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Interview with Mike Elgan of The Raw Feed
Author: Tim Taylor

The Raw Feed (

Tim Interviews Mike Elgan:

Microsoft is trying to do a hostle take over of Yahoo and Google is having a fit over it. They know it will affect them greatly. What do you think about Microsoft taking over Yahoo?

It looks like the Yahoo board may reject it. So it is becoming very hostle. The other thing that is interesting about it is Microsoft’s interest in Yahoo seems to have driven their stock price up beyond the total offered by Microsoft. Microsoft seems to have made the company more valueable than the offer would represent.

Do you think the reason they are trying to get Yahoo is because of all the competition with Google?

No question about it. Microsoft has been trying to figure out how to monetize the internet since the 90’s and Google has done a great job with it’s advertising. It’s all about advertising and also market share for a variety of things, but the biggest thing that Microsoft wants is a much bigger share of advertising which Google gets through it’s Ad Cents Advertising Network. So that’s really what they are trying to do is Monetize that because they see the declining fortunes in main source of bread and butter which is Windows and Office. They need to replace that with where people are going which is online.

You can get Google’s Word Processor, Google’s Spreadsheet, Google’s Calendar all online.

You can and Google is also partnering with competitors so you can also get non online alternatives to office at a fraction of the cost or free through Google or Google’s Partners.

So that’s going to change the landscape for the next few years.

It absolutely will – the landscape is definitely going to change. The question is – which of the big companies can leverage the existing power influence and money and get in front of the parade.

That’s where it is going to be. I think it’s going to be interesting. I think it’s an online world. If you need a shared calendar you don’t have to have exchange anymore you can use Google shared calendar and that one is free. That’s going to be a big dent – but I still believe in Exchange. I think it’s a great email system and we put all of our customers on it that we can, but if you are a smaller office and you don’t want to buy a server or can’t afford one and you need a shared calendar between a few people in your office Google’s calendar online is pretty good.

I hear that all of the major cell phone vendors are working on, if they don’t already have, a direct synchronization with the cell phone calendar and Google calendar and other online calendars. Also, Plaxco which has all of your information that you have in Outlook they are going to be synchronizing with BlackBerry and iPhones. That’s where people live they live in their mobile device and they live online. A big blow to Outlook comes along and it’s either adapt or die.

Microsoft has not been really good with these portable devices. They are missing the market. The ones that are Microsoft enabled, they run on Microsoft Operating System, it syncs really well with my Exchange Server, but that is still not a Microsoft Product. The phone was made by someone else and they just haven’t made a really good dent there.

Yes. That is actually a real problem for them because while they are trying to people over to the Window’s mobile platform devices which are already smaller collectively than just the iPhone Platform by itself. Much smaller than the BlackBerry. Google is working on providing the same functionality for all phones. So really their ownership of an operating system used to give them a big advantage and now there ownership of an operating system is giving them a disadvantage. The game is really about satisfying all platforms.

Speaking of the cell phone I heard something about a custom cell phone that could be created. What do you think about that?

There are 2 companies that announced a variation on the theme of cell phone customization. What was interesting (I have a picture of it on my blog) It is a phone company called MoDu and the product is called MoDu. Basically what they have come up with is a modular cell phone concept. You get this really, really tiny cell phone. Smaller than, but thicker than a credit card and it’s a fully functional cell phone. Then you have these things called jackets and you put the little one inside the big one and now you have a fully functional GPS. You take it out and put it in another one and you have a cell phone with a full keyboard, you put it into another device and it becomes a laptop modem. The idea is that you have this modularity. The other company that I mentioned is called ZZZ Phone and they have a model that is like Dell. Where you build to order. You can customize it to your needs. It’s kind of an interesting model. I don’t think it will fly.

I can see the small one, Modu, and putting it into other devices to make those cell phone enabled, but it does get more complicated – where are all of my parts? I just want to carry around one thing.

Here’s my take on the Modu concept. You hear about the modularity, but I thought it through and really what is happening is that we think that is cool because we have accepted artificial limitations placed on us by cell phone carriers. We should be able to have 2 or 3 phones that are all part of the same wireless account and we can use all the same phone number. I would love to have a little phone that I can just carry around in my pocket, but then if I am going to be traveling – I am going to be sitting on an airplane and I want to watch a movie I will just grab my iPhone and have my calls go to that same phone. The technical reason why they can’t do that it is a lack of vision of the carriers. All this Modu phone really does is transfers your SIMS card (it transfers the information that the cell phone carriers uses to identify you – phone, name etc…) and puts it into a different phones. Why can’t you buy, instead of the one that Modu comes up with, any number of phones with the same number. I want a BlackBerry and an iPhone. I want the new Razor phone for some vacations and I want a waterproof rugged phone for when I go hiking.

Why not?

Yes. That’s where they need to go and they are not because they feel they can make more money selling you more phones.

I am old enough to remember when back in the 90’s, Broadband started to be provided by cable companies and DSL. And when we wanted a second PC on the network they wanted double. Eventually reality caught up with them and they said everybody has more than one PC in their house. We can’t do this anymore. That’s where the carriers are going to go.

What gets me is you get a new cell phone with a 2 year contract. At the end of the contract you want to replace the phone – the same phone. And they don’t sell it anymore. You have to get a new phone, a new contract, and the minute you change anything on your contract it extends it for another 2 years.

Small companies and even large companies would benefit greatly when they give their employees a company phone they could make sure it was secure and the information they accessed was secure. But people want to buy their own phone. From the employers perspective, it’s great because they can give everyone a cell phone. From an employees perspective, they may want an iPhone and they don’t want to carry around two phones. If all phone supported 2 or more SIM cards allowing you to have your work phone and personal cell phone as one phone.

That would be great you could have multiple numbers on the same device and it would flash up this is the number that is ringing in here.

Exactly, and that is really what people want. And all of these other Modular phones and all of this stuff is a way to get to the freedom of choice that we really want to enhance this. I would just like for the carriers to wake up and give this to us.

That is going to be the future – hopefully. I heard the other day that in IOWA there are more cell phone than land lines. Is that true?

It is true and it’s an interesting turn of events because that is usually a state of affairs that you see in 3rd world countries. They never got a change to build up their land line infrastructure and sting up wires all over their country like we have.

I went to Southern Africa last November and young African Men/Women were coming out of their mud huts with cell phone. They can’t put in all of the infrastructure and cable but they can put a tower in every 10 miles or so and get cell phone coverage.

Cell phone distribution is much easier than land line distribution. What is interesting about IOWA is that when cell phones first came out and people in rural areas will tell you that in the beginning they were kind of shunned by the cell phone carriers.

Another Article from THE RAW FEED (

Are cell phones our last hope for literacy. A book in Japan was published on a cell phone.

The number 5 print book in Japan was written on a cell phone by a high school girl. People were publishing serialized novels on their blogs in Japan. In Japan they figured out how to capture those blog posts and turn it into a novel that is still serialized, but delivered by cell phone. Of course, in Japan they are cell phone crazy because most of their commutes happen in very crowded trains. Unlike in the US where most of our commutes are in cars. They have a lot of time to kill and they don’t have any space. They don’t even have space to open a book.

So they are crammed together for about an hours ride and they can’t even open a magazine or newspaper so they just have their fingers on the phone.

So what happened was because so many people where reading these cell phone novels from blogs, kids, teenagers and young people started not only reading novels on trains, but writing them on their cell phone and these were published by the same company and some of them became mega hits. A million sellers on the phones. And the publisher said these are really good books – let’s go to the big sellers and offer them publishing deals.

My thumb would fall off if I tried to write a book on a phone. That is unbelievable.

Yes it is unbelievable and it could happen here.

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