First a quick summary. Microsoft is considering using signed UEFI. They’re argument is that signing provides better security from root kit malware. That is agreed. The problem is once in place it locks out any other OS from installation. The court would then be in the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo to provide them. Will they? This could be a threat to Linux. A longer summary is here.
The real problem as the article mentions is that this is not Microsoft’s problem. Its the MFR’s. We are just helping them out by providing keys. Well yes, but couple that with their near monopoly on the desktop space and it becomes a deadly combination for other OS’s.
But there is a factor that few have considered. Salvage value. In the corporate space this is a salient factor in product selection. For the corporate space the average cost of a PC is about $400-500 per seat sans embedded labor costs. Corps refresh about every 4-5 years. CFO/CIO types consider that at the end of that life the PC has a 10% salvage value on sale to the secondary resale market. $50 bucks, so what? Numbers. A 100k+ desktop environment that most of the fortune 5000 have that translates to $5m.
So? Well the savvy CIO is going to take that $5m right off the top of the next refresh against the vendors margins which are tight enough already. That won’t happen you say! Wrong. That will and has occurred in the thin-client server market. Every project I have every been involved with the CFO types attribute $0 value to the terminals as they are useless in the marketplace without the server software and network.
Well that same consideration will be made by the CFO types when they realize they can’t offset the disposal costs with the salvage value. So they will discount the value of the deal right up front. Now on a $250m dollar refresh sale there may only be $5-10m gross out of the deal to begin with. So you could see why a company like Dell or HP might balk at seeing a exclusive signing deal for Windows 8 as a problem. Its in the fiscal numbers not the security.
Expect either the MFR’s will develop a common UEFI signing system or they will tell Microsoft no dice.
Yes, it’s me bashing HP’s board one more time. I have a little more insight to share, but first the headline. HP has spent very large for CEO’s that didn’t work out. The recent appointment of Meg Whitman to that job is very like to end the same. The real tragedy for HP shareholders, its employees and American business is the cost of dismissing these bad hires:
Quick now — name the tech behemoth that in the past half dozen years has shelled out more than $80 million to make three (3) CEOs disappear?
It’s no secret you have to sell a hell of a lot of PC’s to make $80 million!
Why haven’t the shareholders fired the board? That gets complicated. While the majority of HP’s stock is owned by outdsiders, individual investors are most likely to own the company by way of a 401Km retirement or mutual fund. Fund managers vote these shares. These fund managers also tend to be insiders with boards like HP’s. They are also usually the ones applying pressure to make big transformations and exit lower margin businesses that are the stable foundation of tech companies. Boards tend to be like a game of musical chairs, and favored members tend to leave when the institutional managers that backed them decide it’s time to dump the company.
The original intent and beauty of public companies was how they democratized ownership, and every share had a vote. Business has devolved to placing control in the hands of a few. HP suffers from founders stock passing to institutions who support board appointments for political reasons, and fund managers who are only interested in artificially running up the company’s value and dumpling it when the bubble is ready to pop. HP isn’t alone with this problem. It has become pretty pervasive.
The fix could come from making it easier for employees, customers and individuals to buy stock in companies. Many actually do have a dividend reinvestment plan that enables individuals to buy stock directly from the company treasury in small increments. Currently law prohibits advertising the DRIP, and enrolling in one is more complicated investing in a mutual fund. That’s very good for fund managers.
HP, the company that at one time was a solid investment for both its customers and shareholders has been going through an identity crisis ever since the merger queen, Carly Fiorina landed in its Chairman’s office. She engineered a combined company with Compaq that was supposed to become more than the sum of the two. In the end, only the investment bankers who handled the transaction realized any benefit. The Fiorina era saw the end of HP’s tradition of placing high value on its human capital and R&D. The company tried furiously to grow in services and it languished. Even with R&D cut to the bone, the company did become the #1 PC maker, due largely to the acquisition of Compaq’s retail shelf space.
Fioria was forced out by the board and was followed by the HP’s general council come CEO Patrica Dunn. Her short tenure ended with a pretexting scandal. While this harmed the company’s reputation, its a safe bet that HP would have suffered more if she had remained in power for any length of time.
The Mark Hurd era brought war in the boardroom, exposing the dirty business of selling outsourced services at the highest level with Hurd’s ethics being brought into question. Hurd was nailed by innuendo for using the the typical high stakes tactics that are never publicly discussed. The Hurd mess at HP is far from over. With a freshly minted lawsuit from Hurd’s new employer, Oracle it could be around for another decade.
Enter Leo Apothecar, who came to HP from ERP stalwart SAP. Rumored to have been championed by board member Marc Andreeson. (more…)
I’m not trying to make the fur fly (at least not to begin with) , but this is the first study on the subject I’ve seen that seems to be relatively on the level. Here’s a quick snapshot of the results:
- Indian developers outscore U.S. developers on analytical skills like math and logic by 11 percent.
- U.S. programmers slightly outperform Indian programmers on mainstream programming languages including C (8 percent higher), Java (9 percent higher) and SQL (9 percent higher).
- U.S. professionals score significantly higher on Web programming languages: 53 percent higher on advanced PHP; 27 percent higher on advanced HTML.
- U.S. tech professionals are 33 percent better than their Indian counterparts at English communication skills. (IT Business Edge)
I’ll add a few observations:
First off, I do not think either society holds an intellectual advantage over the other. Both produce a roughly equal share of very smart people. I think it’s safe to say that Indian secondary schools probably do provide a better basic math and science curriculum. Beyond that, sheer numbers could account for the difference. The number of new US born developers entering the workforce is flat, which could mean those with more marginal skills are choosing other trades. At the same time, the numbers in India are still exploding. In India, working as a developer is still a path prosperity for worker with average skills. In the US. many other professions provide greater rewards. (more…)
You’ve probably heard the tales of the NetFlix swamping the interwebs. Right? Do you think it is so? Well give a read –
The portion of the network Netflix hogs is only the ISP’s edge connections – from a distribution hub to the house of Netflix’ subscribers.
The heaviest traffic is in spikes during one part of the day, which is irrelevant from a network-infrastructure standpoint. Even if the spike is only an hour, the network segment through which the spike passes still has to have enough capacity to handle it.
For the ISPs that is the good news, though they already know this and simply leave the good news out when complaining they must be allowed to throttle Netflix to avoid having their networks swamped.
Netflix doesn’t swamp the ISPs’ backbones or even their high-volume network spokes because its content is distributed and cached ahead of time. When it launches it travels only across the edge, vastly reducing the logic behind arguments by AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that they have to keep adding to their core networks to keep up with bandwidth-sucking competition from Netflix.
For the benefit of our readers who may not be net savvy. The ‘edge’ in net parlance is that last mile hop that has to be made from say the Dallas TelNet farm to my home in Arlington. There are several providers of ‘edge services’ where companies like Net Flix, Microsoft and others forward store content, files, programs, movies, etc. Akami and Amazon are examples of such vendors.
So in general, the backbone as the snippet above intones is hardly bruised. Fact what I think many ISPs complain about is that they did not think to get into the edge services business sooner. But then they thought that the entertainment channel bandwagon was going to go on forever. That’s where firms like Akami have eaten their lunch.
So the real gripe is that they did not think of it as a service offering. The fact that they are letting firms like NetFlix take the heat is just a salve for their bad marketing.
China and India have become dominant forces in the outsourced manufacturing and services business largely by doing a good job of emulating American processes aided by lower cost labor and less government interference. Assuming some new privacy rules cooked up by these governments stay in place, that advantage could become smaller.
While it’s rarely given any attention in the American press, the ever escalating cost of compliance with government rules and regs has done more to send work offshore than higher wages ever could. Oddly enough, the desire of foreign governments to emulate some of our laws could end up chasing a little work back to our shores.
Regardless of where government meddling is undertaken, the results are the same. Since rules and regs usually have no fees assessed to complaint citizens, governments always assume the cost is negligible. This assumption is always wrong. These rules and regs are almost always deeply politicized, making their application and enforcement arbitrary. That means the desired result is rarely realized. In in the case of individual privacy, with every new American rule and law, we seem to actually have a little less. There’s no reason to assume the China or India will do better.
Will we see more technology manufacturing and IT work coming home? We could make the prospect more attractive by rolling back a few regulations. If we do, our offshore competitors are likely to flatter us with imitation. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do.