Jan 292016
 
Windows-10-microsoft-announcement

Microsoft released its quarterly financial results to general acclaim from the stock market which drove the shares seven percent higher after reporting slightly better than expected returns.

The market was applauding the continued shift to cloud services with income rising five percent in the company’s Intelligent Cloud division, however the decline in the company’s more traditional strengths of software licenses and devices saw earnings fall by eleven percent over the corresponding period last year.

More concerning for the company’s shareholders would be the profits that have fallen 23% which once again proves that cloud services are much less profitable than Microsoft’s traditional software business.

To make matters worse margins on cloud services are falling with returns from the division declining despite sales being up five percent. It’s not hard to see the effects of Amazon Web Services’ ruthless driving down of cloud service prices.

While Microsoft’s results are encouraging in that they show the company is continuing its evolution to a cloud services business, it’s clear the legacy products are still the key cash generators.

As of December 31, Microsoft has a 102 billion dollars in the bank so there’s little risk the company will be going broke soon however the company has to find a way to make better profits from its new business models.

Jan 132016
 
should you throw out your computer equipment

Personal computer sales suffers a 10.3% fall in 2015, the sector’s greatest ever year on year decline reports IDC.

What might reverse the PC’s decline? Dell hopes it’s virtual reality as the company offers discount bundles with the computer power to run the Oculus Rift headset.

Dell’s move is based on the news that most computers in use today don’t have the power to run virtual reality headsets.

The question though is how long that will last as the power of smartphones and smaller form factor computers increase exponentially and developers find ways to optimise code to deliver more performance from less powerful processors.

Virtual reality may well open a range of new markets and products but it’s hard to see it saving the personal computer.

Nov 092015
 
radio programs for techonology, web, social media, cloud computing and computer advice

For November’s Nightlife tech spot we’ll be asking if wearable technologies overhyped and looking at what is going on with Australia’s sudden discovery of startup businesses.

Wearable technologies have been the next big thing. Two years ago Google Glass was all the news and earlier this year the Apple Watch was released to great fanfare.

Now Google Glass has been wound back in the face of widespread indifference and Apple are discounting the new watch as market experts find that wearable technologies are just not interesting to customers.

So are wearable technologies overhyped? We’ll be discussing where having a computer on your wrist or in your glasses may be useful and taking your questions on them.

Australia’s startup goldrush

There’s been a shift in the Australian business community since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister and now tech startups have become the new black with a wave of corporate initiatives being launched to support fledgling companies hoping to be the next Facebook or at least Atlassian.

So why now all the interest and can Australia be the next Silicon Valley?

Some of the questions we’ll be answering include.

  • So where can we get a cheap Apple watch?
  • Have Apple done this sort of thing before?
  • What are the experts saying about wearable technologies?
  • Are there some industries they can be used in?
  • So why is Malcolm Turnbull so keen on startups?
  • What sort of things are governments doing to support the startup communities?
  • How many Australian tech industry successes have there been?
  • Can Australia be the next Silicon Valley?

Join us

Tune in on your local ABC radio station from 10pm Australian Eastern Summer time or listen online at www.abc.net.au/nightlife.

We’d love to hear your views so join the conversation with your on-air questions, ideas or comments; phone in on 1300 800 222 within Australia or +61 2 8333 1000 from outside Australia.

You can SMS Nightlife’s talkback on 19922702, or through twitter to@paulwallbank using the #abcnightlife hashtag or visit the Nightlife Facebook page.

 

Oct 312015
 
apple-watch-detail

The US smartwatch market in not yet ready for prime time says Kantar Worldpanel finding most consumers are saying the devices are too expensive and don’t add enough value.

Kantar’s findings are underscored by Apple’s giving discounts to buyers of its smartwatch, something the company is certainly known for.

For all the hype, it appears the smartwatch may well have been the classic tech solution looking for a problem.

Oct 112015
 
Personal computer Dell manufacturer

Two struggling tech giants are reportedly set to merge with persistent rumours that Dell is about make an offer for storage provider EMC.

Both companies have been hit by shifts in the computing industry with cloud computing undermining both businesses, Dell was also hit by the collapse of the Windows upgrade cycle which changed the buying patterns of computer purchasers.

A combined company offers some theoretical advantages in bringing together one of world’s biggest server companies with a storage business, however it’s difficult to see how the two businesses combined would slow the decline of the segments both are strong in.

Mergers can slow the decline of companies like EMC and Dell, but without innovating and finding new opportunities to exploit it’s unlikely they can recover lost ground.

 

 

Sep 182015
 
satya-nadella-microsoft-dreamforce-dreamforce-2015

“Why does Microsoft exist?” Asked the company’s founder Satya Nadella at the Dreamforce 2015 conference.

Nadella has asked this question before and his answer at the San Francisco event was that Microsoft exists to empower people through technology, something that Bill Gates and Paul Allen envisaged in the mid 1970s when they founded new startup.

To show how he sees Microsoft’s position in the modern workplace, Nadella gave a not completely flawless demonstration of Microsoft’s integration with Salesforce.

The products Nadella pushed were Windows Phone and Windows 10, which he claims to be part of a major change in businesses with data transforming the way we work.

Interestingly, he framed the Windows 10 IoT strategy around endpoint security. While there are millions of vulnerable devices, it’s not clear shipping them with Microsoft’s firmware will resolve the problem.

“What’s the big technology shift? It’s how we use the data.” Nadella proclaimed in laying out how he sees a data culture transforming the places we work.

A Grand Pivot

Microsoft itself is dealing with a cultural transformation with the company shifting across to cloud based subscription services. “The thing that it’s done for us is it’s not a one-for-one move. It’s not like we’re just moving Exchange on premise to Exchange as a Service, it changes the value proposition for the customers.”

Nadella sees those cloud services as an opportunity to sell more products – and add more value – to customers, particularly small businesses.

The CEO’s role

A business’ success relies upon its culture and Nadella sees the role of the CEO as being about curating that culture, “I always ask what it is that defines us.”

Part of that culture is about becoming customer focused which involves thinking outside of one company’s products or silos, “how is our industry going to succeed? It’s going to succeed if we can add value our customers. Our customers are going to make choices that aren’t homogenous.”

Those varied choices are what’s driving Microsoft’s current push into alliances.  “If we are going to realise the power of technology, then these partnerships will amplify that,” says Nadella.

While there were nuggets of truth in Nadella’s presentation, there was also a lot of truisms and somewhat meaningless slogans. While Microsoft’s push onto the cloud and into alliances that were once considered unholy might be genuine, it’s hard not to think there’s still a lot of marketing speak wrapped around it.