Matt Asay

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Matt Asay is vice president of corporate strategy at 10gen, the MongoDB company. Previously he was SVP of business development at Nodeable, which was acquired in October 2012. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe (now part of Facebook) and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

John Lennon's lesson for public-domain innovation

While I've never thought John Lennon's Imagine offered a particularly useful prescription for peace, I am starting to wonder if it might not suggest something better than free and open-source software. When Lennon sings that if we can just "imagine no possessions" we'll end up with "all the people sharing all the world," he's …
Matt Asay, 18 Feb 2013
spiders crawl through tunnel of binary numbers

Data scientists: Do they even exist?

Big Data is all the rage. Now if only someone had to clue what to do with it. According to a new survey of senior executives by Big data consultantancy NewVantage, Big Data is "top of mind for leading industry executives," but these same executives struggle to find the right people to analyse their data. In fact, while 70 per …
Matt Asay, 13 Feb 2013

The business mullet: Cool or tool?

Silicon Valley is notoriously casual in its dress and business demeanor. In a culture that celebrates every day as Casual Friday, it's hard to get the tech crowd to dress up. Which is why it's so painful when techie types try to dress up. Maybe they need to pitch a VC. Maybe they have an important sales meeting with a potential …
Matt Asay, 08 Feb 2013

When open-source eats itself, we win

For years the headlines have been about open source cannibalising proprietary software. But what happens when open source starts to cannibalise itself? In some markets, open source rules the roost. For example, Drupal, Joomla, my old company Alfresco and other open-source content management systems regularly duke it out for …
Matt Asay, 06 Feb 2013

Introducing the Open Source Rookie of the Year... Whoa, it's Microsoft

It's déjà vu all over again for Microsoft, as Black Duck Software has named Redmond's TypeScript project among its 2012 Open Source Rookies of the Year - despite Microsoft spending nearly a decade trying to figure out this crazy communist software manifesto. Back in 2001, Microsoft labeled open source a "cancer," "un-American," …
Matt Asay, 02 Feb 2013

My top tip for Microsoft: Stop charging for Windows Phone 8

While Microsoft posted solid numbers for Windows 8, anyone paying attention to Intel's quarterly report can see that the writing is on the wall for desktop computing. Perhaps surprisingly, this is also true of the enterprise, generally not an early mover on technology trends. According to a new Appcelerator survey of enterprise …
Matt Asay, 28 Jan 2013

Tech titans sell yesterday's idea wrapped in tomorrow's dream

News flash: Oracle and SAP are both "cloud washers" who pretend to have sexy, cool technology, but actually are encumbered by legacy systems. This is the charge that cloud consultant David Linthicum and Deal Architect founder Vinnie Mirchandani level against the two giants, but one wonders why they bother. It's standard …
Matt Asay, 24 Jan 2013

Liferay's not dead yet - but what's keeping it alive?

The enterprise portal market should have died years ago. With new-school collaboration tools like Yammer and newfangled integration frameworks like MuleSoft (ESB in the cloud) and Apigee (APIs), the market was being written off almost as soon as it began. More bluntly, in a market that was limping to single-digit growth in 2008 …
Matt Asay, 23 Jan 2013

Tech giants don't invent the future, they package it

Enterprise technology vendors have a serious case of "not invented here" syndrome, and it may be challenging the value that they claim to bring to their customers. After all, none of the big technology trends of the past two decades emerged from the bowels of legacy tech vendors, despite their outsized R&D budgets. Open source? …
Matt Asay, 21 Jan 2013

The forkers saving open source from a corporate bear hug

Open source has long had a strong corporate element to it, perhaps starting in earnest when IBM pledged to spend $1bn on Linux back in 2000. Despite the benefits of corporate funding of open-source software - more money, more source code written - some question whether open source has become too corporate. For those who worry …
Matt Asay, 16 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Hey, open sourcers: Who's your code's daddy?

So-called "pre-invention assignment agreements" are a rite of passage when joining a company. For an open-source developer, they may also be giving away the keys to an open-source project, as VMware's recent legal action against the founder of the Vert.x project shows. While there are compelling reasons (warning: PDF) to think …
Matt Asay, 14 Jan 2013

'Not even Santa could save Microsoft's Windows 8'

Once upon a time any problem at Microsoft could be magically resolved with a new Windows release. Since Windows Vista, however, that formula hasn't worked. In fact, according to new sales data from NPD Group, it may be getting worse. In late 2012, departing Microsoft board member Reed Hastings called Microsoft's Surface tablet " …
Matt Asay, 08 Jan 2013

Victory on mobile belongs to Google in 2013

It's clear. The way to win in mobile is to solve an exceptionally difficult problem. Apple first did it by streamlining the mobile experience through an integrated OS and app-discovery and installation experience. Google then went a step further and crunched mountains of data to make mobile services breathtakingly powerful. The …
Matt Asay, 04 Jan 2013

Hey, Apple and Google: Stop trying to wolf the whole mobile pie

It's become a truism that the way to win in mobile is with an end-to-end, hardware-to-software-to-cloud strategy. I just wish this were as good for consumers as it seems to be for vendors. If I could get any wish fulfilled for 2013, it would be to have Apple and Google, in particular, go back to doing what they do best - rather …
Matt Asay, 03 Jan 2013

Craptastic analysis turns 2.8 zettabytes of Big Data into 2.8 ZB of FAIL

We can't seem to get enough of Big Data. In its Digital Universe in 2020 report (PDF), IDC forecasts Big Data-related IT spending to rise 40 per cent each year between 2012 and 2020, as the digital universe, now at 2.8 zettabytes (ZB), or 2.8 trillion GB, explodes to 40 ZB. That's very, very Big Data. It's a pity, therefore, …
Matt Asay, 29 Dec 2012

Hey, cloudy tech vendors on Amazon: AWS can fluff you up

Mobile consumed much of the media's attention in 2012, with Apple duking it out in court and in the market with Android. But it was Amazon, perhaps more than any other company, that spent 2012 redefining how we think about technology. In late 2011 I called out Amazon as "the Microsoft of the cloud", pointing to its emerging role …
Matt Asay, 29 Dec 2012

Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know how to use HTML5

Even as Facebook dumps HTML5 to embrace native app development, calling its early enthusiasm for HTML5 its "biggest mistake," Sencha, a leading provider of open-source web application frameworks and tools, has not only demonstrated real-world readiness of HTML5, but has actually built a Facebook app that performs better than …
Matt Asay, 19 Dec 2012

Apple and Samsung mobile monsters: 'We only eat RAW CASH'

For years, Apple dominated mobile industry profits, charging a premium for tightly integrated hardware-to-software-to-data centre mobile solutions. It turns out, however, that this magical formula for industry profits can be replicated, as Samsung is showing. It's also increasingly clear that it isn't cheap. Apple and Samsung …
Matt Asay, 13 Dec 2012

Wait, what's that rumble in the storage jungle? Yes, it's Ceph

In the open-source world, there are few enablers to success more potent than being distributed within the mainline Linux kernel. Every open-source company I know aspires to such broad, built-in distribution. Which is one reason why I'm so bullish on the future of Ceph, an open-source, massively scalable distributed storage file …
Matt Asay, 12 Dec 2012

Big Data in creepy hook-up with big-game whales

My son has a problem. One might even say an addiction. No, it's not to pornography, alcohol or drugs. It's to a massively multiplayer game, one that he can't seem to stop playing, in large part because the game's developer is crunching massive quantities of Big Data to learn exactly what will keep him on the hook. Big Data, that …
Matt Asay, 11 Dec 2012
Larry Ellison @ OpenWorld 2008, by Wicho

Revealed: The gift that keeps on giving to Oracle ... is dying

Even as traditional enterprise IT vendors come under pressure from modern cloud and open-source applications, these old-school businesses have one strategy that is the gift that keeps on giving: Enterprise licence agreements. Not only do ELAs help to shield vendors from pricing pressure from open-source alternatives, they also …
Matt Asay, 04 Dec 2012

Adobe's revenge on Steve Jobs: HTML5

Despite significant investments from Microsoft, Google, and others, HTML5 remains not quite good enough for a range of apps. So says Mark Zuckerberg, but I also heard that this week from the chief technology officer of a large media company. Rather than gloat over HTML5's long road to native app parity, though, he fretted about …
Matt Asay, 03 Dec 2012

Google's Drive + Gmail: A 10GB Dropbox killer

In the realm of digital overlords, Google just took one more step toward being the lord of all. While Google+ has failed to draw crowds as a social network, Google has made collaboration through existing networks exceptionally easy. This week Google introduced the ability to send supersized email attachments of up to 10GB. In so …
Matt Asay, 30 Nov 2012

Android users: More of them than fanbois, but they don't use the web

Android smartphone shipments now dwarf those of Apple's iPhone, yet Apple's iOS still accounts for the vast majority of mobile web traffic, as reported by The Register. This gaping void between Android adoption and Android-based web browsing, however, isn't cause to ponder whether it's "time to conclude that Android gadgets are …
Matt Asay, 28 Nov 2012

Microsoft's Surface bait-and-switch won't make people buy Windows 8

Microsoft had better hope departing board member Reed Hastings is wrong about Windows. In some parting comments to a group of Dow Jones reporters, Hastings called Microsoft's Surface tablet a "tactic to spur people on, to get Windows 8 really successful." In other words, according to Hastings, Surface is just a means to get …
Matt Asay, 22 Nov 2012
Champagne parachute

Springtime for Red Hat, springtime for Salesforce ...

It has been the best of times for the technology industry, with technology stocks at a 12-year high. But it's about to be the worst of times, at least according to stock market trends. Given that the tech sector comprises 19 per cent of the market capitalisation of the S&P 500, which has crumpled by 7 per cent recently, we seem …
Matt Asay, 22 Nov 2012
Punk-styled girl with piercing gazes at an apple

Apple's profits fetish could spell its DOOM

The other shoe is about to drop in the mobile market. For years Apple has dominated mobile, both in terms of market share and in terms of profits. It was an enviable position, and a unique one, borne of Apple's commitment to out-innovating the industry, allowing it to consistently charge a premium for its products. But as the …
Matt Asay, 20 Nov 2012
Firefox ad 2nd St SF 2011

Mozilla needs to find alternatives to the Google umbilical

Mozilla doesn't get mentioned much in corporate earnings calls. General web interest seems to be sliding, too. Across social media the attitude toward Mozilla is generally positive, but it gets far less airtime than Google or Apple, the two companies doing more than anyone else to reshape the web in their respective images. And …
Matt Asay, 19 Nov 2012
Office on Perceptive Pixel screen

Should Microsoft merge Office into Windows - or snap it off?

Gartner research director Larry Cannell thinks Yammer gives Microsoft the impetus to "rethink Office". Cannell's point is that Microsoft needs to reshape Microsoft for the social age. He's right, but I don't think he goes nearly far enough. Microsoft Office is losing its relevance in a world that creates vast quantities of new …
Matt Asay, 16 Nov 2012

Memo to Groupon: Best cheapo deals have a premium tag

The biggest problem with Groupon isn't its accounting. It's also not Groupon's shrinking margins on new products, concerning as they are. No, Groupon's biggest problem is that it fetishes bargains in lieu of building real customer value. Groupon's business model is simply not sustainable, which is why its stock is now on sale. …
Matt Asay, 13 Nov 2012
spiders crawl through tunnel of binary numbers

Vendors must break code of silence on software's biggest FAILS

Developers love to complain about vendor infomercials at conferences and in press articles, and rightly so. No one wants to have marketing pitches shoved down their throats. They're boring and quite possibly counterproductive. And yet so much of our media revert to vendor content because developers, so determined not to be …
Matt Asay, 12 Nov 2012

The Z-Factor: Meet the Simon Cowell of Linux

Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth - a friend and my former boss at Canonical - has never had much love for rival Linux vendor Red Hat. So when he labelled Red Hat Enterprise Linux "legacy" technology during his keynote at LinuxCon in Barcelona, Spain, this week, aligning it with Solaris' faded glory, it was perhaps not …
Matt Asay, 09 Nov 2012

I, for one, would like to welcome our Android overlord

In case the barrage of lawsuits didn't clue us in, IDC's recent report showcasing an avalanche of Android phones must. Android accounted for 75 per cent of all smartphones sold in the last three months. That's serious domination, but we didn't need to wait for IDC to tell us about it. All the trends point to Android's dominance …
Matt Asay, 07 Nov 2012

Where are all the open-source mobile projects?

Open source used to be about copycatting popular proprietary products. In today's emerging markets of Big Data and cloud computing, however, open source drives innovation while proprietary products play catch-up. It is surprising, then, that the industry's other major market, mobile, is a comparative wasteland for open source. …
Matt Asay, 02 Nov 2012

Forgetting Microsoft: How Steve Ballmer's Surface could win

In a Windows world we bought the product. In Google's world we are the product. Judging from market share trends, we apparently don't mind being bought and sold. At least, so long as the price is right. Yes, Apple gets all the news (and profits), but it's Google Android that is set to displace Microsoft Windows by 2016, …
Matt Asay, 30 Oct 2012
Microsoft Surface tablets

Microsoft: Just swallow this tablet ... the rest will take care of itself

The clearest sign that Windows 8 may have a fighting chance has nothing to do with the software, and everything to do with hardware. Microsoft's hardware, that is. The gods must be crazy. After all, Microsoft has spent decades printing money based on a booming software business. Despite the criticism leveled by the technorati, …
Matt Asay, 26 Oct 2012

Big Data? There's an App Store for that

A few months back Cloudera chief executive Mike Olson speculated that the real power of Hadoop "will be delivered through cloud apps vendors." This week Datameer brought Olson's vision to life, releasing a marketplace for buying and selling Big Data analytic applications. While a great deal of work remains for making Hadoop and …
Matt Asay, 24 Oct 2012

Whose cloud is the open-sourciest... Who cares?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the thought police are back. For years, the open source community was torn apart by fractious debates over what "open" meant and who was open enough. As we've moved beyond name calling to focus on getting work done, the same old debate has shifted to cloud computing, …
Matt Asay, 18 Oct 2012

Why Google and Amazon could end up cooking their own chips

It used to be that the ante for being a serious player in the technology game was your own data centre. Or several. On this basis, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and very few others have constructed hugely expensive data centres that centre much of the web's activity on them. But among these web giants, it may no longer be …
Matt Asay, 16 Oct 2012

Ballmer's lightened pay packet is the least of his problems

Citing "slower than planned progress" at Microsoft's online services division and a 3 per cent decline in Windows revenue, Microsoft's board cut chief executive Steve Ballmer's pay to 91 per cent of his plan, or $1.3m. But that's the least of his concerns. Microsoft is about to embark on the biggest shift in its Windows …
Matt Asay, 11 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

November election sends chill down Valley shareholders' necks

Across Silicon Valley, internet biz stocks are taking a beating as the market reacts to serious challenges at Zynga and elsewhere. Unfortunately, it may well get worse. Due to the expected rise in US long-term capital gains tax rates under President Obama, the pressure on all technology stocks may hit new highs from the November …
Matt Asay, 11 Oct 2012
High-altitude snap from Dave Akerman's Cloud 7 payload

Gartner has its head in the clouds - and its numbers are WRONG

Gartner analyst Frank Ridder recently opined that "the number of cloud offering[s] is not at all at a satisfactory level today." He made this assertion after canvassing a number of IT users at two Gartner summits. Unfortunately, he may have missed the message these users were sending him. It's not that we need more cloud …
Matt Asay, 05 Oct 2012

Is Oracle squeezing the MySQL lemon too hard?

Despite what many feared, Oracle has not abandoned development of MySQL. Indeed, as announced at Oracle OpenWorld this week, Oracle just released MySQL Release Candidate 5.6 with a host of new features. Unfortunately, only paying customers are ever going to see the best of those features. Well before Oracle acquired Sun (which …
Matt Asay, 02 Oct 2012
Firefox crop circle

Firefox's birthday present to us: Teaching tech titans about DIY upstarts

It's hard to believe it now, but not too long ago the web was dangerously close to being owned by one vendor: Microsoft. As mainstream users came to equate Internet Explorer's logo with the Web, Microsoft worked to lock in its advantage with increasingly proprietary technology like ActiveX. It surely would have done so, too, but …
Matt Asay, 28 Sep 2012

Why Oracle must kiss goodbye to its database past

A few years back Apple opted to drop the "Computer" from its corporate name, and instead became "Apple Inc." Last week, Oracle made a similar move, quietly stopping its decades old practice of reporting database revenues. Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison was quick to point out on Oracle's earnings call that for its database …
Matt Asay, 25 Sep 2012

Man City drags Big Data into Big Football

Football is the world's most popular sport by a crushing margin. Yet for all the money and attention it gets, the beautiful game has remained doggedly anti-technology, eschewing video replays or goal-line technology despite the prevalence of such tools in other sports. One club, however, is opting to make technology a central …
Matt Asay, 25 Sep 2012
Xbox Live on Windows Phone

Windows 8: Never mind Office, it's for GAMING

Despite threats to its software hegemony from Apple and others, Microsoft's stranglehold on enterprise IT has been its saving grace. Yet this advantage has started to fade as Apple and Android increasingly invade the enterprise through smartphone adoption, with IT departments scrambling to devise security policies that plug the …
Matt Asay, 18 Sep 2012

HTML5 isn't Facebook's 'biggest mistake'

Everybody makes mistakes, but if you're Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, mistakes can shave 50 per cent off your market valuation in a matter of weeks. Happily, admitting Zuckerberg-sized mistakes apparently is also worth a 7.9 per cent bounce. Zuckerberg's biggest mistake, as he described in an interview at the Disrupt …
Matt Asay, 14 Sep 2012

Windows 8? Nah: Win Phone 8 should give Apple the fear

Windows Phone 8 might spell the beginning of a climb to relevance for a desktop vendor breaking out its latest PC operating system at almost the same time. Why will Windows Phone 8 mean more than Windows 8? Not because Windows Phone 8 is groundbreaking. And not because its user experience compels adoption. While Windows Phone 8 …
Matt Asay, 11 Sep 2012

Why I've got a sync'ing feeling about Amazon's new Kindle Fire

While Amazon's Jeff Bezos took the stage to show off new Kindle Fire devices, the magic of these devices isn't in hardware or software. The magic is what happens between disparate devices, and it's what continues to make Amazon the most credible competitor to Apple's iPad sync. Amazon may be a control freak in its end-to-end …
Matt Asay, 07 Sep 2012