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Monday Grok: Will Siri crack the walls of GOOG?

Monday Grok: Will Siri crack the walls of GOOG?

Plus, two simple questions for determining whether Cloud will work for you

Google is a one trick pony, but it's a pretty spectacular trick. However, its reliance on search revenues is well known, and by extension so is the risk to its value. Now, Wall Street analysts are starting to question whether that overreliance on search and the advent of new modes of discovery like Apple's Siri might be problematic for Capital G.

<i>Business Insider</i> quoted analysts from firms Macquarie and Barclays, speculating on what it might mean.

Macquarie’s Ben Schachter said, “We think that Apple will continue to push alternative sources such as it has done with Siri and work to de-emphasize Google whenever possible.” He doesn’t think Apple will directly compete, but this process of disaggregating the search experience from its natural owner is a risk to revenues.

Meanwhile, Anthony DiClemente from Barclays pursued a similar line: “Why could Siri be a threat to Google? Siri is not a search technology; however when paired with services such as Wolfram Alpha and Yelp it can circumvent traditional search engines and provide the user with answers that may have originally required a search. Because Siri is a non-visual medium, it does not provide the ability to present users with clickable ad links, an area where GOOG derives most of its revenues. Performics estimates mobile could account for 20 per cent of all paid search over the next 6 months, and Google has said 2/3rds of all mobile searches are on Apple IOS devices.”

Business Insider doesn’t entirely buy the argument, btw. It said that the analysts may be overstating the influence of Siri and it noted that, for reasons as yet unknown, Apple kept Siri out of the iPad.

Cloud computing: Two simple questions

For Grok and his merry band of #Startuperers, the Cloud was a no brainer. First, we looked at what Microsoft would sell us via the Azure network — about half the price of similar local services, btw. Next, we calculated what we would have to do and spend if we decided to encumber the balance sheet and headcount with our own infrastructure. After that, frankly, Cloud was the easiest decision in the world.

There’s any number of reasons why it’s a no brainer for a greenfield site like a startup. It allowed us to hoard our precious capital instead of trying to raise money during a funding drought. It meant the greedy equity holders (like me) had no requirement to let others join the club. And as any would be ‘gazillionaire’ knows, the more value you build by yourself, the bigger the paycheck when the Money Pixies finally start falling from the skies.

Yet, on the flip side, during his Zegna suit wearing days in Suitland, your humble Grokker came to hate the Cloud — or at least his personal experience of it — and one of my last acts was to bring everything back in-house at a very considerable saving, and it turned out, with much better service levels.

Interestingly, when that decision to go with the Cloud was taken, it was also a greenfield site, but in those days we didn’t call it the Cloud.

So, Grok remains as perplexed as ever on offering advice to our colleagues on the ‘do we/ don't we’ dichotomy of Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS). Luckily, others have few such qualms.

Over at Gigaom, Zohar Gilad from application performance management outfit, Precise, offers two simple questions for determining whether Cloud will work for you.

“First, how much money do you have available to spend on technology? Secondly, how unique are your processes? These two basic questions will help you decide which applications to purchase in the Cloud and which vendors to choose.”

Of course there’s always a few little gotchas. For instance, the author said the answers to these questions need to be “coupled with the right management attitude.” OK, so he’s lost half his audience right away.

Anyway, we won’t steel the author’s thunder. The article is a pretty good real life case study of the how the decision making lead Precise to go SaaS all the way. Check out the details here.

There’s nothing like a scam, so here’s 10 of them

Finally, Mashable published a neat little infographic this morning from the Better Business Bureau detailing the top 10 internet scams in the US in the last year. Ironically, the number one scam involved the BBB itself and was “attributed to someone pretending to be the Better Business Bureau itself — an email sent mostly to small business owners, which downloaded information-stealing malware.”

Mashable has some reassuring words for those of you who lie awake worrying about the mafia. “To fall victim to a scam, you generally need to actively follow instructions to give away your personal data.”

In other words, Don't. Be. Stupid.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments.

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