Friday, July 06, 2007
Industry Note: Fading to Irrelevance - Joost
vs and Microsoft
Microsoft imitates Joost - lots of discussion about it.
I haven't discussed Joost because, honestly, I think it's irrelevant. It's focused on the wrong segment of a value chain already fading into irrelevance.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
Joost doesn't really redefine the long-standing equilibrium between content and distribution. And, in fact, that's the mistake which leads to an error cascade for Joost - it's entire existence, strategy, approach to value creation, etc is premised on the now long-obsolete idea that media is a function simply of content and distribution.
In other words, Joost can't build a radically more efficient, productive, or useful value chain - because it's too busy simply rebuilding the same old lame mass media value chain, just made a tiny bit more efficient via p2p distribution.
There's very little radical - or even interesting - about this. Neither content nor distribution is where the revolution is taking place.
So I think it's very unlikely that Joost will meet with lasting marketplace success - though an acquisition, given how hungry dumb money always is, is very likely.
The point is that it's not entirely surprising - or noteworthy - that Microsoft, an organization utterly, aridly, bereft of not just strategic imagination, but even of basic perception, decided to copy Joost. Because it's just another way to buy into the same old vision of media that Microsoft has always had, built around controlling an already obsolete value chain.
Microsoft is the new Detroit - they both make things people don't want, don't like, and more importantly, can't understand that DNA is at the heart of their long, steady slide into strategic irrelevance.
How is the revolution not taking place within the distribution link of the chain? Isn't the change occurring in that space the force that's ripping apart the traditional business models of media companies?
I would have to say you've missed the point.
First, Microsoft isn't building a Joost compete. A company called Skinkers is building a Joost compete *using microsoft technology*. The clarification of this common misconception can be read here: http://blogs.msdn.com/stevecla01/archive/2007/07/06/microsoft-skinkers-slingbox-joost-the-truth.aspx
Second, and now that we all understand that Microsoft is not the one building this, I think it is important to note that a small fresh company is building something that generates buzz *using Microsoft technology*. It's been a while since anyone could say that, and we have Silverlight to thank for the recent change.
Silverlight is going to be a major game changer, and not many people realize it. Having a developer background can help in recognizing this, because it becomes appearant what Microsoft's strategy is: provide a clean, consistent, easy to use platform accross the desktop, the web, mobile, and the living room. And there is nothing more that developers like than clean, consistent, easy to use platforms. Silverlight (along with it's more powerful desktop cousin WPF) are the unifying technologies that will allow developers and designers to finally leverage their skills accross the spectrum of usage scenarios.
Yeah I know I sound like a Microsoft marketer but this is something I've been craving as a developer for years, and AJAX sure as hell ain't gonna cut it for much longer.
Never thought I'd say this, but THANK YOU MICROSOFT!
Sorry if this is a double post:
First, you don't have the facts straight on LiveStation (and I don't blame you, few people do). See this link for clarification:
Basically, Skinkers is *using Microsoft technology* to copy Joost, but is not even partnering with Microsoft. Microsoft is not trying to copy Joost, Skinkers is.
But, the important thing to note here is that a small fresh company is *using Microsoft technology* to build a business. It has actually been a while since I've heard that.
Its been all AJAX and Web 2.0 for so long, it's no wonder you think MSFT is sliding into irrelevancy. But here is a good example of Microsoft's strategy beginning to play out. Their strategy is to provide a clean, consistent, easy to use platform that spans ALL bases (desktop, web, mobile, the living room) and there is nothing more that developers want than a clean, consistent, easy to use platform. As we learned in the 90's, consumers go where the products are, and the products are where the developers make them.
I really think you're underestimating Microsoft and it is understandable. Their strategy is very difficult to see because it is both long-term, and developer-oriented (and so things that are actually revolutionary like .NET in the browser, the DLR, XAML, WPF/Silverlight don't get much attention from most people).
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