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Jim Morris's Thought of the Week (or month, or year, ...)

Friday, September 29, 2006


SaaS is pronounced as “sass.” Not, as you might think from the spelling, “sauce.”

“SaSS” might be a better acronym. Rather than “Software as a Service”, it could mean “Service as the Savior of Software.”

The combination of the bust, open source, and off-shoring has made the software community glum. Larry Ellison declared it a goner and the president of Oracle Online, Tim Chou, wrote a book called The End of Software.

Now comes the SaaS movement, formerly called the ASP business, complete with its own conference, SaaSCon, keynoted by none other than Tim Chou and attended by several of the people for whom you think SaaS was not good – Microsoft, IBM, and many enterprise software consultants. Notably absent were many of the companies that are making a bundle from service – Google, eBay, Amazon, etc.

Let’s be clear – a web service solution that replaces a licensed product is going to be much cheaper, so this movement is really about reducing software delivery costs, just as Nicholas Carr suggested in “IT Doesn’t Matter.” There may be wonderful, innovative things coming later, but SaaS is really a cover story for a significant retrenchment of the software industry.

posted by Jim Morris @ 10:09 AM  0 comments

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where is the Web Terminal Company?

There have been many past attempts to create and sell the “Network Terminal,” most notably by Larry Ellison in the 1990’s. Now that improvements in broadband, Ajax, and the many SaaS applications are rolling out, selling a box that does nothing but browse the Web seems appropriate.

My spec for such a machine would be a conventional PC with as much disk as I can afford, but it all belongs to the system for caching Web pages. The software would be Linux and Firefox. I can keep any private data on a memory stick, but mostly it would be kept on the Web somewhere.

While there is no savings in hardware costs, there are savings in software as it is likely to be free on the web. The biggest savings is in system administrator time. The terminal would be saving users from themselves by making it impossible to install and upgrade software packages on their own. In today’s environment, that’s what ends up costing far more than the hardware.

There must be several people doing this in stealth mode.

posted by Jim Morris @ 9:50 AM  0 comments

Friday, September 08, 2006

Is the Bay Area Good for Entrepreneurs?

“Duh,” you say? Well, according to, we rank 28th, after such hotbeds of innovation as Columbus, Ohio! There is something suspicious about this ranking, but I’m beginning to wonder whether the Bay Area is, in fact, the best place to grow a business. Housing costs are a major issue along with the general expense of doing business.

The CEO of a start-up that recently moved here from the heartland said that his team was more focused on creating the product and less tempted to job hop in its previous location.

Maybe the right approach is to start the company here with the founders, keep the headquarters here for deal making, but do all the development work elsewhere. You don’t have to go all the way to Bangalore; Pittsburgh would do nicely.

Maybe the Bay Area is the new Boston – a place where you come to learn and get your ticket punched, but too expensive to create a business.

posted by Jim Morris @ 2:29 PM  0 comments

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