I have been with Forbes India since August 2008. I like writing about ideas, events and people at the intersection of business, society and technology. Prior, I was with Economic Times. I am based in Bangalore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
e-Commerce: Next 2 years
In 2000, just as dotcoms were beginning to fail one after another in the US, a website called f***edcompany.com proved to be a popular hangout for desperate investors, disgruntled employees and bettors with an inclination for schadenfreude (you earned points for predicting which dotcom will turn belly up next). It was started by a computer programmer Philip J Kaplan, who soon found himself to be a kind of internet folk hero. Rolling Stone, Time and Yahoo! named it the site of the year. Today, even though its homepage has a tombstone feel to it, these words give a sense of how it defined a certain phase of dotcom boom and bust over a decade ago: If you're just now seeing this website for the first time, ask someone who was in the internet business during "round 1" to tell you all about it.
India is not United States, and neither in the number nor in the range of companies, does today’s scene here resemble the earlier bubble in the US. The general feeling in the market is one of optimism. “It’s a growing sector; not, a bubble yet”. So, it was chastening to read these words from Deepak Gaur, MD of SAIF Partners in Business Standard. "There are over 50 e-commerce companies that have been funded in India. We expect this number will shrink significantly in the next 12-24 months. When the dust does finally settle, we expect there will be a handful of very large companies that will likely go public and demand strong valuations, given their leadership positions.”
What's your take? Which companies do you think will survive? Let us know.
PC Shipments down Not a very good news from Gartner this quarter. Indian desk-based and mobile PC market declined by 5.9% to 2.9 million units in the third quarter of 2012 over the third quarter of 2011. The share of consumers dropped to 47% this quarter from 55% same period last year. Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a press statement: “This emphasizes the fact that despite the festive season and availability of various end user schemes on PCs, the market was impacted by high inflation, global economic uncertainty and limited share of wallet as consumers preferred to spend on other consumer durables.”
This is how the market looks like:
Section 66A of IT Act
Mahesh Murthy, Principal/Founder at Passionfund captured the absurdity of Section 66A in a column in Hindustan Times. It “can jail you for three years if you post, and I quote, “information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character”. And the person who defines this offensiveness or menacing character? Not a judge or a magistrate, but anybody who feels so. A girl happens to mention on Facebook that one shouldn't shut down cities when politicians die. A Shiv Sena pramukh takes objection — he calls and threatens her, sends goons to break down her uncle’s hospital, complains to the local police — and they arrest her while letting the goons off. This is basically what it’s about. Using 66A to intimidate into silence.”
Pranesh Prakash, a policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society suggests (in Mint) fixing the IT Act and its rules. The first step would be to form a committee with “adequate representation from senior lawyers, Internet policy organizations, government and industry... to review and suggest revisions to the IT Act,” he says.
Tip of the day: Workflowy
If you haven’t tried Workflowy, you should. It’s probably the best tool I have come across to take notes, organize thoughts, make to do lists, collaborate, etc. It’s simple and flexible - lending itself to a range of uses. It works well on PCs, mobile and tablets. Try it.
Also of interest: