Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What am I missing?

Maybe I'm not as smart as the rocket scientists at EMC. On the other hand, maybe they are just pursuing a bad strategy. My own ego requires I think the latter is the case so...

What I don't get is EMC's pursuit of Iomega. If this is a downmarket move ala Cisco and Linksys, then it's a not a good one. Iomega was once a great brand and technology leader. They invented the ZIP and Jazz drives and pioneered portable hard drives. They were to the 90's what SanDisk, Fabrik, and Maxtor are today - a premium purveyor of personal mobile storage.

Sadly, Iomega has fallen on hard times. First cheap CD-ROMs and later flash memory eroded the need for their supercharged floppy disk products. In comparison to these alternatives, the products that Iomega was selling became expensive, bulky, and low capacity. Lately, they have tried to produce personal storage devices such as CD and DVD writers as well as small, USB portable hard drives and tape cartridge devices. In other words, the commodity stuff that lots of companies are making.

Recently they were planning to sell out to a Chinese outfit called Excelstor. It was presented to the public that Iomega was buying Excelstor but it's really the other way around. This makes EMC's move even more mystifying. They are making an unwanted, unsolicited bid for a ho-hum consumer storage products company whose brand no longer has any cachet or even geek appeal. Ask your average teenager who Iomega is and they look at you like you're talking about Calvin Coolidge.

If EMC wanted to expand into consumer markets they could have purchased a startup on the upswing like Simpletech instead of letting Fabrik grab them. Heck, they could have gone for LaCie or even Maxtor if they wanted to attack the consumer market. Perhaps it would have cost more (though Fabrik only paid $43M for Simpletech) but you get what you pay for. Iomega is last century enough to be almost steampunk. On top of that all, EMC is getting a bunch of products, like the tape cartridge products, that they can't possibly think have any legs in the market.

So, I don't get it. I usually find EMC's moves wise. RSA gave them a strong security portfolio and no one can argue with the VMWare move. The market has proven that one. But Iomega? I think the rocket scientists might have midfired this time.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The New LinkedIn

Subtitle: "AJAX Gone Wild!" or "In Your Facebook Business People!"

LinkedIn, the social networking site for business people, just had a face lift. More like a face transplant. The whole interface has been redone in this jazzy AJAX manner. It now has movable modules, drop down or expanding menus galore, and pop-up boxes all over the place. Wow! So cool. Sooooooo cooolllllll dude!

And it stinks. What had once been a nice clean interface is now cluttered and busy. It hurts to look at it. What once looked professional now looks like something a high school kid would like. The previous interface was something you could have up on your computer at work and the boss would think "Ah! He's doing something constructive. Good man that Petrocelli." The new one looks like you're screwing around.

I have special disdain for the microblogging "Tom is..." feature. I predictably put up something dull and boring about work. This seems appropriate since the whole idea behind LinkedIn is about professional life. Do my business contacts really care that I had a Fish Fry for lunch? I doubt it.

So note to the LinkedIn people: Boo! I despise the MySpacing of your site. If you add videos, I'm leaving. And the cute icons? They make me puke. I don't deny that you needed new clothes. The site was getting tired looking. But you didn't need to dress it up like a streetwalker. Next time you want to change the interface get someone with the sensibilities of a CEO, not a college kid, to advise you.