Asia Business Consulting

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Taking the law into your own hands - cyber violence and threats

Is it because we believe that there is not enough police around to arrest a culbrit? Is it that we believe we can judge someone easily on the Internet because we can hide in the anonymity of the Internet? Is it because there is a sense of lawlessness that is haunting us?

How come that Internet users believe that they can simply threat someone who has done something wrong, according to their opinion?

A new case of cyber-hunting (word created by me) has occurred in Korea, where the number of Complaints filed with the government's Korea Internet Safety Commission more than doubled to 42,643 last year from 18,031 in 2003.

"a 30-year-old accountant named Kim Myong Jae became the No. 1 hate figure of South Korea's huge Internet community. People who belied that he had killed his girlfriend flooded his cell phone with threats and viscious messages, while a wide variety of meanspirited rumors were posted on blogs and Web portals, where they spread quickly.

"By the time I found out the source of this outrage, it was too late. My name, address, photographs, telephone numbers were all over the Internet," Kim said. "Tens of thousands of people were busy sharing my identity and discussing how to punish me. My name was the most-searched phrase at portals," Kim stated."

This is just one of the revealed cases in Korea but it surely contradicts the common statement that one is innocent until proven guilty.

(Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ooops - laptop battery recall by Dell

It is clear that Dell revolutionised the computer industry with their Direct Model, a long time back, which still causes problems to giants in the same industry - speak HP.

However, even revolutionaries are not exempt from mistakes when they stumple after becoming REAL big.

This is what happens right now, when US computer giant "Dell Inc said that it will recall 4.1 million notebook computer batteries that could overheat and catch fire." "The move came amid growing reports of Dell laptops catching fire in the US, Japan and Singapore" and is not the first one for the company.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Overcoming the generation gap - pensioner on YouTube

A 79 year old has become a celebrity on

His video features the widower's "geriatric gripes and grumbles" with a blues soundtrack and his aim is to educate the younger generation - which is the most avid user of YouTube - about the challenges that an older person faces in today's world.

The posted videos have gathered cult status with his postings being at the top of the website's most-subscribed list. A sign that you just have to hit your niche to get famous or heard.

Advertisers, please head the call!

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Microsoft starts to involve customers in developing products

A lot of companies talk about customer satisfaction, engaging the customer, and creating customer experiences. Most companies have something in their vision statements that involves customers and states that they value the customer.

Not many really live the experience, and may be it is also becoming more difficult to satisfy a customer. There are the shareholders that command a constant shareprice increase and customers who scream at the slightest mishap happening to them, and the employees who want to stay enaged and trained up.

Not easy.

Well, some companies manage the customer experience already, such as the producers of Lord of the rings, for example, that involved online user groups.

Microsoft is now on that train as well.

"The cost of recording and producing music and video has plummeted, giving amateur auteurs a chance at stardom. But at the same time, the expense involved in making video games has gone up: the development kits needed to create games for the consoles made by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo cost thousands of dollars, and those companies usually send the kits only to established producers. the company is expected to announce the fall release of a product called XNA Game Studio Express, a basic version of the company’s game authoring tools that will let aspiring designers write games on a PC and test them on an ordinary Xbox 360."

Benefit to Microsoft? Great ones - more loyalty, better games, understanding market trends, and beating the competition.

Worthwhile, isn't it?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Matrix is coming - your brain as computer

Fortune Magazine carries a fascinating story about increased computer power and the future development.

"Any kind of information is available anytime you want it," I wrote. "Simply speak a question, or even think it. You will always be connected wirelessly to the network, and an answer will return from a vast, collectively-produced data matrix. Google queries will seem quaint," says David Kirkpatrick, a senior editor.

I say that this is something I would really look forward to. Related changes are all around us - "already much of our software and data is moving to giant remote servers connected to the Internet. Our photos, music, software applications like Microsoft Word, and just about everything else we use a computer for will be accessible to us wherever we go.

The other huge, and related, move of the moment is toward ultimate mobility. Several trends are taking us there. The cellphone is becoming more like a PC while the PC is becoming more like a cellphone. In short, the next great era of computing - succeeding the PC one - will likely be about smaller, cheaper, more-powerful portable devices."

Let the super-computer come, I am ready. What will be the impact on your business?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Telekom Malaysia - how to reverse the slide in fixed line subscriptions?

Somehow, Telekom Malaysia or TM is mourning the loss of subscribers of its fixed line service to the mobile industry. The fixed line business is losing money since 2004 and the penetration share of fixed line availability in Malaysia is falling steadily from around 63% a couple of years back to now 58% or so. By the way, the company is not alone. Many companies, in other countries, suffer the same fate.

But at least, it is cannibalising itself, at least partially, since it also has a mobile arm. However, this mobile arm will also be threatened if the usage of free VoIP, such as Skype is becoming more widespread in Malaysia. In addition, TM's major competitor, Maxis, is aggressively promoting services at a lower cost, something, that is bound to hurt TM.

Lucky to the company, it also pushes the usage of broadband usage via its Streamyx service. Malaysia is still well underserved in broadband, even so penetration is increasing. What is missing to convince customers of its service, so, is customer orientation. So far, many customers complain about lackaistral attitude of the Telekom Group. One analyst is quoted as saying: "“Stories of Streamyx broken down and residential areas which do not have broadband are not unheard of .” Until those complaints are past, well, until then, TM better worries about its revenues.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Controlling blogs and web in Malaysia

A new chapter of Internet and blog control has been opened in Malaysia. Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said that "We need to have a similar form of control over Internet media and blogs, as the medium is used to spread unfounded allegations that pose a threat to national security and racial unity.”

There was once a discussion about the openness of Malaysian Internet highway as a tool to promote the country to foreign investors. Is this now going to slither away? Hopefully not.

But he touches on an issue that is growing throughout the world. Bringing hate to the Internet - hate against those that are different. Different religion, different races, different opinions. This is what makes the Internet vulnerable because too many times, "people" just write and blog without actually reflecting on the impact of what they are writing.

Hence, it is not the Internet that causes this, but the lack of open-minded values and an understanding that differences increases variety and learning opportunities.

But clearly, it is not that the "mainstream media had gained credibility because of the laws making them responsible for what they published". Newspaper's credibility has been criticised before, even in Malaysia but also elsewhere. nevertheless, even because the Internet is wild and unruly, it has become so popular.

Newspapers have realised the importance of the web increasingly, where traditionally framed media starts to lose out. Some start to involve bloggers in their business to stay more relevant in a changing environment that clearly disadvantages them and forces changes upon them through a new way of communicating.

Just my two cents worth - what are your thoughts?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Microsoft and its anti-iPod drive called Zune

So Microsoft is really doing it - planning to launch a competitor to the iPod, scheduled to arrive in the end of the year (this year, to make that sure!!).

It is a necessary move for the company, considering that they are embattled from all sides. Google, Apple, and Linux. Moreover, they are challenged in their own dreams to be or stay important in the entertainment world, that is currently dawning.

So they must do something, as the article points out correctly.

So what is it that is going to be launched?

"it's a competitor for iPod. If, instead, we turn to Robbie Bach – the one in charge with the project – it's some kind of Xbox for digital entertainment. Shortly put, it's a portable device which will be able to play music and videos, connect through a wireless network for Internet downloads and in which Microsoft has decided to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars."

I am interested - are you?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Indian bloggers blocked by government

The blogger scene is bubbling with the news that the Indian government has blocked access to a number of popular blogging websites.

"According recent coverage from BoingBoing, India’s Department of Telecommunications sent an order to the countries ISPs to block user access to blogger, Blogspot, GeoCities and more than 15 other sites.It isn’t clear what technology is being used to block the sites or if all of India’s web users are being affected and the government hasn’t disclosed exactly why it ordered the sites blocked. Both Google and Yahoo are looking in to why large networks of sites have been blocked."

"The directive from the department of telecommunications came days after the Mumbai blasts, and was aimed at shutting 17 blogs which carried material from religious and political extremists."

Will this be a sign of times that governments shut down systems in case of perceived threats? Isn't it also true that blogs alerted governments and international organisations to internal threats in a country and don't blogs become more and more involved in regular news reporting? The action by the Indian government is understandable, short term, after the recent bombings in Mumbai, even so it might be heavy-handed. However it would be a pity of the Indian government if they don't realise the negative effect this might have on their reputation if they are not opening up the space again.

As one blogger in India points out succinctively:
"People go to vote, you can select a government, you can throw out a government. But you can't decide which website you can read and which website you cannot read," says Amrit Hallan, a blogger.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Motorola's flagship store in China

Motorola looks at China, big wave. And clearly, it is a worthwhile view, considering the ongoing growth of the country. To underline their ambition, they "launched its first "Global Flagship Store" in a busy shopping area in downtown Shanghai, as a initiative to open Motorola branded stores in key markets."

This means there are more to come - and yes, Motorola plans four more for mainland China, with additional key locations throughout Asia and around the world to follow.

This is great initiative to bring the number 2 in mobile phones closer to the customer. In this sense, they are following Samsung, their main competitor, and Sony and of course Apple.

Now, comparing Motorola with those companies isn't fair, is it? These are real entertainment companies which are able to showcast a full range of consumer products, besides just a mobile phone. Motorola hasn't got much to show for - there is the slowly outdating RAZR and .... that's nearly it. RAZR was an icon, and reset the industry but since then, there hasn't been much that was convincing. And even the RAZR is criticised amongst users as very faulty. May be it would have been a worthwhile initiative to develop another great and fault-free product then or improve existing? Alternatively, Motorola can spend the money on places that need connection.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Samsung - business dilution leading to losses

Samsung Electronics experiences what every company experience that diludes its business model. Instead of strongly focusing on the part of the sector that they are strong in - high-class mobile phones - they started to target the medium part of the market.

This is the same strategy that still endangers the existence of General Motors and Ford or DaimlerChrystler. Now Samsung is struggling and losing market share. "The South Korean company has posted an 11 percent drop in second-quarter profit. Samsung seems to have suffered from lowering the prices of their mobile handsets to compete against rival mobile phone makers." In this sense they alienated its core customer group.

Toyota however did a masterpiece in the sense that instead of marketing the Lexus under the Toyota brand, they created a totally new marketing channel.

As such, its hope to become a world champion even in the mobile business is a bit out of reach in the moment.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Newspapers in the blogging world

The New Straits Times of Malaysia moves into blogging and invited so-called blogging celebrities into their world. It is always good to see when newspapers finally get it (while others don't and have to readjust their business) and attempt to change especially since many users nowadays prefer online news over offline news.

Citizen newspapers work, most of the time and they work well (does Agoravox do, still?). It seems to work for the New Straits Times, so far, since the website visitor stats are up and probably growing. The questions of course are as follows. What will happen when the writers start to write about things that is not necessarily according to the official line of the New Straits Times - will they be able to cope with that? Next - if you read the writers "original blog" and compare it with what has been published in the Monster Blog - where is the difference or differentiation besides greater exposure of the writers?

It is a new experiment, and it is good to experiment and risk something.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Microsoft plans to launch iPod killer

Microsoft, ever willing to go for growth markets, is apparently planning to launch a product so similar to Apple's iPod that the business environment already talks of legal repercussions.

Whatever it is, Engadget has a picture of the product - and it looks similar. Should Apple be relive the Sony experience and be frightened?

Not really - considering the speed in which Microsoft launches its products and the constant enhancements that Steve Jobs includes to the iPod.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Microsoft becoming more punctual?

Ballmer says that from now on, Microsoft will release "next version Windows'" faster, while Bill hints at another delay of Vista to January next year. Delay number... I forgot to count.

Do I believe the news of earlier releases? While Microsoft is a company that has got better at many things over time, they still don't get the timings right. So I have to be re-educated before I believe it. I see it and then only will believe it. May be they are only fast when it comes to launching products that upset consumers?

What's your belief about Microsoft?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Instant gratification for the iPod - it's all in your genes

Now that is a new finding and a perfect explanation for the rising debt you carry on your credit card. Just say that you cannot help it - it is all in your genes.

"Scientists have found a genetic basis for the affliction. They say people with a specific form of a cellular enzyme, known as monoamine oxidase A, are more in need of stimulation from new things." (...) "Essentially, that means people with the genetic predisposition to replace an existing gadget with the updated version simply cannot help themselves."

So go ahead and go shopping. I wonder if the shock to see the credit card statement is also hardwired in the genes. I rather believe that shopping is a habit that increases with time. Shopping for clothes or shopping for gadgets. What do you think?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mr Brown or: The empire strikes back

Is it tough to be an open-minded blogger in Asia, when , what you write, is not always understood across the world or in your own country?

Asians are "used" to get into trouble with the writing in their blogs - and this time, it has hit one of the most popular blogs in Singapore. Astonishingly, not in China, for once.

Mr. Brown, a regular writer in a Singaporean newspaper called TODAY wrote a satire about rising costs of living in Singapore - a piece of work that upset the government and let to a suspension of his column. Those who are interested can read the piece of satire in his blog on July 3: "S'poreans are fed, up with progress".

It clearly is meant as satire: "Things are certainly looking up for Singapore again. Up, up, and away. Household incomes are up, I read. Sure, the bottom third of our country is actually seeing their incomes (or as one newspaper called it, "wages") shrink, but the rest of us purportedly are making more money."

It is a tough stand to take and some supporters take the stand already in favour of Mr. Brown. Overall, it is clear that the Singaporean government is and was always weary of criticism that is coming on too strong. Instead of entering a discussion with Mr. Brown, it is easy to shut down the column.

That is the way it goes in Asia, and it has now happened again, in Singapore. It won't go away that quickly, and might hit all of those who publish material - for whatever reasons. Does this mean bloggers should be quiet? Sure not, because often enough, they revealed the truth that others tried to hid. But clearly, it is a risk that everybody who has a blog needs to assess personally and without influence from others.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Talking iPod a competitive weapon?

There is movement in the highly competitive MP3 market space. Apparently, Apple, ever inventive, is planning to top the game by developing a talking iPod.

Thinking of situation where a user cannot access the iPod to actually see what is playing or coming next, "the new iPod will tell you what it is about to play, removing the need for users to look at the screen while selecting music, and making the device safer and easier to use while driving, cycling or in badly-lit locations."

I can imagine current situations where iPods are distracting drivers so much that they take their eyes off the road to study the display but hey - the question is: are they doing it with the earphone in their ears? Isn't this just as unsafe?

Is a talking iPod really the crux of competitive development for Apple, whose iPod has taken some beating "amid claims of poor working conditions at a Chinese factory where the devices are made."

Anyway - I hope that the talking iPod has at least the option to listen to some sexy voice, right, since usually, computer animated voice sounds hallow and robot-like. And may be the option to have actors announce the next song, how would that be? May be a selection of female and male ones, to balance the gender. If this is competitive, however, I don't know.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Microsoft and the WGA

Microsoft is being under massive flag following its launch (can I say launch?) of its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA).

There are now at least two lawsuits against the company that claim that WGA is spyware. This is of course based on the definition of spyware. Spyware is a product which usuall installs itself onto one's computer "secretly" when a user installs another program. Microsoft claims that users would have had the chance to deny the installation of the product when being asked first. However, and that is a big however, many clicked Yes, naturally, because they trusted the company that entered the security market and that there is no big bad Booh subsequently coming from a Microsoft.

It is clear that the company is trying to protect its software considering the importance of the software for its revenue flow - but as usual, users complain that the product is also pretty faulty and claims original software as pirated.

Nevertheless, users are upset - saying that they didn't know what would be installed and how it would function. True - many users are confused in the usage of product installation and probably click on functions or installation demands without actually being clear of what is going to happen afterwards.

So now Microsoft is on the defensive again, patching up the product and praying that the storm will soon settle down.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Get paid to blog about products

Is this the way the blogger scene goes? So far, there is AdSense from Google that some bloggers use to "pollute" their blogs with lots and lots of advertisements in the hope to get some dollars paid. Well, some get a lot and others get a few peanuts.

Now, there is a new service called Its main intention is to have bloggers post about corporates or their products and get paid for each of the posting. "Advertisers pay to post details about their "opportunity," specifying, among other things, how they want bloggers to write about, say, a new shoe, if they want photos to be included, and whether they'll pay only for positive mentions. Bloggers who abide by the rules get paid; heavily trafficked blogs may command premium rates."

Naturally it is better for a company if a blogger posts a comment about a product. Word Of Mouth is still a better way to advertise and recommendation from someone you trust is worth tons (this despite Buzz marketing, which is based on a somewhat similar commercial basis). But here it is where the clinch comes in. Trust. Next time I post something about a product - do you still trust my honest judgement or do you have a lingering doubt that I am paid to write this about a company?

And that is where it breaks. Soon we will have buttons in our blogs stating that we are independent writers and then there are others that are being paid. The sad part is that companies and advertisers, in their vain attempt to influence the masses do anything possible to get reach. Instead of understanding what consumers really want and then attune products to the consumers' needs.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Filesharing: Alive and kicking

Entrenched habits don't die hard. Especially when it is not easy to get rid of them.

Filesharing is such thing. Grokster seemed pretty much on the way out after losing a major lawsuit last year that caused joy in the music industry.

"Yet a year later, peer-to-peer, or P2P, sharing continues to thrive, with firms behind favorite applications such as eDonkey, LimeWire, Morpheus and Kazaa, among others, still in business."

Why? Simply think - the business model of selling records when users want one song is not working. Is iTunes of help? Somehow, may be, but even iTunes seems to be too protective on the way how they operate their business.

Thus, there is still a future in the file-sharing industry, waiting to be grabbed by a company that really understands how things change in Web 2.0.

In the meantime, file sharers in Sweden can apply for an insurance policy to protected from the record industry.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Soccer and growth in texting

It all looks beautiful for those in the SMS or texting business during this worldcup. Numbers from the UK indicate that growth in texting is tremendously related to football events.

"Mobile phone users in the UK sent a record 3.3 billion text messages in May. The Big Brother TV show, the FA Cup and Champions League finals all helped boost numbers."

I am really looking forward to the numbers as far as they concern the worldcup. Global data must be up, up, up and may be the dream of 3G getting a boost from the worldcup comes true as well.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bill Gates and the smart card for prostitutes

A worthwhile initiative, and an out-of-the-box thinking that is not seen that frequently in Microsoft.

"A project backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given chip-embedded smart cards to 500 prostitutes in Mysore, India.

The card allows them to get discounts in shops and hotels and earns them loyalty points that can be redeemed for discounts on later purchases.

But the cards also have the medical record of the prostitute who has to compulsorily get his or her health check up at a clinic once in three months. The card becomes inactive if the holder fails to do this. "

What do you think? I think it is a promising early start into his new career.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Usage of mobile phones during thunderstorms

Rain, rain go away. This old children song might become mobile phone users' new favourite if it is really true that the usage of mobile phones during thunderstorms is dangerous.

In the UK three doctors describe one girl who was witnessed being struck by lightening in a London park while talking on her mobile phone. Apparently, there were three other cases - worldwide.

Okay - a couple of issues. Is this really something worthwhile talking about? Three cases, worldwide seems like a lot.

Next - in my time (oops), we were taught to stay away from fields and parks during thunderstorms because if you are the highest point around, you attract lightning. This girl now walks in a park - sure a danger, according to my education.

But this has nothing to do with mobile phones or only in so far that she was using her phone when she was hit. So as sad as it is, it is an educational issue, once more!

May be the phone attracted the lightning, may be not. But I wonder how many other people were using their mobile phones in London the same time around?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Insurgents threaten families of soldiers via mobile phones

Okay - there is a war in Irq and the US is not seen as the positive force that they would like to see themselves.

But is is really necessary to involve the families of those soldiers in the war and expose them to cruelty?

Apparently, "wives and family members of soldiers fighting in Iraq have received telephone calls, believed to include death threats, from insurgents." They obtained the numbers through using electronic interception devices that allows to hack into the mobile system.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Is Internet control via software really better?

A mother, after realising that her 12 year old daughter, posted as an 18 year old in social networking site MySpace, imposed stricter Internet controls by putting kinds of protection on her family's three computers to monitor her three children.

This comes in the path of an estimated 750,000 identified sexual predators on the web. Okay - it is clear that it is easier to be contacted from someone anytime, anywhere, from anywhere. Web-enabled PDAs, increasing usage of mobile phones as webtool, social networking sites - all make it easier to communicate, but also, to be victimised on the web.

Controls however can only go so far - and there is always a way to get around it. Old fashioned education - face-to-face, leading into the web, what is there and what is not out there is important. Isn't it time that parents, schools and even kindergarden start including the web in their curriculum together with some "social educational rules"?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Cheating with creativity

China's students "weren't allowed to cheat" much in one of their national examination tests proving their English language abilities - who isn't.

But the importance of the test is so great that students became very creative in beating controls. More than 100 cheating devices were found on or in students. In students? Well, here we go:

"A student in Wuhan used a "microearphone" which is 3 mm in diameter to cheat. The earphone is so tiny that it slipped into the student's auditory canal, causing a perforation of the tympanic membrane. Another student got a set of microearphones stuck in his ears and needed an operation to remove them. An interphone hidden in a student's abdomen caused bleeding when it exploded."

Well, I believe that if you are that creative to cheat, you are creative enough to learn a a language and find a job in a very creative way as well. No worries then, actually.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Consolidating telecommunications industry

The telecommunications equipment industry is consolidating with Siemens and Nokia pushing ahead strongly.

Both company announced plans to combine their mobile-network operations to create a joint venture with annual revenue of about US$20 billion. This will put pressure on market leader Ericsson AB.

After their merger, other equipment providers scrample to find suitable partners and Nortel is one player that is hit already.

"In an industry that is consolidating, with customers that are consolidating, you have to find scale," said Inder Singh, an analyst with Prudential Equity in New York.

True - but the question is - what comes after the consolidation phase? Something is always coming behind it, as otherwise, we would have a very consolidated world.

Clearly, this has an impact on Asia - especially on the large scale markets China and India.

China is expected to put up for bid contracts for third-generation wireless networks worth $10 billion to $12 billion until 2009/10. India is another big-item market with deals worth US$5 billion in the pipeline over the next few years as well.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Girl killed by train while talking on the mobile phone

There really is a need to ban public usage of mobile phones, because too many things go wrong.

Now, a girl in India was killed by a train because the conversation on the mobile phone distracted her so much that she didn't see the train coming. She was killed instantly.

Okay, it is clear that it is not good to talk on the phone when you do things that are important. You cannot focus enough when you are distracted. Clearly, it was the girl's fault, but even so, what about a better protection at the crossing or more serious attempts on preventing people crossing rails at places where they shouldn't cross in the first place?

Again, while people are distracted when using their mobile phone - too diverted from paying attention to things around them - there is no reason to ban phones (the article doesn't say so, but the call can be made easily). It would be just the same as banning the train, right?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gates to give up daily role at Microsoft

Just when it gets interesting, Bill announced that plans to withdraw from day-to-day duties at Microsoft Corp., so he can focus on his charitable foundation while others run the company he co-founded and guided to industry dominance and vast personal wealth.

Good for him - I wish him all the best.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

KDDI loses data to third party

It is quite amazing how organisations in a country such as Japan - well known for its advanced Internet technology - are still allowing information "to get lost" or leaked accidentally in the Internet. Mostly, it is human error that is causing this, showing the challenges that newer technology can cause to some.

Now it is KDDI, the Japanese telecommunications company's turn. "KDDI Corp. said that personal information on nearly 4 million Internet service subscribers, including their names and addresses, was leaked to a third party." Interestingly, there is a criminal plot behind all this as "Tokyo police announced the arrest of two men on suspicion of attempting to extort 5 million yen to 10 million yen from the telecommunications firm, saying they had personal data on more than 4 million customers."

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Employers checking social websites

Employers check their potential candidate's credentials online. Serious!! Be careful with what you post.

"When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.

At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.

It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done. "A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have?" said the company's president, Brad Karsh. "Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly."

Warning enough? It is clear that it is easy to post pictures, and if you are blant, you attract visitors. May be the wrong ones. So don't wonder if you don't get that job that you eyed. When was the last time you checked out what kind of information pops up when you type your name in the search bars?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Texting as revision tool in UK schools

It has been called a destroyer of family life, too cost intensive for the youth, more damaging than cannabis, and in generally bad for kids and addictive - mobile phones and texting. Now who is counting the articles in the world that point to the positive values and usage of mobile phones?

Well, here is one article outlining a school in the UK that puts texting to new heights. "Year 11 pupils have been able to message teachers from home with revision queries and get a text answer.
The school said "text mentoring" had also seen teachers messaging pupils with revision prompts and exam tips." And it's been used. So imagine some youth huddled together in the Starbucks next door - they are not lazying around and skipping school. They are learning and revising. How is that?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Good bye to the web as you know it

Something is brewing in the US and it will shake the foundation of the web in a way not known so far. In fact, the whole premises of freedom of speech, on which the web is build, might be shaken up.

What am I talking about?

"US politicians have rejected attempts to enshrine the principle of net neutrality in legislation.
Some fear the decision will mean net providers start deciding on behalf of customers which websites and services they can visit and use."

"telecommunications and cable companies will be able to create toll lanes on the information superhighway" says House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and adds that "this strikes at the heart of the free and equal nature of the internet."

Clearly, governments are worried about mobbing on the web, cyber-terrorism or file-downloads. Still, the vibrancy of the web was created on the foundation of a free-wheeling culture of those participating in the web development. If this is gone, the web will just be another tool in a regulated world.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Growth of online advertisements

Online advertisement is set to grow further: "First-quarter online ad expenditures of US$3.9 billion, a 38 percent increase from the same period in 2005 and a 6 percent rise from the previous quarter."

Those who read this blog regularly know that this makes me shiver, especially considering the quality of most online ads that still believe that overlaps and pop-ups are the way to go. I am no longer saying that all online ads are bad, but still, most of them are not relevant to me - even Google's sidebar ads - , I click them off and mostly, they leave a bad taste behind. What are your feelings about them?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Friday, June 09, 2006

The always-on connectivity

Blackberry's make their way into our life. The dark side of it is that employers expect employees to be available anytime, anywhere, even during their holidays.

"Steve Ritchie, CIO at Investcorp, said: "It's too easy to stay connected and get work done when on the road. There is no longer any excuse not to be working. With BlackBerrys, PDAs, laptops, wi-fi hotspots and high-speed internet from hotel rooms there really is no way to honestly say you cannot stay connected."

That means that it is hard for employees to get mentally disconnected from work- and it won't get easier, considering that mobile phones get more and more functional.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Increasing the functionality in mobile phones

As mentioned a while back, digital cameras are a sunset industry with camera phones becoming the mode of choice.

It is happening. According to a global Nokia Research, 44% of people already use their handset as their main camera.

Even the days of the MP3 player looks numbered - 67% of those questioned said they expected their phone to replace their portable music player.

Well, "the Nokia research aimed to find out just how much use people make of the ever-growing list of functions crammed into modern mobile phones. It revealed some cultural differences among those who responded, with 68% of those questioned in India being the most likely to use their phone as their main camera.

Handsets look set to displace digital camerasBy contrast, 89% of Americans said they would stick with two separate devices. The global average of those expecting to use just one device was 42%."

What about clocks, games, even TV, or the Playstation and Gameboy?

"The research found that, on average, a third of people regularly browse the net on their phone.
At the same time it revealed that for many, mobiles are taking over from more mundane devices.

For instance, 72% of those questioned in the survey use their phone as their alarm clock, and 73% use it instead of a wristwatch."

Interestingly, the importance of people's mobile phones was shown by the fact that 33% would rather lose their wallet or purse than misplace their mobile. And a fifth of respondents would rather lose their wedding ring than their handset.

Wow, a wedding ring versus a mobile phone and the mobile phone wins.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

India's crossing 100 million mobile phone subscribers

India has reached a new benchmark - its number of mobile phone subscribers crossed the 100 million. This makes the country the 5th largest in the world in number of subscribers.

Clearly, they still have a long way to go - vast rural areas are still underdeveloped and, once more accessible, will further boost mobile phone growth. Developing a phone specifically made for the Indian market is a right way to further the growth, while the topline will be taken care of through increasing salaries.

All in all, we will hear more of India in the future.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Mopping on the Internet - now it is China's turn

The accessibility of the web to millions and millions of people can quickly create smart mops or tides of people turning onto each other.

I once mentioned the Korean doggie woman chased by the crowd after she didn't clean up the subway after her dog, well, pooed on the floor.

Now there is the case in China where morality takes a beating.

"It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of China's most popular Internet bulletin boards, from a husband denouncing a student he suspected of carrying on an affair with his wife.Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack. "Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," as one person wrote, "to chop out the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband." Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams to hunt down the student's identity and address, hounding him out of his university and causing his family to barricade themselves inside their home."


The case exploded on April 20, when a bulletin board manifesto against Bronze Mustache was published by someone under the name Spring Azalea. "We call on every company, every establishment, every office, school, hospital, shopping mall and public street to reject him," it said. "Don't accept him, don't admit him, don't identify with him until he makes a satisfying and convincing repentance. Impassioned people teamed up to uncover the student's address and telephone number, both of which were then posted online. Soon, people eager to denounce him showed up at his university and at his parents' house, forcing him to drop out of school and barricade himself with his family in their home.

Others denounced the university for not expelling him, with one poster saying it should be "bombed by Iranian missiles." Many others, meanwhile, said the student should be beaten or beheaded, or that he and the married woman should be put in a "pig cage" and drowned."

Thinking of those "proposed actions", I wonder about the maturity of Internet users. It is easy to blame, and easy to write "poisoneous stuff" on the Internet. It is easy to blame in the disguise of anonymity - not that I am for a real name system.

But then, how different is this from the "I hate ..." websites that are all around us as well. Freedom of expression is a great, but how can it be that under the banner of freedom, people get hurt?

Let me just wonder and ponder a bit more.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Microsoft to enter security market

It seems like a contradiction. Microsoft announced that they enter the security market in a big wave. This is the company whose Internet Explorer and Windows Program is plaqued by holes that are constantly exploited by hackers.

Still, McAfee and Symantec better watch out. As mentioned in an earlier posting, Microsoft is used to battle giants and frequently wins in the end. Why do they win? Because they never give up, and get better with each release.

It was clear that the company would go into security after their recent purchases of related companies (i.e. Giant), and it is also clear that they want to win, considering that their stock is going nowhere and that the Windows Software market is softening.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another future of the mobile phones

Every now and then, I get these articles that describe the future of the mobile phone and related futures and I have to admit, it always is an interesting reading. Especially for someone so engage in the tech development as I am, it is crucial to know about future tech developments and its impact on Asia and the business environment, or the way it changes people's lifestyle.

Anyway, with the ongoing global growth in the mobile phone business and its convergence with more and more sectors, it is now interesting to see how someone tries to foresee the Australian future in the mobile sector.

So here it goes:

"Voice will remain the "killer application" on the phone but, increasingly, the handset will provide a multitude of internet-based services, most of which have not yet come on to the market.

The mobile phone will become your ticket on the train and tram, it will pay for your breakfast muffin and coffee and, according to Visa and MasterCard, it could even take over the functions of your credit card.

You can already buy tickets over the phone, but we will see the phone becoming a payment method itself, according to Vodafone's Victorian general manager Edward Goff. The phone will hold the credit so the Visas and the MasterCards will be doing deals to make the payment method fully integrated with the phone.

Anything available on the internet will be available on phones, plus pure content - downloadable music, videos and so on. Whatever you can imagine having access to will come to the phone."

Will Australians than become digital zombies?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Koreans fight Internet real name system

I wrote about it a while ago, the requirement of Internet users in Korea to provide their real name if they want to participate in online discussions or comment at news pages.

Well, the requirement does not go down well, of course, considering that the Internet is still seen as a big playground where total anonymity prevails.

"A decision to require Web readers to use their real names when posting articles on the message boards of Internet news sites is touching off heated debates over privacy and freedom of expression.

The arguments erupted earlier this month when the National Election Commission (NEC) ordered about 800 online news sites to require their users to reveal their real names when writing responses to politically related news articles during the May 19-30 campaign period."

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Korea's digitial lifestyle

The Internet provides a great place for socialising, if you are sick of those "realtime" people, or simply have no time to socialise due to realtime life. Traffic jams, long working hours and work pressure force some people to find alternative outlets to meet similar minds. In addition, wireless connection enable yourself to still enjoy outdoor lifes by nevertheless connecting with others.

Something like this is happening in Korea, always on the technology forefront. Here, "a new lifestyle trend is springing up in South Korea, one of the world's most advanced digital hotbeds - more and more folks are retreating to their homes instead of socializing with others." There are even digital zombies, who do not leave their homes at all.

They can make money through work-at-home options and buy products by ordering them with electronic shopping.

What a life - get a life?

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Apple and Nike - are they talking?

Well, unusual alliances are bound to rattle business models. Yesterday, I wrote about an company that initially also looked like two unlikely partners before their merger - Sony and Ericsson, something that is now taken for granted.

Just now, I posted about eBay and Yahoo as potential marriage - something that looks more viable and easier imaginable.

But what about Apple and Nike? Well, these two also talk, okay, only about a partnership to develop products, and why not?.

"Imagine that your sneakers could tell you how far you've run and how many calories you've burned - and then choose a tune to inspire you. Nike Inc. and Apple Computer Inc. announced yesterday they are developing a wireless system to do just that. The Nike+iPod Sport Kit will be available in two months at $29, with shoes and iPod sold separately. The kit includes a sensor that will fit inside compatible Nike footwear and a wireless receiver that attaches to an iPod."

(By Asia Business Consulting)

eBay rumours

Rumours are rife on Wallstreet.

"Speculation is rife on Wall Street that a big internet deal or alliance is in the works, with Google, Yahoo, eBay or Microsoft as possible partners - and a Yahoo-eBay partnership seen as most likely."

An alliance or partnership between Yahoo and eBay would create an Internet powerhouse rivalling Google.

Google, which nearly doubled its revenues last year, is expected to grow 62 per cent this year. EBay is seen growing 30 per cent, down from 50 per cent two years ago, and Yahoo's growth is slowing at a similar pace.

The strengths of Yahoo and eBay are seen as complementary, with Yahoo in media and eBay in e-commerce. Yahoo's foreign strength is in Asia and eBay's is in Europe.

The most compelling scenario is an alliance where eBay uses Yahoo search to drive consumers to eBay auctions.

In return, Yahoo could take advantage of assets such as eBay's PayPal online payments franchise and the vast Skype web telephone audience that eBay has acquired.

(By Asia Business Consulting)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sony Ericsson's walkman phone in Japan

It is the silver bullet for Sony Ericsson and it is now available in Japan as well - its walkman phone. Think about that - two losing propositions make a comeback. Ericsson didn't do well, lost tremendous market share and that caused them to link up with Sony. Sony's walkman is also outpaced by digital music, and especially the iPod.

Now, combine the two and suddenly, you get a winner. Sony's strength is in the smallness and the music play - Ericsson's of course in the mobile phone business. Hardly any synergies became synergetic.

Risk is of course, to make it a repeated success, and not a one time bullet. Think, what will happen if they get into the movie business via their mobile phones. Why not?

For now, they launched in Japan, and let's see, how they will be doing there. "Japan is the ideal market for a phone like this due to the immense popularity of cutting edge cell phones and gadgets in the nation. Reports have shown that almost 90 percent of all downloaded music files in Japan go to cell phones rather than PCs.

(By Asia Business Consulting)