A few weeks ago Microsoft launched its new search engine called Bing. With this new service Microsoft tries to compete with the market leader in search, Google.
The competition is somewhat resembles Internet Explorer vs. Netscape, MSN vs. ICQ or XBox against Playstation.
Nowadays, the advertising campaign is over and idle curiosity isn’t enough’to bring new users. Bing will only be able to win market share if it is significantly better than Google.
Bing’s screen layout is nice, giving wonderful background pictures. But to be successful, Bing needs to be a very good search engine, too. Continue reading ‘Bing? Bang!’
A former colleague tipped me off to a conference that might be of interest to some of you. The Second International Symposium on Global Information Governance (ISGIG) Conflict and Collaboration in Compliance, Governance and Risk takes place in Prague on 15-17 September 2009.
The Internet of the Future is the theme of ISGIG 2009. Specifically, its goal is to improve communication among academics, regulators, compliance officers, business managers and IT managers by exposing problems, and uncovering potential problems, in the areas of privacy, compliance, governance, and risk. Each of these issues creates situations for both conflict and cooperation among different constituencies.
The early registration deadline is Saturday, 15 August, 2009.
The full agenda is available on the conference website.
Comment on Robert Nemeth’s question “Can Centrope profit from the Chinese recovery?“ below.
China has been impressing analysts and and the rest of the world since the start of its economic redirection almost 30 years ago. But there have always been warning voices, on malevolent copyright and technology theft on one hand, on bubble based growth on the other.
I have always been in favour of stronger links between Europe and China – simply for strategic reasons: Of the three (or maybe four, including India) superpowers China is Europe’s best choice, despite neglecting human rights etc. (The others are not better in this respect.) Continue reading ‘China: Yes, but carefully’
The IMF recently published its latest World Economic Outlook Update. The forecasts are not surprising: “The global economy is beginning to pull out of a recession unprecedented in the post–World War II era, but stabilization is uneven and the recovery is expected to be sluggish.”
However the situtation is different in China, which is expecting 7.5 % growth in 2009 and 8.5 % in 2010.
Data source: IMF / Chart: PBN
While the output in the Euro area is expected to be -4,8 % in 2009 and still negative in 2010, the Chinese economy is recovering very fast, reaching as high values as in 2007.
How can we profit from this Chinese growth here in Central Europe?
I received numerous requests for a free Yahoo Analytics account, following my last post. Receptional originally offered me just two accounts for nowEurope readers, but they liked the response so much they decided to extend that offer.
Unfortunately, Receptional have already run out of free accounts for July (Yahoo provides a monthy quota to their web analytics consultants). If you want to claim your account, you need to hit this page early in August.
Apparently, the service is in beta while Yahoo upgrades its server infrastructure to meet the anticipated demand of free, real-time web analytics. When I was a part of Indextools (now Yahoo Web Analytics) back in 2005, we all watched with glee as Google’s free analytics service collapsed under the unexpectedly high demand. I haven’t seen any announcement, but presumably YWA will be launched to the public this Fall.
As many of you already know, I used to work at Indextools before they were acquired by Yahoo and rebranded Yahoo Analytics. I haven’t used the service for some years, and so I decided to see if I could resurrect my old account and play around with it.
Unfortunately, I discovered I could not. I hadn’t replied to an earlier email asking me to agree to the new Yahoo terms and conditions. I also discovered that while Yahoo Analytics is free, the service is not yet open to the general public.
As luck would have it, my friends at Receptional were able to provide me with a new account. I knew them as a former Indextools partner. Under the new regime, Receptional will now be part of the Yahoo Web Analytics Consultants Network (coming soon).
Today might also be your lucky day, if you’re interested in having an advance peek at the new Yahoo Analytics.
Continue reading ‘Who wants to try Yahoo Analytics?’
I had the privilege of attending the CITT project meeting at Bratislava on June 6, 2009. This experience led me to consider what is the optimal model for building a cluster.
In running clusters, we can see two basic models. One is strongly business oriented, where a cluster is almost like a holding company with central leadership. It has its own business department. Individual cluster members are rather like branches of this holding company, responsible for specific parts of a well-defined business deal.
The second model is more like an ad hoc network of independent organizations, where members cooperate on various projects. Not all members have to collaborate in all running projects. I should point out that in the Czech Republic, this second model is supported by structural funding.
Continue reading ‘Two basic models for building a cluster’
Analyzing prices for mobile phone usage, in his posting on July 2nd, Robert Nemeth asked an interesting question: “How could the same multinational telecom company cut prices by more than 50% in Austria, while keeping the same price in HU and SK and increasing prices in CZ?” Here is my explanation. This answer applies to the Czech Republic, but it’s also a warning for other countries.
The problem was described in the Commission’s 14th implementation progress report, published in March this year. Among other benchmarks, it used an OECD basket of mobile usage and calculated the cost in various EU countries – in October 2007 and October 2008. The results are what Robert mentions: a drop of around 50% for Austria, of 10% for the EU average – but an increase of 24% for the Czech Republic.
This struck me too, so in March I looked more deeply into the issue and wrote an article about it (available here, but only in Czech). My findings can be summarized as follows:
- Half of the increase for the Czech Republic (12% out of 24%) can be attributed to variations of the exchange rate between the Czech crown and the Euro. The two currencies did change accordingly between October 2007 and 2008, when the benchmark was evaluated. But there is also a strong contra-argument: other comparisons in the same Commission’s report do not reflect the change in exchange rates at all. Maybe because different parts of the report were produced by different people using different methodologies.
- The other half of the increase (the remaining 12%) can be attributed mainly to the changes in call charging. Between 2007 and 2008 our mobile operators silently completed their switch to variants that maximize their revenues. Mainly to 60+60, which is now the standard for national mobile calls, and also for roaming.
Continue reading ‘How did mobile prices rise by 20% in the Czech Republic?’
Congratulations to Mike Simon and the team at LogMeIn! According to RealDeal.hu, the US-based software firm LogMeIn debuted on the NASDAQ stock market in July 1st, finishing the day up 25%. The company maintains sales and marketing offices in Boston, Amsterdam and Sydney, but the development team is just down the street from me, here in Budapest, at Erzsébet krt., 50
I first met Mike Simon when he was running a small Hungarian company called Ablaksoft. Mike’s company took on the task of porting a little-known (at the time) ERM software called Scala to the Windows platform. He then turned Ablaksoft into Scala’s software development center. During the dotcom era, Mike built one of the first online gaming companies, Uproar, which he later sold to Vivendi not long before the dotcom crash. LogMeIn started as a side business developed by Uproar’s chief technology guru, Marton Anka.
Mike Simon and LogMeIn are a good example of Juri Kaljundi’s prescription for success in CEE markets: Western management, sales and marketing skills teamed up with Eastern software developers.