The Wisdom of Not Being an Early Adopter

Tomorrow at 8 am, Wal-Mart is offering a "secret sale" of a Toshiba HD A2 HD-DVD player for a rock-bottom price of $98.87 (and $15 HD movies…) Best Buy fought back and dropped the price of its identical Toshiba player to $99.00. I hear it sold out online nationwide within five hours. As one tipster told me, "Cheap prices like this will crown the champ." But Hollywood studios think they will anoint the king with their content.

Anyone who bought a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player for $700-800 just a few months ago can’t be feeling good about this precipitous price decline in HD players (for the record, best price on Sony’s Blu-ray player is still around $475). It’s not surprising, in recent years we have seen the downslope of consumer product pricing get steeper as manufacturers, with the notable exception of Apple, realize that pricing strategy is as simple as get it cheap fast.

Sony wants to believe that high-end home theatre buffs will pay the premium for Blu-ray but I disagree. These players were $1k last year and half that today, and around Christmas we’ll see Sony take off another $150. No thanks, I’ll wait and continue to enjoy my 1080i upconverting DVD player… or I’ll go out and buy the twice discounted PS3 just for the Blu-ray player built into that console.

BTW, in either scenario you are going to have to shell out $75 for an HDMI cable to make it really sing… something home theatre buffs have also gotten wise to and factor into their purchasing decisions.

The other aspect of this that is revealing is that Hollywood studios have lulled themselves into a sense of comfort about their ability to crown the winner in the battle between Sony and Toshiba, but in the end it may well be WalMart that has the final say.

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SharePoint Unchained

Am I the only person that missed the announcement a few weeks ago that Microsoft is moving SharePoint to a claims-based authentication model, which means Active Directory is no longer a prerequisite?

The goal is to have SharePoint incorporate an authentication model that works with any corporate identity system, including Active Directory, LDAPv3-based directories, application-specific databases and new user-centric identity models, such as LiveID, OpenID and InfoCard systems, including Microsoft’s CardSpace and Novell’s Digital Me.

The other aspect of this that is kinda cool for identity groupies is that claims-based authentication assumes there is a service consuming the security credential, any number of claims providers, and finally, the person owning the identity that can verify or veto claims.

What this means for consumers is that we may well get to a point where you don’t have a workplace identity and a separate basket of identity credential that we use in the consumer web, instead just one root security credential backed up by a distributed network of claims about you… the blurring of the line that I have referenced before. Also, because this supports multiple claims providers, the service that is consuming the identity can scale in security by requiring additional claims.

In the final analysis, as Cameron points out, this is a method for transferring claims that says nothing about truth. The claims provider can reject a claim or the user can veto a claim about themselves and that is where this security model gets it’s strength.

I would also point you to the Defrag blog for additional perspective on how security technology is 1) moving out of the "security organization", and 2) having greater long term impact on social software than most commenters will realize.

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