Image representing Tariq Krim as depicted in C...
Image by Rsepulveda / flickr via CrunchBase

This morning we had breakfast with my good friend Tariq Krim. Tariq is the founder of Netvibes, an app I use every day to get the internet I care about in one glimpse, and of Jolicloud, the best operating system for the 100 million netbooks out there in the world. In the past, during our meetings, we would speak about Fon and Jolicloud. But lately, Fon has been growing very well and profitably (TG). So this time the conversation focused exclusively on the challenges faced by Jolicloud. Especially now that the Jolicloud product is ready to reach the masses, the conversation was about how will the masses know that Jolicloud exists.

Now this post is mainly about one curious fact. Until our conversation today, I don’t think that Tariq was focusing on his real target: Microsoft. This is as if we had built Jazztel for example without focusing on Telefonica. Or, if Apple built Mac without focusing on the PC. A non starter. When you are taking market share from a monopolist you have to attack that monopolist. I hope our amicable debate on this matter changed Tariq´s mind and soon we will see Jolicloud’s web site making clear claims on exactly why Jolicloud is better than Windows. Otherwise Jolicloud will not go anywhere. Any prospective Jolicloud user now has Windows, and if Jolicloud does not explain point by point how Jolicloud is better, they will not make the switch. Switching operating systems is not like downloading Skype, it is a life changing decision for computer users. And if you go to the Jolicloud web site now, you don’t really understand that Jolicloud is a better alternative to Windows for your netbook.

But getting to the point was not a straight line in our two hour conversation. Instead we drifted towards all Operating Systems as we are both fans of the subject. Learning from their pros and cons may be important, even from a product design perspective.  But for the mission of communicating Jolicloud to the planet, OS other than Windows are irrelevant. Android is irrelevant because it is not for netbooks. Mac OSX is irrelevant because it does not have a netbook. All the other Linux based operating systems have managed to convince very few people to adopt them in the laptop market so they are irrelevant from Jolicloud’s point of view. Chrome OS may become relevant but so far it is not ready and is not a player. The iPad in itself is a competitor to netbooks in general and will have an effect on netbook markets, but when you look from Jolicloud’s perspective the key is not if the iPad causes a dent in the netbook market, but how to dent the netbook OS market with Jolicloud. So the iPad is irrelevant. What is relevant for Jolicloud is to convince the millions of netbook buyers every month to download Jolicloud and either dual boot or just use Jolicloud.

So concretely I advise Tariq to make it the mission of Jolicloud to show that it is better than Windows. That he should offer a prize within his 50K community of early adopters for the best video that shows that Jolicloud is better than Windows. That his website should clearly explain, in great detail how your use of your netbook will be greatly expanded when you switch to Jolicloud.

To me, the “Jolicloud is better than Windows” campaign bullet points are:

-Jolicloud is faster to turn on and faster to turn off than Windows. So is Mac btw but Mac is the rich kid choice, netbooks cost 70% less than a Mac.

-Jolicloud offers you a safe virus free world, no virus, no anti-virus installs, no internet paranoia.

-Jolicloud is social, friends discover apps, friends share apps, friends help you. Jolicloud is a community of users. So are all the Linux communities, by the way, and they have done an incredible job but most of humanity does not know this.

-Jolicloud leaves your data in the cloud which means that your data is safe and if you lose your computer for any reason you can clone your computer in less than an hour, try that with Windows. A new PC is a day of work.

-Jolicloud is free, most apps are free and install faster than downloads in a windows based PC.

Yes, I know, if you are a Linux person you will argue that Jolicloud is just another Linux version focused on the non technical user. But, Linux person, the truth is that 99% of the planet either does not know Linux, is afraid of Linux or uses Linux on servers and does not even know it. Saying that Jolicloud is a Linux that is more social and idiot proof will not get Jolicloud anywhere. Their job is to prove they are better than Windows. And the truth is they are. Now they have to get the message out there.

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jacopogio on May 15, 2010  · 

that is the winner advice for Jolicloud.

I agree: the Jolicloud market is not Linux and user are not the geeks!!

Tariq is also speaking of a “Jolicloud for kids” and that could also be part of the winning strategy as a 300€ netbook is cheaper and safer than a 1000€ Windows PC.

Finally, I can also see an Advertising on Device strategy thanks to the OS. (more details on request 😉 )

3.0 rating

steven morales on May 16, 2010  · 

nice lesson in strategy, thks

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Roberto on May 16, 2010  · 

Adding some points:

Jollicloud should really point out the easy and foolproof installation of optional apps. Call it “Jollistore” and call every application “Jolli App”.
In my opinion the big success of Apple iPhone and Apple iPad is the foolproof installation of new functionalities, delivered in easy to manage Applications. Since quite a lot of people use netbooks as their secondary computer they do not want to spend too much time in installation and configuration.

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Mariano Marcos on May 16, 2010  · 

Jolicloud’s biggest enemies are hardware manufacturers. And you’re right: ’cause they sell their hw with Windows on it.

3.0 rating

Mariano on May 16, 2010  · 

Netvibes es lo más!!! Mi Netvibes lo hice en base al tuyo, MV. Tenés tantas páginas buenas que agarré el tuyo, le puse mis páginas y me quedó un Netvibes de p… madre.

3.0 rating

Jesus on May 17, 2010  · 

Ubuntu Mix

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benjamin on May 19, 2010  · 

i hope john rubinstein and the folks from hp are going to read your article. so, jollicloud, hurry up. the webOS from palm is entering the netbook-market …but only on netbooks from hp 🙂

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Fredrik Wengelin on May 19, 2010  · 

You are absolutely right, Jolicloud is a winner, if promoted correctly, but also if they can fix the support. Two issues has been dragging for a long time: Sound on Skype and WiFi on a number of devices – that kind of foot dragging can kill even as excellent a project as Jolicloud

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kerry ritz on May 20, 2010  · 

This is second line on JoliCloud Express Installation Page:

Here is the MD5 sum of the Jolicloud Express file: MD5 (JolicloudExpress-PreFinal.exe) = d1e5545a40c002a63c1e97b31db20630

As long as they continue to use this kind of language on their website, they will never reach the mass market.

Apple wins because they speak to consumers (yes, consumers, not users!) in a way that is easy to understand. Very few steps, no technical terms. It’s easy and it works. Think about television: i subscribe to a cable or satellite service and I buy a television. For the most part, I plug it in, turn it on, and it works. I don’t have to understand words like “extract”, “configuration” etc.

Sinple question: Can Tariq’s mother or grandmother install and use JoliCloud? That’s the test if you they really want to win big!

Good luck!

3.0 rating

antoin O Lachtnain on May 21, 2010  · 

What are the target decisionmaker groups for Jolicloud though? I thought the key would be to convince equipment manufacturers to carry it as a cheaper alternative to Windows? Maybe there is a plan for a few intermediate steps before that happens.

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Martin Varsavsky on May 21, 2010  · 

Indeed Antoin, like Fon, Jolicloud needs a combination of organic growth and corporate partnerships.

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