Friday, 29 October 2010

You can’t hurry love


Michael Dell belongs to a generation where many admirers of Phil Collins come from. So probably he will recall Phil’s remake of a classic theme first sung by The Supremes, You can’t hurry love”.

Indeed he should have taken this into account when launching his new advertising campaign, following the announcement of spending a lot of money in revamping their products.

judge by yourself…

We are not going to judge the little sample we have seen, but we certainly applaud Dell’s effort to look at themselves through the eyes of consumers. In fact, the sort of product they are putting there is more likely to be accepted in the market via the consumer segment. Following this communication approach, it looks clear they are following the steps from the master, Steve Jobs at Apple.

Now, we hope these guys realize it is not just a matter of doing nice ads. It takes more than a 30 seconds clip to win customers hearts. “Love don’t come easy”, the song said. “It’s a game of give and take”, and for the moment, Dell’s perception in the consumer market has been much more of a take than a give.

You’ll just have to wait”, and in the meantime, make sure your message goes through, and is backed by superior customer experience and even better service and support. and these has not been your best.

So take it easy, and don’t give up. Otherwise, you will not be having “Another day in Paradise”…

timeless classic…


Play wise, play fast

Some time ago we suggested Léo to speed up in one of his most powerful, though still would-be, weapons.

Every day counts. The barrier the oracle was planning to put in front of Herr Apotheker with the upcoming trial on the TomorrowNow affair has been smartly, elegantly and swiftly overcome by SAP’s lawyers.

It looks that Léo left good friends at SAP… what, indirectly, can have a hidden meaning: Nothing less that a tighter liaison in the coming future between HP and SAP.

The Acid Edge already anticipated this possible move, when talking about “Stepping Ahead, Please” (did you notice the initials S-A-P at that time?).

We still think both actions should develop fast and sound: Hurrying with WebOS in one front, and engaging closer to SAP to counter the Oracle’s hostility. And we start to find some similar views around.

Math and numbers, however, set the odds against HP, at least in what relates to storage, which could be the third move. 3Par and Palm acquisitions do not seem to be profitable in any near future.

But more than the mere cold numbers, it is more about confidence what HP should deal with. The ultimate value of the company will rely more on the confidence and expectations it creates than the actual math in a given point in time.

If HP demonstrates strength quickly enough, shares will come up sooner than later:

First: By speeding up smartphones and tablets. That’s a matter of WebOS. The company is showing boldness there by hiring external proven expertise and reorganizing its Palm Division.

Second: By speeding up integration of 3Par and quickly delivering results. More than actual profitability, it needs to show solid trends.

Third: By closing ranks with SAP. A solid covenant to stand against the oracle. Depends much on SAP, but the two could make a formidable rival to the oracle, despite not having nice Armani suits nor having won America Cup.

Fourth: Playing the Russian military tactics…

You could have some aces in your sleeve, HP. Play wise, but play fast.


Oracle 1 – SAP 1


About 200 years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia in his attempt of world domination. A mighty army, La Grande Armée, the flagship of the French Grandeur, marched in.

Russians soldiers were no match. Should they have stood to the French, they would have been severely defeated, and Napoleon would have returned victoriously.

So the Russian commanders, in a brilliant move, applied the best strategy they could think of. Taking advantage of the huge and vast territory behind them, they retreated systematically, leaving unopposed fields and land to the French, but making sure first their foe would not find anything (supplies, food, shelter…) that could be of any use.

All the way to Moscow, Russia was devastated before the French advances. Even Moscow itself was set on fire.

Winter arrived, and the comfortable time they planned to spend in Moscow turned into the coldest and hardest winter ever.

Out of supplies that should have been obtained on their victorious march to the capital city, weather conditions and unpreparedness of the Grande Armée made the rest. Very few of those invincible soldiers made it back to France. Very, very few. Hardly 58,000 men out of 700,000.

Germany made a similar mistake in 1941.

The oracle’s well known for his admiration of Sun Tzu’s (The Art of War). But he might want to add some History to his strategy masterbook, and instead of going 3,000 years back in time, read something about Russian History in the last 200 years.

Like Napoleon in 1812, he is preparing himself to attack the Russian SAP, and while making the most of that (up to $2 bn, nothing less), collaterally damage other enemies, namely HP. And, like Napoleon, he’s being caught in the same no-show reply from his enemy.

SAP seems to have sized up the situation, and given they already admitted guilt in the TomorrowNow affair, they are not willing to be plundered and participate in the party that the oracle is trying to set up: “No, thank you!”, they have replied. And they (SAP) plan to shorten the trial as much as they can’t, by arguing there is no point beyond sizing up the amount they might have to pay the oracle.

The oracle has erupted in rage: As important for them as the money SAP would have to pay the oracle, the actual harassment to Léo Apotheker as former SAP CEO as much as incoming HP CEO was important to Big Mouth Larry. Big Mouth’s reaction proves it.

Sorry, kid. Despite historical examples that could not possibly appear in Sun Tzu’s, at the moment SAP’s given you the finger. No party, no fun. You are just going to get dollars, an nothing else. No party, no fun, no sacrificial victim to offer to your hordes of admirers.

The Oracle: 1 – SAP: 1