Man I would hate to be the guy flogging Nooks at B&N this week

On the heels of “B&N’s rumored step back from the Nook”:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/business/media/barnes-noble-weighs-its-nook-losses.html, I bet he is “more forlorn than ever”:http://theludwigs.com/2010/04/the-nook-dude-at-the-barnesnobles-looked-forlorn-today/.

This was an easy one to predict. Competing in consumer hardware against Apple (and Samsung), and with an undifferentiated product relative to the Kindle? The Nook was born with 2.5 strikes against it. Maybe there were ways that B&N could have succeeded — a device that made the retail experience better? That authors or publishers liked better than alternatives? — but competing head-to-head on hardware specs was doomed from the get-go. A lot of shareholder money wasted in direct spend on the Nook, and in opportunity cost as B&N chased this pipe dream and failed to innovate in their core business.

It will still be interesting to watch AMZN in this market. They will not be able to compete with Apple, Samsung on mainstream tablets. But they don’t necessarily need to, they can still be the best online retailer without making their own devices.

Why didn’t I buy VMWare stock when Paul Maritz stepped into leadership role?

Kicking myself totally on this one, “VMWare”:http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NYSE:VMW has been on a tear. Paul is a great guy, he has been hiring great guys (who wouldn’t want to work with Paul?), they’ve been acquiring lots of interesting assets.

And fundamentally they are on the right side of history. Paul has always been insightful and articulate on strategy and he says it well in this “techcrunch piece”:http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/09/paul_maritz_microsoft_vet_and_vmware_ceo_spars_with_his_former_self.html : “The innovation in how hardware is coordinated today and the innovation in how services are provided to applications is no longer happening inside the operating system.”

This is dead on. You can debate whether VMWare will be the primary beneficiary of this trend versus other cloud providers, but the shift is undeniable.