if

(a) not less than eighty per cent of the members of the board of directors of the corporation are individual Canadians;

(b) Canadians beneficially own, directly or indirectly, in the aggregate and otherwise than by way of security only, not less than eighty per cent of the corporation’s voting shares issued and outstanding; and

(c) the corporation is not otherwise controlled by persons that are not Canadians.”

Critics claim that the end result has been a paucity of foreign investment when compared to countries that have liberalized foreign ownership regulations and the knock on effect being less capital investment.

Continue Reading »

James Burke

James Burke is best known for a series called Connections that he did in the the 70s and again in the 90s. The central theme to these shows was to demonstrate how seemingly inconsequential things led to things of great consequence by examining how they are connected. His latest project is called ‘the Knowledge Web’.

Burke’s vision is rather grand. He believes that formal education is structured mostly to make it easy for the teacher. By reducing things, by placing things in well defined boxes it becomes (relatively) easy to teach them. Examination of any school’s curriculum bears this out. Burke’s point is that the world, that knowledge is much more complicated than that. By being reductive we manage to lose a lot. In Burke’s words:

“The Knowledge Web counters the tendency of modern education to encourage specialized learning and thinking. With formal education today, learners may study either history or physics, or perhaps only Renaissance history and astrophysics,” says James. “People tend to become experts in highly specialized fields, learning more and more about less and less.

“Unfortunately, so much specialization falsely creates the illusion that knowledge and discovery exist in a vacuum, in context only with their own disciplines, when in reality they are born from interdisciplinary connections. Without an ability to see these connections, history and science won’t be learnable in a truly meaningful way and innovation will be stifled.”

Interesting stuff.

IDC likes the Cloud

Read this http://blogs.idc.com/ie/?p=543. The CAGR works out to over 26%. This represents significant growth to say the least. The hype machine keeps on hyping. When I read numbers like this, I am pushed back in time to consider other markets and forecasts. Unified communications, which the Yankee Group dubbed ‘the 0 billion dollar market’, stands out as a good example. Plenty of promise, but a market that seemed to have trouble getting traction. The cloud may well be different, but there is always a danger with forecasts like this…