Wednesday, November 30, 2005

India's IT sector to touch $87 billion by 2008

India's IT sector to touch $87 billion by 2008

I dont get how these projections are made. I want to. Do these ppl simply take the last 5 yrs data create a trend and project it over next 3 yrs or they do something really insightful? I sometimes think they do the former. Do I need a McKinsey to do that? Ghosh, these projections sound so banal.

And then the kings of the obvious, the CEOs of India Inc. I pity the ppl who go and listen to such mediocre speeches. AAhhhhh.....

How AMD made Rs 10,000 PC possible

How AMD made Rs 10,000 PC possible

Firstly, the reporter is non technical and it shows in this article. Saying something like a 32 bit processor can process 32 bits per second is only one instance of his level of understanding of tech.

But there are other dimensions to discuss.
Firstly, this article assumes that the chip alone can make 10,000 pc possible. I find this assumption misplaced. I do not think we can havea 10K pc just by switching to AMD. The OS, Monitor, HDD, RAM all of that will have to be compromised to get to that price point. You may have to go for Linux, lower grade HDD, may be just 128MB RAM, and 14" monitor to meet that price point. If you throw in 1 yr warranty in 10K the vendor may get killed just by warrantly cost.

About 9 yrs ago Pertech Computers Ltd (PCL), Delhi based PC company came out with 20K computer promise, but could not deliver. In fact this offer actually took the company to bankruptcy. You stretch too much to break a "perceived" mental block and its breaks your own back.

To me, 10K PC and Tatas 1,00,000 Car are pipe dreams and not have any grounding in reality.

I like the per month concept Intel is talking abt. Lets get real, in todays world ppl look at affordability from a monthly outgo perpective. Give them what they want. Find out ways in which to minimise that and you have a winner. Bend backwards beyond limits and you'll fall flat.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Techies, we have a problem

Lets analyse Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Craig Mundie's observations

'India produces a lot of engineers. But the production of computer science engineers is low, pro rata'
True, but thats legacy effect. Comp Science is a relatively new field. Instead of looking at the overall ratio, look at the trends. The new engineering colleges do not have disciplines like Civil or Mechanical. They primarily train Comp Science engineers. Also, in old established colleges Comp Science seats are going up. It will take time for the equation to change.

'India did not have enough software companies nor are enough companies developing India-specific applications.' The reason, Mundie argued, was the poor quality of the country's software engineers'
The observation is only partly right, and the reason is completely wrong. In the recent years, Indian cos have started investing in IT infrastructure. As expected their IT applications are built by Indian Vendors. Look at Banks and Insurance cos or new Airline cos. In terms of functionality they offer pretty much whatever best international names offer. There is a fair amount of application development. Lets acknowledge that.

If the allegation is that engineers' quality to quantity ratio is low I'd agree whole heartedly. But if the accusation is simply about quality at all levels I'd strongly disagree.

Lets understand the IT industry categorization
There are 2 kinds of IT companies in India
1. Services
2. Product

My take is that the ratio of work coming to India in these 2 areas is heavily in favor of Services. Products are decidedly more risky than services. More so in Indian mkt where IPRs are not well protected and the mkt is not as developed as US. Also, it requires huge upfront investment and then excellent marketing to sell it. Services is different. Its much lower in Risk.

Within services, the bulk of the work is production support and maintenence. Maintenance and Production Support projects are as good as Annuities. Just like insurance premium, safe and predictable. Even for fixed bid projects, client pays for the efforts and IPR. I don't think that a regualr IITan or REC Com Sci grad would be too happy working on maintenance projects. In other words there is a need for ppl who would take up these jobs and the same is reflected in the quality to quantity ratio of engineers being produced. Honestly, given that India produces 350,000 engineers a year compared to 100,000 for entire europe, I'm fine with the current Quality / Quantity ratio of engineers. Indian IT industry is driven by cost arbitrage and at present I dont see anything wrong with it.

'The problem with the engineers can be attributed to policy issues?Universities in India, did not get proper funding for research and were not directed towards software development.'

Lets not lament lack of Govt funds in higher education. Ppl have money to pay for their engineering education, or we would not have seen so many pvt engineering colleges nor would hundreds of tutors earn a fortune preparing students for engineering exams. In India engineering degree is not about touching lives or changing the world around us, its about changing our own world and improving our lives. To that end our educational institutes are going a darn good job. Ask the engineering passouts from Mangalore's pvt engineering colleges sitting in the US on production support assignments.

China is also driven by the same principle. They do not do original R&D. They are manufacturing hub of the world and quite happy to play their cost advantage. Why do we feel inferior living off similar advantage in IT. Yes, we are cyber coolies. Yes, we do tonnes of donkeywork and its far better than no work at all.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Satellite radio is here to stay

Satellite radio is here to stay
Is Satellite radio going to rule in the long term? I think not. Above article at Rediff extols the virtues of satellite radio but have nagging doubts.
I see Internet derived music, iTunes/Rhapsody for example to be more enticing than satellite radio. Or Yahoo's free radio stations.
My reasons are as follows
First the Pros of Satellite Radio
1. It offers great variety of music
2. Its relatively chatter free. i.e. it does not have jockeys and Ads that are sometimes irritating.

The cons of satellite radio are
1. It does not allow one to choose ones own music
2. Its installation process is a little cumbersome. For example, my flat is on the 4th floor of a 24 story building and I do not have a window that faces north-east. In short, I can't get the signal so I can't subscribe. I'm sure many people in metros would have similar problem.
3. I pay for channels I do not listen to.(Same as Cable)

Now compare this to Internet derived music.
1. I choose what I wish to listen to. For iTunes I pay a monthly subscription fee and I have an instant access to hundreds of thousands of tracks. I can create my List to reflect my mood and interest and play it as many times I wish.
2. Now I can store / play encrypted music on my iPod and I can carry it anywhere I wish
3. For the internet Radio Stations I do not pay anything except my broadband charges. Music would be just one of the interests I'd use that connection for.

I honestly can't think of any reason why I'd like to pay for Satellite Radio when I have the mighty Internet and iPod...