Wednesday, November 11, 2015

View of the Week (II): On Old Technologies & Other Thoughts On This Veterans Day 2015

On this Veterans Day 2015,  this retrospective was quite telling about how much of a transformation we've gone thru--and yet "the old" seems never wanting to die as visionaries continue to think of ways to create the vision of the possible.

As our team hope all enjoys this, it was interesting to us that Fidelity wrote down its' investment in Snapchat and Dropbox, two of the more interesting players in the "New Tech" Space.   Our team could not help but wonder whether it is a sign of things to come.

Happy Veterans Day and Armistice  Day!!!

Fortune Data Sheet By Adam Lashinsky

November 11, 2015
The story about the demise of the Sony Betamax caught my eye Tuesday afternoon. I’m old enough to remember the VCR format wars of the 1980s, and I thought Betamax video was long gone. Not so, reports Fortune’s Robert Hackett.
Although Betamax production peaked in 1984, amazingly Sony kept making the player/recorders until 2002. Apparently someone kept using them, because Sony has announced it will stop shipping the cassettes next year. They lasted 40 years, which isn’t bad for a failed product, especially one whose popularity peaked in the middle of the Reagan Administration.
That got me thinking about how hard it is to kill old technologies. I know almost no one who isn’t an investment banker that uses a BlackBerry. Yet that beleaguered company has a market capitalization of $4 billion. The heyday of the mainframe computer was the 1960s. Still, IBM not only continues to sell them, but it introduced a brand-new line earlier this year, the z13. “Built for the mobile era,” IBM brags about the system in its 2014 annual report, while also asserting that its mainframes “process 75% of the world’s business data.” The mainframe is part of a rapidly declining business at IBM, yet the company continues to invest heavily to reverse that trend.
Examples of graying technology that persevere abound. While reporting an upcoming feature in Fortune magazine about athletic footwear king Nike, I spoke to apparel analysts who praised Nike’s masterful use of SAP software to manage its global inventory and distribution system. SAP? Isn’t that the German company mocked in Silicon Valley for being hopelessly behind on the cloud, which is the hipper and more virtual way to deliver software services? I asked around and found out that yes, SAP is behind but no newfangled offering can hold a candle to SAP’s industrial-strength handling of physical-goods for companies like Nike.
The bright shiny objects of technology are exciting, new, and absolutely the future. But don’t count out the rusty old tech war horses just yet. They’re extremely difficult to kill.
An update: A day after Ericsson and Cisco announced the tie-up I wrote aboutTuesday, Ericsson held an investor day during which it lowered its financial guidance through 2018. Its shares fell more than 6%. The alliance announcedMonday was notable for not being a merger. Perhaps the Swedish company would have been better off selling itself to its Silicon Valley partner after all.
Adam Lashinsky

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