Monday, November 26, 2007

Asus' Eee PC - the disposable computer?

Adam Turner at The Age wrote an interesting blog today about the Asus Eee PC. Since I work for a competitor I'm not going to comment on the product itself but this point caught my attention.
"Of course at these prices you'd throw it away after 12 months and buy a new one."
If that's the case I hope that Asus will soon live up to its responsibilities and offer Australians a simple, easy to use free recycling service for of those soon to be unwanted Eee PCs.
According to industry analysts IDC, though the company's share of PC sales in Australia is less than two per cent, it still managed to sell 120,000 in the last 12 months and, as yet, does not offer a recycling service to its home PC customers.
At the very least the PC manufacturer should join other brands in the Victorian Government's Byteback program.
Whether the company recognises it or not, the times has passed when a responsible manufacturer can introduce an electronic product without giving thought to the disposal of the device at the end of its life.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Vale John Howard?

I think there's an interesting lesson in last night's Federal Election victory by Labor -- and it's about issues management/competitive positioning.
As the campaign progressed, many journalists and commentators spoke of Labor's (uncharacteristically) disciplined campaign, and in particular their refusal to be baited on issues which have historically allowed the Government to marginalise them with the electorate.
It's a strategy that wasn't without it's critics -- it was derided as a 'me too' approach, and, I suspect, may have deepened existing voter cynicism regarding the apparent lack of differences between the two major parties -- but it clearly worked.
It brought to mind what I think was the best example of a similar strategy in business that I've personally seen, Microsoft's Judo-like response to the growing buzz around Linux and Open Source in 2003/4.
After several years of trying to (increasingly stridently) combat the growing support for Linux and open source, partly fueled by IBM, Microsoft neatly (and very cleverly I think from a pragmatic point of view) changed its position to one that claimed to embrace Linux and open source ... where appropriate.
Of course the devil was in the detail of that 'where appropriate' but the strategy effectively took the issue off the table for them and diffused media attention. And it made it all the more difficult for competitors to win an argument among customers and the media that MS was the enemy of interoperability.
So, my lesson from Saturday night is to know your audience, know your enemy and pick your battles, you don't need to fight them all to win -- obvious really.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dell XPS One

Must say I'm puzzled by some of the responses to Dell's XPS One announced today, specifically comments on some blogs saying citing 'lack of expandability' and the integrated, non-upgradable display (which I would have thought was the point of an all-in-one). Am puzzled because there is another device with a fixed display and limited upgrade options for memory, storage and optical -- it's called a notebook its actually selling quite well I believe.
Granted all-in-ones aren't as portable as notebooks but how many notebooks actually leave people's desks these days, particularly15 and 17 inch desktop replacement models, and how many mainstream consumers actually do upgrade their machine after they bring in home? Certainly the all-in-one design isn't for everybody but take a look at the phenomal growth in notebook sales in the last couple of years, not to mention exisiting AIO models like the iMac, and tell me again there's no market for a products that looks like this? Personally, I think its the best looking product Dell's produced to-date!
Disclosure: I work for the company.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tough couple of days for some people

First Apple's PR machinery caught on tape then Apple’s Social Media Hell - Why it Needs to Repent.
NB: In the interest of disclosure, I work for a competitor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Am I the last person to discover this?

I may be the latest person in Australia to hear about this but I discovered Plugger, a useful aggregator of Australian business news on-line, on the weekend.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sorry seems to be the hardest word -- but is it the most important?

Now, I love News Radio and its continuous news but this rambling interview with John Howard yesterday morning had me half wanting to drive the car into a power pole.
For me, it underlined just how much Howard's lost touch (duh) but also what's wrong with some media/journalism at the moment.
After describing the debate over whether the Prime Minister did-didn't-or-should-have-said 'sorry' for this week's rise in interest rates as 'fairly semantic', News Radio's Marius Benson then goes on to spend the first minute of his interview with Howard rehashing it. He then coaxes from the PM a startling admission that yes, rising house prices are good for people who own houses but not for those trying to buy them. Oh my God! Really? (predictably, this bombshell was the lead story in News Radio's 7.30am bulletin). Not content with that, Marius then lead the PM into another semantic debate over whether Howard's support for nuclear power is 'less strong' than it was before.
I find it hard to believe that with two weeks to go to the election, the sorry/not sorry question is really the most important one for the national broadcaster and the Prime Minister to be spending their time on (not to mention mine).
Yes, interest rates are an important issue for many voters and, yes, the situation of the Reserve Bank lifting them during an election campaign is unusual, but I don't think this interview is likely to have actually contributed to anyone's understanding of it. Far more worthwhile was Ross Gittin's column in the Herald Thursday, especially this point:
"The very fact that rates are being increased less than three weeks before an election is incontrovertible proof that the economy is no longer managed by the government of the day. Rather, it - like virtually all developed economies - is managed by the central bank, acting independently of the elected government."
Marius, you owe me 80 cents ... on second thought, put it towards buying a copy of the Herald :-)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Jobs Still Hosing the Canadians on MacBook Prices

Interesting article from Wired. If I was being funny I might say Canadian's should pay more for gadgets, call it a tax for Celine Dion, but what I thought was interesting with the way the journalist pulled the punch at the end, saying "one piece of speculation is that Apple generally sets their international prices once a year."
Somehow I very much doubt that's the problem.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who do you trust?

Whether it’s our traditional distrust of authority or a symptom of the tall poppy syndrome, it appears bloggers are Australians’ least trusted information source. A September study by the local arm of Edelman PR found Australians regard bloggers as far less trusty-worthy than mainstream or Web-based media with a rating of only three per cent (interestingly, it’s silent of the subject of surveys by PR firms ;-)
2007 Edelman Stakeholder StudyTrust at the Crossroads in Australia
Am not sure if the statistic says more about Australians or Australian bloggers, and one data point does not a trend make, but it’s been a useful reminder to me that the growth user generated content (am not sure if that’s this week’s buzzword, heard a marketer call it ‘open source’ recently) is proceeding differently here than in the US (I suspect that’s true of other countries).I suspect the answer to the $75 question is that we Aussie don’t trust bloggers yet because we don’t know any -- analyst and Herald columnist Graeme Philipson wrote about the relative lack of blogging in Australia a few months ago in this column, and here’s a post from a leading Aussie blogger Ross Dawson on the subject –- though I’m not quite sure I can trust what a blogger says ;-)