Intel’s LibreOffice gives you Liberty

Intel – the iconic name in the computer industry has delivered a wide range of processors over the eons. As a matter of fact, processor plays key role in the performance of desktop or laptop. Processors developed by Intel are used by the majority of computer manufacturers all over the world.

Now, Intel has spread its wings to offer application programs in association with The Document Foundation (TDF). The open source product is available for distribution through AppUp store. AppUp store is meant for purchase of Ultrabook which was setup by Intel. LibreOffice which is distributed by Intel has the capability to pose a challenge to Microsoft’s Office products. No more customers are required to shell heavy price for the purchase of MS-Office products.

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Jobs to Gates, Royce and McNealy: A Historical Look at if Apple Will Survive

Steve Jobs has left Apple. I have expected to see stock prices crumble, Apple Geniuses to go rogue and iPhones to fall out of the sky; but despite the near-panic of nearly every Internet news station — its really not that big a deal, we will be fine (unless you own large amounts of Apple stock, in which case it is time to panic).

If history has taught us anything, and it hasn’t, its that changes in leadership are rarely as dramatic as we fear — just look at Obama.

Looking at this issue historically may give the issue more perspective, as many large tech innovators have changed leadership in the past: Microsoft with Bill Gates, Intel and Robert Noyce, Sun and Scott McNealy.

Bill Gates

Microsoft and Billy Gates

The best historical comparison we can use for enigmatic Steve Jobs, is enigmatic Bill Gates. In terms of company size, they are both high-value firms with Apple’s current valuation at $349 billion and when Billy left Steve Balmer in charge of Microsoft it was valued at $600 billion. Microsoft is currently valued at just $201 billion. And I think Gate’s valuation dropped the same amount (after he gave a huge chunk of his fortune to the Gates Foundation).

The succession of Jobs is similar to the story of Gates, as he will stay on the board of directors, however; it is unlikely that Jobs will hold Tim Cook’s hand for a decade like Gates did for Balmer.

Perhaps we do have reason to worry with the massive devaluation of the other high-profile regime change. Or perhaps this will simply be Microsoft’s year to bounce back and reclaim its throne as Supreme-Ruler-of-the-Tech-Monpoly.

On a personal note maybe we will see the creation of the Jobs Foundation — providing starving children everywhere with iPads.

Robert Noyce

Intel and Robbie Noyce

Unlike Microsoft, Intel’s tale of change is more positive. When Robert Noyce passed the reigns to engineering-superstar Gordon Moore, the company’s 43-year success story continued. When Moore gave way to cut-throat businessman Andy Grove, they thrived. The succession to Craig Barratt and Paul Otellini only continued the strong leadership patterns. Intel also has a long-standing tradition of moving their CEOs to board leader positions so perhaps Apple’s story will mimic Intel’s.

Take into consideration of course that none of them were the strong face-of-the-company or sexy-poster-child and cancer-survivor like Steve. Nonetheless Intel did fine. It is currently valued at $115 billion.

Scott McNealy

Sun and Scott McNealy

Spoiler: this one is worse than the Microsoft example. In 2006 Scott McNealy gave up his 22-year carer steering Sun Microsystems to success when he passed the helm to Jonathan Schwartz. Schwartz then ran the ship aground. Schwartz never had much of a chance with his two years of executive management experience, despite his decade-long commitment to the company. Schwartz lasted only three years as leader before the financial crisis of 2008 dry-docked the ship forever, and they were taken over by Oracle.

Think for Yourself

Despite the rampant rumors about the future of Apple, think for yourself. Who knows whether Apple will go the route of Intel, Sun or Microsoft — but does it really matter (other than for large-scale Apple stockholders)?

But — just in case you are a true Mac-head — stock up on your Apple gear now.

(Image Credit: Wikipedia, All Things Digital)

Tech World’s Top 10 Mistakes – Series II

Continuing from where I left off in my previous article, Tech World’s Top 10 Mistakes – Series I, let us now look at the remaining half of the technology world’s top ten blunders – counting down from number 5 to number 1:

5. IBM PS/2 a little too late

IBM PS2 MCA Model 55 SX
IBM PS2 MCA Model 55 SX (source : Wikipedia)

IBM was indeed very late to put to action its pro-active idea of counter-attacking its competitors. IBM’s break-through concept of bringing a computer to every office desk in the world worked very well until competitors like Compaq and others began to hit back during the era of the 3rd generation of the PC market. What the competitors did was they started to fabricate a PC clone of IBM and started to eat away IBM’s PC sales whose prices were, as per business consumers, pretty high and hence they did not mind buying working PCs without the IBM logo on them.

In order to get back into the PC marker groove, IBM gave birth to a new idea and named it PS/2 which was supposedly ‘a completely new PC with a closed micro channel architecture that would force the cloners to start again from scratch’. This could have been fantastic, considering competition would suffer till the time they found a new way to hit back. But the worst part of the entire scenario was that even consumers would have to start from the scratch in terms of getting compatible with the new system. IBM thought that they had enough influence that can pull this idea off. But they were wrong. Another basic mistake that IBM made was the non-realization of the fact that the time for earning more margins on hardware products was long gone and now software is where the real money lies.

4. Iridium hiccup

This should probably be considered as a brilliant technological breakthrough backed by stupid execution tactics. The idea of never having to experience spotty mobile phone coverage and dropped calls surely would be much appreciated and loved by consumers. However, this seems as a dream yet to come true for users, for the team that launched the Iridium satellite went through nightmares to come up with its execution. A mobile network which would cover the entire globe was launched in the year 1998 and nine months post that they had to file for bankruptcy. To achieve the set ambition, they had to actually launch 77 orbital satellites on which the Iridium satellite would rely on. Launching one satellite itself costs loads, so multiplying the loads of cost into 77 would result as quite a large expense. Hence, the bankruptcy. The mission is now seen as a specialist service for remote applications like that of Ocean Vessels and rescue operations.

3. Itanium case

A simple case which focused on engineering optimism and lacked business sense. Intel’s huge investment during early 2000 went into fabricating Intel’s first 64-bit chip. Similar to what IBM did with its PS/2, Intel did with Itanium. Intel did not realize the essence of backing their hardware product with the requisite software application which would enable better deployment and usability of its 64-bit code. This is exactly what competitor AMD did – Operton chip; a chip that combined 32 and 64-bit operations and beat Intel in understanding the exact business trend at that time. Technological business firms are always paralysed by the inability to distinguish between “can we do this?” and “should we do this?”

2. Sony’s ‘deadly’ battery

Now this one is quite different from the already mentioned blunders which either caused user dissatisfaction or created financial losses. Sony apparently developed a battery during 2006/07 which was so deadly that it could have killed users. These battery-packs were made for computer makers like Dell, Apple and Acer and were of lithium-ion make. Once if the computers of laptops were slammed hard on the floor, the battery cells would heat up to the level of creating a small time blast due to a violent combustion. The computers made up of these batteries were recalled and re-fabricated with to ensure there were no dangerous elements in the systems.

1. Intel Pentium Zero processor

One of the most premium inventions that ever took place in the computer hardware-world is Intel’s Pentium processor. But there was a huge blunder that Intel committed and that was a technological flaw supported very well by pathetic engineering and PR planning. During 1994 Intel was doing very well with its Pentium processor earning very good accolades with its astonishing 66MHz clock speeds. But one mathematics professor’s problem with the processor turned out to be disastrous for Intel. He’d installed a few Pentiums in a system being used to enumerate prime numbers, but had been getting very dodgy results back ever since. Intel already knew what the problem was, but chose not to rectify it reasoning that the problem wasn’t an issue unless you were really performing high level mathematical functions. The issue was with the chip’s floating point unit and they presumed they would sort the entire predicament out later. But it was too late too ugly for them.

So there you go, the list of the top ten most obtuse technological blunders made by some of the most renowned technology players in the world.