Can Microsoft buy Facebook

At $39.23 Billion , Facebook is now cheaper than what Steve Ballmer was prepared to pay for Yahoo (when Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang famously turned him down). Can Microsoft buy Facebook? or Can Apple buy Facebook?

Both would be okay from an anti trust perspective- and both have the cash. Note you need only to buy 51% of shares for controlling and Mark Zuckerberg seems a bit down (never mind Sean Parker’s voting arrangement).

Can Google plunk 20% of FB for 8 billion – less than they paid for Motorola, so they can sell Ads there while FB concentrates on thee social aspects.

FB has innovated with good UI, apps, cassandra,the like button, the FB connect network, and of course socially targeted ads. I dont think it’s stock price deserves to be dog with fleas.

See http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=FB

Where is a good leveraged buy out (LBO) or hedge fund when you need one?

But, Seriously.

 

 

 

 

Towards better quantitative marketing

Cycle of Research and Development, from "...
Image via Wikipedia

The term quantitative refers to a type of information based in quantities or else quantifiable data (objective properties) —as opposed to qualitative information which deals with apparent qualities (subjective properties)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations,[1][2] politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.

Source-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Top 5 FUD Tactics in Software and what you can say to end user to retain credibility

1) That software lacks reliable support- our support team has won top prizes in Customer Appreciation for past several years.

  • Our software release history-
  • graph of bugs filed-
  • turn around time box plot for customer service issues
  • quantitatively define reliability

2) We give the best value to customers. Customer Big A got huge huge % savings thanks to our software.

  • Pricing- Transparent – and fixed. For volume discounts mention slabs.
  • Cost to Customer- Include time and cost estimates for training and installation
  • Graphs of average ROIC (return on capital invested) on TCO (total cost of ownership)  not half a dozen outlier case studies. Mention Expected % return

3) We have invested a lot of money in our Research and Development. We continue to spend a lotto of money on R &D

  • Average Salary of R and D employee versus Average Tenure (Linkedin gives the second metric quite easily)
  • Mention Tax benefits and Accounting treatment of R&D expenses
  • Give a breakdown- how much went to research and how much went to legacy application support
  • Mention open source projects openly
  • Mention community source projects separately

4) Software B got sued. Intellectual property rights (sniff)

  • Mention pending cases with your legal team
  • Mention anti trust concerns for potential acquisitions
  • Mention links to your patent portfolio (or even to US PTO with query ?=your corporate name )

5) We have a 99.8% renewal rate.

  • Mention vendor lock in concerns and flexibility
  • Mention What-If scenarios if there are delays in software implementation
  • Mention methodology in calculating return on investment.

 

 

 

Also

http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/infrastructure-and-operations/2010/10/three-fud-statements-used-not-to-implement-standards-based-networking/index.htm

EU files anti trust against Google to reduce budget deficit

From the Old Lady-

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/technology/01google.html?_r=1&hpw

Google’s dominance on the Internet has been a sore point in Europe, where it controls more than 80 percent of the online search market, compared with about 66 percent in the United States, according to comScore, a research firm.

and

If Google is found in violation of European competition law, the commission has the power to fine it up to 10 percent of its annual revenue, which totaled more than $23 billion last year.

Before settling last year, Microsoft had paid fines of about $2.4 billion over the past decade in a long-running antitrust case in Brussels that focused on the Windows operating system.

In another case, the commission fined Intel about $1.45 billion for abusing its dominance in the computer chip market.


——————————————————————————————

Maybe Google should ask the European Union to buy a groupon for anti trust cases.

Related

11 Ways to Beat Google

 

 

New Google Ad Planner

Dusan's User Interface challenge
Image by moggs oceanlane via Flickr

The new Google Ad Planner is really nice-seems better than old Adwords interface, though needs a UI redesign before it can complete with the clean cut slice and dice of Facebook Ad Planner.

It’s the interface, stupid that makes an Iphone sell more than the Symbian even with 90% functionality. Same reasons why Google Storage is okay but Google Prediction API gets slower liftoff than Amazon Console (now with FREE instances) – though the R interface to Prediction API sure helps.

Prediction API is a terrific tool dying for oxygen out there (and will end up like Wave- I hope not)

Sometimes you need artists as well as engineers to design query tools, G Men- and guess the Double Click anti trust rumours have quietened down enough because why the heck did double click interface integration take so loooong.

( and btw why cant Google just get into the multi billion dashboard business if they can manage ALL the data IN THE INTERNET ——they sure can do it for specific companies- – but wait-

they are probably waiting for AsterData to stop sucking thumbs ,chanting on MapReduce SQL,  MapReduce SQL nursery rhymes and start inventing NEW STUFF again (or atleast creating two product brands from nCluster (when you and I were in school together giggle)

Btw the time Google make up their mind to enter BI or wait for Aster to finish- IBM would have gulped and burped all there it is- and thats the way that market rolls.

Back to Ad s and Mad Men.

Here are some screenshots-of the new Google Ad Planner-

I found it useful to review traffic for third party websites (even better than Google Trends) and thats a definite plus over Facebooks closed dormitory world of ads.

Click on them for some more views or go straight to http://google.com/adplanner and Enjoy Baby!

Which websites attract your target customers?

View a site listing: 

Ad Planner top 1,000 sites

Refine your online advertising with DoubleClick Ad Planner, a free media planning tool that can help you:

Identify websites your target customers are likely to visit

  • Define audiences by demographics and interests.
  • Search for websites relevant to your target audience.
  • Access unique users, page views, and other data for millions of websites from over 40 countries.

Easily build media plans for yourself or your clients

  • Create lists of websites where you’d like to advertise.
  • Generate aggregated website statistics for your media plan.

and

Take charge of your DoubleClick Ad Planner site listing

View a site listing: 

Ad Planner top 1,000 sites

DoubleClick Ad Planner is a media planning tool where advertisers find sites for their media buys. As a site owner, you can access the DoubleClick Ad Planner Publisher Center and
Market your site
Write a site description to present your audience and unique value to advertisers.
Help advertisers search for you
Choose categories for your site and ad formats you support.
Improve the data that advertisers see
Share your Google Analytics data to reflect the most accurate traffic numbers for your site.

 

Microsoft Online Games

No, this is not about the X Box kind of games. It is about Microsoft ‘s tactical shift in the online space from going it alone, and building stuff itself, –to partnering, and sometimes investing and exiting business.

In Blogs- It recently announced a migration of MS Live Spaces to WordPress.com – It gives Automattic 30 million more users- no small change consider there were 26 million existing WP users.

Microsoft Messenger, which is the oldest online app in the suite, now provides instant messaging services to about 350 million users, and from now on Windows Live Writer works specifically with the WordPress.com blog service by default. Hopefully Skype, and Google Voice will show MS the way to monitize that business app yet.

Google buying blogger-blogspot seems to have done little, but given Biz Stone room to create another content disruption-Twitter.

With the round of lawsuits by proxy, in Android -Motorola, or for acquisitions – MS is just doing what Marc Anderseen (who’s apparently a better VC than Paul Allen was), Sun and co did to it in the nineties.

Google seems to be regretting putting a spade in the Yahoo acquisition- that would have tied up a big chunk of Idle MS cash- leaving it little room for niche investments (like the 250 mill that helped Facebook ramp up in time).

The real surprise here could be Apple- it has shown little interest in cloud computing- and it seems to be testing the waters with Ping. But Apple sure smells competition- and Android is doing to Iphone what Windows did to the Mac in the early 1990’s.

Google lacks presence in online gaming (despite it’s own Zynga investment)- and needs to start monetizing properties like Android OS (say 10$ for every phone license ??), Google Maps (as an app for GPS) and Google Voice. Indeed it may be time for the big G to start thinking of spinning off atleast some products- earning better returns, while retaining control (dual stock splits) and killing those anti trust lawyer fees forever.

As the Ancient Chinese said, May you live in interesting times. Fun to watch the online games people play.

 

 

Twitter Cloud and a note on Cloud Computing

That’s what I use twitter for. If you have a twitter account you can follow me here

http://twitter.com/decisionstats

A couple of weeks ago I accidentally deleted many followers using a Twitter App called Refollow- I was trying to clean up people I follow and checked the wrong tick box-

so please if you feel I unfollowed you- it was a mistake. Seriously.

[tweetmeme=”decisionstats”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Cloud Computing- and Google- rumours ( 🙂 ) are emerging that Google’s push for cloud computing is to turn desktop computing to IBM like mainframe computing .  Except that there are too many players this time. Where is the Department of Justice and anti trust – does Amazon qualify for being too big in cloud computing currently.

Or the rumours could be spread by Microsoft/ Apple / Amazon competitors etc. Geeks are like that sometimes.

Advertising Feed back Loop: Facebook and Adwords

In Systems design a feedback loop is something that measures the difference between expected and actual output and adds it back to the system to enhance it’s performance

For a better more accurate definition see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedback

Here is how Facebook measures the satisfaction whether I got for an ad on my page- note fraudelent or systematic cheaters would be eliminated by the law of averages.

It places a very small thumbs up or thumbs down on an ad on right hand corner.

When I place a thumbs down on an ad ( note it shows only graphical ads)-it asks me why i didnt like the ad

Was it

1) Misleading
2) Offensive
3) Uninteresting
4) Irrelevant
5) Repetitive
6) Other- allows text mining of free form allowing subjective feedback.

However if I type say Business Intelligence on Google – I get the following

http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&q=business+intelligence&meta=&aq=0&oq=business+intell

Open Source Ad on Pentaho at prime spot just above the results. Makes me wonder how much open source will spend.

Search Results-
Wikepedia entry usually at the top ( but no ads there*)

Search Optimization means SAS Business Intelligence is now fifth from top- which is the first mention of a BI vendor there ( Note cost to SAS is zero as you can see below). In the remaining top 4, two are similar http://www.businessintelligence.com and http://www.businessintelligence.co.uk as the title page tag remains more important than sheer consumer behaviour to Pagerank.

Right Column Sponsored Links ( These guys spend more money than SAS to be on the sponsored links and still end up in a less favourable ad page than in top vendor on search results page)-

1 http://www.brgglobal.com
2 SAP.com/India
3 IBM.com/cognos
4 http://www.BusinessObjects-India.com
5 http://www.softsmith.com
6 http://www.syncfusion.com/BizIntell
7 http://www.intelligententerprise.com/

(Note from Ajay*- A senior IIM Alumnus CK Prahlad (the first batch in fact) – first expounded the concept of core competence-

Now-what is Google’s core competence.
I believe that Google should simply donate all its information on wikipedia, and offer Google Knol to it- rather than just wallow in sunk cost theory or expect an immediate return from this transaction. It will get lots of goodwill- and maybe the Google Wikipedia Knol will take off.

Similarly sell Orkut to Facebook and just take the advertising and search functions to be combined in a seperate spin off called Google Search before Microsoft forces the Europeans and Justice department to do so.

Or continue to moon the giant.)

I didnt like the Adwords ads or the order they were in. But there is no way in Adwords for me to give feedback to it. Facebook listens. Will Adwords listen.