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).
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Tech industry climbs out of Silicon Valley, moves abroad

Silicon Valley may well be the center of the technology universe, but it's no longer the locus for technology jobs. That honour now goes to the Washington DC area, according to new research, followed by New York and with a range of other metro areas growing their tech presences at a torrid pace. In short, while Silicon Valley …
Matt Asay, 13 Mar 2012
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Facebook's viral activism is really good... for admen

Normally I hang out on Facebook for casual conversation with friends and family. But not last night. Last night I settled down to browse Facebook to discover that Kony 2012 had overrun Facebook, turning it into a maelstrom of "Watch this now!" and subsequent feelings of having done something noble. One minute they were LOL'ing …
Matt Asay, 09 Mar 2012
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Microsoft and Apple should hit Amazon, not Google

Amazon is on a roll, and it's no longer just a question of dominating online retailing or public cloud computing. According to a Business Insider article, Amazon is already clearing more than $1bn each year in advertising revenue. This has Google scared. But it probably should have Apple scared, too. Amazon, after all, is the …
Matt Asay, 06 Mar 2012
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Online advertising isn't creepy enough

Privacy advocates endlessly worry that online advertising companies track your every move in order to serve you creepily well-targeted ads. They needn't bother. After all, when was the last time this hyper-invasive tracking of your online behavior actually resulted in you getting a deal on something you really wanted? And it is …
Matt Asay, 02 Mar 2012
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Fat margins squeeze Apple against Android

There are a million ways to over-analyse iOS versus Android market share, but one thing is often overlooked: Apple's high-margin strategy depends upon buying customers through subsidies, and may not be able to keep pace with Android's low-cost model over time. Google's Android growth - 250 per cent in 2011 - is particularly …
Matt Asay, 28 Feb 2012
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Death to Office or to Windows - choose wisely, Microsoft

Windows is dead, and Microsoft Office has killed it. Or will, once the rumours about Microsoft porting its wildly popular Office product to the iPad become reality. For just as porting Office to Mac OS X back in 2001 sowed the seeds of Apple's relevance as a credible desktop alternative to Windows, so too will Microsoft's …
Matt Asay, 24 Feb 2012
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Sugar-daddy love runs out for hard-up Valley firms

For many startups, getting Series A funding isn't the problem. The problem is using that cash to clear the increasingly high hurdles investors are imposing on early stage startups for the Series B round. For as recent funding data shows, venture capitalists remain willing to spread bets at the Seed and Series A rounds of funding …
Matt Asay, 21 Feb 2012
homeless man with sign

Ex-Akamai man: Stop being faithful to your CDN

Many of the benefits of cloud computing are lost in translation as enterprises attempt to force the "new wine" of cloud's flexibility into the "old bottles" of traditional data centers. By running a cloud environment within one's data center, the full benefits of infinitely scalable and flexible infrastructure fade, as Amazon …
Matt Asay, 17 Feb 2012
Sitting man with laptop in front of city emerging from clouds

Cloudy bigshots eclipse open source

Open source seems to have waned in importance over the past few years as cloud computing and mobile have taken centre stage. Of course open source remains a key ingredient for cloud infrastructure and mobile tooling, but is it still important for end users? About as much as it ever was, which is to say, not very much. So while …
Matt Asay, 14 Feb 2012
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Why Amazon, eBay and Google are building bricks-and-mortar stores

Even as offline retailers and other traditional "brick-and-mortar" businesses struggle to build their businesses online, some of technology's biggest online denizens are looking for ways to go offline. Google is the latest, reportedly opening a store in Dublin, Ireland, to sell branded merchandise, but it's just the latest in a …
Matt Asay, 10 Feb 2012

Facebook post-IPO: Free not fee will make Zuck a buck

No sooner did Facebook file its S-1 in preparation for an IPO than speculation kicked into high gear on how Facebook could possibly sustain its $75bn to $100bn valuation. After all, despite its hugely impressive revenue and profit numbers, key components of its revenue model – like advertising revenue – are decelerating. So …
Matt Asay, 03 Feb 2012

Why I'd pay Apple more to give iPad factory workers a break

Last quarter Apple churned out extraordinary profits: $13.06bn of them. But according to a New York Times article, Apple achieved these amazing profits on the backs of Chinese workers, who are subjected to punishing work conditions to ensure high-quality iPhones and iPads at the lowest possible price. While the company claims …
Matt Asay, 31 Jan 2012
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Enterprise gets social: Twitter-style data streams, engagement 'apps'

The winning game plan for enterprise software has long been to "play it safe." Enterprise software developers are just as talented as their free-wheeling consumer-facing peers, but are shackled by the need to prioritise enterprise security over personal utility, and by the fact that IT buyers differ significantly from IT users, …
Matt Asay, 27 Jan 2012
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Google+ funny numbers mask falling growth

Google has always been about crunching big numbers. But only recently has it begun to apparently fudge them. That's the impression one gets when looking at Google's attempt to convince the world that Google+ has been a runaway success. Even as Google missed analyst sales and profit estimates for the first time in Larry Page's …
Matt Asay, 23 Jan 2012
Three monkeys

SOPA is dead. Are you happy now?

In response to internet technology companies leading a rousing protest against SOPA and PIPA, these bills appear to be doomed to ignominious defeat. Even the co-sponsors of these anti-piracy bills are deserting their legislation, leaving the tech world to cheer its success. But what kind of success did we achieve? As written, …
Matt Asay, 19 Jan 2012
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Apple, Amazon and Google take lazy punters hostage

Would-be monopolists have a new tool to claim control over the unsuspecting masses: sloth. In the offline world, big vendors must go to extensive ends to ring-fence consumers into concentrating their spend with those vendors. Think vertical integration, price fixing and other monopolistic means. But in a heavily digitised world …
Matt Asay, 13 Jan 2012
DVD it in many colours

Facebook obsessives overlook enterprise riches

It's not that enterprise software is boring. But let's face it: if you had the choice to tell your mom that your company makes it easy for 800 million people to talk to each other, or that your business makes it easier for companies like Chevron to do business more productively, the former is going to sound a heck of a lot …
Matt Asay, 10 Jan 2012
SGI logo hardware close-up

Microsoft's master stroke: Pay store staff per WinPhone sold

Microsoft, which has suffered years of irrelevance in mobile, has a new game plan, which looks suspiciously like its old game plan: pay retail employees to sell Windows. Microsoft isn't alone in trying to find incentives with partners to unseat Apple, but the bluntness of its approach will irk many as classic Microsoft. With a …
Matt Asay, 06 Jan 2012
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How Apple won the West (and lost the world)

The spread of high-end smart phones throughout the rich, developed world is largely made possible by expensive data plans. Such plans enable carriers to subsidise expensive iPhones and Android devices, to the point that even a big swath of teenagers in the Western world can realistically plan to buy iPhones and iPads. Small …
Matt Asay, 03 Jan 2012
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The secret to getting rich in 2012: Open APIs

If the last decade was all about open source, the next decade will be about open APIs. However, as with open source, APIs aren't necessarily a guarantee of billions in the bank. They're simply the ante for playing the technology game at scale. That scale will be determined by who gives developers the best access to data, and …
Matt Asay, 30 Dec 2011
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Mozilla isn't a charity case - and Google's $300m will do nicely

Some people seem to think Google gave Mozilla a sweetheart deal when it renewed its search agreement for Firefox. At roughly $300 million per year, it will fund quite a bit of open-source development at Mozilla, but this isn't a case of Google going soft during the Christmas season. It is, as Mozilla veteran Asa Dotzler argues, …
Matt Asay, 28 Dec 2011
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No winner in Android v iPhone 2011 marathon

The wheat is increasingly being separated from the chaff in mobile. Unfortunately, what's not clear yet is which is the wheat, and which is the chaff. In the ongoing war between Apple's iOS and Google's Android, both camps have plenty to cheer about - and to moan about. Just take a look at recent headlines. In my own news feed, …
Matt Asay, 23 Dec 2011
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Tempt tech talent without Googlesque mega perks

Forget Silicon Valley's talent shortage. The real tech talent wars are being waged beyond the spiritual home of high-tech - and everyone is losing. In fact, the greatest threat to the adoption of industry-changing technologies like Hadoop and Node.js may well be the dearth of talent capable of deploying them effectively. It's no …
Matt Asay, 20 Dec 2011
Bart Simpson at Chalkboard writing Open Source is Good for me

Microsoft will beat Linux clouds at their own game - with open source

Amazon may dominate public cloud computing, but not amongst the Microsoft groupies. Microsoft has managed to be an end-to-end cradle-to-grave supplier within the data centre, and is attempting to extend this motherly embrace to the cloud with its Azure platform. Cracks have recently begun to show in this strategy, however, as …
Matt Asay, 16 Dec 2011
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Why there's real hope for webOS - if HP is committed

It's too soon to declare that Hewlett-Packard has "dump[ed] webOS in the open source trash can", as my friend and mobile open source expert Fabrizio Capobianco insists. But it's also way too soon for HP to speculate on its action being any sort of victory, given the immense difficulties inherent in successfully open sourcing …
Matt Asay, 13 Dec 2011
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Amazon: The Microsoft of the cloud

Is there a cloud market, or is there an Amazon market? Even as the cloud market booms, it's an open question whether there is room for anyone besides Amazon to benefit. Even as Microsoft dominated desktop computing over the past two decades, Amazon seems set to own the public cloud for years to come, notwithstanding attempts to …
Matt Asay, 08 Dec 2011
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Code-probing, not Angry Birds, will define cloud's success

The cloud promises a new era of cost reduction and agility for IT, and enterprises are diving in (warning: PDF) to secure these benefits. But the process for moving applications to the cloud can be messy, particularly for those companies that haven't battle-tested their applications to ensure they can run in the cloud at scale …
Matt Asay, 06 Dec 2011
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Apache: Old, out of touch, but worth it...

The Apache Software Foundation has come under withering attacks lately, with accusations of its politics and bureaucracy getting in the way of its ability to foster open-source software. The common rallying cry of the Apache attackers is GitHub, a source-control system that has almost blossomed overnight into the industry's top …
Matt Asay, 02 Dec 2011

Technology v support: Amazon's premium challenge

In order to compete in the public cloud with the Amazon juggernaut, rivals like Rackspace and Alcatel-Lucent are turning to value-added services to try to turn commoditised cloud computing into premium offerings. It's unclear whether this will work. Once customers get habituated to "low cost and more than good enough", it's hard …
Matt Asay, 01 Dec 2011
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Red Hat's sales architect exits on Linux high

While his name won't be familiar to most, Alex Pinchev has been one of the primary architects of Red Hat's stunning, consistent growth over the past decade as its head of global sales. At a company that values engineers as highly as Red Hat does, Pinchev still commands profound respect, not to mention fear, despite not being …
Matt Asay, 30 Nov 2011
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Open-source skills best hope for landing a good job

In the midst of a weakening global economy and rampant uncertainty as to when the recession will lift from North America and Western Europe, one thing is certain: open-source technology skills may be the best hope for landing a good job. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, open source claims five of the top 10 keywords in …
Matt Asay, 29 Nov 2011
graph up

Beware the software security scare silly season

The software risk silly season is upon us again. Every so often a big trend washes over the industry, and soon afterwards well-intentioned people start telling us why we should be afraid to dip our toes into the water. Or perhaps they are not so well-intentioned... Even as cloud computing takes off in the enterprise and Android …
Matt Asay, 25 Nov 2011
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Hybrid clouds 2012: the private cloud myth lives

Hybrid clouds are all the rage in cloud computing today, with Gartner naming them "a major focus for 2012", even as hybrid clouds constitute fully 20 per cent of enterprise clouds today. But are they really anything more than a new face on private clouds? Marten Mickos, chief executive of private cloud company, Eucalyptus …
Matt Asay, 24 Nov 2011
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Amazon's Android-friendly Kindle Fire splutters

Amazon's new Kindle Fire is almost certain to be a financial success for Amazon, and may finally make a name for Google's Android in tablets. If only the success and acclaim were deserved. Amazon has done quite a bit to soften Android's rough edges, but in my experience it hasn't gone nearly far enough to rival the iPad for …
Matt Asay, 22 Nov 2011
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Silicon Valley web giants face 10-year tech exit

Silicon Valley companies continue to get outsized valuations, cast as high-growth tech companies. But while Twitter, Facebook, Google, Groupon, and other so-called tech bellwethers continue to grow, it's increasingly difficult to tell them apart from their kissing cousins in the media, advertising, and retail businesses. Do they …
Matt Asay, 18 Nov 2011

Cloud's new rules promise old-school satisfaction

Cloud computing is big business, in part because companies are happy to shell out lots of cash to buy themselves time and development flexibility. In this quest to displace the operations bottleneck that exists within enterprises, developers are taking on more of the operations role for themselves and to reduce this new burden …
Matt Asay, 16 Nov 2011
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Facebook boss-lady is up the pole on the glass ceiling

In one fell swoop, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg set back the women's movement. By declaring an "ambition gap" between men and women, suggesting that "until women are as ambitious as men, they’re not going to achieve as much as men," Sandberg defined 'success' in such a narrow way that most women (and men) can never attain it. …
Matt Asay, 15 Nov 2011
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Red Hat finds its feet in cloud gold rush

Cloud computing may be the future, but it appears to be one fraught with unpredictable downtime and security breaches. In other words, it's very much like the bad ol' days of corporate data centres, except that this time Amazon, Salesforce and other cloud providers get the blame when things go wrong - rather than one's local IT …
Matt Asay, 08 Nov 2011
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Linux Foundation: Will it be your friend or foe?

The more the Linux Foundation broadens its mandate beyond its core mission of "fostering the growth of Linux", the more it risks stepping on the toes of its most ardent supporters. This tension was on full display earlier this week when The Register reported an apparent conflict between the Linux Foundation's support for …
Matt Asay, 04 Nov 2011
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The Silicon Valley mirror-tocracy

In the latest round of Silicon Valley navel-gazing, CNN's recent airing of Black in America gets technology prophet and pundit Michael Arrington on the record as not "know[ing] a single black entrepreneur." Well, maybe he doesn't. After all, for all the talk about Silicon Valley as a meritocracy, the truth is that it's more of a …
Matt Asay, 01 Nov 2011
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Safe as Windows: Smartphones' security nightmare

These days, smartphones are a bit like Dr Seuss' mythical "thneed," doing anything and everything – including (gasp!) making phone calls. Unless you're on AT&T, of course, with its penchant for dropping calls. Ironically, however, we're fast approaching the time when users may care far more about PC-era issues like viruses and …
Matt Asay, 28 Oct 2011

Return of native: HTML5's enterprise battle

Consumer smartphone apps may get all the press, not to mention $15bn in market size by 2013, but enterprise smartphone apps may well prove to be the bigger market. This may be particularly true of HTML5 apps, which have been all the rage at Facebook, the Financial Times, and other consumer-facing app developers. The reason? …
Matt Asay, 26 Oct 2011
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Zuckerberg's HTML5 Trojan horse play

Apple has become the world's most valuable company by filling us with childish wonder at (and ravenous lust to buy) its Jesus phone, but Facebook seems sure to surpass Apple's $350bn-plus market cap by providing the social fabric for all internet traffic. But first the social giant needs to figure out mobile. And fast. It's not …
Matt Asay, 21 Oct 2011
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App Store groupthink is bad news for small devs

Two years ago The Register's Andrew Orlowski, writing for the New Statesman, poked crater-sized holes in the notion that "long tail" economics were good for musicians. In 2011, it's equally clear that the long tail* is bad business for app developers, brands, and, well, everyone. The internet has not diffused the ability to make …
Matt Asay, 18 Oct 2011
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Silicon Valley's social tech formula doesn't add up

In technology, as in other industries, only a few companies make it to the top. The rest get bought by the successful few, or go out of business. Unfortunately, the formula for tech seems to be a bit askew at the moment, with heavyweights Zynga and Groupon both on the ropes. If these supposedly successful companies can't buy the …
Matt Asay, 15 Oct 2011
Hadoop Elephant

Hadoop: A Linux even Microsoft likes

There was a time when Microsoft despised open source, because open source essentially meant "Linux," and Linux was a serious threat to Microsoft's operating system business. While that threat remains, open source has become such a big tent that Microsoft increasingly feels at home with a broad array of open-source projects. …
Matt Asay, 14 Oct 2011
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Pay Jobs due respect - by crushing the empire he created

In all the eulogies dedicated to the remarkable Steve Jobs, people seem to be overlooking his legacy: the push to "think different". Rather than buying into his declaration that we should not "waste [our lives] living someone else's life" – namely, his – we see far too many products that seek to ape Apple, not beat it. In his …
Matt Asay, 11 Oct 2011

Ellison's cloud conversion is good for business

For those agnostics who continue to doubt the reality of cloud adoption, there are two clear signs: the adoption of Amazon's public cloud and Larry Ellison's public cloud creation. The first is a sign of the appetite for cloud while the latter is a suggestion that even the cloud laggards have eventually found their way to their …
Matt Asay, 07 Oct 2011
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Why grill Google over web dominance? It has none

Google chairman Eric Schmidt was recently hauled before the US Senate to answer antitrust inquiries. After all, Google dominates the online search market, with 64.8 per cent of the market in August 2011, according to comScore (and much higher market share, according to Net MarketShare), and increasingly abuses that power to …
Matt Asay, 04 Oct 2011

Android's scariest nightmare: resurgently sexy Microsoft

Microsoft, lost in the mobile woods for so long, may have finally found a way back. Despite some problems, Microsoft seems to be on the right track with Windows 8 for tablets, not to mention the long-awaited Mango release for smartphones. But Microsoft's potential resurgence may have as much to do with Google's Android problems …
Matt Asay, 30 Sep 2011