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June - 2008 - issue > Cover Story
Where-is-India's-Microsoft?
Priya Pradeep and Saheer Karimbayil
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Technology companies don’t exist in a vacuum. Praveen:

Sharad’s view is more of a market problem. Opportunities are arising faster than the industry’s ability to scale up with infrastructure, leadership, or manpower. This leaves out many startups in the fray. There should be industry-academia-government support to nourish the startup ecosystem. The industry needs to understand that enabling the startups would actually foster the growth of the biggies too. Forums, which enable interaction between startups and industry stakeholders comprising of customers, venture capitalists, and talented workforce on the lookout for opportunities towards growth are urgently needed. Startups should understand the economics of scaling too. It would perhaps be counterproductive if they take a risk and go onto the path towards high volume growth. Sensible growth in a phased manner is the key to sustained success. Also there is a great need for a mindset change as success begets envy. Subverting startups, for instance, by copying their ideas and getting revenue is not a great idea. The culture of co-operation and co-existence is needed for the startup ecosystem to thrive. To get a winning breakthrough, I don’t think lack of funding is the problem area for startups. The key is to give a value proposition to those possessing funds and attract them with the merit of the idea.

Vivek:

Look at the top 25 companies 25 years back, and compare them with today’s top 25 companies. Many successful companies of the past do not figure in the present list. Why? The simple answer is: market evolution, wherein those who did not evolve with the market just took the slide downwards.

Next big thing to happen to the Indian Tech Firmament



Sharad:

Co-creation will be the new buzzword, wherein when developers create the product, there is active involvement of customers and beneficiaries through online forums during the making of the product. Thus both of them co-create the result and there is bound to be lesser product failures. Earlier there were many product failures from India. Now, there is no reason that the next ‘YouTube’ cannot come out of India. Today a company, say, in Koramangala, Bangalore, can host consumer videos of the volume of a YouTube without the need for possessing even a piece of data center equipment, courtesy new technologies such as cloud computing. Cloud computing brings supercomputing through the Web by networking large groups of servers that often use low-cost consumer PC technology.

Apart from this, I think, in the future, the retail and entertainment business is going to bring in major business for IT.

Vivek:

Forget the ‘U’ (You) tube; India can create an ‘A’ tube!

Praveen:

Information analytics will be the next big thing. Technology disruption need not be brand new technology all the time. It could also be what already exists.

Sharad continues:

In our hi-tech industry the yin and yang of value creation and value capture has played out constantly. Earlier in first generation IT, IBM gave software free and made money on hardware. In fact, their monopoly was based on proprietary hardware. Later Microsoft, the face of the second generation IT, came along, commoditized the hardware, and made money on proprietary software. The third generation YEGA companies – Yahoo!, eBay, Google, and Amazon - are giving away software for free and are making money on the back of their proprietary meta-data (information about data). So it’s a fair bet that meta-data will eventually become open. People will innovate on top of this openness to build a proprietary edge. I don’t know what that proprietary edge would be. My conjecture is that it would come from the realm of social science. For instance, it could be the lock-in from the ownership of online community relationships. The next innovation in this regard could be from Israel or India.


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