More venture capital is flowing to India and China, in an obvious sign that Silicon Valley is no longer the only go-to spot for tech investing.
In the second quarter of 2008, venture firms invested $238 million in 17 deals in India, a 120 percent jump from the comparable period a year ago and the second-highest quarterly total on record, according to figures released Thursday from Dow Jones VentureSource. That growth was thanks largely to investments in advertising companies, including $70 million put into Laqshya Media of Mumbai, an outdoor ad company that runs digital ad networks. The amount of money put into deals was also up because of an increased number of later-stage funding to help companies get acquired or go public.
The deals, according to Jessica Canning, director of global research for Dow Jones VentureSource, highlight two growing trends within India: "One being a growing interest in advertising plays that capitalize on India's emerging infrastructure and growing Internet usage; the other being an increase in second-round deals."
Investments in China easily eclipsed those in India, but they're also on the rise. That's thanks partly to new China venture funds from U.S. firms including Accel Partners and Matrix Partners.
Last week, VentureSource reported that the amount of venture capital invested in companies in China grew by 85 percent in the first half of 2008, largely because of late-stage investments in Internet companies. Venture firms invested $2.15 billion in China-based companies in the first six months of the year, up from $1.16 billion in 2007.
The biggest deals came from Internet companies, including a $430 million investment in Oak Pacific Interactive, $57 million in Tudou.com, and $51 million in 51.com. Specific to information technology, venture firms invested $1.1 billion in 42 deals, up from $553.5 million in 60 deals a year ago.
Still, IT investing in India was down year over year, even though it was the sector drawing the second-highest number of deals. Venture firms put $33 million in three IT deals, a 55 percent drop from the quarter in the previous year. The overall median deal size of India-based companies has also dropped from $17 million in 2005 to $8 million in the first half of 2008.
"While the size of venture deals in the U.S., Europe, and even China continues to climb, venture capitalists have shown some restraint in terms of investments in India, due largely to the risk still associated with this emerging region," Canning said in a statement.
Jim, where are you when we need you ?
"Jim," of course, is Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat. The need? To get more enterprises contributing back to open source. Forrester has found that--Surprise! Surprise!--most enterprises consume open source but don't contribute back to it.
This isn't surprising, nor are the reasons and means of adoption:
"...pen source adoption initially focused on the operating system and Web server tiers of the application platform stack, but early success widened the focus to include development tools, infrastructure components such as application servers and databases, and higher-level components such as portal servers and content management systems."
Lower cost was the main driver for open source deployments with delegates questioned by Forrester highlighting that the cost-based business case was easier to show for lower-level commodity middleware components.
Cost is a primary driver of open-source adoption, and for good reason. For example, Activision recently noted in a Webinar that it had saved "tens of millions of dollars" by going with Alfresco for its Web content management needs, while simultaneously driving innovation and flexibility.
That's great. But there is still the ominous note in the article above that support alone doth not a billion-dollar software company make. What happens in subsequent years when the cost savings have been realized but the enterprise is self-sufficient?
Wild rejoicing in the street for the enterprise, no doubt, but also abject poverty in the vendor ranks ?
Clearly, there has to be a middle ground. We're inching our way there, slowly but surely. But we're not there yet.
In the meantime, I'm hoping that Jim can help enterprises to start contributing code to the commercial and organic open-source communities from which they derive benefit. It's not cash, but in some cases it's actually more valuable than cash.
It would be ideal to have both cash and code serving as the currency of exchange in the software economy. We've got a long way to go...
Finally, here's a Web 2.0 app that I like today: Vitalist . It's a to-do list manager. Yawn, you say? Not so fast. With such a simple concept, the story is purely in the implementation. And Vitalist does it right. It's simple to use, and it's fast. Most features are blindingly obvious. And it has a lightweight version for accessing your list from your mobile phone instead of your computer.
Organize tasks by project and location
What makes Vitalist work are the different ways you can organize tasks. Discrete items you need to get done are just entered as tasks. You can also associate tasks with projects, to group them together. And you can associate tasks with "contexts," such as "phone," or "home office," so when you sit down in one of these contexts, you can see all the items that you can get done there. You can drag tasks to projects and to contexts in some views, which is a neat trick for a Web service. You cannot, unfortunately, do so from the overview "dashboard" screen that shows you a list of all of your tasks.
The basic package is free. Paid versions add security and collaboration features. And yes, you could force Outlook to do everything Vitalist does. But it wouldn't be pretty.
Like the famous Franklin Covey system, Vitalist is based on an overall school of time management, in this case the Getting Things Done or " GTD " scheme, which is very big among techies right now. It's a solid system, and if it makes sense to you, you'll probably find Vitalist a useful Web-based implementation of it.
See more to-do list coverage on Webware . Also see another new task organizer, Nozbe .
IBM has complied with a January court order to share the source code underlying its two versions of Unix, AIX and Dynix, with its legal foe, the SCO Group. SCO's lawsuit accuses IBM of breaching its Unix license by transferring technology from proprietary Unix to open-source Linux, a claim IBM denies.
IBM confirmed in a Tuesday court filing that it released the code to SCO on March 18. More interesting than the source code release itself is IBM's description of how difficult it was to assemble all versions of both operating systems along with design documents and other material.
"Complying with the court's order involved more than 4,700 hours of work from more than 400 IBM employees. This does not include the time spent by IBM's counsel and consultants on this project, which was likewise considerable," IBM said. Big Blue gave SCO a server to scrutinize the 80GB information, but SCO still likely will have its hands full if it wants to read everything; IBM also scanned 900,000 pages of paper into electronic files on CD-ROM.
Every few months, I come across something on the Web that completely blows my mind. This morning, a friend of mine sent me a link to Nikon's Universcale Web app. It puts the entire universe into proportion, from the smallest particle to the largest measurements of space.
From the femtometer to the light year, Universcale spans 40 magnitudes of measurement into a single cosmic Web application. It's really amazing when you zoom all the way out into stars and galaxies and then realize that every time you go a magnitude higher, everything you saw before, from the flea to Mount Everest, is contained in this tiny little grid in the lower-left side of the screen. Of course, the Carl Sagan-should-be-narrating-this planetarium music helps.
If you have a few minutes and want to feel really, really small , check out Universcale . It will eat up your afternoon and enlighten you as to the true size and scope of the cosmos. Not bad for a Flash app.Topics: Science Tags: Nikon , universe , scale , whoa Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_crave854:http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9703575-1.html
"Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink..."
The blogosphere is again flooded with iTunes movie download innuendo.
According to both a Thursday article and Friday blog on Business Week's site, iTunes will announce in mid-September a plan to offer movie downloads.
Lions Gate and Walt Disney will be the first companies to feature their films on the site, and the movie downloads will be priced from $9.99 to $14.99, according to the Business Week report.
As you probably know, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs also happens to be a board member at Disney.
An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.
It doesn't take much to create a buzz in the blogosphere, as we all know, so you can imagine what happens when a veteran congressmen, a 16-year-old male page and a series of publicly posted e-mails are involved.
Florida Republican Mark Foley has submitted his resignation after the disclosure of five e-mails he had sent to the boy, who was 16 at the time he received them while working as a congressional page last year. The scandal alone offered plenty of headline fodder, but reaction intensified when the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics posted a PDF file of the e-mails .
Word apparently hasn't gotten to Capitol Hill that e-mails never die.
Blog community response:
"Now, Raw Story has the actual emails , and you know what? The kid had a right to be freaked out. Here's the creepiest email of them all : 'I just emailed Will ...he's such a nice guy...acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape...i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey now heading to the gym....whats school like for you this year?'" -- ReidBlog
"The email snippets show at worst bad judgment by Foley but remember we haven't seen the full emails. Like with the recently leaked NIE, a document or email can have parts of it used to paint a picture or draw almost any conclusion someone wants. In other words, without the full email, I wouldn't be passing any judgment." -- The Florida Masochist
"How many middle-aged men do you know that ask random 16-year-old kids what they want for their birthdays, and what 'stuff' they like to do?" -- Shakespeare's Sister