Forrester is bullish on Windows 8 as a product for consumers. Windows 8, Microsoft is adapting Windows in key ways that make it better suited to compete in the post-PC era, including a touch-first UI, an app marketplace, and the ability to run natively on SoC/ARM processors. This pivot in product strategy and product design makes sense as we move deeper into an era when computing form factors reach far beyond traditional desktops and laptops.But in a new report, Sarah Rotman Epps and I look at Windows 8 tablets, specifically, through our product strategy lens. What do we see? On tablets, Windows 8 is going to be very late to the party. Product strategists often look to be “fast followers” in their product markets. Perhaps the most famous example is the original browser war of the 1990s: Microsoft’s fast-following Internet Explorer drove incumbent Netscape out of the market altogether.For tablets, though, Windows really isn’t a fast follower. Rather it’s at best a fifth-mover after iPad, Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, HP’s now-defunct WebOS tablet, and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. While Windows’ product strategists can learn from these products, other players have come a long way in executing and refining their products—Apple, Samsung, and others have already launched second-generation products and will likely be into their third generation by the time Windows 8 launches.Meanwhile, newer competitors like Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet are reshaping consumer expectations in the market, driving down price points and concomitant price expectations, and redefining what a tablet is.These market dynamics are rapidly altering consumers’ attitudes and needs. Most significantly, consumers’ interest in Windows tablets is plummeting. In Q1, 2011, Windows was by far the top choice of consumers – while no touch-first Windows tablets existed, 46% of U.S. consumers yearned for one. By Q3, 2011, that picture had changed dramatically: Windows was no longer #1 in choice preference, and interest among consumers dropped to 25%. Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released.For product strategists, Windows 8 tablets provide a cautionary tale: To be a fast-follower, you must amp up the experience – and do so quickly, before the market changes beyond recognition. Windows 8 tablets must provide consumers with a more differentiated product experience than it otherwise would have, had Microsoft entered the market sooner. They’ll have to take a lesson from Amazon’s product strategists, who fundamentally changed the tablet product experience by leading with content and services rather than feeds and speeds, at a compelling price point. In the rapidly evolving tablet market, Amazon — and Barnes & Noble, with its Nook Tablet — demonstrate fast following done right.JP Gownder is a Vice President and Research Director at Forrester Research serving Consumer Product Strategy professionals. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder
Lana Peters — who was known internationally by her previous name, Svetlana Alliluyeva — died of colon cancer Nov. 22 in Wisconsin. Peters caused an international furor when she defected to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1967.
Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) — New China Life Insurance Co., the state-backed insurer seeking as much as $2.3 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai, received enough orders to cover its institutional books for both listings, said two people with knowledge of the transaction.
The insurer, partly owned by Zurich Financial Services AG, is offering 358.4 million shares at HK$28.20 ($3.62) to HK$34.33 apiece in the Hong Kong portion of the IPO, of which up to 95 percent will be allocated to institutional investors, a sales document shows. The Hong Kong institutional book was covered on the first day it took orders, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is private.
New China Life may sell 158.5 million shares in Shanghai, the company said this month. The Shanghai offering would raise 4.5 billion yuan ($698 million), based on the same pricing as the Hong Kong sale.
Companies are planning to sell as much as $7 billion of new shares in Hong Kong before the end of 2011, betting on a revival in investor appetite after the value of IPOs slumped almost 70 percent this year. Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., which is seeking to raise up to $2.8 billion, received bids for all the stock available to money managers in its first day of order taking, people with knowledge of the matter said
When it comes to Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg marches to the beat of his own drum. And that apparently goes for his company’s IPO.
The Wall Street Journal tonight reports that Facebook is aiming for an IPO in the second quarter of next year that could fetch about $10 billion, which would be one of the largest offerings ever.
But what stuck out to us in the story–besides the timing, offering size and possible $100 billion valuation–is that Facebook has already drawn up the IPO docs without the help of bankers and lawyers who typically drool all over an offering of this magnitude. According to WSJ’s Shayndi Raice:
Facebook has gone so far as to craft its own prospectus, said the people familiar with the matter. A prospectus document—which is filed with the SEC outlining the company’s business—is typically prepared by bankers and lawyers hired by a company.
Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman has been leading the company’s talks with Silicon Valley bankers about an IPO, said people familiar with the matter.
Bankers are aggressively pursuing the company, but Facebook remains elusive about a commitment to specific banks, even though an IPO looms. Mr. Ebersman told some bankers that he is skeptical over what contribution investment banks could make to a Facebook IPO, since the company is so highly sought after by major investors, said people familiar with the matter.
The parent of American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection, an abrupt course change by the No. 3 U.S. airline that it said would help it cut costs and emerge as a more competitive carrier.
AMR Corp.’s filing Tuesday in New York makes it one of the last of the major U.S. airlines to seek bankruptcy protection. AMR has suffered losses of more than $10 billion since 2001 as the company has struggled to bring costs in line with rivals such as United Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc., which have restructured under court protection and found merger partners.
Facebook Inc. is considering raising about $10 billion in an initial public offering that would value the world’s largest social-networking site at more than $100 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
The company may file for the IPO before the end of the year, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Exact timing for the filing hasn’t been determined, the person said.
Facebook’s $100 billion valuation would be twice as high as it was in January, when the company announced a $1.5 billion investment from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other backers. The IPO is far enough away that the details may change, said Lise Buyer, principal of the Class V Group, an IPO advisory firm.
“It’s far too early to accurately predict where the valuation will be on deal day,” Buyer said.
At $10 billion, the offering would raise more money than any other technology IPO, a sign Facebook expects investors to clamor for a piece of the social-networking company. The amount would dwarf that of the previous record holder, Infineon Technologies AG, which generated $5.23 billion in its 1999 debut. Agere Systems Inc. raised $4.14 billion in 2000, putting it second.
Hard to Predict
Facebook expects to be required by U.S. regulators to disclose financial results by April 30, 2012, if it doesn’t go public by then, the company said in January. Facebook decided to wait until 2012 for its IPO to give Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg more time to gain users and boost sales, people familiar with the matter said last year.
Facebook, which boasts more than 800 million users, also is increasing its focus on mobile technology, aiming to take advantage of the shift to smartphones and tablets. The company expects its next 1 billion users to come mainly from mobile devices, rather than desktop computers.
Rating reflects still strong economic and credit fundamentals. U.S. sovereign liabilities, both the dollar and Treasury securities, remain the global benchmark and accordingly the U.S. credit profile benefits from unparalleled financing flexibility and enhanced debt tolerance, even relative to other large ‘AAA’-rated sovereigns. The U.S. dollar’s status as the pre-eminent global reserve currency and depth of the U.S. Treasury market render financing risks minimal and underpin a low cost of fiscal funding.
Fitch’s latest projections see the federal debt burden topping 90% of GDP and interest accounting for more than 20% of tax revenues by 2020. Throw in local and state debts and gross government debt climbs to 110% of GDP. That level “would no longer be consistent with the U.S. retaining its ‘AAA’ status despite its underlying strengths.”
The ratings agency said it has declining confidence that Congress will put the U.S. on a more sustainable fiscal path, after the Supercommittee failed to find at least $1.2 trillion to cut out of the federal budget over the next decade by last week’s deadline. Last week, Moody’s said its rating was unaffected by the Supercommittee coming up empty, and added Monday that the lack of a deal does not affect its fiscal outlook on the U.S.
Fitch warns that the $1 trillion of automatic across-the-board cuts triggered by the failure of the Supercommittee is primarily focused in discretionary spending, no recipe for long-term fiscal responsibility. “Further deficit reduction will not be credible if it relies solely on further cuts in discretionary spending rather than reform to entitlements and taxation,” Fitch says.
The firm’s negative outlook means there is a better than 50% chance of downgrade over the next two years, but Fitch said it does not expect to resolve the outlook until late 2013 absent any “material adverse shocks,” so that it can take into account “any deficit-reduction strategy that emerges after the Congressional and Presidential elections.”
If yields on U.S. Treasury securities are any indication, the uncertainty around global economic growth and the European sovereign debt crisis are far more pressing concerns to investors than America’s growing deficit. Even after S&P’s downgrade in August, yields have declined as the market continued to treat U.S. debt as one of the few safe havens in times of stress. The 10-year yield currently sits just below 2%, and has shown few signs of moving very far above that level at a time when Europe’s debt picture continues to look far worse than the one on this side of the Atlantic.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying that goes, “If you’re not paying for the product, then you’re the product.”
Facebook (and just about every other free web service) has built a business on that saying and its implications, and the European Commission is taking the social network to task for it.
First, let’s have a primer on how Facebook makes money: The company gets you to willingly enter all kinds of demographic and behavioral information into a massive database. Advertisers, big brands and Facebook’s sales team call it “data.” You call it your profile, your likes, your checkins, your comments and everything else you do on the site.
There is so much happening right now in emerging cloud computing — the entire economy is being disrupted by the trend.
With publicly-traded giants like Amazon, Google, VMWare, Microsoft, Cisco and Salesforce lurching around with new and improved services that can help businesses with cost and efficiency gains, sometimes it’s easy to miss the hot players that are up-and-coming.
We’ve assembled a list of ten private cloud companies that we think are particularly intriguing — focused on massive opportunities and leading the disruption in the sector they’re targeting.
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge on Monday struck down a $285 million settlement that Citigroup reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying he couldn’t tell whether the deal was fair and criticizing regulators for shielding the public from the details of what the firm did wrong.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said the public has a right to know what happens in cases that touch on “the transparency of financial markets whose gyrations have so depressed our economy and debilitated our lives.” In such cases, the SEC has a responsibility to ensure that the truth emerges, he wrote.
Rakoff said he had spent hours trying to assess the settlement but concluded that he had not been given “any proven or admitted facts upon which to exercise even a modest degree of independent judgment.” He called the settlement “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.”