An interview with Genuitec CEO Maher Masri on the economy, IT tooling and what 2010 holds

What a difference a year makes. The fallout from the global meltdown in 2008 is giving way to cautious optimism for 2010. But, the many trials of 2009 were not surprising for Genuitec. After all, Genuitec can be considered the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to predicting global IT expenditures. Why? With a global presence and offerings of overwhelming value for incredibly low price points, it’s easy for us to see when companies are tightening their belts and/or reducing headcount. It gives us a crystal ball of sorts to see where the markets are leaning in the coming months, and we saw the financial meltdown coming. But, being self-funded without reliance on credit for operations, we’ve been able to continue to fund research and development of all our product lines; our mature MyEclipse IDE product, the growing Pulse life-cycle management system and MobiOne for enterprise mobile Web modernization.

Today, we share broad market optimism, as we can see clear signs of enterprise IT expenditure and headcount expansion in 2010.

On the growing mobile space...
One significant investment we made in 2009 was in the mobile space with the creation of the quickly-adopted MobiOne development tool for Web and hybrid mobile applications. What's interesting is that we are witnessing a paradigm shift, possibly the largest since the invention of the desktop computer. It's no longer a matter “if” but “when” the mobile shift will be felt by enterprises worldwide, and Genuitec is poised to provide the broader community with the development tools they will need to enable their mobile strategies.

Another fascinating thing about the emerging mobile development space is that for first time in IT, it's actually consumers who are driving demand. Historically, enterprises or the government innovate seeking competitive advantage and bully the IT market through standards. However, consumers are now demanding advancements in mobile technology driven through convenience and social phenomena– it's an upside down model that Genuitec is excited to see mature.

Since companies are not used to this model, there has been a decided lack of standards emerging for tooling, platforms, stores, etc. So far, this has equated to no clear “winners and losers” in the mobile space – just speculation on who will emerge.

There is no clear mobile tool vendor to standardize on, so the 900-lb IT gorillas stagnate in a “wait and see” mode to discover what standard emerges. As of now, both Google and Apple are doing everything in their powers to lead this market, but only time will tell if either can create the critical mass needed to drive standards.

On software provisioning...
Something that did surprise us in 2009 was the fast emergence of the software provisioning market. We of course have had software for two years in this market: Genuitec's Pulse. But, we are seeing organizations now start to consider the life cycle of their software lines; from conception to expiration and the all the management in between. This will become an increasing concern for companies seeking to reduce life cycle costs for software development, distribution and the increasing number of moving parts and dependencies.

Genuitec is uniquely positioned to provide inexpensive customer solutions in this space. Today, Genuitec is connecting our offerings that not only complement each other, but build off each other as well so that scalability, reliability and high performance functionality are hallmarks of our brands. Pulse has become the baseline for all of our products, lending an air of true enterprise inter-connectivity that is rapidly branching into management of all RCP applications – not just Eclipse tooling.

What's coming in 2010?
Standards will accelerate in the mobile Web development marketplace in 2010, making it possible for Enterprises to have a mobile presence. For the first time in more than a decade, the promise of write once and deploy on any platform (fixed or mobile) may be practically attainable in the mobile Web.

Also in 2010, social media will continue to grow. At its basic level, being constantly connected and over-stimulated takes our human inherent value-driven social comparison to new heights. It will continue to be hard to monetize social concepts (as Facebook has shown) outside traditional marketing. The indirect benefits, such as reach, leverage and influence will continue to fund these mediums. Will we see a subscription model for access or value-add? Time will tell.

Another item that we anticipate is the emergence of “micro-services” – a highly specialized use-model. There is a likelihood that mobile phones will enable the use of micro-services and micro-payment vehicles - like what is seen in Japan where they are used to paying for railway passes with mobile devices. The phone could easily become the credit card.

Companies to watch...
Some companies to watch next year are obvious, like Apple. Unfortunately for Apple, the very late NetPad has significantly diminished their momentum in the mobile market and has allowed Amazon, Sony and even Barnes & Noble a significant head start in the digital content market. Steve Jobs’ commitment to ship the tablet in January will be key for Apple's foothold. Apple, however, will continue to struggle with the cultural mismatch in trying to control all aspects of a customer experience while building a community around its products. It’s both an asset for the need to move fast and an Achilles’ heel when trying to scale beyond their traditional two to five percent market share. IBM paid a hefty price using the same tactics in the 1980s with their “micro-channel architecture” based personal computer.

Google will remain at the top of the food chain next year, as they have everything to gain and nothing to lose; the perfect predator. A continued Apple and Google alliance will serve both companies; Google with an unmatched ability to democratize content and Apple with the cool technology to showcase that information.

Microsoft's Bing merits some attention. But Microsoft will have to figure out a way to maintain information currency to emerge as the consumer choice. But, with the cultural environment being what it is, Microsoft might have an uphill battle given company historical perception.

IBM has yet to make an overt move in the mobile web market. Oracle’s commitment to continue investing into JavaFX doesn't have any visible artifact. Given these companies' acquisition history, both will likely take a “wait and see” attitude in the coming year for the emergence of a clear leader, then likely acquire it.

All in all, 2010 should be year where the markets show noticeable recovery and well-known technology companies push for standards in the area of mobile development. The market for integrated development environments will continue its slow move toward maturity with the possible emergence of new developer languages. As for the software provisioning space, this market will absolutely continue to grow as IBM pours more funding into marketing awareness with its Smarter Planet initiative; though Genuitec is already poised to be a winner in this space with our more mature and well-tested Pulse platform.

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Posted on Dec 31st 2009