Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pirates Of Silicon Valley

A few days back,Dr.Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO was elected as a member of the Apple board of directors. The Apple board has some prominent figures like Al Gore and Google's board has members like Paul Ottelini - Intel's CEO. The nomination of Eric has sparked off a flurry of speculations amongst analysts. All the speculations are hinting at one baseline, 'redmond rivalry'. In essence a move to get a stronghold of the markets dominated by microsoft.
Take a look at how Apple is striking at the market, their new intel based macs have the capability of running windows with the bootcamp software. Bootcamp will become a standard in leopard, the next version of OS X slated for launch in spring 2007. When Apple says spring 2007, it will be spring 2007 and nothing else. By giving consumers the 'choice' between Windows and Mac on the same platform, Apple will entice the users to the benefits of Mac and thereby potentially sideline windows/vista as the defacto operating system. So the doors have opened for apple to gain a foothold of the lucrative pc Operating system segment.
Another potential speculation is an Apple-Sun merger. The apple-sun merger has been on the cards since decades and both companies have shared and traded a lot of talent. Both the companies have an almost common product line except the low end servers made by sun. While Sun has been picking up stake in the unix server segment, thanks to Andy's brainwork, Apple has been picking up stake in the PC/laptop segment. A merger could provide sun with one of the best marketing and design teams while it would give Apple access to the lucrative server market where it can push the X-serve line of products. With Eric on the board, there won't be much of a future CEO conflict between Jobs and Schwartz.
Analysts are also speculating googling apple or in other words, bring in google's ideologies into some of apple's software products - potentially in the music segment. With Universal launching a free music download service, iTunes will have to go the same route with the revenues served only by ads and what better company to provide the ad framework than google?. Universal has several potential pitfalls - the songs cannot be burnt on cds and they wont play on iPods ( which account for 80% of digital music player sales ). Apple has the potential to offer free music downloads with revenues from ads/google adsense and keeping everything else same.
All in all, its quite interesting to watch how the three dominant valley companies collaborate in bringing better services and products to people and directly or indirectly affecting the redmond behemoth.

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