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No Place to Hide, by Robert O'Harrow Jr. (Free Press, 2005).
For members interested in the privacy vs. security debate.
The Big Shift
I ran into Todd Bradley from Hewlett-Packard at Brainstorm last week. He, perhaps alone among the many participants, had the hardest time coming up with a business card.
This is understandable: Todd has just been reassigned from running what had been the world's largest PC operation to trying to fix things in China. The words "daunting" and "fraught" come to mind.
Personal-computer divisions in the companies and countries that invented them have been having two big problems: the shift in purchases and energy into smaller devices, and the move in volumes (and, to a lesser degree, dollars) to low-margin offshore clones.
Lenovo, now HP's largest competitor, runs with device margins of about 1%. In the last quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal, HP's PC unit showed "a 21 percent year-on-year decline in sales, from $9.2 billion to $7.3 billion, and saw its profit margin drop from 5.6 percent to 3.3 percent." And last quarter, for the first time, Lenovo sold more PCs than HP.
Lenovo's fate, and that of its CEO, is not dependent upon stock pricing or earnings; in most ways that matter, it need only please the seven people on the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee. For HP CEO Meg Whitman, the average earnings growth percentage per quarter had better be in the range of 15%.
Mark Hurd and Meg Whitman each fought the same battle while CEO at HP: resolving the above contradiction. How does one manage an R & D-driven company, traded on the public markets, in competition with "national champions" from mercantilist nations whose whole idea is to copy one's stuff and sell it for less?
Here is part of the answer, if not a result of the problem itself: There is no new Hewlett, and no Packard, at Hewlett-Packard.
There is no Vyomesh Joshi, who used to run the company's most profitable division; nor is there such a division.
There is no Dick Lampman running HP Labs the old HP Labs, the one that did original basic research that fueled an entire industry. Nor is there, as of last month, any Prith Banerjee, who ran the new HP Labs, and who now has a similar task at Accenture. There is no Jon Rubinstein, the Apple hardware genius, who didn't last long at the new HP.
But this problem isn't really about HP; it's about the Big Shift in the global economy, as we move from an era when inventions paid off to an era when copying and theft makes more money.
No Steve Jobs. No bright new star in the world of hardware, PCs, cellphones, pads.
Is it possible that we are not running out of great inventors, but rather, the business models to enable them?
Ask Michael Dell what he thinks of the PC business today, or of all the innovation he brought to the hardware supply chain and customer delivery business. Here's the answer: he's fighting to the death with corporate raiders over the remains of a faltering company in an industry dominated by clones.
Greenmail specialist Carl Icahn, some would say, is just doing the job of scavengers everywhere, chasing down the weak to make his own living.
But what has weakened the best companies in the West? Because this is exactly the point underlying the Big Shift. It isn't about slave wages in manufacturing. It isn't about massive customer head count.
Apple is losing to Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei in phones, and to Lenovo in PCs.
HP and Dell are losing to Lenovo and Acer in PCs.
Nortel, Canada's premier tech company, is gone.
Motorola, first maker of cellphones, lives in name only.
What we are witnessing is not a changing of the guard; it's a changing of the business model.
What we are not seeing is the next inventor, faster and smarter, replacing the last inventor. What we are seeing are nationally supported thieves and copy experts replacing the inventors.
This Big Shift is not restricted to one company's story, nor to one sector's, nor even to one country's. We are now seeing the demolition of creative R & D functions in companies and countries around the world, in favor of cost cutting, head-count reduction, and lab re-tasking into less science and more product, less invention and more features. And, ultimately, one fears, into no labs at all.
No Bell Labs. HP Labs now a shadow of itself.
Where are the great inventors today, in the technology world? Zynga?
The world's most inventive companies are being driven out of the hardware business altogether. The costs and risks don't justify the benefits, in a nightly race with the jackals.
Those who aren't counting profits might say, Well, these firms are all moving into Software and Services, where the new inventions and profits await.
Every major online company today has already been copied, cloned, ripped off, renamed, subsidized, protected, and often improved upon, in China, Russia, and many other nations. Here's how pathetic the situation has become: Yahoo!'s latest financials were sunny only because of the remaining stock it holds in Alibaba, after this firm took it to the cleaners by ripping off its model, preventing its domestic success in China, and defrauding it of its main shared asset (since detected and repaired).
Now, that's a win.
From Google to eBay, from Yahoo! to Twitter, every single software and services offering of size has been recreated "inside the barricades" of nations wanting to copy its success. This happens in part because of differences in language and culture, but the real muscle for excluding these companies is political, legal, and trade-policy based.
Keep out the winners, copy them, grow your own, subsidize them, make sure they dominate your domestic markets, and try to take them into global competition.
Not surprisingly, that last step is generally (though not always) a loser, but the crumbs this leaves for the original business creators are increasingly too small to fund ongoing growth.
Are there exceptions? Sure, and Google might be the most obvious, with Apple already in a deep tailspin. Google's margins are so good on the search ad business, and its focus on invention so deep, that it has continued to grow. Not in China, of course, nor Russia, but there is a lot of advertising money available in non-communist, and non-mercantilist, countries.
But the major trend is clear: inventors cannot hide as they flee the hardware world and scramble into software and services; they can just run faster, and hope to depend upon the need for local handholding. That's a small, perhaps tiny, story, compared with the economic leverage that accrued to the old business model of R & D-driven margins.
What about Facebook? someone is bound to suggest. Facebook's stock is now just past its IPO value, with exuberant sheep everywhere piling up to the equity trough. It had good numbers in mobile! Yippee.
Last I checked, no one is making any real money on mobile ads. It has been one of those amazing Shangri-La stories, watching Wall Street and others salivating over the coming gold mines in mobile advertising.
I don't see it. And when I say that, I literally mean I don't see it: mobile ads are too tiny, too unimpressive, too demanding of small-screen real estate and too small, therefore, in their pricing back up the food chain to be worth all this fervor.
Pad ads, maybe; cellphone ads, not so much.
If investors were smart, they wouldn't have bought during the Facebook IPO. The fact that they now, after all this time, have just gotten above water is not a cause for celebration. For sober folks, following these investors is not brilliant, it's suicide.
And then there is the Apple ecosystem, the refuge for which this once world-beater hardware company is most treasured by investors. While the US president last week decided to allow Apple to ship its own products into its own country, despite complaints by Samsung over old "standards essential" patent fights, the Department of Justice has just driven a spike into the heart of the Apple strategic plan.
Without the ability to control pricing, Apple's iTunes offerings of movies, songs, books, and other content and a possible requirement to open the store to others' independently priced offerings changes every spreadsheet on Wall Street. And in Cupertino.
How about Amazon? That's a world-beater, right?
Amazon just declared its first losing quarter in a long time, has never had any margins (Jeff often runs it at around 1%), and is, after all, a retail site.
Cisco has apparently been neutralized or, judging by recent comments, perhaps neutered, by its copycat Huawei.
Intel has suffered from its own mismanagement, but is already seeing its global share fall not only to inventors like Qualcomm and ARM, but also inside the mercantilist barricades to MediaTek, SMIC, and a horde of copiers in China and Taiwan.
What, then, are the primary attributes of this Big Shift?
The world economy, based in the postInformation Age on invention, is moving to models based on copying and theft. This is happening not in single product lines or economic sectors, but across the entire globe, from agriculture to medicine, from personal computers to phones, from online companies to software firms.
The world economy, over this same time frame, is moving from the economic success of relatively small, creative nations to economic domination by large, consuming nations.
Almost everyone is seeing this change, but almost universally from their own, somewhat-restricted perspective: a loss of jobs, the shuttering of a corporate division, the failure of a company, a drop in national GDP, security issues on the increase, more judicial cases over theft of secrets, increased trade complaints before national and international bodies, a clash of cultures and political systems, and long-term changes in currency values, trade balances, equity markets.
There is a catastrophic difference between 300MM people driving a 1.7% GDP growth rate and 1.3B people driving a 7.0% GDP, and that difference is no longer explained by cheap labor.
It's hard to see the whole picture, but there has never been a more important time in which to attempt to do it.
Have the inventors lost hold of smartphones, the most strategic technology market in the world? Nokia is about gone. Apple is declining. RIM is over. Microsoft can't hack it. Even NEC threw in the towel last week and it is from a copying nation, but not copying fast enough.
Google, you say, leads the world with its Android operating system? It doesn't get paid a dime for it.
Picture a world in which the nations and companies that invented them no longer make: personal computers, pads, smartphones, televisions, airplanes, solar panels, nuclear energy plants, memory chips, computer chips, graphics chips, and soon enough major operating systems and applications.
While these symptoms become more obvious and numerous, the cause seems to elude many who are focused on the details.
We are moving from companies with good margins to companies with small or no margins.
We're moving from original firms to copies of these category killers, from productive commercial laboratories to teams of spies and patent hackers.
Today, China is the leading filer of patents. Almost all of them are derivative of other nations' inventions.
And that, as much as anything, represents the Big Shift in the global economy, as we move from inventors creating new avenues for productivity to thieves putting them out of business.
It's a shift without a long-term future.
It's the Big Shift which, unless arrested, will be the defining description of what happened in the world during our lifetimes.
Your comments are always welcome.
Mark R. Anderson
To arrange for a speech or consultation by Mark Anderson on subjects in technology and economics, or to schedule a strategic review of your company, email email@example.com.
I am sad to note the passing of my good friend and fellow Calit2 Advisory Board member Duane Roth, CEO of CONNECT and one of the brightest lights on the San Diego technology scene, as the result of a bicycling accident. For those who knew Duane, here are some personal quotes about him from friends and colleagues:
"Everyone in the semiconductor industry knows the critical importance and financial value of IP. It is not hyperbole to write that IP theft is ruining countries and shifting both military power and economic wealth in ways that were previously unimaginable." John Blyler, on his blog "JB's Circuit," in response to Mark Anderson's latest Financial Times "Comment" article.
We already have the support of the White House, the State Department, US Trade, and every other major agency in the US, Australia, and the UK addressing the problem; now we need your support. Shouldn't your firm join the other INVNT/IP companies working on this issue? If the answer is Yes, email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to become a member.
"The pressure on [Todd] Bradley from [HP CEO] Meg [Whitman] has been at an all-time high." An unnamed source quoted in the Wall Street Journal.
[Spying by hackers allegedly based in China] "absolutely [was a] "considerable factor. When they see what your business plans are, that's a huge advantage. It's unfair business practices that really bring down a company of this size. ---
"It's very personal to me because I'm very sad-hearted about what happened to so many of my friends, to this once great Canadian company. I was very proud to work there for so many years. I used to say it was the best job in the world." Past Nortel security officer Brian Shields, in an interview with Canadian radio program As It Happens, on the destruction of Nortel.
"I think they were looking for the source code. Because that would help them find the flaws they could use to eavesdrop in further attacks. --- If your final target is this vendor's customers of this conferencing product, you would want to be able to connect on their premises." Joe Stewart, researcher at Dell SecureWorks, on Chinese cyber thieves breaking into US audiovisual vendor servers; quoted by Reuters.
"A guided tour is a path into the data itself, which is much more interesting than just putting circles on a graph. --- It's a path that will take you in and reproduce the thing that I saw that I want you to see, too." Curtis Wong, senior advisor, Special Projects, bgC3, in May (then principal researcher at MS), on the new GeoFlow Excel add-in product; quoted on Xconomy.com.
"Apple utilizes a mandatory app review process to ensure that only approved apps can run on iOS devices, which allows users to feel safe when using any iOS app. However, we have discovered two weaknesses that have allowed circumvention of Apple's security measures. Georgia Tech Information Security Center research scientist Tielei Wang, in a university report; in "Homeland Security Newswire."
"We were able to successfully publish a malicious app and use it remotely to launch attacks on a controlling group of devices. Our research shows that despite running inside the iOS sandbox, a Jekyll-based app can successfully perform many malicious tasks, such as posting tweets, taking photos, sending email and SMS, and even attacking other apps all without the user's knowledge." ibid.
"Despite the plethora of defense mechanisms in iOS, Mactans was able to install arbitrary apps within one minute of being plugged into current-generation Apple devices running the latest operating system software, all users are affected, as our approach requires neither a jail-broken device nor user interaction." ibid.
"Member state divisions have for a long time undermined trade commissioners and encouraged trading partners to do an end run around Brussels, a brutal lesson in trade realpolitik." Simon Evenett, trade professor at St. Gallen University, Switzerland; on German politicians subverting the German business complainants and EU government in China solar panel negotiations; quoted in the Financial Times.
"We know that member states don't have the courage and that in the face of Chinese demarches, they will always bend over backward." An EU official, on the same issue of a split Germany vs. the EU; quoted in the FT.
» Abenomics Deconstructed
It turns out that the best way to become a celebrated leader with a new branch of national economic theory named in your honor is to repeat exactly what got your country into the troubles of the last 20 years.
This week, Toyota announced an amazing uptick in earnings, with net income up a staggering 94%. This represents an all-time record for the Japanese car company, which pulled down 562.2B yen in profits in the last quarter vs. its previous record of 491.54B yen.
This export-driven success is also the largest profit ever recorded by a non-financial company in Japanese history and it comes even as sales are falling in China, thanks to political issues between the countries and economic problems inside China.
According to the firm, currency gains were responsible for a full 40% of the first quarter's 663.3B yen operating profit vs. 11% due to internal cost cutting.
Before investors reach for the phone, let's take a closer look at how this "miracle" of Abenomics really works for chief exporter Toyota:
Step 1: Re-initiate an aggressive program of currency interventions, artificially driving the dollar/yen ratio lower by 25% in just a matter of weeks; and
Step 2: Continue spending your country into levels of national debt beyond all imagination, letting those good times roll again so that citizens will feel happy again and spend a little more, too.
In other words, suicidal economic gimmicks are the backbone of this move, in lockstep with the mercantilist model that got Japan into trouble in the first place.
SNS members should already be fully aware of the final part of this story:
Step 3: Now that Abe has poured gasoline all over the warehouse floor: has anyone got a match?
Chinese Solar Panel Dumping Rewarded
Last week one of our members pointed out the self-destructive settlement agreed between Chinese and EU negotiators, setting prices for solar photovoltaics that none of the companies which had brought the original complaint would have accepted, and apparently providing windfall profits to the dumping firms while preserving their market share.
Of course, the EU negotiators didn't phrase it that way.
But here is how the Chinese saw it:
Qian Jing, global-brand superintendent of Jinko Solar, was surprised by the settlement, saying it represents huge concessions on the part of the EU, in view of its original plan to inflict a 47.6% anti-dumping tax on Chinese photovoltaic products.
"In 2012, new photovoltaic capacities in the EU reached 12-13GW, which will drop inevitably along with cuts on subsidies provided by the governments of Germany, Spain, and Italy, to an estimated level of 8-9GW a year in 2013 and 2014. The allocation of 7GW/year to China in the settlement means Chinese firms will be able to grasp up to an 80-90% market share,"
Want China Times (Taiwan)
The short-term result of a split Germany messing with the EU negotiators, and with the EU agreeing to China's request to negotiate vs. simply putting tariffs on its solar panels ---
Having decimated global competitors in the EU, the US, and around the world through dumping, Chinese companies now will be forced to charge more than they were charging already thereby getting exactly the same advantage, through the same tactics, that they would have used anyway.
Has anyone in the German bureaucracy ever heard of Rare Earth Metals?
True, this is a trial for a few months, and yes, the deal also includes a volume cap on Chinese shipments. But, as the Chinese themselves point out above, the result of this brilliant EU maneuver may be an even larger market share for the offenders.
If this is giving you a stomach ache, be comforted that all of the original German corporate plaintiffs in this mess have objected to the deal.
The agreement also allows Chinese companies to opt out of it entirely, at the risk that, should the EU later decide to proceed with tariffs, they will take a hit.
But, at this stage why worry?
Germany seems too intimidated by China to let anything bad happen to you.
» Top 5 Smartphone Vendors by Volume
Note that the company best-known for invention has the lowest YTY growth rate with all companies from Information Mercantilist countries and companies growing 2x-6x faster:
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, July 25, 2013
Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
Re: "SNS: Security vs. Technology: The Aspen Experience"
Hope you're well. Saw your article in the FT, spot on! We're focusing much of what we do on cyber these days.
Good hearing from you. Anyone whose company sounds that much like "Future in Review" has to be a long-term friend of ours.
Keep up the good work on making better accurate predictions, and join us for FiRe next year!
Great wrap up from Aspen!
Subject: New security issue
One we have foundand will now close up if people ask us.
Happy to do a short article on this if it is interesting to you.
App layernot network. It's interesting.
Having looked at Appvance's offerings, I think it fits perfectly into what I've heard recently about multi-source attacks.
Specifically, there are an increasing number of agency personnel who are viewing things like DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks not as they have before being done to prevent others' access to a site but as a distraction, or even an opening shot, in the process of hacking into the company's network using other tools.
Loading applications to stress level, and curing security breaks that occur at that point, is both new and, it seems, important.
We look forward to hearing more about your understanding of the problems on the app level, and your solutions.
August 5, 2013 8:05 pm
Germans'fear of American spying surges
By Chris Bryant in Frankfurt
German companies believe the US now poses almost as big a risk as China when it comes to industrial espionage and data theft, a survey has revealed.
The startling finding of a survey of 400 companies conducted in mid-July underscores the shift in German public and business opinion caused by revelations about US surveillance activities.
Some 26 per cent of German managers, IT and security professionals described the US as a high-risk place for industrial espionage and data theft, according to the survey commissioned by EY, the consultancy.
This was second only to the 28 per cent of respondents who view China as a particularly high-risk country for industrial espionage. Russia was ranked third, with 12 per cent saying it posed a significant risk.
When they were asked the same question two years ago only 6 per cent of German companies described the US as a high-risk centre for industrial espionage and data theft. ---
A separate survey carried out last month by the Cloud Security Alliance, a trade body, found that 10 per cent of non-US members had cancelled plans to use a US-based cloud provider. Some 56 per cent said they would be less likely to use a US cloud company in future.
[SNS Ambassador, Asia Research;
and Advisor, TAP Japan
The confusion sowed by the Snowden leaks include problems like this. Worse, Germany is exactly the country that would look for a reason not to understand China's IP theft strategy, since the nation seems to be on a long-term committed path of satisfying its export needs through China.
This is despite China ripping off Siemens in high-speed train IP, wiping out Siemens networks (since become Nokia Siemens Networks, and now, further diminished in this targeted sector, Nokia Networks), and using Germany for pranks such as stealing British crown jewel IP (such as Dyson's, now filing suit over this issue).
The main problem: the German economy is driven by cars (sorry for the pun), and cars and aerospace are the only sectors being allowed to prosper in China, at the moment.
That day will end soon. Just ask Caterpillar, or Home Depot, or Apple, or the big pharma companies, or
Hey Germany, wake up before it's too late.
Subject: "SNS: Redesigning Television"
I think you're underestimating Xbox a little; Xbox 360 already has a lot of premium media content for example I can use the same Sky subscription that lets me hook up a Sky box to stream all of Sky Movies on Xbox (and voice control that with Kinect Xbox, pause!). There are 40 deals like that already, even before Microsoft makes its own Hulu TV series.
As of Spring 2012 "for the first time, subscribers to Xbox's Live online service in the U.S. spent more time consuming video and music than multiplayer games. Globally, the hours spent on Xbox Live have grown 30% year over year, including gaming and entertainment, while video consumption has risen 140%."
Xbox One is premium but the $99 price for Xbox with a Live subscription? Looks like the set-top box pricing model.
Chromecast may be cheaper but I'm dubious any consumer will find it easy to hook up (USB and HDMI and changing your wifi network? Hmm) and it doesn't change the content model, which is where I think the attach rate will come from
Technology author and consultant
Thank you for sharing these data points. I think you're right about Xbox not getting the attention in the TV world that it deserves, and I am guilty of this as well.
The main question I see is whether any gaming box will be able to avoid being pigeonholed into the game box (vs. TV set-top box) category. Even, as you point out, when pricing is not the issue, this problem may remain.
From the other perspective: it makes huge sense that current owners of an expensive Xbox next to the TV would want to use it to provide a TV. And this should create a massive uptake among the installed Xbox crowd.
But will non-owners go for the Xbox, or for some pure-TV box play, when they make their buying decision?
Mostly, I think it is the latter, regardless of whether it makes mathematical sense.
If this consumer-like behavior really is what I'm suggesting, then MS would be smarter taking the Xbox and repackaging it as MSTV, and then, only later, after the non-geeks have got it home and plugged in, should it ask: "Want to play a game?"
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SNS is the most accurate predictive letter covering the computer and telecom industries. It is personally read by the top managers at companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Cisco, Oracle, Google, Ericsson, Telstra, and China Mobile, as well as by leading financial analysts at the world's top investment banks and venture capital funds, including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Kleiner Perkins, Venrock, Warburg Pincus, and Polaris. It is regularly quoted in top industry publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, WIRED, Barron's, Fortune, ZDNet, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, strategy+business, Forbes, and elsewhere.
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Mark Anderson is CEO of the Strategic News Service. He is the founder of two software companies and of the Washington Technology Industry Association "Fast Pitch" Forum, Washington's premier software investment conference; and has participated in the launch of many software startups. He regularly appears on the CNN World News, CNBC and CNBC Europe, Reuters TV, the BBC, Bloomberg TV, the Daily Beast television, and has a regular National Public Radio program. He is an Advisory Board member of Calit2 and the Qualcomm Institutes, the Graphene Stakeholders Association, and provides advice to or has invested in Ignition Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, the Global Advisory Council of the mPedigree Network (Ghana), SwedeTrade, The Family Circle (Europe), the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, the NSA, the White House, GCHQ, MI5, the Cabinet Minister's Office; and industry-leading firms including Dell, Microsoft, Symantec, Nuance Communications, and others.
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* On August 19, Mark will provide the keynote address for the incoming graduate MBA class at Thunderbird School of Global Management Glendale, AZ. * On September 19, he will be hosting the INVNT/IP Northwest reception in Seattle; email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation and details. * On October 15 and 16, Mark will be speaking at the Pivot Conference in NYC. * On October 1825, he will be meeting with industry officers and agency heads in the UK and the EU. * And on December 5, he will be hosting the 9th Annual SNS Predictions Dinner, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in New York.
In between times, he will be talking with his infinitely old donkey, Edelweiss, about how one should see the institution of birthdays.
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