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GoogleによるPyra買収についてDave Winerが2/23に書いたメモをご紹介したが、Daveは、2/28のBLOGWakeupの中で、

「I read comments from Jason Kottke and Martin Schwimmer yesterday that changed my thinking about Google.」
と書き、2/23のメモから考えが変わったということを表明した。 Kottkeのコメントは27日に出されたもので、Schwimmerのコメントは26日に出されたもの。とにかく話がBLOGの世界のことだけに、Bloggerたちが、この買収についてやたらに書きまくっているのだ。


「With their acquisition of Pyra and new Content-Targeted Advertising offering, it should be apparent that Google is not a search company. What they are exactly is unclear, but their biggest asset is: a highly annotated map of the web.」
つまり、Googleの本当の資産は「a highly annotated map of the web」であり、
「Google's money won't be made with search...that's small peanuts compared to selling access to the world's biggest, best, and most cleverly-utilized map of the web. And I have a feeling that they know this (Google is famously tight-lipped about what kind of company they are and how, exactly, they plan to make money), but they're just not letting on lest other people get ideas about trying to compete with them.」
「selling access to the world's biggest, best, and most cleverly-utilized map of the web」



Public nuisance」というRed Herringの最新コラムは現在のシリコンバレーを考えるのにいい教材である。ただ、この原稿の書き手ですら、問題の本質を鋭く読者に提示しきれていない。少し補助線を引きながら、本質を考えていこう。


「Call it the inversion phenomenon: an increasing number of private companies are being valued at higher multiples than their public counterparts. In some cases, the premium is solely by virtue of their private status. That once-coveted Nasdaq listing sure ain't what it used to be.」
「Mr. Haber has seen a number of mid- to late-stage private companies that are cash-flow positive being valued at revenue multiples twice that of their public counterparts.」


「Chip maker Foveon, which makes products for the digital-imaging industry, raised $41 million in April in a deal led by New Enterprise Associates. The resulting post-money valuation was $167 million.」
「In June, the blade-server company Egenera raised a $44 million round led by Crosslink Capital with a post-money value of $172 million.」
「The business process software maker Exigen raised $62 million in September, at a reported post-money value of $140 million. With revenue of some $50 million in 2002, venture investors like Lightspeed Venture Partners are valuing Exigen at four times the multiple of publicly traded Sapient (Nasdaq: SAPE). Sapient's market capitalization was a mere $238 million in January, despite trailing 12-month revenue of $204 million.」

シリコンバレーに詳しい人にとっては言わずもがなであるが、少し解説を加えれば、この企業価値というのは、投資家が勝手に算定して設定するものである。だ から、この$167mil, $172mil, $140milというのは、全部、投資家、つまりVCがそういう価値だと決めて投資したというだけのことに過ぎない。

「Obviously, some VCs think these private companies are worth the premium.」


ではその根拠は何か。VCの前提は、「しばらくは公開市場が戻らないが、大量の資金($41mil、$44mil、$60mil)を使いながら新事業を育てているうちに、投資先 ベンチャーは、累損は解消できなくてもキャッシュフローポジティブになるだろう。キャッシュフローポジティブになれば、いつまでも企業として存続しながら、ゆっくりとでも事業の価値を高めていくことができるだろう。そのうちに公開市場は必ず戻ってくるだろう。そのときにexitする」ということである。



ハードディスクのコストが1GBあたり1ドルを切った。ユーザにとっては素晴らしい話だが、ベンダーにとってはおそろしい話である。ダン・ギルモアの「Disk-drive capacity continues to grow」を読んでみよう。



「Digital movie cameras are starting to be equipped with hard disks, a natural step. Soon enough, though, all kinds of other things we use every day will make a record of what they're doing. That will raise some new questions. For example, what are the privacy implications of our automobiles keeping track of where we drive and at what speed, as the car makers, insurance industry and government snoops will surely wish?」
「The furor over digital copying is a direct outgrowth of storage improvements. Not until large numbers of songs and videos could be easily stored on personal hard disks did the music and movie industries get seriously worried about the networks that began to connect those disks. Without mass storage, Napster would have been much less relevant.」
IT産業におけるキラー・アプリケーションの問題(つまり需要創造の問題)と、プライバシーや著作権の問題は、不可分・表裏一体の問題になったということなのである。 本稿の最後でダンは、
「Gordon Bell, a computer industry legend, imagines wearable devices that hold everything we've ever seen, heard and said. I'm not crazy about that vision, but when disks hold a thousand times more than they do today, your entire life will fit -- plus more books, songs and movies than you could use in a thousand lifetimes.」
ということで、またぞろ、本欄で何度もご紹介したGordon Bellの「MyLifeBits」プロジェクト(関連blog1blog2) のことを書いてお茶を濁しているが、こういうビジョナリーがやっている将来プロジェクトがすぐにキラー・アプリケーションになるわけがなく、喫緊に迫った真の問題は、プロが作ったコンテンツとどう付き合うのかという問題なのである。そこにハリウッドとシリコンバレーの対立の構図がある。

そしてそれは先日ご紹介したWired誌の「The Civil War Inside Sony」が指摘した、ソニー内部の「Entertainment事業とElectronics事業の対立の構図」と同じなのである。


Googleに自社を売却したPyraのCEO、Evan Williams(通称EV)がやっているホームページがある。写真の感じからはものすごく若い。

廃刊になったIndustry Standard誌の2001年5月の記事によれば、Pyraもいっときはカネが続かなくなって、Bloggerコミュニティが$15,000出して支えてやった時期や、EV一人を残して社員が全員去らざるを得なかった厳しい時期もあったようだ。救ったのはTrellixのDan Brickmanとのこと。


「I'm a little busy right now, retooling for a different life. So I've taken the blog offline to clear my head.」


「So yes, I sold the company I've poured the last four years of my life into. Everything is suddenly different. Well, not as sudden as it seems. This has been in the works for almost four months. Much of it, in excruciating uncertainly. But now I can talk about it! That doesn't mean I know much. For example, about the question: What happens now? I'm going to work at Google, naturally, which is an awesome opportunity in itself. To go there with the rest of my team (Jason, Jason, Jason, Rudy, and Steve), and to continue working on Blogger, but to have access to these amazing resources (not just money, and servers, and bandwidth, and traffic, and the index, but incredible brains) is a dream scenario.」


  1. 利益をきちんと出しつつIPOを目前にし、
  2. なおかつIPO後の株高も期待でき、
  3. 世界最先端の技術開発をやっていて、
  4. 新市場創造によって「世界を変える」可能性を秘めていて、
  5. CEOと創業者を含むトップマネジメントを技術者として心から尊敬できる。
「To address a couple of things people are wondering: Yes, it is a "good thing." It wasn't a case of needing to sell, we were doing well and getting better. It was actually a difficult decision, given my fiercely independent nature and some of the exciting other options we were considering. Also, I'm usually skeptical of acquisitions. I was only convinced after brainstorming with our people and their people about why and how we could do much cooler things for our users and the web at an incredibly large scale by being part of Google. And, importantly, by the Googler's integral nature and becoming convinced that the view from the inside was as impressive (if not moreso) than from outside.」
「I'm commuting to another town for work, which I've never done. (I bought a car yesterday-something I haven't had in three years.)」
Pyraはサンフランシスコの会社でGoogleはマウンテンビュー(シリコンバレー)にあるから引越しする必要はないけれど、あまり給料もまともに払われない時期も含めてPyraに没頭していた彼は車も持っていなかったようで、昨日車を買って、初めて別の町の会社に通勤すると書いている。 こういうときには、素直に彼の新しい出発を祝福するのが、シリコンバレーの流儀である。


しかし、マイクロソフトがSECに提出したForm 10Q(2002年10-12月期)には、Open Sourceの脅威について明記されている(余談だが、このForm 10Qなどは、色々な意味でいい勉強になるので、興味のある会社を選んでときどき読んでみるといい)。少し長いがその部分を引用しておこう。

「Challenges to the Company’s Business Model. Since its inception, the Company’s business model has been based upon customers agreeing to pay a fee to license software developed and distributed by Microsoft. Under this commercial software development (“CSD”) model, software developers bear the costs of converting original ideas into software products through investments in research and development, offsetting these costs with the revenues received from the distribution of their products. The Company believes that the CSD model has had substantial benefits for users of software, allowing them to rely on the expertise of the Company and other software developers that have powerful incentives to develop innovative software that is useful, reliable and compatible with other software and hardware. In recent years, there has been a growing challenge to the CSD model, often referred to as the Open Source movement. Under the Open Source model, software is produced by global “communities” of programmers, and the resulting software and the intellectual property contained therein is licensed to end users at little or no cost. Nonetheless, the popularization of the Open Source movement continues to pose a significant challenge to the Company’s business model, including recent efforts by proponents of the Open Source model to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of Open Source software in their purchase and deployment of software products. To the extent the Open Source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the Company’s products may decline, the Company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline.」

このForm 10Qを提出した直後に、マイクロソフトは、Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs)と呼ばれる670人のDevelpoerたちをキャンパスに招いての集まりを開いた。

「The MVPs will be given unprecedented access to Microsoft product developers as well as key executives, including chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates, CEO Steve Ballmer, and Eric Rudder, who heads up Microsoft's developer division.」 「Gates Taking 'Pervasive' Linux Seriously」
Gates Taking 'Pervasive' Linux Seriouslyという記事によると、ゲイツは、この集まりでLinuxについてこんなスピーチを行ったらしい。
「"OS/2 for about six years was that. And it wasn't a joke; it was all of IBM that was 10 times the size of Microsoft putting all their energy, their leverage on ISVs, bundling it with their systems, everything they could do to beat Windows, and we as a company had to learn new things, do new things to respond to that competition," he said.
But Linux is an "unusual kind of competition because in a way it's out there and very pervasive. In a way, there's more incompatible versions of Linux than there are of all other operating systems put together. That is, as people do innovations on top of Linux, they don't all get tested together and they're not all consistent with each other," Gates told the MVPs.」
「"It's almost like a 747 where, yes, it's easy to do a wing, it's easy to do a tail, but to produce a wing and a tail that work together under all conditions, that's tough, and that's the position we're in," he said.」
「"So it's great. There's always been people who thought the Macintosh would take over, that Netscape would take over. Network computers, remember all those ads and those poor customers who bought those things? So we take it seriously. I'm not trying to make light of it. I never made light of OS/2," Gates said.」
ゲイツ節、健在である。外野から野次を飛ばしながら眺める対象としては面白いが、こういうところが、マイクロソフトが嫌われるゆえんでもある。 余談だが、このMVPに招かれることになったBloggerのひとりが、こんなことを書いている(自分ながら、こんなものまで読んでいて変だなぁ、と思うが・・・)。
「Microsoft is jealous (and scared of) of Slash Dot and Scripting News. I'm hearing that more and more. Next week Microsoft is going to make a full-court-press on its community leaders (Microsoft calls them MVPs). The top three execs at Microsoft will be presenting to the MVPs and many of the Vice Presidents there will too (on Monday, 10 or so MVPs and me are having dinner with the VP of the Windows Networking division). I was talking with someone who works closely with Microsoft on a variety of initiaties and he said "Microsoft wants to help webloggers and others build strong communities like Slashdot around their products." OK, I've started a few communities around Microsoft products (Train Simulator, NetMeeting, and .NET) and I've noticed that Microsoft-centric communities aren't getting strong for a few reasons:」
マイクロソフトが、強いユーザコミュニティであるSlashdotやScripting Newsに嫉妬して、同じようなものを作りたいと思っているらしいので、なぜマイクロソフト・セントリックなコミュニティが強くならないかを教えてやろう、という趣旨で、この文章に続いて、9項目の「ダメな理由」が書かれている。けっこう笑えるので、ぜひ読んでみてください。


米国Corporate IT市場でのもう一つの重要な潮流は、Linuxの大企業への爆発的普及である。僕は98年から99年にかけて、ずいぶんLinuxについて考え、その成果を文章にした。その一部は拙著「シリコンバレーは私をどう変えたか」の中に含めたが、このサイトのアーカイブの中にも、本には収録しなかった文章がいくつか残っている。



その結末を紹介している記事が、CIO Information Networkに掲載された。「Can You Make Money Selling Linux? Try $3.5 Billion」という記事である。この4年の間に、IBMとHPだけで、Linux関連ビジネスは、$3.5bilに達したという。この記事は分析的なものではないので、なぜHPのほうがIBMよりも売り上げが多いのだろうなどと悩まないほうがいい。違う前提で算出された数字をただ足し合わせるという安直な記事だが、まあとにかくCorporate IT市場にLinuxが爆発的に普及しているということだ。

そのあおりを食らったのがSunであろう。「Sun on Linux: What, me worry?」というCNET News.comの記事は、

「When Sun Microsystems got started in 1982, companies such as Wang and Data General dominated the hardware business. In less than a decade, this upstart Unix outfit was a billion-dollar-plus phenom while the once-mighty minicomputer makers had been consigned to irrelevance.」
という文章で始まっている。Sunが颯爽と登場した20年前に、一世を風靡していたのはミニコンのData GeneralとWangだったという導入部は、20年後の現在、Sunが逆の追われる立場になって風前の灯であることを示そうという意図だろう。

「Struggling to revive its moribund stock price (still just above $3 a share), the last thing Sun needs or wants right now is an even worse price war.
With prices on Linux-Intel systems falling, the pressure is on a "higher value" company like Sun to justify the higher prices it charges for systems comprising proprietary Unix operating systems on RISC processors. Corporate data managers are especially anxious about reducing hardware costs. What's more, they know the migration to Linux from an existing proprietary Unix platform reuses a lot of the existing code and skills.」


「The biggest strategic whiff of my career was when we organized the company back in the early '90s around the horizontal model and I had Sun Microelectronics to compete against Intel, SunSoft to compete against IBM, JavaSoft to compete against Microsoft, SunExpress to compete against Dell, SunService to compete against IBM Global Services. We're still undoing that. It really got us away from Sun Microsystems.」


三つ前のBLOGでは、Enterprise software市場を供給サイドから眺めてみたわけだが、米国大企業のIT投資という需要サイドから眺めてみても、IT産業がどうも大きな転換点に来ている兆しが感じられる。

まずはCNET News.comの「Rejecting hype, corporate customers are back in charge」という記事が包括的でよくまとまっている。ITバブルが弾けた後の厳しい調整の時代に、すべての米国大企業がIT投資を合理的に見直す作業を続けてきた。一言でまとめれば、

「The new pragmatism has reversed the dynamics that have governed much of the technology business for years, making this a true buyer's market.」

ひょっとすると主体性のない日本の官庁や大企業にはあてはまらないかもしれないが、少なくとも米国では、この世界にもついに「消費者 (IS部門) 天国・供給者 (ITベンダー) 地獄」の波が押し寄せそうである。


「"Chips have outstripped the ability of software makers," said Jay Williams, CTO, The Concours Group. "PCs are out with gigahertz chips--you don't need that much for an office product. It's hard to justify a 2GHz laptop."」

E-commerce Timesの「Surviving and Thriving on a Bare-Bones IT Budget」もあわせて読むと、買い手市場化が顕著であることがよくわかる。

「Last month, the doomsayers at Goldman Sachs projected a 1 percent decline in IT spending in 2003. This week, they released a new report projecting a 10 percent decline. Some tech spending items -- such as expensive networking and server computer purchases -- have almost completely fallen off the map.」

Google-Pyraの続き。昨日ご紹介したDave Winerのメモに加えて、Wiredの記事と、Always-onのメモを総合すると、Google-Pyraの背景や意義はだいたい把握できるだろう。

Wiredの記事が価値を持つのは、Pyraと一緒に仕事をした経験のあるDiesel Pointというサーチソフト会社のCEO、Chris Clevelandを取材し、その意見を直接引用しているからである。

「"We worked on this project for a couple of months and everything seemed to be going pretty well until about January when communication stopped," said Cleveland. "Now I know why." Cleveland said Google's acquisition of Pyra would, quite simply, help Google create a more accurate search engine by adding rich new sources of data gleaned from weblogs.」
「The PageRank system combines keyword searches with a method of ranking the popularity of a target Web page based on the number of inbound links from other highly ranked pages.
That's where Blogger comes in. Weblogs are a rich source of links, which are posted in a fast, timely manner. Not only that, many weblogs are readable in RSS, or rich site summary, a standard syndication format that is easily parsed and indexed by search engine spiders, the bots that search engines use to crawl and index the Web.」

また、Always-onのほうは、技術アナリスト・Azeem Azharが指摘するGoogle-Pyraの四つのポイントを掲げているが、その中の第二点が、Chrisの指摘とオーバーラップする。

「2. Better reputation management. One element of Google's relevance ranking is the PageRank system which uses inbound and outbound links to build up a representations of a specific web pages reputation or reliability. Blogs inherently carry rich linking information: the links are topical, created recently, created specifically for each post. This provides a wealth of data that Google could use to improve the relevancy of all the searches. 」
昨日のDave Winerの視点に、(1) Pyra買収の価値は確かにソースコードにあるが、それはGoogleのPageRank systemの性能をぐんと向上させるためにインテグレートされる、(2)そうなるとWinerが言う「企業顧客向け検索機能にBlog機能をバンドルして提供する」というのはやや狭い解釈だ、の二点を補足すればいいと思う。

なお、ちなみにGoogleのPageRankの詳細については、馬場肇さんが書かれた「Google の秘密 - PageRank 徹底解説」というサイトをご参照。本当に徹底的に詳しい説明を読むことができます。


「A Google representative said the company is not discussing its plans for Pyra's technology, but said some "exciting announcements" will happen in the coming weeks.」
と締めくくられているが、あとはGoogleからの「Exciting announcement」を楽しみに待つことにしよう。



ただ冷静にこの買収を分析すると、Dave Winerが書いたこのコメントにあるように、GoogleがPyraのソースコードを手っ取り早く入手し、企業顧客向け検索機能にBlog機能をバンドルして提供することで、この買収のすべてである、というのが、今のところの感覚としては正しそうな気がする。

Dave Winerは、PyraのCompetitorとも言うべきソフト会社の創業者で、つい最近退社し、アカデミックの世界に移ろうとしている人。本欄でも以前に少しご紹介 した。

「I am the majority shareholder in UserLand Software, which publishes two leading weblog authoring tools, Manila and Radio UserLand. I don't now work for UserLand, but I am obviously interested in its success.」
「I think I've seen this happen before, in the Mac software market, in the mid-80s. Charlie Jackson was the first to sell out, to Aldus, and then Microsoft bought PowerPoint, and then a flood of deals as the monsters of the IBM-compatible software market bought the boutiques of the Mac software market.」
「In a space of two or three months, less than 100 days, the market reshaped after a frenzy of buying. Nothing was ever the same in the Mac market.」
「In other ways, the Blogger-Google deal may signal a change possibly as deep as the personal computer revolution, where huge glass palaces controlled by technologists were routed around, by software and hardware that did the same thing, for a fraction of the cost. Today, the same software that Vignette sold a few years ago for millions of dollars, can be had for hundreds, and it's much easier to install and use.
So Google bought into this idea. Thanks Google, seriously.」


「Every so often a major company would come for a visit and ask "How much?" -- but the interest usually didn't seem to be that deep, and we never heard the question from Google, even though we know their investors and a few of the execs at Google. They bought Blogger, apparently, without talking to the field of competitors. Microsoft, for example, if they were buying into a new category, would surely negotiate with all the vendors in the space, if only to be sure they weren't paying too much, or overlooking an important competitive issue. Perhaps this is an indication that people are overestimating the importance of the deal to Google.」
「What did Google buy? Pyra claims to have over 1 million Blogger users, with 200,000 active users. But Google didn't buy their content, because Pyra doesn't own it, the users do. They didn't buy access to the content because they already had it.」
「Blogger is not open source, in fact ordinary people can't even purchase a binary license, so there's probably the reason they did the deal -- to get the source for Blogger, which is now written in Java, and to license it to their corporate users, along with the Google search appliance, which goes for about $25K per box. If this is true, then you will be able to add, say, $1K to the price of the box and get a copy of Blogger along with the search engine, allowing people to create weblogs on a local network. This is very important for business use of weblogs, which is growing now at a fast clip.」

Enterprise Software市場の今後のconsolidationについて、このTheStreet.comの記事は、たくさんの会社の名前が全部いっぺんに出てきて、包括的にいろいろと考えるのに便利である。各社のリンクをたどっていけば、各社の時価総額などかなり詳しい企業情報を知ることができる。

「With tech multiples drifting south and enterprise software vendors hoping to woo IT managers with more comprehensive offerings, analysts are expecting a new wave of consolidation to ripple through the industry.」
というのが大きなトレンドであるが、この背景には、IBM、Microsoft、Oracleといった買収サイドの「勝ち組」企業の財務状況がものすごくいいということが背 景にある。
「IBM spent $2.1 billion to buy Rational Software late last year, its largest acquisition since purchasing Lotus Development in 1995.」
「And Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, whose company generally prefers to build its own technology, raised eyebrows last month when he said, "At the right price, we would buy BEA."」
ひょっとするとシスコも、Enterprise Software市場に買収を通して参入するのではないかといった意見もある。いずれにせよ、大きな業界再編によって「勝ち 組」企業に、さまざまなソフトウェア機能が集約されていくプロセスにあるのであろう。 ただ一方、「Enterprise online service」を標榜して業界構造の破壊を目論むSalesforce.comのCEO、Marc Benioffは、AlwaysOnで、
「Our industry has seen several shifts from the days of mainframe application software (Cullinet, MSA, Ross, ASK, and McCormack and Dodge) to the current crop of client/server software (Oracle, Peoplesoft, SAP, and Siebel). It is time for "The end of Software," and we believe it our responsibility as leaders in this new industry to manifest this new age of enterprise online services, and to provide the inspiration to the companies that are coming forward to deliver them.」

Marcは、Enterprise Softwareは終わりに近づいている古い産業だからこそconsolidationが起こって当然だ、そう思っていることだろう。

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