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Bob’s Byte

Intel's Captain Kirk: Beam Me Up

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Intel's Captain Kirk: Beam Me Up

"War is not a good life, but it's still a life, "said Captain Kirk in Star Trek.

A new captain is on the bridge at Intel.  Kirk Skaugen is now captain of the Intel PC Client Group and his job is to lead the Enterprise... to re-invent the PC.

Over years the PC world built an empire...destroyed many other worlds of technology  (e.g., the electronic typewriter, fax machine, desktop calculator, cash register...and more).

While at its peak, the PC industry sought to consolidate its conquered lands by inventing platforms like internet. Like the mythical Trojan Horse, the internet, built by the IT industry and harnessed by the PC industry to expand its empire...succeeded in a life of its own. Once grown, the Internet supplanted the PC and its power.

Internet hit the PC with so much force that it knocked the PC from the very center of the IT universe to its current status as just another planet in orbit...or perhaps as far away as even a moon of that planet.

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Stranger Than Fiction: The Launch of a New PC Brand

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Stranger Than Fiction: The Launch of a New PC Brand

In 2000, William Wang sold MAG monitors from Taiwan (a well-known brand at that time) to US clients like Gateway. He boarded Singapore Airlines Flight 006 (a Boeing 747-400) in Taipei and, distracted by an incoming typhoon, the plane attempted take-off on a closed runway. It hit some construction equipment and crashed... killing 83 out of 179 people on board.

Wang walked away from that plane crash. That experience probably best prepares Wang for what he is just about to do.

But before we go there, let's just say that what Wang has already done is even more incredible than his walked-away-from-a-plane-crash history.

Ted Waitt [then Gateway's famed chairman] had been one of Wang’s customers at MAG. In 2001, Gateway asked Wang to help put together a TV strategy and Wang’s team put together Gateway's 42" plasma TV system, priced at an impressive $2999. At the time, comparable systems were selling for as much as $6000.

Despite the fact that Gateway's TV didn't unseat Sony, Sharp, Toshiba and other traditional TV makers in USA...in 2003, at age 43, Wang took partners and $600,000 and decided to start a TV company.

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Samsung Has A New CEO, New Rules

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Samsung Has A New CEO, New Rules

Now both of the two contenders for world leadership in consumer electronics have new leaders. While Tim Cook inherited Apple's top job after the death of Steve Jobs,  Dr.  Oh-hyun Kwon [shown in photo] will step into the job as Samsung's CEO after Gee-sung Choi steps down.

But the CEO job that Kwon accepted will not be the same job Choi had. Nope. Not at all.

Chairman Kun-hee Lee, third son of the Samsung founder, oversees all at Samsung with an iron hand. He wants to separate the consumer and component segments (with consumer product division leaders, such as TV and phones, not reporting to the new CEO.)

Why? Obviously, Samsung like many Asian suppliers is a tangle of OEM and branded products. On one hand, they supply you parts and pieces...on the other hand, they bash your brand and push their own in world markets. Imagine Apple's position: as a component supplier to Apple, Samsung knows almost every move Apple will make before public, press and other competitors. Today Apple is about 5% of Samsung's total business and Samsung is Apple's Number One competitor in the marketplace...

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Tipping Point for Wearables?

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Tipping Point for Wearables?

Calling Google's Project Glass "just a  start," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps argues "like mobile and tablets today, in three years, wearable computing devices will matter to every product strategist."

Wearables have enormous potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media. "Imagine," asks Epps, ".. video games that happen in real space. Or glasses that remind you of your colleague’s name that you really should know. Or paying for a coffee at Starbucks with your watch instead of your phone. Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways, trivial and substantial, that we are just starting to imagine."

Wearables will "enter the mainstream by exploiting the relative strengths of the big five platforms" (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) says Epps in her blog post.

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Five Millennial Myths

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Five Millennial Myths

Jennifer J. Deal’s Five Millennial Myths is subtitled: Forget what you think you know about your Gen Y employees.

That part was easy: I didn’t know much.

The conventional wisdom, apparently, is that “…everyone under the age of 30 is needy and narcissistic. They want the corner office and a company car, but they aren’t truly committed to their organization. They don’t take kindly to criticism, but can be easily won over with the next hot gadget.”

Deal asks: “Can companies afford to put their trust in these types of characterizations?”

For the past 12 years, she studied the so-called generation gap through empirical research, and found the stereotypes of millennials in the workplace asinconsistent at best and destructive at worst. With data collected from more than 13,000 participants in for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations, Deal dentifies five key myths that companies believe about their younger employees.

Myth #1: Millennials don’t want to be told what to do.

The reality: Wrong! Their research shows (unexpectedly, she admits) that millennials currently in the workforce are more willing to defer to authority than either baby boomers or Gen Xers.

Millennials are more likely to thrive if they know the ingredients for success in the workplace, starting with the basics. For example, although it may seem obvious to an older manager, millennials may appreciate being told what time they are expected to arrive at the office, and precisely how quickly they should turn around a project (beyond just “ASAP”).

Myth #2: Millennials lack organizational loyalty. They aren’t committed to their company, and will change jobs when offered a small increase in salary.

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It's Not Only CeBIT That Hannover is Now Famous For...

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It's Not Only CeBIT That Hannover is Now Famous For...

OK, by us, Hannover in Germany is famous for CeBIT. But the success of a police stratagem in Hannover may capture attention from police forces worldwide.

In Hannover, the local polizei have a pilot scheme (Fahndung via Facebook or Manhunt via Facebook) that uses photofit technqiue delivered by social media to harness the public to locate criminal suspects.

Photofit is now generally known as Electronic Facial Identification Technique (E-FIT), as today it is a computer-based method that produces facial composites of suspects based on eyewitness descriptions. (Janina Kaminska in the UK Home Office first proposed the name "E-Fit"in 1984.)

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HP's Board of Directors Hasn't a Clue

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HP's Board of Directors Hasn't a Clue

Those familiar with the game Cluedo (Clue in No. America) know it as a popular murder/mystery-themed deduction board game...

The object of the basic game is for players to strategically move around the game board (representing a rich mansion), in the guise of one of the game's six characters (Colonel Mustard, for example) collecting clues to deduce which suspect murdered the game's victim-- and with which weapon (dagger, lead pipe, rope and a few other choices) and in what room.

In the case of the murder of the Hewlett-Packard business, we already know several clues. We know which room harbors the killers: the Board Room.

And the weapon: lack of leadership.

And the murderers?

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Feeling Boxed In Because Business is Bad?

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Feeling Boxed In Because Business is Bad?

If the Number One PC maker jumping out of the PC business didn't scare you, then maybe it was the Gartner report. The one that noted PC sales were down nearly 19% in Europe and not coming back. Or maybe you read all those news  articles about the large retailers who are showing up in the RED for their 2011 earnings calls?

Let's stop kidding ourselves: PC sales are down and we don't know when or if they are coming back. If people buy less PCs, they will buy less PC components, accessories, peripherals and etc.

So what can we do? If you are a retailer, reseller, or distributor, here are some thoughts:

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Tablets a fad? What Stan Shih Really Means

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Tablets a fad? What Stan Shih Really Means

"The fads for ultrabooks and tablets PCs are both short-term phenomena," said Stan Shih.

Having met and interviewed Stan Shih several times in the the past, it's easy to see why some of the journalists may misinterpret his recent quote...a quote that can be dangerous if taken out of context.

Stan Shih is not the "Acer boss" as some of these press accounts suggest. He certainly is the co-Founder of Acer (with his wife and 5 others) and still Chairman Emeritus. The Acer boss would be J.T.Wang, Chairman & CEO. If you'll remember, president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci resigned March 31, 2011 following a disagreement with the board of directors over the direction of the company.

Lanci’s resignation came after a meeting with the directors, in which the two sides could not agree on several aspects of Acer’s future, from growth to customer relations to brand management, the company said in a statement. The resignation was immediate, and J.T. Wang took over as acting CEO until a permanent replacement is found. (I am not sure they are looking hard and my guess is they will promote from within after Wang is satisfied with upcoming talent.)

When contacted at that time by the press, Stan Shih fully agreed with Wang and the directors. Lanci, one of the very few Europeans ever to run a Taiwan company at the executive level, was-- in effect-- condemned for being out-of-touch with the market and missing both the tablet and mobile bandwagons.

So for Shih now to condemn tablets and ultrabooks as a "fad" would be a shocking reversal. It's not.

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