I am thinking of rebranding myself as Zing

July 20, 2009

Some tech links to start the week:

I am seriously considering changing my byline to Zing, what with all the media attention a certain search engine is getting.

Bing search for Eric Auchard

The New York Times looks at the ups and downs of turning brands into verbs. The jumping off point is Bing, Microsoft’s effort at verbal one-upsmanship over Google, Twitter and over generic daily activities. The software giant must alter deeply ingrained computer habits to succeed. In the meantime, my original questions about Bing remain.

The more substantial news this week would be if Microsoft finally inks a search and advertising partnership with Yahoo Inc. It’s not easy to overcome deal speculation fatigue — it’s been a year-and-a-half since Microsoft sought to acquire Yahoo outright, and a year since it dropped back to Plan B and sought out a more limited partnership deal. Boomtown reported Friday that Microsoft is down to a few short strokes away from signing.  Henry Blodget makes the point that Microsoft may have to pay up far more than the $1 billion it was offering a year back for such a deal.  Closing a deal now suggests renewed desperation on Microsoft’s part after the paltry gain it received from Bing in June market share statistics for U.S. web search.

Beyond the personalities and the history that have kept Yahoo and Microsoft apart, there is the little matter of an advertising recession  that will delay any short- or medium-term rebound in either company’s online advertising fortunes. AOL Chief Executive puts any resurgence in online advertising out to 2011 in an interview published by Reuters on Sunday.

UBS has published its quarterly survey of corporate technology spending intentions. The study of 100 U.S. and European CIOs finds these buyers slightly more optimistic about their budgets during the second quarter than they were earlier this year.  Among the more interesting findings:

  • U.S. spending appears to be improving while European discretionary IT spending is declining.
  • IBM and HP/EDS will take the lion’s share of any increased spending by CIOs on computer service, while Accenture, CSC and Indian software services companies all stand to see far less.
  • Only a handful of software companies can expect to see increased net spending in the next 12 months: Microsoft, SAP, Citrix and Oracle , to a far lesser degree. Out of favour are technologies such as security, software as service and voice recognition.
  • Dell saw a big gain among buyers more likely to spend with it.  The Q2 survey showed 21 percent of buyers more likely to buy, up from 12 percent in Q1. UBS pins this increase on Dell’s willingness to slash pricing.

The biggest surprise is the gulf emerging between the U.S. and Europe over plans to upgrade to the next version of Windows 7, due out in October, UBS finds. More than half of Europeans have no plans to upgrade to Windows 7, while closer to a quarter of U.S. buyers have yet to make plans. (Click to enlarge graphic)

UBS on Windows 7 Upgrade plans

(Images: Microsoft, UBS Research)

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