Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘microsoft

Mac v. PC Shopping Guy

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Welcome to Austin, Texas, where it’s expected to reach a balmy 106 degrees today.

I would retire to the pool and use my newfangled Verizon Jetpack Internet everywhere device to let me do a few emails while sipping virgin Pina Coladas, but I’m afraid my skin might start burning and smoking like some bad horror movie. Yes, it’s going to be THAT hot outside (and it’s only June 26).

In the summer, I tend to get up really early to do all my grocery shopping and things, so that I can then come home and never leave the house until the sun goes back down.

And on the subject of shopping, while flipping through the news on my iPad this morning, I discover this whopper of a story in The Wall Street Journal online.

Travel company Orbitz recently discovered that people who use Apple’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% or more a night on hotels. So, in turn, Orbitz is starting to give them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than what Windows visitors see.

You mean, I have to go back to using Windows in order to get the best deals on Orbitz? Not necessarily, but it’s quite evident that you’ll be given different promotions, many of which will cost more because you’re part of the cool, Apple fanboy set.

Now if we could just see what Orbitz would offer up to Ubuntu Linux users…a cardboard shack out back?!

I’ve been writing about IBM’s smarter commerce initiative for several months now, and this is a perfectly good example of how companies are using all that great information they’re garnering in their web browsing and sales activities, then using that information to market differently to different folks.

Before you Mac users pull your long dormant Windows7 machine out of hibernation, first, remember you can always opt to rank all your results on Orbitz (and other travel sites) by price, and you’re obviously not limited to the promotions you are offered.

But Orbitz did find that Mac users spend an average of $20-$30 a night more on hotels than their PC counterparts, according to the WSJ story, which is a substantial difference considering that the site’s average nightly hotel booking is around $100.

I sense a whole new wave of Mac v. PC commercials coming on:

PC Guy: Dude, I stayed at the Four Seasons for $30 less than you did last night because I run Windows!

Mac Guy: Yes, but you didn’t look nearly as cool as me hanging out at the hotel bar with all the hipsters. And when I turn my computer on it just works!

The data also revealed that Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms than the Windows crowd.

So, this is the part where I go back outside, grab my Pina Colada and multiple cans of 60 SPS Walgreen tanning spray, and hand you off to the IBM Smarter Commerce Website so you can read more about how you can utilize such predictive analytics for business advantage.

And don’t forget about my last post, where I mentioned some recent announcements IBM made in the predictive analytics space.

Below The Surface

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So Microsoft went and introduced a tablet computer, huh?

I watched some of the live blogging coverage from the Milk studios in LA, where the announcement was made.

And though it seemed like an interesting product, doing Surface means I’d have to do Windows, and I’ve done everything possible to minimize my exposure to Windows, and I’m going to keep it that way.

I learned as much as possible about Mac OS X.  I’m now getting much more familiar with Linux (Ubuntu 12.04, in particular). And so I’venot been in a steady Windows environment for some time now.

And you know what?  I really don’t miss it.

This has nothing to do with the old OS/2 v. Windows grudge match.

I’ve long been over that.  It simply has to do with what environment is it that helps me get my job done day in and day out, and be productive with minimum interference from  the realities and demands of the operating system.

And the UNIX-based Mac OS X does that.

So, for the most part, does Linux (although Linux can be a little more of a challenge until you get the basic hang of it as an OS).

Windows, on the other hand, I always felt was intruding in my productivity.

There was always something going wrong in Windows for me.  There was always something crashing.  Something needing to be moved from one place to another for something else to work.  Some file to associate with some thing to get the app to open. And on and on and on.

Mac’s don’t do that.  For me, Macs just work.

As much as I liked PC guy, Mac guy definitely won the computing platform war.

And I have a feeling that will be the case with tablets as well.

First, Apple has a two year head start.  Apple has a massive application install base, one that increasingly links the Macbook line with the iPad, and an audience of several million happy iPad campers.

But, admittedly, Microsoft does  have going for them the massive Windows footprint and install base of their productivity apps stretching eons into the past.

If they can convince the market the Surface is a productivity tool, and capitalize on that massive footprint, there could be a there there.

But if they think they’ll compete on a feature match as a leisure tablet device, I think the Surface will soon sink well below it.

Written by turbotodd

June 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Skype In Or Out: The Most Expensive VOIP Call In History

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So Microsoft’s buying Skype for $8.5 billion?

Man, time flies.  I remember when eBay bought Skype for, well, wasn’t it like $2.5B?

But, that was in the Jurassic era, pre-Facebook, whom, by the way, Om Malik pronounces the winner of Microsoft’s newfound acquisition.

His reasoning?  Facebook gets to keep Skype away from Google and gets access to the Skype assets through Microsoft’s deal.

But Nokia also benefits after Microsoft’s recent deal with them to put Windows Mobile 7 into Nokia smartphones as their OS of choice moving forward.

Of course, you also will now see Skype moving into the X-Box, Kinect, Sharepoint, Outlook…the list goes on.

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb points out, though, that Mac Fanboys will likely continue to get the short end of the Skype stick, as “neglect of the Mac version has always been an issue.”

He points out that Skype for Mac has been “several versions behind the Windows version for years” and lags in features, and that it would be hard to imagine that changing with this deal.

Regardless, one would hope the folks in Redmond just don’t treat Skype like the red-headed stepchild it seemed to be at e-Bay.

Considering its Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition ever (aQuantive went for $6B in 2007), I would think they’d want to make the most of it, although keeping all that talent around will require some nice velvety handcuffs.

$8.5B, though — that’s got to be the single most expensive VOIP call in the history of the planet!

Written by turbotodd

May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Defending The Fortress

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I believe it was Napoleon who said “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Ron Markezich, the sales lead for enterprises and partners in the U.S. at Microsoft, apparently explained to AllThingsD earlier this week that for every dollar companies spend on Microsoft software, they have to spend $6 to get it running right.

So I went and read the interview to get the full context.

The specific question Markezich was asked centered around Microsoft’s disruption of its traditional business model that “has brought in billions upon billions of dollars is sold” and whether or not “this new model [cloud delivery] ultimately catch up with and supplant the old one?”

Here’s the latter part of his response:

…So every one of these customers, we see their total spend with Microsoft go up anywhere from 2 to 6 times what it was before. The other thing is that if you look at the total industry spend, most of it is on activities where there’s no value added. Every dollar you spend on software from Microsoft, you spend $6 trying to get it to do anything. What we’re trying to do is drive that six dollars to zero.

It was also Napoleon who explained that “the fate of a nation may sometimes depend upon the position of a fortress.”  Insert “business” for “nation” and the intent of the statement remains.

But after the last two days, some perhaps might ask if the cloud ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, either.  

Amazon’s cloud done been down, off and on, for a couple of days now.  

ReadWriteWeb’s Alex Williams is keepin’ ’em honest, and updated, which apparently Amazon hasn’t been too busy doing.

ComputerWorld describes it as an outright black eye for the “dominant player in the cloud market,” with sites like Quora, Reddit, and foursquare “left staggering or totally knocked out” because of server problems in the Amazon datacenter.

By way of example, Reddit’s site explained it was in “emergency read-only mode” because of Amazon’s degradation.

In the ComputerWorld piece, analyst Rob Enderle suggests the biggest impact from the outage may be to the cloud itself.

“What will take a hit is the image of this technology as being on you can depend on, and that image was critically damaged today,” Enderle is quoted as saying.

On the other hand, it should be noted there are lots of flavors of cloud computing, and a fully public, rentable cloud service like Amazon EC2 doesn’t even pretend to offer 100% availability.  In fact, it quite clearly states in its public FAQs that “The Amazon EC2 SLA guarantees 99.95% availability of the service within a Region over a trailing 365 day period.”

In any case, I would recommend carefully reading all the FAQs before fully banking one’s business in the public cloud.

And I would also recommend reading more widely about cloud implementations around the globe.

One size doesn’t fit all (there’s the public cloud, the private cloud, the hybrid, etc.), and the IBM Academy of Technology conducted a survey released this past October entitled “Cloud computing insights from 110 implementation projects” which explains pros and cons, the good and the bad, as well as related considerations to be thoughtfully considered before embarking upon cloud deployments.

Maybe read a little of that before the media or the blogosphere scare you back into your private data center bunker with your AR-15 and 10-day survival kits!

Written by turbotodd

April 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Microsoft And Nokias’ Noble Mobile Marriage

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Could you hear the mobile market bombshell Nokia and Microsoft dropped in London earlier today?

Here’s how it was covered on the Nokia Conversations blog.  Basically, Nokia’s putting Symbian out to pasture and adopting Windows Phone as its “primary smartphone strategy.”

This will bring Nokia and Microsoft into the same big mobile market bed as they “closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives, and a shared development roadmap.”

It also means that Bing will become the search engine of choice across Nokia’s devices and services. This at a time when Bing’s market share hovered a little over 12% of the U.S., and just under 10% globally.

With the explosion of mobile devices around the globe and Nokia’s vast global market penetration, the Bing deal becomes an attempt to “buy in” as a potential strategic counterweight to Google’s vast and growing mobile search domination.

But considering Nokia’s own 4Q10 press release indicated that YOY market share had dropped from 35% to 31%, they’re going to need a major bounceback.

Then again, nothing surprises me in this industry anymore.  Microsoft helped “save” Apple way back when with a $150M cash infusion, so who’s to say Redmond can’t help Nokia get firmly back on the mobile information superhighway.

Though I won’t be running out to replace my own iPhone 4 anytime soon, a device I’ve become perfectly content with (save AT&T’s continued spotty service here in my Austin home office), it will be interesting to see if Redmond can save Helsinki.

A few other key aspects of the deal, FYI, and according to the official press release from Nokia:

  • Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
  • Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience.
  • Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
  • Microsoft will continue to invest in the development of Windows Phone and cloud services
  • Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace

Written by turbotodd

February 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Car Windows

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Is anybody but me getting a sudden influx of Facebook SPAM?

I’m suddenly getting notices from my “friends” with links to some Blogspot address asking me to watch some video.

Oy vey.  I wonder if that could somehow be a viral video campaign related to today’s Windows 7 launch.

Speaking of which, I haven’t yet figured out how to get Windows 7 on my Acer netbook.  It’s currently got a dual boot with both Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Windows XP, but because most netbooks don’t have a DVD or CD-ROM drive, upgrading is going to be a big challenge.

I’ve visited both the Windows marketing pages as well as the Microsoft store, and there’s no information on the Netbook upgrade version (from which you can load via USB device, or so I had heard) of Windows 7.

So, all that hard work by Microsoft on getting W7 tuned up and ready for the netbook market…well done!

I did stumble onto this post from the Windows 7 blog, which announced a number of special offers and promotions, including a Windows 7 launch party in NYC.

You know, I really would try and make it, but alas, I have to head to a meeting to watch some paint dry.

David Pogue has a review on The New York Times with the following headline: Windows 7 Keeps the Good, Tries to Fix Flaws.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but then again Pogue is an unabashed Apple fanboy (Full disclosure: So am I.)

But, being a technology dude, I find it is my geeksworn duty to try as many technologies as I possibly can, from IBM and from our competitors, so that I can better understand the state of the market.

That said, I never tried Microsoft Vista, save for one time when I was at a Gartner Symposium in the fall of 2003, and I got to try out an early beta.

I thought it really cool that Vista was going to include RSS feeds (RSS feeds were pretty new back then…amazing how so many people still don’t know what they are!)  Other than that, I just couldn’t see it, especially with all the additional horsepower it required.

No, for me, Windows XP was always good enough, and like so many, I never found a compelling reason to upgrade to Vista.  And then, I discovered Mac OS X.

For my money, operating systems should be like car engines…they should just work.  Turn the key.  Engine cranks.  Off you go.

And for me, Mac OS X has been a pretty good working engine, and considering that it’s basically a UNIX derivative with a nice GUI overlay, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

If Windows 7 can provide the kind of stability and an elegant GUI that OS X has been providing for years, then by golly, knock yourself out.

I’d certainly consider putting it on my Acer netbook…but I’m definitely not interested in spending days under the hood trying to figure out how to do so.

Kinda defeats the point if I can’t get in and just turn on the engine and drive.

Written by turbotodd

October 22, 2009 at 2:05 pm

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