Can Walmart and Microsoft Challenge Amazon? — Futurum Tech Podcast Episode 001

On this edition of the Futurum Tech Podcast, our lead story, Microsoft, Walmart, and their new partnership up against Amazon. Plus, Elon Musk, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and a crystal ball look into the future of Uber. All this in today’s show.

Our Main Dive

Microsoft and Walmart revealed that they’re creating a partnership that will allow the two to become pretty competitive in the retail and tech space. Basically, Microsoft will be letting Walmart use its cloud services for the next five years, with Microsoft 365 and Azure being a few examples of tools the retail company can use. So should Amazon be concerned about this new and improved competitor?

First, what exactly does Microsoft have to offer Walmart when it comes to improving their retail results? Well, a lot, as it turns out. Everything from BI tools to data analytics, which can come together to help Walmart really excel in retail, especially online—possibly even more than Amazon. But it’s going to take Microsoft being really involved with Walmart to make any sort of difference in the way the retail giant is perceived.

Bottom line: Our concern is whether Walmart and Microsoft can seamlessly integrate with each other—enough to outdo Amazon when it comes to relevance in the online sales space. If Walmart can let Microsoft be involved enough to assimilate with the brand, maybe the retail company can come out on top. You can read more about our thoughts on this in Daniel Newman’s latest article.

Our Fast Five

We dig into this week’s interesting and noteworthy news:

  • IBM has had an awesome year, with three consecutive quarters of growth. After analysts thought they’d be at $19.85 billion, IBM came in at $20 billion. That’s pretty impressive considering that some had said the company would never see that kind of growth again.
  • Project Loon just signed a deal to provide Internet to Kenya via floating balloons. Basically, in this project by Google, Telkom Kenya provides the signals, and the balloons amplify them to specified areas.
  • More bad news for Facebook: It seems Russians got their hands on the Facebook data collected by Cambridge Analytica. This, combined with how slow Mark Zuckerberg has been to shut down pages featuring hate speech, doesn’t look good for Facebook.
  • The EU isn’t shy about fining tech companies for antitrust violations. This week, it issued a $5 billion fine to Google for tying Chrome and search applications to Android.
  • Uber hired a new Chief Privacy Officer, Ruby Zefo, formerly of Intel. The company also hired its first Data Protection Officer, Simon Hania, formerly of TomTom. It seems like Uber is headed in a more user-friendly, calm direction than before, which is a change.

Tech Bites

For this week’s “tech that bites” award, let’s talk about Elon Musk. We love him for his work on Tesla, space exploration, and more. But we’re concerned. He’s made some off-putting comments in the last year—with the latest being about one of the divers in the Thai rescue efforts recently. It seems like his brain-to-mouth filter is broken. Despite the number of odd things he’s said lately, we’re really not sure if this will affect his reputation long term.

Crystal Ball: Future-um Predictions and Guesses

Now for our crystal ball prediction! It’s all about Uber this time. We all know Uber as the service that came crashing through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man, mainly there to disrupt the status quo. But Uber might have worn out its welcome, especially among drivers who are making less money than they once did, as well as among some city leaders who are trying to put up red tape to stop the service in its tracks. We think Uber’s days may be numbered. After all, the company has been losing money like crazy, and the whole model is easy to replicate, so it’s not like it’s one of a kind anymore. So we’re predicting Uber fades away at some point in the future. And there you have it, this week’s Futurum Tech Podcast.

Transcript:

Daniel Newman: Welcome to the Futurum Tech Podcast. I’m Daniel Newman, your host today, here with Fred McClimans and Olivier Blanchard, Futurum Research Senior Analysts bringing you all the best in technology. But today’s big topic for the Futurum Tech Podcast is this new deal with Microsoft and Walmart, and can they compete with Amazon? Then later, we’re going to talk about tech bites, a little bit about Elon Musk. Five interesting tech bits in our Fast Five section, and in the end, we’re going to get into a little bit of Uber, but let’s get this show started. Fred, Olivier, how are we doing today?

Olivier Blanchard: Good.

Fred McClimans: We’re doing great. A beautiful day here in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. You guys are … We’re all on the East Coast today. I’m here in New York City. You guys are there on the, a little bit further south, a little bit warmer weather, but it’s actually pretty warm up here if you’re sitting out in the sun. But speaking of getting hot, data analytics is getting hot, and the partnership between Microsoft and Walmart heated up this week, some really big announcements about how Microsoft and Walmart are going to work together. Analytics and business intelligence, gaining additional consumer insight with the idea that Walmart can really make a dent into what Amazon has been able to accomplish, both as an eCommerce company and as a retail company. Olivier, I’m sure you’ve got some opinion on this. What do you think about this move?

Olivier Blanchard: Oh, I think it’s genius. I just, it’s strange, because the two companies don’t seem like natural fits. Right? You have Walmart, which has this image of being kind of like this, even though it’s a very strong online retailer, is typically perceived as more of an analog company. Right? It’s like physical retail, and at the low end of the quality and price point spectrum. Then you have Microsoft, which is obviously a top tech company that’s very innovative. Even though Walmart has actually been very innovative in tech, it’s a marriage that seems really kind of strange of this kind of like old-world retail versus high-tech. I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s genius, and I think that both companies can really score points if this relationship holds. My concern is from a perspective of culture and integration. Can Microsoft and Walmart really integrate and cooperate in a way that’s fluid enough to be able to compete with Amazon’s amazing efficiency?

Daniel Newman: Yeah, and they have all the efficiency in-house. Fred, let me ask you, so there’s so much technology potential, and my gut instinct is, Microsoft has been on fire, and Sanjay can do no wrong. The company’s value has doubled in the past five years since he’s taken over, but can two companies, can a collaboration between two companies really lead to meaningful market disruption for a company like Amazon that seems, no matter what they do wrong, can’t really do any wrong?

Fred McClimans: If you look at the situation there at Walmart, you’re right. They are on fire. Their CEO is more than just a CEO right now. He is what I would categorize as a brand steward. He really knows what he’s doing with the company from a marketing perspective, from an operational perspective, and from a technology perspective, and the growth there, it’s been really exciting to watch, but looking at this deal, Amazon versus Microsoft and Walmart, let’s call it Walsoft, for lack of a better phrase here, it’s important to recognize and remember that Amazon, yes, they are the eCommerce darling. It’s hard to find a situation where they do a lot, as you said, that people would perceive as being wrong. That said, Walmart is still three times the size of Amazon’s business. I mean, including everything, including their cloud business and all, and that’s a big deal.

Amazon is a leader in a lot of ways, and they get the flash, but I think it’s important that we don’t underestimate the deals that Walmart is already into. The pull that they have into the online world, they are doing a lot of business in that space, and they’re copying and learning, I think, from Amazon. I think there’s more parity there than people expect, and remember too, one of the big appeals of Amazon is that Jeff Bezos has run that as a very profitable business, but where does that profit come from? It doesn’t come from online retail. It comes from AWS. AWS is a small percentage of the total revenue of Amazon, but it is an overwhelming majority, I think something in the 80%-plus range, of Amazon’s earnings. Keeping that in context there, I think they’re more alike than we would think.

From a tech perspective, there’s a lot that Microsoft can offer to Amazon in terms of their data analytics and their insights, their BI tools, that can really help them with the business, but at this point, I don’t see much there that really says, “Yes, Amazon has a threat from Walmart and Microsoft, because the two companies are going to intrinsically link their tech platforms together.” I just didn’t see that in the announcement. I may have missed it there, but at this point, unless they really get super close and super innovative together, I don’t think that this should be much of a threat to Walmart or to Amazon.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. If I had to give some advice to Walmart, because I actually think, in my suggestion, I wrote an article about this, and I’ll include it in the show notes, is, the more Microsoft is involved, the better this deal will work. Meaning, if this is kind of more of a announcement for the sake of putting out a press release of two really big companies working together, which happens every minute of every day, especially when it comes between tech companies and commerce companies, then this will be blown over, and in six months, we’ll have forgotten that we even did this show.

If Microsoft truly assimilates into the culture, as Olivier said, of Walmart and starts to put some of the values that they have of being analytics cultures to renew Walmart, who was the original analytics culture, who was the original company who understood how to look, and operationalize, and use data for every single decision, but has not been able to successfully do it in the modern age of eCommerce. If you remember, Walmart bought Jet several years back. Jet was a pretty large player in eCommerce. The idea was, they were going to make a run at Walmart, or I’m sorry, at Amazon. Didn’t happen, and so my speculation is, as a whole, Walmart needs to become relevant, can become relevant, but they need to truly allow Microsoft to be part of this.

I’ll just add one other thought here. If I was Walmart, I would really sort of take the future-proof mentality, and Olivier and I have written that book, a little plug on that, but the future-proof mentality is, the competition isn’t Amazon. The competition needs to be themselves. You said it very well, Fred. As an equities analyst, you looked at the numbers. The numbers of Walmart are very impressive. However, however, when it’s come to this space, they’ve failed over and over again in really making a run. I will say, if Walmart just focuses on creating the best experience they can create and they just focus on truly using technology to drive the future of experiences online, they can make a pretty big dent.

Fred McClimans: I think it’s important, too, that when we look at the battlefield where Amazon and Walmart are competing today, there are other battlefields that are emerging. A couple of weeks ago, there were some rumors leaking out that Microsoft was working on a competitor to Amazon Go. That, to me, is probably more exciting to kind of track under the radar, because the future of eCommerce, we pretty much know what that is. We know there’s going to be a lot of VR involved. We know that there’s a lot of data analytics involved, but what about the in-store experience, where Walmart really has a massive edge over Amazon? Amazon’s just trying to get more distribution centers, more points of presence. Walmart has that, a ton of it.

Daniel Newman: I think you’re definitely there. Yeah, I want to shift on to something. I want to go into our second, the second part of our show here. Olivier, if anybody follows or has built a relationship with you in the digital space, they will know you do not hold back when it comes to your opinions on politics, on poor leadership in business, ethics, and bicycling. Those are the four areas where you can be certain, if you’re connected with Olivier online, you’re going to get the entire scoop. Elon Musk, he’s kind of like a cult hero. In our books, we’ve talked about Tesla a lot, and in our future-proof versus future-poof list, Tesla, Elon, has been on that left side, on the, we call it, his business and his abilities, future-proof.

Over the last year, he’s shown a short fuse. He’s shown that he can be a little bit impatient with negative press, and he’s maybe gone off the deep end a little bit, this past week, made some really extraordinary comments about the situation in Thailand, and he offered a suggestion that may or may not have any merit at all. Talk a little bit about what’s going on with Elon and why Elon Musk earned the headline of our Tech Bites column.

Olivier Blanchard: Wow. Okay, well, as you said, I’m both a fan of what Elon Musk has managed to accomplish so far, and perhaps even more of a fan of what is yet to come, potentially, from a guy who seems to, even if he is technically a genius, has the ability to harness really great ideas and turn them into a reality. There are a lot of different ways. I mean, it’s not just Tesla. It’s just, it’s space exploration. It’s just innovation in general. The guy is brilliant in the way that he edits technology, innovation, and business, and puts it all together, and finds financing for it, and makes it happen. Having said that, the problem with some of the civilization’s greatest minds is that there’s a flip side to that. On the one hand, you have somebody who is extremely good at doing certain things, and then extremely poor at managing other aspects of their personality, or image, or brain-to-mouth filter. We see with a lot of very high-level thought leaders and movers and shakers that there’s often an ego issue, or there’s an emotional issue that they can’t really relate to the rest of humanity in the way that you and I do. Sometimes they get in trouble because they say things that they might not otherwise say if they were one of us, say, a common mortal.

Yeah, the Thai rescue of those children who were stuck in the flooding caves in Thailand, on the one hand, gave Elon Musk an opportunity to kind of promote this propensity for innovation, and quick thinking, and really cool solutions when he proposed this kind of individual submarine rescue device that looked like a giant cigar tube which he proposed he could build and send to Thailand in very quick time to help rescue these kids.

Evidently, the rescuers on site were basically saying, “No. No, thanks. We don’t think that’s going to work, and we’ve got this handled.” I guess he got personally offended by this, and whether it was a genuine attempt to save those kids or a publicity stunt for himself, or some measure of both, unfortunately where a more emotionally mature leader would have taken a step back and said, “Look, we’re developing this, we can ship it over, use it if you need, don’t use it if you don’t,” he started taking it personally.

He got into this escalating Twitter war between rescuers and himself where he ended up denigrating one of the rescuers and calling him a pedo, or something, which was kind of a gasp moment of, “No, you didn’t just say that.” It revealed, I think, a crack in his personality, a deep flaw that should be of concern to investors, to fans, to even just watchers of innovation and what Elon Musk does that we should pay attention to. It’s a flaw that we’ve seen in other leaders, like even Steve Jobs, that they sometimes have a temper, that they sometimes have an ego that doesn’t really match their actual ability, and a propensity to kind of get in their own way.

That’s not a quality that’s good for a leader to have. A leader needs to know when to shut up and needs to know when to get out of the way and let other people do what they’re good at. Elon Musk demonstrated in the last week that he doesn’t necessarily have that ability, he doesn’t necessarily have the cool head that we need in a leader, and that although he may be a great mover and shaker, he might not be the best person to lead a company or several companies towards success ultimately, and that’s the question.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, and that was more info than I think than most could have consumed on this topic, even by reading about it. But let’s just say that was a rant and a tirade that Musk went on on Twitter that we would liken to things that President Trump is doing today that people just blast. It’s a really interesting question.

Fred, I’m going to ask you this. Can Musk regain his reputation as this game-changing innovator? Can he overcome it? Or has he bit his own hand off one too many times? I just want to put a little context around this, Fred, before you answer. Tesla’s not doing so great right now. I mean, they’re having production problems. Their gigafactories are behind schedule.

I believe Consumer Reports just rated the Tesla 3 a “don’t buy,” which you really have to make a real stinker for them to tell people not to buy it, and especially on the heels of the S Model being a highly recommended car. The 3, which is their production model, the one that’s supposed to sell huge volumes, is not even being recommended by probably the most popular recommendation engine on the planet for people deciding on which car to buy.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. That kind of points out or leads to a bit of a discussion around the difference between a tech innovator and somebody who can operationally really focus and grow a business over time. With Musk, you’re right, with the Tesla he’s been taking a lot of heat. They had some production delays in the factory. He’s trying to fix those things. He’s trying to work through all that, but the criticism did not sit well with him at all, and now the Tesla 3, the reports are … In fact, there was an interesting one I read where they were really critical of one thing that stood out in the new 3, and that was bigger gaps between the components in the outer material, door gaps larger than they should be for an exotic luxury.

I think perhaps there’s a little bit of a perception issue at play here, in that the 3, it’s not in that upper high-end category. This is a car that is designed for mass production. It’s a car that generates, if we can believe the reports that are coming out now, about 30% gross margin, which in the automotive industry is phenomenal. Nobody has that in the typical EV marketplace. He’s doing a lot of positive things here, but the character flaw issue is one where you can go from being sort of that crazy entrepreneurial guy to being the insane mad scientist really fast.

Musk’s criticism of the team in Thailand, that was clearly over the top. I mean, you can look at it and say, “Well, Musk was dealing with a higher-up group there, not the actual rescuers, and he had this perception, and they had the other perception.” At the end of the day, though, there has to be a moment where a good executive, a good leader, as Olivier put it, just shuts the hell up. You don’t need to engage in these kinds of petty battles. That’s a big issue there.
I don’t think that his ability to be viewed as a tech pioneer is in question. What he’s done already to date has been just far greater than anybody ever expected. Interestingly, I think sort of his rival there, Bezos from Amazon, who’s now landing his own spaceships upright, it’s sort of a good rivalry there. I think there’s a role for him to continue to play. But at a certain point, people, I think, are going to start to reasonably say, “Look, Elon, great job. You got it going. But now let’s really make sure that you’ve got the operational team behind you that can execute” on all of these things that he’s trying to get up and running.

Daniel Newman: Yeah.

Olivier Blanchard: Just one thing quickly. The temperament issue is you have a guy who has a lot of great ideas, but I think he might have spread himself too thin. He’s working on so many different super-cool projects that are kind of Tony Stark-like in their goals, and the fact that he’s not really able to deliver on Tesla, which is a pretty big one, and the fact that he has time to get into these weird arguments with rescuers that get him to hot water just suggests to me that he’s not really vested in his very ambitious projects, of which he may have too many, and the quality control of the project that he is involved with is starting to slip. There’s a lack of focus there that I find concerning.

Daniel Newman: One word, guys, yes or no, is this going to hurt his long-term reputation? One word. Olivier?

Olivier Blanchard: Yes.

Daniel Newman: Fred?

Fred McClimans: No.

Daniel Newman: Oh, man. We’re going to have to have a whole show to cover this later. Guys, I had to make sure you only had one word, though, because I’ve got to get this thing back on track. We are over to our Fast Five section right now, and I’m going to kick it off. We’re going to go around the horn. We’ve got some interesting tech bits and bytes, not in the way that Elon bites, but in the little bytes and bits of tech that we want to make sure everybody that’s following our show has a chance to hear about.

I’m going to start. IBM. Three quarters, guys, three quarters in a row of growth, after a five-year fall from grace. The company had beat the street by four cents a share, showing $3.08. They beat revenue. The analysts showed them in at 19.85 billion. Came in at 20. Like I said, after a lot of people had really said they may never grow again, finally the work of Ginni Rometty and the team at IBM is turning a corner.

Just as a note, from what I’ve read, parts of the mainframe business, which is a big profit center for IBM, have not been fully calculated into these numbers, which mean the numbers were probably even better. That’s mine. Fred, that’s mine. Olivier, what’s your bite?

Olivier Blanchard: Well, I kind of wanted to talk about Loon real quick. Google has this project called Loon, and it’s basically internet balloons. They fly at 60,000 feet and broadcast internet to the good people below. It’s been kind of a long project in development. It’s really interesting. The balloons kind of self-navigate currents. To me, the tech about this is the most interesting part. These balloons don’t really have strong propulsion systems, but they can analyze and basically collect information on air currents and kind of rise or drop a little bit in order to catch those, so they can kind of stay in the same general area.

Well, anyway, Loon just signed a contract with Telkom Kenya to start delivering internet to central Kenya using these balloons starting next year. We’re going from theory and kind of cool project to a actual product.

Daniel Newman: Fred, what have you got?

Fred McClimans: I’m going to change it up here a little bit. There’s a lot going on, and if we’re really going to talk about tech bytes and use the bytes phrase appropriately here, I’d kind of like to toss this one over to Zuckerberg and Facebook. This has been sort of an ongoing saga with Facebook. The most recent disclosure that it appears, according to an MP over in the UK that Russians accessed Facebook data that was being housed by Cambridge Analytica. I can’t possibly think of a worse bit of news to come out for Facebook right now. I mean, push everything aside in terms of Facebook’s revenue growth, all their various projects. I am curious, Olivier, I’m going to have to check and see what happened to Facebook’s project to put drones with wifi around the world. But there’s something that is just seriously flawed right now in Facebook. Looking at the present state, in fact there was an … I’m sorry, there was another thing that Zuckerberg did just this week when they were talking about censorship. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter spent a day testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, which was interesting in and of its own right, but one of the things that came out right around that time was a question about why Facebook was censoring or shutting down certain sites.

It turns out that they have a three-strike policy in place, where you get three chances to correct your data. Third strike, and Facebook will shut down your page, and a whole group of interesting rules and regulations and policies that they work through on that, but after they explain all of that, you get a quote from Zuckerberg out there in response to why he doesn’t shut down Holocaust deniers. It’s essentially saying, well, you know, I think some of them, they’re not doing it intentionally, they’re just misinformed. As an excuse for why you don’t shut down a hate site or a Holocaust denier site, that’s just at the bottom of the barrel. I’m not sure what he was thinking at that point, but he wins my Tech Bites award of the week.

Daniel Newman: I guess that’s when the fast five meets the Tech Bites, Fred, and you get to go on a little tirade. You get to go a little longer, because you’re biting and going fast all at one time, but yeah, let’s say, “Zuckerberg, you can do better.”

For number four, I’m going to go quick, but I’ve got to say, the EU is on a rampage. This week, $5 billion fine, the European Commission. To me, it’s a witch hunt. I’m not saying they’re outside of their means or rights, because to some extent I think they are actually attacking real issues of tech companies taking advantage of all kinds of rules and loopholes, but this time it is for forced bundling of Google’s search apps on certain mobile devices from certain manufacturers. Five billion seems like an extraordinary fine.

It will really be interesting to see just how quickly Google responds, reacts, and pays these things, but the hit list from the EU has been large. The Googles, Amazons, Qualcomms, Intels, Microsofts, everybody’s in play, and it seems like any time they need to raise a little bit of cash for the kitty, they go after the next company. And these fines don’t come in small. These are huge. It was a record-breaker here, of 4.3 billion to be exact.

Olivier Blanchard: By the way, I published an article about this that goes a little bit more in depth on the future and insights blog, so for our listeners, if you want to dig a little bit more into it, there’s really good information there. The one thing I would add to that is that the … do you guys know what the record for … the previous record for fine by the EU commission was before this week?

Fred McClimans: I’m dying to know.

Olivier Blanchard: It was 2.7 billion, as opposed to 5 billion and the company that lost was also Google and it was exactly 13 months ago for a case in which Google, as you may recall, was favoring its own stores over some of the competition. So that was another anti-trust case against Google.

Fred McClimans: Well, add another one to their record books.

Olivier Blanchard: That’s right. Third time-

Daniel Newman: Who wants to take me home with a … who wants to take us home on Fast Five with a fifth of our Fast Five?

Fred McClimans: Sure, fire away.

Olivier Blanchard: Oh, well … I guess … let’s see, we could talk about Microsoft. It’s a very, very quick one. Microsoft, as you know, is getting involved in or has been involved in IoT support and IoT services and we finally got a glimpse of the Windows 10 IoT core services pricing this week, which isn’t definite, but it seems to be what we’re looking at. And that would be a price of 30 cents per device per month. Which there’s not much of a frame of reference there, but that’s relatively more expensive than people expected. I think they’re starting out as introductory pricing with 15 cents per device per month, it’s going to jump to 30 cents per device per month. So on the one hand, that tells me that Microsoft is very confident in the robustness of its service offering. The question is will the price make people think twice about it?

Daniel Newman: Yeah, that’s a really interesting one.

All right. So we’re on to our final segment here and we just have a few minutes to go, and it actually came, really, full circle here. I want to talk about Uber. So, Uber hires a Chief Strategy Officer. Uber just 12, 18 months ago was dealing with the fallout of Travis Kalanick. Uber, perhaps, went from one of the darlings of Wall Street and the Silicon Valley to maybe one of the most scorned, negatively boasted companies on the planet.

You know we talked about Musk, we talked about these challenges. Olivier, does this move mean anything?

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, it does. So on the one hand, you have Uber definitely taking a completely different tact in the last year with the new CEO, with a lot of announcements that they were going to change their ways, a much less aggressive stance towards regulation and just kind of being disruptive. Now they’re playing nice, they’re trying to be a good company, they’re cleaning up their act. What we learned today is that Uber has hired a Chief Privacy Officer, Ruby Zefo, and also a Data Protection Officer, Simon, I’m going to butcher the name, Hania or Hania.

So Ruby was formerly at Intel and was also formerly on the board of directors for the International Association of Privacy Professionals, so a lot of firepower there. And then Simon was with TomTom in a similar role. So what we’re seeing is on the one hand, on the PR side, this kind of shifting of the company towards a more user friendly, responsible, like good rather than bad company. On the other hand, this is also the result of the EU’s new data protection laws. It’s not necessarily something that would have happened as quickly as it did or the way that it did, had the GDPR laws in Europe not been kind of thrown at companies like Uber.

So, there’s a little bit of both there. I think what happened with Uber is they saw an opportunity to take something that they were required to do anyway and turn it into a PR win that fits really well within the scope of their new direction.

Daniel Newman: So Fred, we are in the crystal ball here. What’s next for Uber? Give it to me in 90 seconds.

Fred McClimans: Well, you know, I think Uber would love to think differently, to borrow an old Apple phrase and kind of create a new perception of themselves in the industry. The reality, however, is that while Uber might be thinking of themselves in a different light, nobody else is. I’ve got to be honest, as much as I love and use the Uber service, I have some fundamental questions, just about the business model in general.

I think that the privacy issues that we see here kind of come out of that same basic culture that Uber has. It’s pretty much a go into the marketplace, disrupt, use what resources we can to grow the business and if those resources are tech, or if those resources are drivers that may not quite make as much money as they thought they might, that’s fine by Uber. Realistically, I’m still not optimistic long term on Uber simply because their model is so easy to replicate.

The pace of tech evolution is so fast, they have competitors in global markets, they have cities, major cities that are trying to wind down their operations. You know, yep good idea, the execution and I think the hype probably got far, far ahead of Uber anywhere than it should have. So, long term, yeah the company’s not going to fade out of the universe here, but long term I don’t think they have anywhere near the star potential that they once had.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, my crystal ball says the damage was most likely irreversible, that while they still do have an app that does offer some capabilities that their competitors do not, I think that’s a matter of time before the catch-up takes place and you can’t run a business that loses money at the rate that they’re losing money. I know in recent quarters, they’ve closed the gap, but they’ve had some tremendously large losses quarter over quarter and I just don’t know how long investors are going to be willing to continue to swallow those losses.

Fred, Olivier great show today. Super interesting topics. I think we’ve covered the gambit. We talked Amazon, we talked Microsoft, we talked Uber, we talked Tesla, we talked, what is it, Google, we’ve covered the map. I don’t think we left a lot of news for this week out, but you know what, I promise you if you come back, if you subscribe to this show, you will be hearing more. There’s more news, more info, more insights and there will be more of Fred dying to get a word in.

Outro: There will be plenty of more tech topics and tech conversations right here on the Future of Tech podcast, FTP. Hit that subscribe button. Join us, become part of our community. We would love to hear from you. Check us out, futurumresearch.com or Future of Tech podcast, Daniel Newman, Fred McClimans, Olivier Blanchard. We’ll see you later.

Fred McClimans

Fred McClimans

Fred is an experienced analyst and advisor, bringing over 30 years of experience in the digital and technology markets to the Futurum team. Prior to Futurum, Fred launched the equity research team at Samadhi Partners and provided marketing strategy through the Wasabi Rabbit digital agency. He also previously served as an EVP and Research Vice President at HfS Research, launching its Digital Trust practice and coverage of emerging "trust-enabling" technologies. Fred previously founded analyst firms Current Analysis (now GlobalData, acquired by PDM), Decisys (acquired by the Burton Group/Gartner), and the Aurelian Group. Fred’s analyst and consulting experience also includes Gartner and E&Y, with technology experience at Newbridge Networks’ Advanced Technology Group (now Alcatel) and DTECH LABS (now part of Cubic Corporation).

A frequent author and speaker, Fred has served as a guest lecturer at the George Mason University School of Business (Porter: Information Systems and Operations Management), keynoted the Colombian Associación Nacional De Empressarios Sourcing Summit, served as an executive committee member of the Intellifest International Conference on Reasoning (AI) Technologies, and has spoken at #SxSW on trust in the digital economy. His analysis and commentary has appeared through venues such as Cheddar TV, Adotas, CNN, Social Media Today, Seeking Alpha, Talk Markets, and Network World (IDG). Fred is also a founding member of the non-profit Center for IoT Security.
Fred McClimans