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Business

New Business Models

I was struck this morning by the parallels between two very different stories.

First, this New York Times article titled “$200 Laptops Break a Business Model” by Brad Stone and Ashlee Vance about how Microsoft’s business model is being undermined by the emergence of a whole new class of small, network connected PC’s – the so-called “netbooks”.

“The only bright spot in the PC industry is netbooks. Analysts at the Gartner research company said shipments rose to 4.4 million devices in the third quarter of 2008, from 500,000 units in the first quarter of last year.”

And, then the second – a blog post titled “A call to the analyst community” by James Gardner, a London-based banker responsible for innovation at his large UK bank. He writes about his frustrations with the IT industry analysts – those that sell their research to corporate clients like his bank. He says their business model – of selling annual subscriptions based upon the number of “seats” – is broken and needs changing. Gardner notes that “there are firms out there who realise that the value of a firm is in how many people put their eyeballs on their data” – rather than those focused on rate-limiting access to information/analysis often written by analysts who’ve never had operational responsibilities in the field they’re covering.

Do you see the same parallel I see?

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