Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
By Allan Maurer
Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and a serial entrepreneur, is among more than 100 speakers participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.
We’re going to see much better products in the future based on how we actually use them as technology embraces human engineering and behavioral science, says Matt Wallaert.
A behavioral scientist working with Microsoft and BING and a serial entrepreneur, Wallaert says he believes the goal of technology is to “Get to that Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) future in which we’ve solved many of the world’s problems.”
After two successful tech startup exits, he joined Microsoft’s Bing to focus on adapting technologies to work naturally with existing paradigms of behavior to aid in both decision making and task completion, and to broaden how search removes obstacles and enables people to take action on their ideas, questions, and desires.
As an academic at Cornell University, Wallaert wrote a number of papers on financial behavior that drew the attention of Thrive, which invited him first to sit on its board and later made him head of product.
Built a behavioral change engine
“We built a behavioral change engine,” he says. And it worked. “We could see we were changing behavior.” People using Thrive raised their credit scores and paid down their debt. The company eventually sold to Charlotte-based Lending Tree.
Then Wallaert started a second firm, Churnless, which focused on helping startups build products people actually want and don’t leave because they find them so useful.
He co-founded several startups (OneADayForCharity, HotelDecoder, and FlexibleFlow), and has acted as an adviser and angel investor to others. One of his current side projects is Getraised.com, a free service to help close the gender wage gap. It has helped thousands of women earn millions of dollars over the past two years; 70 percent of women who submit a raise request get a raise, and the average raise is around $7K.
Speaking at the Atlanta Digital Summit
Wallaert is among more than 100 digital thought-leaders and executives from top brands participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta. In addition to Microsoft, brands represented include Google, AOL, Twitter, Adobe, and many others.
Wallaert says that one reason he joined Microsoft is that “I want to do things that are practical, but in startups, even if you’re successful, you may not be talking to that many people. But no one on earth has a bigger audience than Microsoft.”
He admits that a company as big as Microsoft it can be difficult to institute change. “But if you can, it affects so many people,” he adds.
Should technology’s goal be the future where it has solved many of society’s basic problems, such as in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe?
People tend to underestimate how much Microsoft has already contributed to that Star Trek-like future in which many of the world’s problems are solved. Microsoft technology powers everything from many tools we use in our daily lives to those operating cars and hospitals.
If you get hit by a bus, he notes, the ambulance that takes you to the hospital may have been built by a factory powered by Microsoft. The hospital itself is also likely using Microsoft technology, and the doctors treating you are probably using Microsoft powered tools.
The science of social
At Bing, Wallaert and Microsoft are trying to make the search engine – Google’s only real rival – to work with natural speech.
On a panel dealing with social search at the Digital Summit, Wallaert says he’ll “Talk about some of the science of social. There is tendency to approach search with old school marketing techniques, such as pushing out a message to a bunch of influencers.”
Ashton Kutcher, for instance, has millions of followers on Twitter. “But who ever did anything because he said to?,” asks Wallaert.
Actually, though, that’s not how social recommendations work their viral magic. “Why do social recommendations work?” he asks. “Because people tend to group up in patterns with other people who are like them.”
“Imagine that if instead of Ashton, a friend sends you a personal note saying ‘Hey I’m using this thing and you might like it.’ Those are the types of messages that have a huge impact. A tweet might reach a million eyeballs, but that’s different from getting 100 people to tell 10 others they’re using something and you should try it.”
He’ll talk about the kind of social outreach that actually produce sticky results and long term product users. “Think about Game of Thrones,” he suggests. The HBO show has racked up impressive viewing numbers in its third season, largely “Because people are watching it because their friends are watching it.”
“You need to look at the raw science of why social recommendations are important, how people actually make decisions and how you can use that,” Wallaert says.
Friday, March 15th, 2013
Most vulnerabilities 986%) discovered in the most popular 50 programs in 2012 were in non-Microsoft (or “third-party”) programs.
The Secunia Vulnerability Review findings support that the primary threat to endpoint security for corporations and private users alike comes from non-Microsoft programs, and that vulnerability and patch management efforts must span much wider than to just deal with the familiar interfaces of Microsoft software and a few usual suspects from other vendors.
Microsoft vulnerabilities much lower share
The identified 86% represent an increase from 2011, when non-Microsoft programs represented 78% of vulnerabilities discovered in the Top 50 most popular programs.
The remaining 14% of vulnerabilities were found in Microsoft programs and Windows operating systems – a much lower share compared to 2011, indicating that Microsoft continues to focus on security in their products.
Number of vulnerabilities is on the increase
“Companies cannot continue to ignore or underestimate non-Microsoft programs as the major source of vulnerabilities that threaten their IT infrastructure and overall IT-security level.
The number of vulnerabilities is on the increase, but many organizations continue to turn a blind eye, thereby jeopardizing their entire IT infrastructure: It only takes one vulnerability to expose a company, and no amount of processes and technology that supports operating systems and Microsoft programs will suffice in providing the required level of protection,” said Morten R. Stengaard , Secunia’s Director of Product Management.
The Secunia Vulnerability Review 2013 documents that the number of vulnerabilities discovered in the 50 most popular programs on private PCs has increased by 98% over the past 5 years, and non-Microsoft programs are the culprits.
Consequently, it is becoming more and more necessary for companies to invest and focus on vulnerability and patch management in order to deal with the root cause of many security issues: vulnerabilities in software.
Information technology research company Gartner’s research emphasizes the risk software vulnerabilities pose to organizations, and presents a strong argument for a proactive approach to getting patch management up to speed:
“Through 2015, 80% of successful attacks will exploit well-known vulnerabilities and be detectable via security monitoring. […]
Applications are the gateways to the data that is the focus of a targeted attack. Dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools can be used to scan productions applications to find vulnerabilities.
When a vulnerability is present on a running application, production data is at risk, and remediation cycle times are long – typically taking multiple months.”(*1)
Ignore at your own peril
Gartner places “patching beyond just the OS (common applications) on all systems” among their “Best Security” recommendations for securing midmarket IT environments (*2).
Even so, IT professionals everywhere are inclined to focus on patching Microsoft programs, operating systems and just a few other programs. And ignoring the threat that vulnerabilities represent in non-Microsoft programs is both reckless and unnecessary.
‘Reckless’, because in the most popular 50 programs, no less than 1,137 vulnerabilities were discovered in 18 different programs – that’s an average of 63 vulnerabilities per vulnerable product in the most popular programs on private PCs worldwide.
‘Unnecessary’, because Secunia’s research also demonstrates a positive trend: In 2012, 84% of vulnerabilities had a patch available on the day they were disclosed
No excuse for not patching
“This means that it is possible to remediate the majority of vulnerabilities. There is no excuse for not patching.
To take advantage of this improvement in patch availability, organizations must know which programs are present on their systems and which of these programs are insecure, and then take an intelligent and prioritized approach to remediating them,” said Morten R. Stengaard .
The fact that 84% of vulnerabilities have a patch available on the day of disclosure is an improvement to the previous year, 2011, in which 72% had a patch available on the day of disclosure.
The most likely explanation for this improvement in ‘time-to-patch’ is that more researchers coordinate their vulnerability reports with vendors.
(*1): Gartner Research: “Adapting Vulnerability Management to Advanced Threats”, August 2012.
(*2) Gartner Webinar: Best Practices for Securing Midmarket IT Environments, February 2013
Monday, February 11th, 2013
More than 75 percent of midsize to large businesses are implementing big-data-related solutions within the next 12 months — with customer care, marketing and sales departments increasingly driving demand, according to new Microsoft Corp. research released today.
According to Microsoft’s “Global Enterprise Big Data Trends: 2013″ study of more than 280 IT decision-makers, the following trends emerged:
- Although the IT department (52 percent) is currently driving most of the demand for big data, customer care (41 percent), sales (26 percent), finance (23 percent) and marketing (23 percent) departments are increasingly driving demand.
- Seventeen percent of customers surveyed are in the early stages of researching big data solutions, whereas 13 percent have fully deployed them; nearly 90 percent of customers surveyed have a dedicated budget for addressing big data.
- Nearly half of customers (49 percent) reported that growth in the volume of data is the greatest challenge driving big data solution adoption, followed by having to integrate disparate business intelligence tools (41 percent) and having tools able to glean the insight (40 percent).
The company published its findings to the Microsoft News Center this morning, kicking off a week of announcements focused on the company’s big data customers, products and future investments.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
After a 5 year decline, the number of vulnerabilities disclosed in 2012 rose 26% compared to 2011, according to the 2012 Vulnerability Threat report from NSS labs. One of the more worrisome trends NSS detected is that vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure systems skyrocketed.
These systems control industrial, infrastructure and facility-based processes such as electric grids, water supplies, power plants, pipeline, etc. — all of which represent high value targets to cybercriminals wishing to cause large-scale disruption or damage. While the total number of vulnerabilities is low (124 in 2012), they have grown 600 percent since 2010.
NSS warns, “ the arms race has only just started and we expect security issues with these systems to continue to increase.”
Small number of vendors account for 31 percent of vulnerabilities
Another finding: 1 percent of vendors are responsible for 31 percent of vulnerabilities reported each year and only one, Microsoft, decreased its vulnerabilities disclosures in 2012. Unfortunately, this small number of vendors represents the most prevalent software products in everyday private and enterprise use.
Vulnerabilities disclosed in 2012 affected over 2,600 products from 1,330 vendors — 73 percent of these were new vendors who had not had a vulnerability disclosure with the previous two years. These new vendors accounted for 30 percent of the total vulnerabilities disclosed in 2012.
More damage with less skill
Another worrisome finding: highly critical vulnerabilities easy to attack are like candy to cybercriminals, who can “do more damage with less skill.”
The top 10 vendors with this type of vulnerability represent major types of software used every day by consumers, businesses, government agencies and other organizations, including popular web browsers, plugins and media players, or operating systems.
NSS Labs Research Director Stefan Frei said, “While vulnerabilities in 2012 haven’t returned to the all-time high levels we saw in 2006, it’s significant that after 5 years of decline, the number of disclosed vulnerabilities rebounded sharply and jumped 26% in one year,” said Stefan Frei, Research Director at NSS Labs. “It is not just the number of vulnerabilities that matters, however. The level of criticality, how easily a vulnerability can be exploited, and the types of software they affect are all part of determining how serious a threat any single vulnerability might pose and these are trends we continue to watch.
Read the Report - NSS Labs Vulnerability Threat Trends Report
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
People are not paying enough attention to their safety and security online or using mobile devices despite multiple risks, according to Microsoft’s second annual Computing Safety Index.
For international Safer Internet Day, (Feb. 5) the software giant offers these six tips to boost your safety online:
Microsoft offers a range of online safety tools and resources at http://www.Microsoft.com/security, including the following practical steps consumers can take to stay safer online:
- Lock your computer and accounts with strong passwords and your mobile phone with a unique, four-digit PIN.
- Do not pay bills, bank, shop or conduct other sensitive business on a public computer, or on your laptop or mobile phone over “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi (such as a hotspot).
- Watch for snoops. People scouting for passwords, PINs, user names or other such data may be watching your fingers or the screen as you enter that data.
- Treat suspicious messages cautiously. Avoid offers too good to be true and be wary of their senders, even if the messages appear to come from a trusted source.
- Look for signs that a Web page is secure and legitimate. Before you enter sensitive data, check for evidence of encryption (e.g., a Web address with “https” and a closed padlock beside it or in the lower right corner of the window).
- Reduce spam in your inbox. Share your primary email address and instant messaging name only with people you know or with reputable organizations. Avoid listing them on your social network page, in Internet directories (such as white pages) or on job-posting sites.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Technology companies claimed half the slots on Ponemon Institute’s annual top 10 list of the most trusted companies for privacy. Hewlett Packard ranked second, Amazon, third, IBM, fourth, eBay ninth and Intuit tenth.
American Express (AMEX) continued to reign as the most trusted company among the 217 orgazations rated.
New tech entries on Ponmon’s top 20 most trusted list included Microsoft at 17, and Mozilla at 20.
In addition to ranking the most trusted companies, the Ponemon study reported that only 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, down from 45 last year and an overall drop from 56 percent in 2006.
Identity theft a top concern
The survey also noted that identity theft is a top area of concern among consumers with fifty-nine percent of the respondents indicating that fear of identity theft was a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while 50 percent said notice of a data breach was a factor.
That could give impetus to the changes in U.S. immigration law proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators this week, although it’s identity card idea is already meeting with opposition from some.
The Ponemon rankings were derived from a survey of more than 100,000 adult-aged consumers who were asked to name up to five companies they believe to be the most trusted for protecting the privacy of their personal information.
Consumer responses were gathered over a 15-week period concluding in December 2012 and resulted in a final sample of 6,704 respondents who, on average, provided 5.4 discernible company ratings that represent 25 different industries.
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
People feel they have little to no control about how their data may be collected by online companies, according to data released by Microsoft to mark Data Privacy Day 2013.
They are also increasingly in search of trusted sources of information to help them make better choices about their online privacy.
Highlights of the research include the following:
Forty-five percent said they feel they have little or no control over the personal information companies gather about them while they are browsing the Web or using online services, such as photo-sharing, travel or gaming.
Help is available through services such as Do Not Track, (Suggested by the TechJournal, not Microsoft).
Four in 10 in the Microsoft survey said they feel they totally or mostly understand how to protect their online privacy.
Family & friends a top source of privacy information?
An equal number of people (39 percent) said they are turning to friends and family, as well as company privacy statements, as their top source for privacy information.
Just an aside here, but while some of our friends might provide good privacy information via say Facebook, we wouldn’t rely on that without turning to privacy statements and guides.
A third say they’re paying attention
A third of those surveyed (32 percent) said they are paying attention to companies’ privacy reputations, track records and policies when choosing which websites to visit or services to use.
We seriously doubt that a third of the population spends much time checking a comany’s privacy reputations, regardless of what they might say in a survey.
“As online activities have become a valuable part of daily life, privacy is incredibly important. At Microsoft, we strive to help our customers manage their personal information online by providing easy-to-understand privacy policies, settings and guidance,” said Brendon Lynch , chief privacy officer, Microsoft.
What do you think about that? Has Microsoft been committed to good privacy policies?
Microsoft has created a new video series called “Privacy in Action” to highlight features that can help people better manage their personal information online. The videos, as well as guidance and information about privacy options in Microsoft products and services, will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/yourprivacy.
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Microsoft Corp.has announced open registration for the 2013 U.S. Imagine Cup, student technology competition. This year’s U.S. Imagine Cup will expand its traditional program offerings to inspire and engage student entrepreneurs.
The 2013 U.S. Imagine Cup will be broken into a series of competitions and challenges to get students building business-ready apps, games, and technology services.
For the first time ever, the U.S. program will feature a two-month mentorship opportunity, called the “Imagine Cup Student Accelerator,” where teams will spend time with mentors, participate in workshops and get the technical guidance they need to test their idea and business model.
New Competitions and Challenges in 2013
Students ages 16 and older will be able to compete in three major competition categories, which include:
- Games – Using Microsoft’s gaming platforms such as Windows PC (PC or touchscreen), Windows Phone, Xbox, Indie Games, or Kinect SDK students are tasked with creating a new game, changing a current genre or developing a new visual style of game.
- Innovation –Reinvent social networks, transform online shopping, experience music in a new way or do something amazing with GPS. In this category, students are tasked with using their skills and creativity to design a totally new app experience.
- World Citizenship – Students have the opportunity to create an app that will help solve global challenges, such as reducing world hunger, providing better treatment for diseases, raising awareness of environmental issues or providing better access to education.
Additionally, students can participate in online challenges that focus on specific Microsoft platforms, including Windows 8 Apps, Windows Azure and Windows Phone. Winners of the competition and online challenges will be sent to the worldwide finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July 2013.
More Financial Rewards for U.S. Students
In addition to offering students an opportunity to impact today’s world with technology, Microsoft has upped the ante by offering more than $100,000 in prizes. This is the largest amount of cash prizes in U.S. Imagine Cup history. Specific prizes for the US Imagine Cup can be found here. All submissions for online challenges are due on January 15, 2013, while submissions for the three major competitions are due on March 15, 2013.
On April 15, 2013, Microsoft will host local finals around with world, with the U.S. finals being held in Silicon Valley.
The 10 Imagine Cup finalists will be invited to participate in Demo Day, which takes place May 13, 2013. From there, the finalists attending the Worldwide Finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, will be announced on May 15, 2013. The Worldwide Finals in Russia take place July 8-12, 2013.
The future is now, which makes for the perfect time for students to start turning their dreams into realities. Please visit Microsoft’s Imagine Cup website for more information on the competition and details on registration.
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
Console games remain incredibly popular, particularly the “Halo” and “Call of Duty” franchises right now, but are mobile and tablet games cutting into their luster?
We’ve been playing video games since the days of the first Atari consoles (and before that at good old fashioned arcade consoles). Today’s console games are achieving continually more realistic graphics, intense, involving story lines or challenges, and sales rivaling hit movies.
But the convenience and addictive quality of mobile and tablet games you can play anywhere, anytime are gaining in popularity. Will they challenge the console game business?
Here’s an infographic from DailyFinance.com examining the question, is the console dying?
Friday, December 21st, 2012
Demand for “cloud-ready” IT workers will grow by 26 percent annually through 2015, with as many as 7 million cloud-related jobs available worldwide, according to an IDC White Paper sponsored by Microsoft Corp.
However, IT hiring managers report that the biggest reason they failed to fill an existing 1.7 million open cloud-related positions in 2012 is because job seekers lack the training and certification needed to work in a cloud-enabled world, according to the IDC White Paper, Climate Change: Cloud’s Impact on IT Organizations and Staffing (November 2012).
In the United States, the IT sector is experiencing modest growth of IT jobs in general, with the average growth in IT employment between 1.1 and 2.7 percent per year through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, amid modest growth of IT jobs, cloud-sector jobs are increasing swiftly. With the workforce unprepared to take on these jobs, there is an urgent need to retrain existing IT professionals and encourage students to pursue cloud-related IT trainings and certifications, according to the IDC White Paper.
This skills gap is challenging
“Despite modest growth of the IT sector overall in the U.S., cloud-ready jobs are increasing as we head into 2013, but with this increase comes the harsh reality that workforces around the world are steps behind when it comes to attaining the skills necessary to thrive in the cloud computing industry,” said Cushing Anderson, program vice president, IDC.
“Unlike IT skill shortages in the past, solving this skills gap is extremely challenging, given that cloud brings a new set of skills, which haven’t been needed in the past. There is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing. Therefore, training and certification is essential for preparing prospective job candidates to work in cloud-related jobs.”
The IDC White Paper investigates the impact that cloud computing will have on IT employment around the world and its influence on the way organizations staff their IT departments. IDC interviewed more than 600 hiring managers across the globe for this study.
General findings of the IDC White Paper include the following:
- Globally, almost two-thirds of enterprises are planning, implementing or using cloud computing, and more than 50 percent of businesses agree that cloud computing is a high priority.
- However, more than three-quarters of businesses have apprehension about the security, access or data control of cloud computing.
- Lack of training, certification or experience are the top three reasons why cloud positions are not filled.
- However, cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by 26 percent annually through 2015.
Regional findings of the IDC White Paper include the following:
- Although the growth of IT jobs in the United States is slow, the growth picture is better outside the U.S. The overall number of IT positions in end-user organizations globally will grow at a 4.3 percent compound annual growth rate between 2011 and 2015 and reach 29.3 million in 2015, according to IDC.
- North America (U.S. and Canada). According to IDC’s regional forecasts, the U.S. accounted for 62 percent of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services last year, compared with 35 percent of worldwide IT spending in general. Canada will be a much slower adopter of public IT cloud services but a more aggressive adopter of private IT cloud services. Due to Canada’s smaller job base, though, cloud-generated jobs will grow 30 percent faster in Canada than in the United States.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
IBM (NYSE: IBM) has been recognized for the second consecutive year as the greenest company in the U.S., according to the Newsweek 2012 Green Rankings survey, released today.
A panel of independent judges ranked major companies based on numerous criteria, including their environmental impact, environmental management and sustainability disclosure.
The survey is regarded as one of the most comprehensive analyses of environmental leadership, and IBM was one of 500 large U.S. organizations evaluated.
Other tech firms on the list include Microsoft, which charges each of its individual divisions a “carbon fee,” to make them minimize electricity use and air travel; EMC, Dell, Sprint, Intel, CA Technologies, and Invidia.
The report notes that IBM’S Smarter Planet products and services help clients measure and reduce their resource consumption while saving money. It points to a system developed at the company’s Zurich Research Lab, where water that cools a supercomputer is used to warm nearby buildings.
Friday, October 12th, 2012
Microsoft launches its Windows 8 software Oct. 26 and Forbes says it will market the new operating system with a $1.5 billion marketing blitz.
That makes it the “biggest product launch in the history of the industry,” says Forbes.
Windows Phone 8 rolls out mere days after the new OS and the new Surface tablet computer.
All Windows 8 devices will look and feel similar.
The new OS emphasizes cloud based apps over those installed and is optimized for smartphones and tablets with touchscreen navigation.
Forbes notes that the stakes are high for Microsoft. Will the market accept the new “Metro” look and feel of Windows 8?
Forbes quotes Rob Enderle, a Microsoft analyst, who calls the new operating system “A big risk.”
He termed the marketing blitz for Windows 8 something you don’t see “outside of presidential elections.”
Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Is Google the “World’s Most Attractive Employer?”
It is for the fourth consecutive year according to the preferences of over 144,000 career seekers, with a business or engineering background from the world´s 12 greatest economies. So says the Universum global talent attraction index: “The World’s Most Attractive Employers 2012″.’
KPMG keeps the second place and Procter & Gamble is now on the third position.
Here at the TechJournal, we find it interesting that Apple shows up on in the 8th spot on the engineering employer list.
“The Google fever is still hot! Students are attracted by Google´s relaxed and creative work environment, international atmosphere and innovative products. Google offers great benefits and opportunities that are hard for other companies to match.” says Petter Nylander, Universum’s CEO.
Also in the engineering category, Google takes the first position for the fourth consecutive year and is followed by IBM and Microsoft.
“The giants in the software industry are seen as great places for the launch of an engineering or IT career. They offer training, networking and future career possibilities. Moreover, they are global,” says Nylander.
World’s Top 10-Business
- Google (1)
- KPMG (2)
- Procter & Gamble (7)
- Microsoft (6)
- Deloitte (5)
- Ernst & Young (4)
- PwC (3)
- J.P. Morgan (9)
- The Coca-Cola Company (12)
- Goldman Sachs (10)
World’s Top 10-Engineering
- Google (1)
- IBM (2)
- Microsoft (3)
- BMW (4)
- Intel (5)
- General Electric (8)
- Siemens (9)
- Apple (7)
- Sony (6)
- Procter & Gamble (10)
In parenthesis is the company’s position in 2011. For the full ranking, go to http://www.universumglobal.com/IDEAL-Employer-Rankings/Global-Top-50
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Will Apple’s new iPhone 5 put it back in the driver’s seat in a market increasingly crowded with Android, Microsoft and Amazon devices?
Apple Inc. launched the original iPhone back in 2007 and redefined the very face of mobility devices. Armed with visionary innovation not only on the hardware front but also in enriching the overall user experience, it single-handedly diminished the growth of corporate giants like Research in Motion and Nokia Corp.
Over the years, competing platforms such as Android and Windows Phone have caught up with the features offered on the iOS platform, and have forged ahead in certain areas such as NFC communications based Google wallet, and wireless charging from Nokia.
Currently, Android dominates the global smartphone market and Samsung has overtaken Apple to become the top global smartphone vendor. With the launch of the latest iPhone, Apple intends to reverse the tide and re-emerge as the global smartphone leader.
Expected features in new iPhone
The new iPhone is expected to have a larger screen, support NFC, faster processor, better camera and a smaller dock connector, which is expected to extend to all the forthcoming iOS devices, amongst many other revolutionary features.
Add-ons services that provide a unique value proposition to the Apple ecosystem similar to the Siri launch with the iPhone 4S can also be expected.
According to Pranabesh Nath, Research Manager, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, Apple’s major product in terms of revenue is still the iPhone. “When the iPhone 4S was launched instead of the iPhone 5 the last time around, there was some disappointment in the fan-base.
“This didn’t however stop the record sales frenzy of the iPhone 4S, and we can expect a higher initial sales launch upwards of 1.5 to 2 million in the first 24 hours, compared to 1 million for the 4S in the same time frame. This is expected due to the anticipation that has built up over the last year by die-hard Apple fans, as well as due to a major shift in the platform and the new features it will tout.”
Competitors attempted to steal the limelight
Competitors such as Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola have tried to steal the limelight by launching new products in the weeks before Apple’s launch, but this is expected to be ineffective on the main demographic that are waiting for Apple products.
“While some may argue Apple has not really invented anything, it certainly has refined the experience of using mobile hardware and software and learnt from the mistakes of other manufacturers and for this it needs to be applauded,” said Pranabesh.
“No one can deny that Apple is the only smartphone vendor whose focus transcends beyond the hardware feature set to creating the overall ecosystem. By creating a formidable ecosystem with an abundance of content, services and applications, Apple has won over millions of end users, who just have to have the next Apple product. However, other vendors are also now building their own ecosystem. Proliferation of android apps and emergence of Google Play app storefront threatens to slow down the growth of Apple,” said Abhishek Chauhan, Senior Consultant, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan South Asia & Middle East.
Market now services driven
The market for smartphones has changed from being a device driven market to an application and services driven market, with smartphones being the primary platform to carry proprietary services/applications, with a slightly lesser but increasingly important focus on tablet devices.
Several trends are pointing to this trend, with major platform vendors Microsoft and Google gearing towards gaining more control of their platforms through a strong partnership with Nokia, and the acquisition of Motorola respectively, and launch of similar and competing services on content application services such as music, movies, ebooks, and others.
“This points to a market segmentation where we will have two primary types of players – those that are relying mostly on device sales for revenue, and those that are using device sales as a driver for applications and services. While all players in the market will hope to move to the latter category, Apple as well as other competitors such as Google and Amazon are already there, Samsung is still largely relying on hardware sales,” Pranabesh explained.
He continued, “Over the long term, this may reduce profits for Samsung as devices becomes commodities and the value of a pure-play hardware strategy yields lower revenue. The litigation game to increase market share quicker is unfortunately expected to continue, which is a sign of how competitive the market has become. This is not a very positive trend for consumers as it does limit choice.”
Larger long term threat
The larger threat in the long term, besides Google, is Amazon on the applications services side of things. Amazon already has a huge amount of e-content in the form of ebooks, music and movies. The launch of the Kindle Fire catapulted Amazon as the 4th player (besides Apple, Google and Microsoft) as a platform owner, and this has just received a major boost with the launch of the Kindle Fire HD.
“Depending on how far Amazon wants to take the platform strategy in its search for platform control and profits, we may even see a smartphone from Amazon in the near future as it is the single largest point of content consumption. Microsoft is expected to ramp up its service portfolio once its Windows 8 platform launches, and may be a very powerful contender in the consumer as well as enterprise side,” said Pranabesh.
He added, “In the long term, each competitor is competing for the total user base, and this competition is only expected to increase as revenues from application services become ever important.”
“A lot is riding on the success of the latest iPhone, and there’s no doubt that the new iPhone will indeed be successful. However, the degree of success depends on the uptake of the product much beyond the realms of Apple fans. The ban of Samsung products might be a shot-in-the-arm for the Cupertino headquartered company but the real success depends on the new iPhone being revolutionary rather than simply evolutionary,” Abhishek concluded.
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
One place where cloud computing applications are getting a foothold is in education.
The benefits - access to applications anywhere and on any device and lower IT costs – appeal to many colleges and school districts.
But while IBM, Microsoft, Adobe are offering cloud based products to the education market, there is plenty of room for growth. Only about a third of higher education institutions and just over a quarter of K-12 districts were in the cloud as of May last year.
Here’s an infographic on cloud use by schools:
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
Media tablets powered by new Microsoft operating systems Windows 8 and Windows RT will have an impact on the overall market; just not this year, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research.
Windows-based tablets will commence shipments at the end of October and capture an estimated 1.5% of total tablet shipments for 2012.
Pricing for Windows tablets will be a key consideration for end-user adoption. If priced aggressively towards current Android tablets, Windows tablets could see 2013 shipments increase 10-fold year-over-year; however if priced like Apple’s iPad offerings, Windows tablets may only double or triple shipments in 2013.
Growth in total tablet market coming from businesses
Growth in the total available market is expected to come from businesses adopting tablets, which is expected to be a strong area for Windows 8.
Mobile computing, led by media tablets such as Apple’s iPad, is so far a two-horse race of devices powered by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
“While the main marketing focus has been on Windows 8, Microsoft’s magic bullet lies in Windows RT,” says mobile devices senior practice director Jeff Orr. Windows RT accelerates an existing ecosystem of vendors experienced with ARM-based development and leveraging the architecture strengths.
Windows RT leaves much legacy baggage behind
“Windows RT represents Microsoft’s first OS volley addressing future generations of computing devices while leaving much of the legacy Windows baggage behind,” adds Orr.
One area that Windows 8 might be embraced with open arms is in the enterprise. “Neither of the leading tablet OS platforms has squarely addressed the needs of IT organizations and business users,” notes enterprise mobility practice director Dan Shey. “Flawless execution by Microsoft on its Windows 8 Pro enterprise strategy for tablets could catapult it into a mobile computing leadership position.”
ABI Research’s new “The Impact of Windows 8 on Media Tablets” report provides further details on the importance of multiple Windows OS platforms for mobile computing, the effect Windows 8 will have on incumbent tablet OS share trajectories, and how organizations are likely to approach the tablet device segment with Microsoft as an OS and device vendor.
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Developers are focused on creating mobile applications for the enterprise with Apple set to take the lead, according to a new report from Appcelerator, a mobile platform company, and IDC.
The report also shows that developers are interested in Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform, and that cloud services will play a big role in developing mobile apps moving forward.
Apple iOS takes dramatic lead
“The big news is that Apple’s iOS took a dramatic lead over Google’s Android in the enterprise app space,” said Scott Ellison, VP Mobile and Connected Consumer Platforms at IDC. “For developers, Android appears to be evolving more towards a consumer play, which in turn provides a key competitive opening for Microsoft in the enterprise mobile app space.”
The most significant finding in the 2Q 2012 Mobile Developer Survey is Apple opening a dramatic 16 percent lead over Google’s Android when it comes to which operating system will win in the enterprise marketplace, with 53.2 percent saying iOS will win vs. 37.5 percent saying that Android will win.
This is a very significant change in the past three quarters compared to 3Q 2011 when developers viewed iOS and Android in a dead heat at 44 percent each. Appcelerator and IDC attribute this to the growing strength of Apple in the enterprise — most notably since the adoption of the iPad, regular reporting of Android malware, enterprise challenges in dealing with Android fragmentation, and resulting anecdotal reporting of enterprises re-evaluating widespread Android deployment outside of particular business vertical implementations.
Android Interest Levels Stabilize
However, the 2Q 2012 Mobile Developer Survey Report contains some good news for Google, as Android seems to have arrested the noticeable erosion of developer interest over the last four quarters, which Appcelerator and IDC noted in the 1Q 2012 report. The huge growth in Android device shipments — especially handsets — and more affordable price points are outweighing steadily increasing Android ecosystem fragmentation and monetization challenges.
Microsoft Competitive Opening in the Enterprise
Developers are cautiously optimistic about Windows 8 tablets, and find Microsoft’s Metro UI especially compelling. Therefore a key dynamic to watch going forward will be Microsoft’s opportunity to eclipse Android as the number two operating system priority for mobile enterprise app developers, especially given Microsoft’s strengths in the enterprise market through Office and Windows.
Mobile Developers Remain Committed to the Cloud
Finally, mobile developers remain strongly committed to the cloud: 83 percent of all developers plan to use cloud services and also intend to use a cloud solution for the back end. This percentage remains consistent with our findings in the 2Q 2011 survey. Apple’s iCloud and Amazon’s cloud platform offerings are at the top of surveyed developers’ plans, while Microsoft’s Azure trails with comparatively tepid interest.
Two-Thirds of Developers Use Multi-Platform Tools
According to the quarter’s survey, 66 percent of mobile application developers use multiple platform development tools to build apps. The primary motivations for using these tools are the sheer number of mobile operating systems that a mobile app must address and the fragmentation of those individual operating systems.