Archive for the 'Acquisitions' Category

10 ways to weather the storm

Geoff Colvin has authored a interesting article in the January 19, 2009 edition of Fortune magazine: “How to Manage Your Business in a Recession”  in which he points out 10 ways to weather the current economic storm-

Here they are:

  1. Reset priorities to face a new reality.
  2. Keep investing in the core.
  3. Communicate like crazy, balancing realism and optimism.
  4. Your customers face new problems, so give them new solutions.
  5. Don´t rush to cut prices.
  6. Focus on capital – how you´re getting it and where you´re using it.
  7. Reevaluate people – and steal some good ones.
  8. Reexamine complensation – what is it offering incentives for?
  9. Think twice about offshoring.
  10. Be smart about mergers and acquisitions.

Sunday Mix

Sorry, been too busy in the last weeks. Will see if I can improve on posting frequency, too many things pile up. But here we go:

New York Times (registration required): Meetings Are a Matter of Precious Time True, so true.

Waferbaby asks people “What do people use to get the job done?” Insights from John Gruber (, Alex Payne (Twitter) and others. Interesting.

Dare Obasanjo discusses an important difference: Platform as a Service vs. Utility Computing.

  1. Utility Computing: In this approach, a vendor provides access to virtual server instances where each instance runs a traditional server operating system such as Linux or Windows Server. Computation and storage resources are metered and the customer can “scale infinitely” by simply creating new server instances. The most popular example of this approach is Amazon EC2.
  2. Platform as a Service: In this approach, a vendor abstracts away the notion of accessing traditional LAMP or WISC stacks from their customers and instead provides an environment for running programs written using a particular platform. In addition, data storage is provided via a custom storage layer and API instead of traditional relational database access. The most popular example of this approach is Google App Engine.

His conclusion:

As it stands today  platform as a service offerings currently do not satisfy the needs of people who have existing apps that want to “port them to the cloud”. Instead this looks like it will remain the domain of utility computing services which just give you a VM and the ability to run any software you damn well please on the your operating system of choice.

However for brand new product development the restrictions of platform as a service offerings seem attractive given the ability to “scale infinitely” without having to get your hands dirty. Developers on platform as a service offerings don’t have to worry about database management and the ensuing complexitiies like sharding, replication and database tuning.

An important distinction if you ask me and a clear crossroad if you want to go into cloud services.

If you want (or have) to enable a web-application with offline-capabilities, Google Gears is often the tool of choice. Eduard Martini gives some good insight on O´Reilly InsideRIA: Google Gears—A Great Tool to Enhance Web Applications. Recommended.

Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst at Forrester gives a great overview of the Social Network Industry on his private blog:  Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Jan 21, 2009

And Nicole Simon explains why LinkedIn will fail in the german market: Linkedin taking the traditional approach in Germany and why that will fail (as usual)

Most of the time, they just make a translation and try to tell everybody how awesome they are everywhere else, as if this is enough.

Jason Scott: Fuck the cloud:

So please, take my advice, as I go into other concentrated endeavors. Fuck the Cloud. Fuck it right in the ear. Trust it like you would trust a guy pulling up in a van offering a sweet deal on electronics. Maybe you’ll make out, maybe you won’t. But he ain’t necessarily going to be there tomorrow.

Yeah, you should know where to place your bets. And backup is not for the fainthearted only, also real men do backups (off the cloud, in this context).

Dare´s take: Asking “should we trust the cloud” is like asking “should we trust horseless carriages”

We all love HAL, our friend from 2001: A Space Odyssey from Stanley Kubrick. Find the HAL project here.

Looks like the new POTUS is not hesitant to use juicy languange. Find some examples here, from an audiobook that he read in. (via)

Whoever wanted to know how David Allen gets things done, here a movie on Youtube (via):

Tabbloid. Converting personal feeds into a personalized magazine. Free. From HP. Not tested yet, though.

From the TPI blog: Quick Savings AND Minimal Operations Risk? Try Facilities Management Outsourcing

TPI has also a german blog now, from the office in Frankfurt.

Garr is great to find (and comment on) extraordinary presentations. This time:  Bill Gates at TED 09: How do you make a teacher great?

TED is the best and most inspiring conference series in the world, if you ask me. Fantastic speakers, great presentations. Awesome.

Tim Ferris explains how to learn any language in three months. Interesting approach to attack the challenge.

Microblogging tidbits

just cleaning the cache after a few days:

Matthew Ingram on GigaOm speculating whether after the acquisition of Rael Dornfest´s Values of n by Twitter and the announced shutdown of Stikkit and I want Sandy this gets into Twitter: Will Twitter Become Your Personal Assistant?

Wayne Smallman of Blah Blah Technology on another acquisition (this time by SixApart, also shutting down the service): Pownce is dead

Dave Winer: The space between Twitter and FriendFeed:

I believe that there is space between Twitter and FriendFeed for a service that’s dumber than FriendFeed and richer than Twitter. Start with what Twitter does and add the graphics that FriendFeed has. I know some people will say that’s Pownce, but it’s not (though Pownce was pretty nice). I don’t want full blog posts, I like the 140-character limit, and I can skip out on the discussion features that FF has that Twitter doesn’t. But I think a graphic and visual Twitter would kick ass, the same way the Macintosh eventually kicked MS-DOS’s ass in the 80s and early 90s.

Robert Scoble following up on Dave: 10 Reasons why Twitter is for you and FriendFeed is not

Sarah from Regensblog (via): Get the $%&? off my lawn!!:

Can someone explain what’s special/better/shinier about Twitter? I’m really feeling like I’m missing the boat on this one.

Scott to the rescue:

Twitter is like an office water-cooler. It’s a way to hold quick and trivial conversations in real time. You might accidently learn something useful or interesting, but usually you don’t. It’s an entertaining waste of time.

Microblogging Links de jour

Tim O´Reilly loves Twitter. That´s why:

  1. Twitter is simple.
  2. Twitter works like people do.
  3. Twitter cooperates well with others.
  4. Twitter transcends the web.
  5. Twitter is user-extensible.
  6. Twitter evolves quickly.

Ray Ozzie apparently too:

… he offers some quick bites about his passions—in a style suggested, he says, by the 140-character format in Twitter. (The fact that he references Twitter and not a Microsoft product is a statement in itself.)

I love software, because if you can imagine something, you can build it.

I love Windows, because without it there would be no PC. There would be no PC developers. There might not even be a Web.

I love the ubiquitous Web because of the connections that it opened up.

I love competition. But when we’re behind a competitor, I hate it when we find ourselves just chasing their taillights.

BTW, a good characterization of Ray, IMHO.

Pownce is being acquired by SixApart and will close. Dave has a quick reflection and explains why it never really took off. Related, Steve Gillmor is of the opinion that there is no competition to Twitter or FriendFeed, not even close. Makes me wonder why he is posting spamming so much on After having seen him at BearHugCamp, I am anyway without words when I think of him.

Bruce mentioning the use and value of Twitter during the Mumbai attacks.

Wednesday lunch buffet

A couple of small picks from the great Internet buffet, easy to digest, with good nutrition for your brain:

  • A take on typography by Eyolf Østrem in his blog things twice, comparing LaTeX vs. Word vs. Writer. Good stuff.
  • Not many Nobel laureates have a own blog, but Paul Krugman is always worth a read: The Conscience of a Liberal
  • linking to an interview with Guy Kawasaki. Guy admitting a mistake he made  years ago when asked to interview to be the first CEO of Yahoo! about 15 years ago. Guy said that with his second child on the way, he didn’t want to drive two hours round trip each day. He turned them down.

    If I had taken the interview and gotten the job, I would have made $2 billion and not be up at 5am doing radio interviews…

    Agreed. But I guess he is also well off, even without $2 billion 😉

  • Technorati taking drastic measures in the current financial crisis. Well, Loic had to do this already a couple of weeks ago at Seesmic, but this does not make it better.
  • What happens if a product delivered as SaaS is discontinued? Figure out yourself if you are using I want Sandy or Stikkit. Not due to the fact that the company is hosed or run out of money, but because the founder and mastermind, Rael Dornfest has been hired by Twitter and has decided that values of n, his company is shutting down the products. Not that I have an answer, but are alternatives available? (via)

Heben der Synergien

Tja, bei jeder guten Übernahme sind ja immer wieder die berühmten Synergien im Spiel.

Schade, dass meistens die Reduktion des Personals eine finanziell extrem wichtige Rolle spielt. Bei der Übernahme von EDS durch HP in der Höhe von ca. 1,8 Milliarden US$. Bei einem Kaufpreis von ca. 13 Milliarden US$. Das entspricht einer Reduktion von ca. 24.600 Mitarbeitern oder 7,5% der gesamten Mitarbeiterzahl von HP incl. EDS in einem Zeitraum von drei Jahren. Das ist schon heftig, auch wenn wie üblich Abfindungen, Beratungsangebote und neue Stellen angeboten werden sollen.

Ich hatte hier und hier bereits berichtet.

Update: kritischer Kommentar von Vinnie:

HP is planning to hire about half of that workforce back – presumably in low cost countries. I would like to see how it does better than what it and EDS have done over the last few years. EDS acquired MphasiS almost 3 years ago, and HP has had labor pools in China, India and E. Europe for a while. In proposals I have reviewed from both, the global delivery model is choppy – and the economics uncompetitive.  Let’s not forget EDS was the first Western firm to “discover India” as far back as 1996 and blew that first-mover advantage. Whey will it be different this time around?

Heute aufgelesen

ziemlich busy und wenig Zeit, aber ein paar Sachen sind doch an mir vorbeigerauscht, die ich für erwähnenswert halte:

  • ein Artikel in der FAZ über Wirtschaftsspionage mit einem Schwerpunkt auf dem Geschäftsreisenden mit Laptop. Lobend erwähnt: China, Russland und der Iran: Wenn der Laptop auf dem Koffer liegt
    Ich wusste bis dato nicht, dass der Verfassungsschutz diesbezüglich Beratungsgespräche führt. Aber die kennen sich ja seit dem Bundestrojaner auch mit den einschlägigen Verfahren aus.

Als die Bundesdruckerei im Jahre 2000 für eine Milliarde D-Mark an die britische Investorengruppe Apax Partners verkauft wurde, galt das Geschäft als großer Erfolg der rot-grünen Regierung und besonders von Finanzminister Hans Eichel (SPD). Apax führte die Firma in eine Holding namens Authentos ein, die den Kaufpreis erwirtschaften sollte, zog aber gleichzeitig Geldmittel aus dem Gewinn der damals profitablen Bundesdruckerei ab. Das Konzept geriet bereits 2002 in eine gefährliche Schieflage, in der der Bund seine gesamten Forderungen stunden musste. Authentos wurde zum symbolischen Preis von einem Euro verkauft, während die Bundesdruckerei geschrumpft wurde. Zur Zeit der Privatisierung beschäftigte der Staatsbetrieb 3650 Mitarbeiter, heute arbeiten bei der Privatfirma 1450 Mitarbeiter, wobei Tochterfirmen wie D-Trust mitgezählt sind.

  • Cem hat den ersten Spammer bei identifiziert. Das war wohl unvermeidlich. Aber das Ticket ist schon eröffnet, damit Evan eine Funktion einbaut, um solche Accounts als Spam zu markieren.
  • der LHC läuft und die Welt ist doch (noch) nicht untergegangen – oder haben wir es nur nicht gemerkt?
  • Steve Jobs zitiert Mark Twain: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”. Aber gut sieht er wirklich nicht aus. Volker hat die Erklärung: er ist Veganer
  • das angekündigte Klapp-Modell Blackberry 8220 spaltet die Gemeinde. Viele finden das Teil einfach hässlich (ich auch), aber es scheint einen Markt dafür zu geben – nur wo?
    Update: Engadget sagt: “RIM’s BlackBerry Pearl 8220 flip is in a word, awkward, and in a couple, fairly enormous.”
  • die nächste Bankenübernahme in Deutschland scheint anzustehen. Der SpOn titelt: Deutsche Bank und Post grundsätzlich einig. Mal sehen, wieviele Jobs das kosten wird. Andererseits könnte die DeutschePostBank dann ja von der bereits durch die Commerzbank geschluckten Dresdner Bank ja das grüne Band der Sympathie übernehmen und reanimieren. Blau und Gelb gibt ja schließlich Grün.
  • und die Erkenntnis, dass es reichlich ermüdend ist, an zwei Tagen insgesamt vier mal die gleiche Präsentation in einem ziemlich sauerstoffarmen Konferenzraum halten zu müssendürfen. Musste vorhin glatt einen Powernap im Hotel machen. Bin trotzdem noch ziemlich leer.

Update: HP schliesst EDS-Übernahme ab

Pressemitteilung von HP:

Kaufpreis 13,9 Milliarden US-Dollar / Durch den Zusammenschluss entsteht eines der breitesten Produkt- und Dienstleistungs-Portfolios in der IT-Industrie.

Na, das ging ja schnell. Allerdings muss HP jetzt die Integration zügig durchziehen. Nichts ist schlimmer, wenn die neue Company auf Dauer mit sich selbst beschäftigt ist, wie im Juni auf dem Gartner Outsourcing Summit erwartet wurde.

Money talks oder “Der Spatz in der Hand…

… ist besser als die Taube auf dem Dach”.

Das dürfte es gewesen sein im Übernahmepoker um Conti:

Wie die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung aus Aufsichtsratskreisen erfahren hat, wollen die Franken 75 Euro je Aktie bezahlen statt der bislang gebotenen 70,12 Euro.

Auch Schaeffler-Chef Jürgen Geißinger hat dem Conti-Aufsichtsrat nach F.A.Z.-Informationen schriftlich bestätigt, dass Schaeffler bereit sei, 75 Euro zu zahlen.

Update: eben meldet SpOn, dass Conti das Übernahmeangebot erneut abgelehnt hat. Allerdings auf Basis der 70,12 Euro, und der Vorstand soll weiter mit der Schaeffler-Gruppe verhandeln.

Update 2: Carsten Knop in der FAZ mit einem Kommentar, der aus meiner Sicht ziemlich ins Schwarze trifft:

Die Nachricht ist vielmehr, dass die Investmentbanken, die Conti zu seiner Verteidigung gegen die zu Beginn unerwünschte Offerte engagiert hat, keine überzeugende Alternative zu Verhandlungen gefunden haben.

Die Regie wurde die ganze Zeit am Schaeffler-Stammsitz in Herzogenaurach geführt.

Aber in Herzogenaurach werden sie sich – eher im Stillen – auf die Schenkel klopfen, sind die Schaefflers doch dank guten Timings unglaublich günstig an ein tolles deutsches Unternehmen gekommen.

Update 3 (2008-08-21): The deal is done.