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First MISO, then GISMO, next GOAT?

Awhile back my Irregular chums came up with MISO as the acronym to describe the main enterprise players of the time: Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Oracle. We also quipped that could change to include Google and so with a little creative thought we ended up with GISMO.
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Written by Dennis Howlett on

Awhile back my Irregular chums came up with MISO as the acronym to describe the main enterprise players of the time: Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Oracle. We also quipped that could change to include Google and so with a little creative thought we ended up with GISMO. Last week's Apple 3G launch made me think again. What if the future is in the hands of Google, Oracle, Apple and Twitter or GOAT? None of my colleagues bit on that one but an interesting Tweet conversation with Steve Gillmor made me think more about this possibility. Here's why.

Google is pretty much defining what it means to operate a cloud computing environment. Others will say that it's not the only player, perhaps pointing to Amazon or Joyent but then Google is offering applications where the others offer infrastructure. Some will say that Microsoft's Live services will define the cloud landscape. Perhaps - but for the moment I am betting on Google. There's a lot I can do with Google right now in the cloud environment that I cannot with Microsoft and of course it has killer search. Selecting Google in this way is a personal choice but as valid as any other, even if Google's continuing lack of understanding of what 'enterprise' means remains problematic.

Oracle has thrown me. The introduction of Business Indicators on iPhone is the first tangible evidence I have seen that one of the big players gets the notion of mobile technology and its potential to reach many more users than desktop or client/server technology. It never occurred to me it might be Oracle. But then as the company commanding the largest share of the database market, it cannot be ignored. Contextualizing information in problems solving situations is all about the data and the way it fits into business process. I'd expect Oracle to be a major player n those scenarios.

Apple's AppStore contains the bones of some decent business applications, even if they are not universally available, such as MobileMe. Over the weekend I saw a demo of CommSec, an Australian securities trading platform. If the reality lives up to expectations then it will be a formidable player. The very fact that business applications are being co-mingled with games and entertainment applications speaks volumes - at least to me - about distribution and pricing models for the really cool applications that have the potential to reach mass audiences of business users. I know there are discussions around cost and at least one colleague thinks that Apple's 3g phone should be scored on innovation across a range of measures, not just the coolness factor. Nevertheless, Jobs & Co are making the first serious stirrings into the business market in ways that cannot be ignored.

Finally we have Twitter. Despite all its problems, Twitter is proving remarkably attractive as a way of communicating between people with mutual interests. It is easy to see how that could become a metaphor for leveraging the loose and strong ties that are formed and re-formed among business colleagues at every level inside common business processes. In a Tweet message to me, Gillmor said: "Once u have a realtime stream u can process it into workflow and create dynamic swarms." To provide the full context, this was around a use of Twitterspy versus Summize as a way of tracking conversations with capture occurring in GTalk with Twitterspy. Gillmor has a point but we have yet to see how that will be articulated in the real world. I have some ideas in that direction but they're not ready for prime time.

What stands in the way? One thing's for sure, it seems almost certain that direct alliances between these four actors are not necessary. There are enough APIs and SDKs around to make something very powerful out of this grouping. Even so, there are plenty of potential roadblocks. Like for example the relative fragility of the cloud, as pointed out by Steve Clayton in this post about MobileMe and this about Google and Microsoft. It doesn't matter that Clayton is a Microsoftie, his points provide valid critiques for those of us who dream of a cloud based future.

What intrigues me in all this is that Oracle is on all of my lists. It shouldn't be because the tangible evidence suggests it is one of the least innovative of the big vendors. Yet they cannot be ignored. My gut feeling suggests we've not seen the best of what Oracle might deliver.

All of which leaves me wondering what readers think. Is this pie in the sky? Is it too early to tell? Could a left field player emerge who brings further disruption to the markets? Or are there other more important fish to fry before business really takes on these ideas? Over to you.

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