Thursday, January 04, 2007

送禮給Bloggers等同行賄?

微軟(Microsoft)雖然是操作系統市場霸主,但不少Tech界中人對微軟非常敵視。而偏偏現時很多bloggers都是反微軟中堅,Windows Live的blog服務不會用,有些更是Linux或Mac的死硬派支持者,所以微軟一直嘗試可否打破blogger世界中反微軟的主流聲音。最近,微軟為幫Windows製造聲勢,送90部Acer手提電腦給願意在blog中介紹Windows Vista的bloggers。

這種送禮行為,過往時有聽聞,不過連blogger都用這招就第一次聽到。不過,有bloggers耀武揚威時,反微軟bloggers就反擊話微軟這種做法簡直是賄賂bloggers,是不道德的,叫那些接收禮物的bloggers退回電腦。如果微軟想送機給禤中怡,請捐給慈善機構,因為中環博客除了是blog,亦是報紙專欄。作為分析員就更加不應該收這些禮物,否則小則被證監同專業團體炮轟到體無完膚,大則被廉署請飲咖啡就無謂,禤中怡還想在中環行走。

禤中怡並非對微軟很反感,但收取電腦的bloggers,請在介紹Windows Vista時申報利益,講清楚是鱔稿,讀者睇評論時,自然會決定會否避之則吉。但老實講,微軟這樣徵求鱔blog,只會害了收受電腦的bloggers的公信力。但微軟既然不知blogger是甚麼文化,看來Windows Live的blog服務難受歡迎。記得在科網熱潮,網站為提高瀏覽量,竟傳出在內地請人上網瀏覽網站,藉此提高網站的估值,招數可謂層出不窮。今日潮流興寫blog,科網界中人又會否重施故技,自製名聲呢?

搜尋引擎熱未完
06年對Google的投資者來說,可能是失望的一年,因為股價於06年底為460.48美元,即全年增幅不過是11%的升幅,對比05年的爆炸性升勢,真的是小巫見大巫。不過,「搜尋引擎」這種網上服務卻依然是投資者趨之若鶩的主要風險投資項目。

近來在《紐約時報》看到一篇專題報道,提出類似Google的網上搜尋網站已包括Powerset、Hakia、ChaCha、Snap及Wikia Inc等等,部分還未面世,但已獲逾千萬美元的投資支持。據美國的全國創投組織統計顯示,原來自04年至今,已有逾79間新成立公司以網上搜尋業務為主,投資額高達3.5億美元(約27.3億港元)!

無疑今日要殺出一條血路並不易,他們的目標可能待略有所成後,被巨大的同業收購,達致雙贏,投資者可「骨水」、巨無霸網站則少了一個對手,畢竟用錢可解決的問題,巨無霸網站亦樂於用股市籌集到的資金去處理。不過,這種一味以「搜尋」作賣點的風險投資項目已欠缺新意,有投資界甚至以「世界末日」去形容賣點貧乏。更令人費解的是,原來這類搜尋網站在去年11月的統計顯示,沒有一個網站能夠取得超過1%的瀏覽量佔有率!

當然,有人看好,有人看淡,才是市場運作成功的模式。雖然90年代各投資者避免與微軟這個軟件巨無霸直接競爭,因為視窗系統已達到差不多接近壟斷地步,根本難以打破。但今日有投資者卻認為打破Google的壟斷(據Nielsen統計,Google處理美國一半的網上搜尋服務),或者瓜分些少佔有率就已經是不得了事情。

正如有矽谷虛擬行政總裁之稱的創投界猛人Randy Komisar所言:「從Google搶走生意好像是天方夜譚,但從另一方面看,如果說因Google如此強大,而認為市場不能再玩下去的話,其實就是無視科技發展的歷史」。

(1月4日刊於《am730》)

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