Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Moved ...

This blog has now moved to here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

360Money - Usable prepay credit cards?

Prepay credit cards have been floating around in various forms for some time, but they have been notoriously user unfriendly.

The 360Money card looks like it may really take-off (the company have been around since 2001, but the recent 'chip and pin' fraud seems to have renewed interest - and these 360 cards usuable anywhere that takes Mastercard or Maestro are apparently a new editions).

You can top them up from the Post Office or online using a debit or credit card.

They are a superb way to firewall your real cards when buying online from retailers you trust to send you product but don't trust to store your personal data securely.

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Microsoft/Ebay merger rumours may understate importance

Ebay does have Paypal and Google appears to be working on a parallel solution - Google Checkout (MS has InfoCard in development which has the potential to provide a global payment solution and rival Paypal too).

Getting Ebay could be more important than commentators initially thought

There is a fit with Skype/MSN too, IM and VOIP are converging - rolling Skype and Paypal into MS would give them a step-change in two markets. They could bundle this division off and merge it out with Yahoo.

However, as I've said previously, MS needs to be broken up, it's a jack of all trades and master of none at the moment.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Google Checkout (Infocard rival?)

Garett Rogers has noted that Google may be working on a payment solution (ZDNet: Welcome to Google Checkout, that will be $3.14) - could this be an attempt to rival InfoCard.

Getting some competition into this space is critical to encouraging users to buy online.

I count the days until I can put all my credit/bank details into a protected and insured wallet service by MS, Google or Paypal and use those details with one click online on any ecommerce site.

This should have happened 10 years ago.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Microsoft needs to be broken up.

It's impossible for an IS team in an ecommerce company to plan for 07/08+ with the current information MS are providing. Many rumours are flying around about problems at MS and MS are feeding these with insufficient visibility on future plans.

When will IIS7 be released?, when will Vista be released?, what's the plan with WinFX?, how does it fit in with IPTV?, how will IPTV fit in with Media Center? ...

The company is too big and too diverse. Split it up into smaller business units so management are forced to focus on giving clear plans and accurate roadmaps to customers. Then IS managers and CTOs can give their roadmaps and budgets to their management.

- Sell MSN to Yahoo

- Stop development on IE7

- Break out Office (including Sharepoint, Dynamics etc.) into a new company

- Break out OS, MSDN, Visual Studio etc. into a new company

- Break out XBox, Mobile and IPTV into a new company

If the management of the OS team was focused on nothing but the OS - Vista wouldn't be running late now.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Another 'chip and pin' fraud, high hopes for InfoCard

It appears another physical retailer (Shell) has had their 'chip and pin' system compromised.

The idea that people use the same pin number they use for cash withdrawals on a retailer's bespoke point-of-sale system was an accident waiting to happen.

If Microsoft InfoCard pans out how I hope it will (with the ability to buy online using any of your credit cards, but without having to give individual ecommerce retailers your personal information) - ecommerce shopping will become safer than the highstreet overnight.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

What does BT see in Dabs.com?

Very surprised at the news BT is buying Dabs.com - it appears a bizarre acquisition (although possibly cheap if the rumoured £30m is correct). Dabs.com's numbers for '06 surely can't be steller or the value would have been higher.

Maybe the BTShop is an issue and they think Dabs could be a solution - but Dabs.com don't do phones (and aren't well known for routers either) - I guess time will tell.

BT should have bought Skype - $2.6bn is cheap compared to the £4bn ($7bn) it paid for a 3G license.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Is Dixons preparing for another announcement?

A lot of bemused reports today on the Dixons announcement that they're taking the brand off the highstreet and using it online only (Times Online).

In January there were reports of Dixons putting a bid in for Dabs.com (Source: Netimperitive). Could they be preparing the groundwork for another announcement here?

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Google Grid

Thinking about IPTV today – it occurred to be that all the coming next generation IPTV set-top boxes could have grid computing included by default.

It would be really interesting if Google did a set-top box to rival a Microsoft Vista Media Center (with WPF) one. A Google IPTV box in every house using Macromedia Flash?, they could move some of their distributed computing grid into people's homes and do Adwords on your TV at the same time.

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