There is no doubt that President Obama is charismatic and has huge public following behind him. He came to White House with the message of CHANGE. There is no doubt that Americans and whole world supported him like none other leader in the recent past. His election promises showed that he really wanted to change everything. There was nothing wrong with that. But, once he became president, he started his tenure with a lot of vigor. His first day in office was very eventful. But, he just could not change everything. As a human being, he also has limits.

His office has started many big changes such as economic policy, health care, immigration issues, foreign policy (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan etc.). All these are big issues and needs a lot of debates and should not do in haste. I think that Obama administration is still in election fighting mode and wants to tackle all the issues to gain some more popularity points. Country is facing one of the worst economic problem – unemployment rate is touching 10%. But, he has been batting on so many fronts that he is not able to make any substantiative progress on most of them.

As it was not enough, he was pulled  in other issues such as beer summit. He is losing his political equity fast. His rating are going down. But, he is still not picking up his battles. He supported Chicago’s bid for Olympics.

It is right that he was a senator from Chicago but now, he is president of USA. He should have understood that this issue is not worth fighting. As a president of the strongest country of the world, he should not have gone to Copenhagen to support Chicago’s candidacy for Olympics. This was such a small issue that if Chicago would have won candidacy then people would have debated President Obama’s contribution. But, now when Chicago is placed last in the candidacy even with his support then this matter will be debated in the whole world. Time ran this story.

Obama’s Olympic failure will only add to doubts about his presidency.

This matter will subside but this matter should be a learning for Obama administration. Obama administration can not change everything. He has to pick some issues and fight for them. That will be good for Obama and good for United States of America.


Microsoft is trying to catch up to Internet strategy. After few hiccups, it came with bing and now it will offer MS office – online.  This is a good news. We all have grown up using MS-office and there is no alternative to MS-office in the corporate environment. Google documents, Zoho have come out with internet offerings and these are good alternatives to MS-office if you do not want to pay for these tools.

But, let us think about internet strategy of these companies. Google is still a search company and gets most of the revenue from google search. Google wants people to be online all the time and that’s why it came out with Google documents.So, online strategy goes well with Google’s overall strategy of making more money from Google search.

Zoho‘s strategy is still not clear but it is trying to have a suite of online products for Small and Medium Business owners. Idea is that SMBs can use a suite of Zoho online products and all of Zoho products will be compatible to each other. Company has started selling subscription for few services such as CRM. Zoho’s SaaS based model could be a winning model for developing economies. As internet penetration increases in the developing world, SMBs from developing economies could turn to Zoho’s SaaS based model.

Now, let us turn to Microsoft, software powerhouse. MS has been slow to the internet world. It was so engrossed in the desktop space that it did not see internet coming over and taking business from desktop. We can compare MS-Internet-amiss with the IBM-desktop-amiss. IBM did not see desktop coming because it was making big bucks in server business and then it hastily entered in the PC business in 1980’s. MS is also doing the same thing. MS did not realize that internet will become too powerful. Now, most of the desktop based products (MS-office, MS-money) are in danger of losing out to online products (Google documents, Zoho, Mint and Billeo). Now, with the launch of online version of MS-office, MS can slow the growth of Google documents and Zoho but it will have a direct impact on MS profitability. MS-office is one of the most successful products of Microsoft. Once MS starts providing MS-office for free, it will have an impact of MS-office sales. Corporates will still buy MS-office (till the time, there is a better alternative or Mac penetrates into corporate world) but MS-office sales will go down in developing economies, home PCs and in SMBs.

So, what is Microsoft’s internet strategy? Is it just catching up to competition to save its own turf? Or it is coming with an internet strategy. This is the time, when Microsoft has to clearly come out with an internet strategy. Google has already announced Chrome Operating System for netbooks. Microsoft has to act fast now. It is on the verge of losing out its advantage in the internet world.

Desktop era is over and this is internet world. Microsoft has to respond to the internet world.

I was reading this article on Toast: Tech’s Forgotten Brands . Reading this article reminded me of few brands that I used in my engineering years. I can not forget that I created my first email id on lycos. We used Lycos, Altavista search engines every day and how no one even remembers today.

Would the same thing happened to Microsoft. Microsoft has been the very successful in last 30 odd years. It is still getting its bread and butter from desktop operating system. It has not come out with any successful new product in last 10 years (Vista is just a replacement for XP – and is it successful!!). Other companies have started eating MS lunch. Google, adobe, Firefox are eating MS’s lunch and MS have not come out with any credible answer. I do not see any growth engines going forward.

So, my question is: Will MS be a stronger brand after 25 years or it will also go the way “Lycos” and “Altavista” have gone?

MagCloud (, a child of HP Labs, also started shipping magzines to UK and Canada. This service obviously adds a lot of value to small time writers and editors.


MagCloud website writes:

MagCloud enables you to publish your own magazines. All you have to do is upload a PDF and we’ll take care of the rest: printing, mailing, subscription management, and more.

How much does it cost?

It costs you nothing to publish a magazine on MagCloud. To buy a magazine costs 20¢ per page, plus shipping. For example, a 20-page magazine would be four bucks plus shipping. And you can make money! You set your issue price and all proceeds above the base price go to you.

How are they printed?

MagCloud uses HP Indigo technology, so every issue is custom-printed when it’s ordered. Printing on demand means no big print runs, which means no pre-publishing expense. Magazines are brilliant full color on 80lb paper with saddle-stitched covers. They look awesome.

What do I need to do to participate?

You’ll need a PayPal account or major credit card to buy magazines, and publishers will need a PayPal account so we can pay you earnings. To create a magazine, you’ll need to upload a PDF, which means you’ll have to create your magazine in a program that outputs high-res PDFs like Adobe® InDesign.


This might do same thing what electronic media did for news papers. This service will also start a new “outsourcing business” where big outsourcers can manage printing and distribution for smaller magazine owners. This service will also impact big magazine houses such as Media negatively. Niche editors (creative people) can target smaller niche markets and that will reduce subscription for famous magazines. So, this is a risk for big magazine houses. This service lowers barriers to entry in publishing business and increases competition in the space.

Copyright issues will also be a major issue as bigger companies can not check each magazine for compliance and it will weaken the position of big magazine houses. MagCloud will also be a party in this non-compliance. I have not seen any clarity on this issue from HP.

Overall, this will be good for end consumers but will increase issues for publishing houses.

This post has been inspired by the discussion that I had with Vinayak Agrawal.

World War-II brought down the supremacy of British Empire. Is the current recession an event to mark rise of new world order where United States will not be in a driver’s seat? Or US will not be as powerful as it was in the last 60 years. US was the undisputed leader and super power after the second world war. By dropping the first Atom Bomb on Japan, US showed that she was the military leader. By helping Japan and Western world to come out of destruction after second world war, US showed the morale leadership. US has biggest share in world GDP and is considered to be the richest nation in the world. In last 10 years, US supremacy has been questioned on both these fronts. US has been struggling in Iraq and Afghanistan, the countries, where she started war and there is no morale leadership in today’s world.

Let us go back in the history and see countries who lead the world in GDP. You will see that China and India had the largest share of GDP in the world. This is quite logical if we assume that everyone is endowed with same intellectual capability and everyone has same opportunity. This equilibrium was disturbed with the oncoming of Industrial age in 1600 AD. Western Europe grew much faster than the rest of the world because of their lead in science and industrialization. This was the time when Great Britain made colonies world over because of superior economic and military skills. Pequot war and Kieft’s war also tell the same story when Westerners won over native Americans due to their superior knowledge and military skills. Superior military and knowledge skills brought more wealth to Europe and USA and Europe and USA became richest country in the world. This resulted into unequal wealth distribution in the world.

Britain held the super-power position before second world war. Britain was destroyed in the second world war and USA became the dominant superpower after second world war. USA also became the leader in knowledge capital. This is very well shown by the country’s share of Noble Prize.


This clearly shows that who has been leading the world in knowledge segment. We can go a little further and can see the number of scientists and engineers from these countries. USA will lead over all the other countries in this metrice also. But, slowly world has been going through a change. This change is happening because of following factors:

Democracy: Democracy is sweeping world. Democracy provides opportunity to common man. As government is responsible to people in a democracy so Government has to do things that are good for the people of country. So, slowly, every government is developing knowledge institutions and providing framework where people can make best use of opportunity. As Government has resources to develop these institutions so this change is much faster than any other time in history of man kind.

Communication Infrastructure: Scientific knowledge that provided edge to developing world also provided infrastructure where knowledge can be shared easily and at very low transactions costs. Outsourcing, offshoring are results of communication infrastructure that made them possible.

Capitalism: People want to make best use of resources to earn maximum profits. This has also helped in knowledge dissemination.

As knowledge is disseminating across the world. US and western Europe is losing competitive advantage that was gained because of scientific thinking and knowledge. US and western European countries has to innovate at much faster rate than the dissemination of knowledge to keep up this competitive advantage. As this is not possible in today’s scenrio so world order will change. From a unipolar world, we will move towards multipolar world. I hope that it will be better for human civilization as more number of people will be able to enjoy the fruits of modern civilization.

As expected, Google announced that it will allow developers to sell applications for its Android cell phone operating system beginning next week in the United States, as the search giant strives to expand in a smartphone arena dominated by Apple Inc. This was expected to effectively compete against Apple in Smart phone market. (Please see my previous blog on Android)

But, I am more surprised by one part of news. “Consumers will buy the forthcoming paid Android applications via the Google Checkout payment product.” I did not expect this from Google. This is a total short sightedness on Google’s part. A company, whose mission  is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, should not fall so low to get some Dollars. I hope that Google will take back this decision soon.

These are my predictions for India in 2009:

1. BJP (with the support of allies) will come to power in Lok Sabha Elections

2. BSE index will hover around 10,000 for most part of the year

3. Tata Nano will be a major hit on Indian streets

4. India-Pakistan relations will not improve but there will be less terrorism incidents in India

5. Kashmir will see peace and new chief-minister, Omar Obdullah, will be face of new politician in India

6. Indian GDP will grow between 6 to 7% in 2009

7. India will gain by current economic slowdown in long term. More work will be offshored to India

8. Indian IT companies will make major acquisitions in 2009

9. Indian Cricket Team will gain numero uno position in One Day Cricket