Thursday, February 28, 2008

Using Funambol on iPod Touch

While you wait for the support of ActiveSync on the iPhone (and wonder why you still are not using Microsoft Exchange...), I would recommend you take a look at this post about using Funambol and the iPod Touch, having a PC with Fedora and Evolution (good choice, tough but good).

Note: if you do not use Fedora and Evolution, but Windows with Outlook, you can skip pretty much everything and just install the Funambol client from the Installer on your iPod Touch (under Productivity) and the Funambol Outlook Plugin.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The iPhone SDK is coming with ActiveSync

So, we finally have a date: March 6th. The iPhone will have an open SDK and a new era in mobile development will start.

Actually, Apple said that they will talk about the roadmap on March 6th, at a town-hall event, not that they will release the code (or the tools to get apps certified and on the phone). However, being late already (Steve Jobs said "end of February" last time he talked about it), I would be extremely surprised if they do not release the SDK...

I am curious to see how many hoops they will force developers to go through, to get the apps certified. And if you will be able to install them only via iTunes on the PC or also over-the-air (they now have OTA iTunes, so it should be a no brainer...).

The interesting twist is that they also announced "some exciting new enterprise features" at the same event.

What can that be? May I bet?

Mobile email with Exchange. With Microsoft ActiveSync support native on the iPhone.

The interesting thing will be to see how they manage the battery issue. The iPhone is not great at that and ActiveSync is meant for sucking your battery dry. Oh well, Apple will always be able to blame Microsoft for that ;-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

(Mobile) Document Freedom Day

March 26 will be Document Freedom Day. Cool idea, what is it?
the Document Freedom Day will provide a global rallying point for Document Liberation and Open Standards. It will literally give teams around the world the chance to "hoist the flag"
At Funambol, we'll hoist the flag for mobile standards. If there is a market where open is just at its beginning, it is wireless. It is getting there, but we need to keep pushing.

On March 26 we will celebrate SyncML, against everything else in the market (ActiveSync, the BlackBerry protocols and much more). Let's open this market up! Go open synchronization and push email ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Matt is wrong about Silicon Valley

My friend Matt is often right. For example, he was right when he bet Arsenal would beat Juventus in the Champions League, which forced me to start this blog. However, sometimes he is actually wrong. For example, when he told me Arsenal was going to go all the way and win the Champions League that year, which will probably never happen in the future as well.

Last week he wrote a post questioning my suggestion to Manel (CEO of OpenBravo, an open source ERP) to move the headquarter from Spain to Silicon Valley.

My suggestion: "move the headquarter because you can find funding, partners and the exit for the company here (see who got bought recently: Zimbra, MySQL, Trolltech, Xensource. Where was their headquarter?)."

Matt's suggestion: "don't do it. You won't find customers in Silicon Valley".

Now, let me question the basis of his statement: why should you have your headquarter where your customers are?? If you are an open source company (I know one fairly well...), you have customers everywhere on the planet. The first Funambol customers, when we were headquartered in Italy, were in Asia, then in the US. What should I have done? Move the headquarter in every corner of the planet?

Nope, you put the headquarter where it helps the company
more. You put sales offices close to the customers, as many as you can (and if you are open source, you will probably end up with three: one in the US, one in Europe and one in Asia). Note: I would never put development here. Or a large inside sales team. Just the headquarter, with the CEO and the management team. My team in Silicon Valley represents 20% of the company employees (and yes, it is expensive, but it is worth every penny).

What does an open source company need from its headquarter? To get funding (check), to find partners (check), to deliver an exit (check). It might be cynical, but running a company is about delivering results and being cynical on making the right choices ;-)

Where's the best place on the planet to get all three? It is Silicon Valley. Sorry. No other place gets close.

Utah? Zero funding, zero partners, zero exit. Good for a sales office, maybe, if you have customers there (in Utah?). Or if you like skiing. If I wanted to ski, I could have lived in my home valley in the Alps. No customers or funding there, but a great life. I will go back one day...

London? The closest thing to Silicon Valley. Less funding, a lot less partners, but decent exits (especially on AIM). Boston? Just below London, in my opinion. Both valid options, do not get me wrong, but why settle for something less? Just because there is a lot of traffic on 101?? Being a CEO is about getting things done for your employees, customers and shareholders (in this order). And the Valley can also be a lot of fun, and it is just a quick flight to Utah. I do not consider living here a sacrifice...

Bottom line: I do not believe the story around customers, not for an open source company. Put your headquarter where it helps the company most. Customer will be elsewhere, always not where you live.

Manel, trust me, take a flight and stay here for a few months. I need your suggestions for the best restaurants in San Francisco. Your tips in Barcelona were awesome :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mobile World Congress - day 3 (and final)

Wednesday is the unofficial last day of the congress. The official one is tomorrow, but nobody is there, they just stretch it to four days to give more people the opportunity to speak (and therefore pay for exhibiting). As the last day, it is the one where people chat about "was this one better than last one? What about Cannes?" and so on.

My takes:
  1. It was better than last year and the one before. 2008 is the year of mobile 2.0. The year of the Mobile Internet. Everyone is getting ready for it.
  2. There were few good hardware news. One was Modu. A very cool idea of a device that can have many "covers". The difference is that the covers transform the device from a smartphone to a dumbphone to a music player. Very interesting concept. Every carrier can build its cover and differentiate. And it is low cost. Wins the HW of the conference award from me.
  3. There was a lot of femtocell. It is happening for real. This is the way mobile operators get in your house and have you pay for them not to upgrade their antennas. Very clever. It makes a lot of sense. Zero installation troubles, no changes on your phone, five bars everywhere in the house. It will spread like a virus if the operators realize they should not charge for anything but the device, since it makes their service sticky and high quality.
  4. Location location location. Everywhere. It is happening. Finally. Nokia itself revealed four devices this week. All with GPS. Get ready for mobile advertising location based.
That's it for 2008. See you next year in Barcelona!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mobile World Congress - day 2

Day 2 of the Mobile World Congress is always the busiest one, in the exhibition floor. Also, the one with the best parties. This year, same pattern (did I come too many times to 3GSM?). Tons of people stopped at our booth (most likely due to the models that are helping in the booth, although our sales team claims it is because our salespeople are handsome) and I tried four parties, most with excellent food and big crowds (the Access party wins for the food, hands down. Japanese people know their way around a good meal).

Ooh, I also worked hard (...) and picked some more signals:
  1. BlackBerry had another major outage. At Funambol, we open a bottle of champagne for each one of those. Who said RIM had a reliable service? We just launched the first version of our new BlackBerry email client. Download the Funambol open source server and go for it, no outage in sight. RIM has a single point of failure. And it happens to support only BlackBerries...
  2. Android, Android, Android. LG to rollout one device in early 2009, so is T-Mobile. I want to launch an Android phone as well, I am jealous.
  3. I spent some time to think about Microsoft and Yahoo and Danger. Did you realize that once they all close (they will) Microsoft will have a monopoly of instant messaging? In the US, we also have a bit of AOL IM, but elsewhere it is all Microsoft and Yahoo. A monopoly of IM is going to be huge in mobile. As far as I know (I might be wrong), Danger is the only company in the world that had an unlimited license from both Microsoft IM and Yahoo IM. Once they merge, they can start raising the price for everyone else and kill the market. It is all about mobile...
  4. I went around the device manufacturer stands: LG has the most impressive line-up, they will get a ton of market share. Samsung is not bad, but not as good as LG. Nokia is ok, they are the dominant player and added a few new phones, they are not going to slip. Sony Ericsson did not have anything interesting in their main line-up (last year it was great), but the Experia is a very impressive smartphone, despite the operating system (Windows Mobile). Motorola is so depressing I wanted to cry (actually, the people there were so depressed they wanted to cry).
  5. 3GSM has never been a show with operators having booths. Operators have always been the buyers, going around the show and meeting people. Not this year. There is Vodafone huge stand, one from Telenor, Orange, NTT Docomo and probably more that I did not see. The operators feel they must remain relevant, in a world changing in front of their eyes. If you do not want to be a dumb pipe, you must be visible and push your services. It is a very strong signal of changing times in mobile...
Tomorrow is my last day at the show. However, I will stay in Barcelona for two more days for our management meeting (it makes sense, we are almost all here anyway ;-)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mobile World Congress - day 1

Usually, day 1 at the show is slow because people fly in on Monday and there is an incredible line to get in (which forces half of the people to actually get into the show only in the afternoon). This year was no different, although I saw more people than usual (which is a good sign for the industry).

Things I noticed (in order of importance):
  1. Funambol won the Mobile Monday Peer Award representing mighty Silicon Valley (take that, Matt :-)) Ok, it is not that important for the industry, but it is very good for us... I had the opportunity to get on stage and thank mom, plus I got a free ticket to Malaysia, which makes it even sweeter.
  2. Microsoft bought Danger. This is huge. Microsoft is in a corner and they are trying to get out as quickly as they can. Very aggressive, with Yahoo and Danger. It is all about mobile, baby. That's where the action is these days.
  3. Android is everywhere. Everybody is talking about it and there is some hardware now attached to the OS. Nothing special, but it is the talk of the show (for example, Samsung said they will have a phone in 2009, which is huge). Thanks to that, Mobile Linux is even more present. The LiMo Foundation is announcing 18 phones based on its platform. Trolltech is talking about Webkit integrated with QT. MOBILE OPEN SOURCE IS EVERYWHERE. Awesome.
  4. Sony Ericsson announced a Windows Mobile phone. Odd.
More to come tomorrow, stay tuned.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mobile World Congress - day 0

The day before the conference is always an interesting one. People are flying in from everywhere (some get in tomorrow) but the exhibition if full of bees putting together the booths. This year I was here ahead of time, so I helped our marketing team to assemble the booth, I put down the carpet and I got dirty.

I love the atmosphere in the exhibition, when there are no visitors around. It is a pure mess until a minute before the door opens. The carpet is missing, there are boxes everywhere. Magically, just when the crowd gets in, everything is ready. Polished. Like it was prepared months before.

I like our booth and where we are positioned (same place as last year, Hall 1, stand #1J46). We are going to have a lot of fun tomorrow.

Meanwhile, today I read an article about the EU pressuring operators on data roaming. I mean, they are getting hit from every corner. Now they are not only forced to be a dumb pipe, they need to be a cheap one as well. I am starting to feel sorry for them, with all the investments they put in the network... Oh well, cheap data plans are what we need, so who cares? I am happy ;-)

Also, I went to the pre-show party of the Mobile Monday crowd, called Mobile Sunday (how clever!) Barcelona. Lots of people, jam-packed (last year they had 70 people, this year we were 350... something good is going on...) and very interesting networking. The tone is super-positive. The opening of the networks and the cheap data plans are about to start a big wave. We are all so happy to be here to ride it.

I will report more in the next days, trying to pick the themes of the year and where the buzz is. Stay tuned.

Manel, OpenBravo and Silicon Valley

I am in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, but I managed to put in some time for open source. Last night I had dinner with Manel Sarasa, CEO of OpenBravo. If you do not know the company, they provide an open source ERP and they are based in Spain (HQ in Barcelona, development in Pamplona).

Manel happens to be a mobile guy. He always worked in mobile, then jumped on the open source bandwagon. In a way, is a mobile open source guy now ;-)

He is also famous for his love of food. He knows every chef in Spain and that helps him getting into any restaurant in the world. He managed to get a table at the French Laundry calling the same day (for those who do not live around San Francisco, that is the #1 restaurant in North California with a waiting list of months).

Therefore, I was looking forward to our dinner. I wasn't disappointed, it was exceptionally good ;-) And I just love once in a while to have dinner at 9:30 pm...

Manel told me how well OpenBravo is doing. They tripled revenues last year, they have three times the amount of downloads of Compiere (one of their open source rivals), they tripled pretty much everything (no, he is still incapable of tripling food, but I guess he is working on it). I have a lot of faith in his ability and I believe ultimately they will be the #1 company in open source ERP.

He is thinking about Silicon Valley. He has been thinking about it for a while, because I met him quite a long time ago (with Josep) and he was already thinking about it. But this is not a small jump. I did it and I would recommend it to anyone, including Matt who has lived in the Valley but keeps bugging everyone saying we should move to Utah. Why? When I need to ski I do a daily trip there from the Valley :-)

Why Silicon Valley for open source? Beside funding and partnering, think for a second about the open source companies that have been bought lately for gazillion of dollars: MySQL, Zimbra, Xensource, Trolltech. Where were they based? Utah? Barcelona? I do not thing so. They maybe started somewhere else, but they were headquartered in the Valley.

Manel, pack and come to the Valley. You will like it here (but go live in San Francisco, the Peninsula is not for you). I promise I will get you a table at Acquerello in the city ;-)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A day in my mobile life

SMS Text News asked me to log "my mobile day" ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (BTW, we are at Hall 1, stand #1J46, stop by and get your kite to fly high with Funambol :-) Here it is.

7:05 – the radio starts, somebody is talking about something stupid as usual. Why can’t I set up a system that wakes me up with the sound of waves like in the movies?
7:10 – wife is back snoring, better get up and prepare breakfast
7:15 – daughter (4 years old) asks for Topo Gigio, an Italian cartoon. I play it for her in my hacked DVD player, which plays movies from every region. The region thing is insane. How would my daughter learn Italian in the US, otherwise? Give us a worldwide open DVD system, please…
7:25 – Cappuccino is ready. It is the only thing I do around the house, but I do it with pride. Everything else in my life is done by my wife, who is just putting the finishing touches on my bag (I am flying out to Europe tonight). I would be in Frankfurt walking around in shorts in February, without her.
7:40 – I am in the restroom, where I substituted the classical magazine with the iPhone. I check email and read feeds via Netvibes (I have two tabs, one called mobile with the feeds I care most about. Otherwise, it is too slow on the iPhone, even with wi-fi)
7:45 – daughter comes looking for my iPhone. She wants to check the weather. Swipes it off, asks “is this Menlo Park or Pavia?” (she can swipe but she can’t read yet…). Darn, weather is going to be great in Menlo Park this week, why am I flying to freezing Germany tonight?
7:50 - Daughter disappears with the iPhone playing some crazy Mika music. I wish I was still four.
8:00 – On my laptop, connected with my external keyboard and monitor, I check email with Outlook and Skype away with colleagues in Europe (with one-ear headset and microphone, looking like a customer support representative which will be with you in a moment).
8:30 – daughter comes again, this time asking to see Sesame Street on TV. I fire up my SlingPlayer on the laptop, connect to my TV in the other room and select Sesame Street on my TiVo. Without moving from my chair. Laziness forever.
9:00 – drop daughter at the childcare where she tells me I should not go on a business trip for 10 weeks because it is too long. I try to explain it is 10 days but she still claims it is too long. I promise I will videoskype her the next day and she tells me she can’t hug me through the computer. I shut up and sadly kiss her bye bye.
9:05 – get on 101 just when the carpool lanes open. I love my seven minutes commute, especially later in the season when I can take the top off my New Beetle (in California, I can do it for seven months in a row…).
9:10 – in the office parking lot I check new emails on my Windows Mobile Treo 700w with Verizon (on EVDO, which is 3G). I know it is stupid, because I can walk upstairs and read them on my laptop, but this is my only addiction (together with Nutella), so please do not bother me.
10:00 – I spend some time installing the new Funambol JavaME email client, with mobile advertising powered by Amobee, on my RAZR. I use it only for demos, linked to my Gmail account. The guys in Italy delivered the client this morning (time zone difference rocks!). I see it for the first time. It shows me an ad with La Sagrada Familia and beeps when an email is pushed to it. Awesome, I am ready for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week!
11:00 – meeting in the office, no mobile devices but great coffee. My Lavazza coffee machine delivers the best coffee in Silicon Valley.
12:00 – quick Capri panino at AG Ferrari in Belmont. Love the place and the food. They mix up the orders at least 50% of the times. I feel like home.
12:30 – I leave the office for a meeting at a customer site. To get directions, I take out my iPhone and try the Location feature and get direction to their office. It works smoothly. Who said you need GPS for location-aware services? Can Google give us that API on every phone where they have maps? Yes, they can and they will.
13:00 - I show off the JavaME client to the customer, and I get an “ahhh, if you do it like that it could work: it does not look like spam, the ad is not in the face of the user!”. Bingo, we are on the right track. Open source will finally be free.
15:00 – I am back in the office and I play a foosball game. I haven’t lost one game this year so far. This one is close, gets interrupted by the arrival of my next meeting, but we finish anyway (priorities are properly set at Funambol). Nope, streak still good, maybe next time, sorry Ata.
16:00 – I realize I am missing the notes for my iPhone (which I need for the trip) and I left them on my desktop at home. I use LogMeIn and take control of the remote computer, then use Skype to send a file back to my laptop. Just when I am done, my wife buzzes me on Skype and tells me to leave the computer alone. She got scared when the mouse started moving by itself. That’s life in the technology lane…
16:30 – The Windows Mobile phone won’t work in Europe (it is CDMA), so I sync contacts on my iPhone with the Funambol iPhone client. Works like a charm. I am ready to go.
17:00 – time to leave for the airport. Half a way I decide to use a different long-term parking than usual. Anza parking is nice, with the free valet, but their bus never shows up. I am going to try Fasttrack, because I always use it when I leave from Oakland and their bus is there right when I land. I search for it with the Google Maps application on the Windows Mobile. Found it, got direction. When I need to know where to turn, the damn thing shows an http error and the application quits. Didn’t they hire only PhDs at Google? I want to meet the guy who designed the map application sitting in his office with the lava lamps all day, assuming my phone will keep the connection when I am driving. I bet he lives in London. Dude, here the network sucks. Carrier ads are about “lowest dropped calls”… The connection will drop. And do not tell me I should not use the application while driving. The iPhone Google Maps works perfectly, because Steve Jobs tried it while driving and yelled at your team…
18:00 - despite missing the exit, I get to the airport on time, and while I check-in, it appears I do not have a ticket for my second leg of the trip (London to Frankfurt). But my email said “Booked and Confirmed”! “Sorry Sir, we’ll fix it”. I am sitting on the luggage scale and I open my SlingPlayer on the Windows Mobile. I am watching the news I taped on TiVo about last night’s election. I won on every proposition, that’s good. I feel I could vote for any of the three candidates left for President. That’s even better. A sad thought goes to the future Italian election, but then the BA lady gives me my ticket and I am off to the lounge (Tip1 for entrepreneur: never keep miles for pleasure trips, always use them to upgrade to business. Tip2: if you want to be Gold on BA, just switch your country of residence to Italy. It requires half the miles than if you reside in the US. Odd). I realize that watching TV on my phone for free, I am violating my contract with Verizon. Why did they give me a 3G phone with unlimited data? For email??
19:30 - I am on the plane. I forward my cell calls to my SkypeIn number. From there, I will forward them to my local cell phone in Europe and I will save a bundle (yes, Funambol is a startup, roaming charges are a rip-off). I call my wife to say good bye and turn off all my mobile devices. In a near future, I will be able to keep them on. My flight will be a nightmare. Flying is about a book, a movie and lots of silence. Please do not allow me to keep the mobile phone on. You know, I am addicted to it.
20:30 – Dinner is served. British are not really famous for food. There is a reason.
22:30 – I am ready to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a short day.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Open source is finally free

Last weekend I had dinner at Larry's new place (awesome house, BTW) and he told the story of when they got together and decided to stop using the term "free software" and agreed to start using "open source" instead. I probably heard it 20 times from multiple people, but it is still a good story ;-)

Now, this week we have made an announcement that has received a lot of attention in the mobile world and a little in the open source world (our marketing dollars are all on mobile these days).

We have made open source free software.

We have announced a partnership with Amobee to deliver our push email product to the masses, supported by mobile advertising. The service becomes totally free. Nobody pays (but the advertiser), everybody is happy.

The application looks pretty much like the following picture. The ad is non intrusive (and it is about a soccer team, which can't bother anyone but Americans :-)) It is the browsing paradigm on a PC by Google (ads on the right, not in the face of the user), brought to the equivalent on a mobile device, the messaging client (ad on top, not in the face of the user). This is not spam. Not even close.

I am sure if anyone in the FSF has managed to get to read this post to this point, s/he is jumping to the comments section to flame me. "We did not mean free as you mean it!". Agreed, but this is really free as in beer. There are no strings attached. No limitation in distribution. No need to return the code back to the community. Just free.

I personally have a feeling that the combination of open source and advertising could be THE big transformation in the software industry of the near future. You must be a tight-rope walker to manage it, but if you are able to put together these two trends, you are golden. In a way, this is what Google has been doing so far, with open source software built by others. But this is a step forward. Because it is our community building it and this is the way the money gets back into it (ok, I know, it pays my salary as well...).

The source is open and the software is free. What a novel concept.

Monday, February 04, 2008

We have submitted AGPL to OSI

If you follow open source, or at least this blog, you remember the debate around GPL and the ASP loophole. In a nutshell, companies using a trick to avoid returning changes to the code back to the community. The last chapter is that AGPL v3 (the GPL version that fixes the ASP loophole) was finalized in November, and we switched the Funambol project to it.

One thing I mentioned back in April was that we would do it, as long as AGPL was approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

I wrote:
AGPLv1 is not OSI-approved. The OSI is an important element of the ecosystem. AGPLv2 (and GPLv3, for that matter) must be OSI approved. I am sure this could be done quickly.
I found out that the Free Software Foundation (which smartly chose to skip v2 and give AGPL the same version number of GPL v3) does not submit its licenses to the OSI for approval. Do not ask me why, but I have a feeling ;-)

Therefore, someone else has to do it. For GPL v3, it was Google. For AGPL v3, it was Funambol (last week).

Quite an interesting story...

Big Google, a company that could not stand the ASP loophole because they built their entire business on it, manages to get that provision out of GPL v3 and runs to get it approved by the OSI (BTW, it was approved).

Now it is the Funambol turn. Hoping more people will choose AGPL versus GPL, because giving hosters and portals a free lunch is just a bad idea. If they want to use it for free, at least get their code back. So many people have no idea how important would be for them to switch to AGPL, but I do not have the marketing dollars of Google to evangelize it (and mine is just a personal battle for open source, therefore my marketing people will not fund me anyway ;-) So, it is still a free lunch for Google...

Now let me hope the OSI approves the AGPL v3 license :-)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

RIP Zimbra?

Some days I wish I could be so optimistic about open source as my good friend Matt. Even when someone sneezes, he can see something positive about open source (open lungs? It means an healthy person. That's the future! Open source everywhere...). Sometimes, I feel a bit more balanced.

One of his last posts talks about the Microsoft hostile bid for Yahoo. In a nutshell, he says that Microsoft will take the open source stuff of Yahoo (e.g. Zimbra) and embrace it.

I just can't see it happen...

Obviously, the assumption is that Yahoo accepts the offer... They should, give me a break, a white knight? A better company and fit than Microsoft?? No way. Remaining an independent company could be nice but when you do not know where to go and someone offers you a 60% increase in your stock price, you take it. The board might disagree, but shareholders won't. This marriage has to happen (citing Manzoni).

Now, if you have a rather successful product called Microsoft Exchange, what do you do with a competing product like Zimbra? You shove it somewhere else, for example to support the online calendaring of MSN+Yahoo. And that's it. This isn't Google. There are no competing products within Microsoft.

I do not believe to be the only one thinking this might happen... I am sure the Zimbra boys are all preparing their bags to leave the boat. They are too smart and too entrepreneurial to stay in a company like Microsoft, in the middle of a messy acquisition.
They are rich. They had a fantastic exit. There is money out there for startups. They will get on a new exciting boat in no time, having great memories of the Zimbra days.

That alone spells the end of Zimbra. Even if Matt is right and camels fly, Microsoft will put its hands on an empty shell... There might be some open source code left, but no people around it. And open source is just about people. Code is secondary.

What can you do if you are using Zimbra today?

I am already out looking for an alternative to my hosted Zimbra environment (which works great, excluding the crappy Outlook plug-in, pain in the neck of my daily life)...

My alternatives? A hosted Microsoft Exchange, Google Apps Premier Edition or some other open source company about to be acquired and screwed.

What would you choose?

I guess Microsoft is pushing me to Google... That's interesting. Wasn't it what they were trying to achieve buying Yahoo? Mmmhhh, maybe not :-)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Open wins again

Many people in our industry (mobile) are following the 700Mhz Auction. It is something that might change the wireless market in the US, which tends then to spread the innovations to the rest of the world (not the case with the cellular market, but true in pretty much every other case, like wi-fi for example).

The one I was looking at was the C Block. It included a provision for open devices and open access. That means, who wins that block MUST provide open access and open devices. Which is huge.

The issue was that it had a reserve price ($4.6 billion). If they had no bidder over that, the open provision would have been screwed and the spectrum re-auctioned without the open access requirements.

Many thought the open provision would limit the bidding. Many thought the reserver price would not be met.

Instead, yesterday the reserve was met, with a $4.7 billion bid.

We will have open access in the US.

Open wins again. Now also in mobile. I'll go out and open a bottle of champagne. It is a great day for this industry, and software developers in particular. My thanks to Google for pushing this (although I do not believe they really want to win the auction ;-)

Funambol representing Silicon Valley

Although many people link Funambol with Italy, I have been living in the Valley for almost nine years and I call this place home (despite the current stinking weather... I am so looking forward to flying to Barcelona next week ;-)

Depending on how you look at it, Funambol is a Silicon Valley company with offshore development in Italy, or an Italian company with an offshore headquarter in the US (we do strategy, marketing, product management, biz dev, sales and operations here). Technically, the first is more close to reality...

It is also official: Funambol has been nominated to represent Silicon Valley at the Mobile Monday Peer Award in Barcelona, during the Mobile World Congress.

Now the goal is to beat them all and show why Silicon Valley is best, in particular if you combine it with Italy ;-)

Below is the list of all the nominations. Check them out, some are very cool startups. One has been founded by Funambolist (ViiF, out of Berlin), so I have two horses in the race ;-)