Thursday, February 11, 2016

Microsoft Services are available on more devices than ever before through Agreements with Device Partners - The Official Microsoft Blog

Embrace and extend, c2016

"Last spring, we made access to Microsoft apps and services on mobile devices easier for customers through strategic agreements with 31 global and local OEMs and top original device manufacturer partners to pre-install Microsoft Office, OneDrive and Skype on Android tablets. Today I’m excited to announce that there are now 74 hardware partners in 25 countries who are making Microsoft productivity applications and services available on their Android tablets and phones. These partners offer or will soon offer Android devices pre-installed with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype. Office and Microsoft services are available on a wide variety of Android devices today, such as the LG G Pad 2, Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z4 and many other tablets and phones offered by our partners. Specific offerings may vary by device."
Microsoft Services are available on more devices than ever before through Agreements with Device Partners - The Official Microsoft Blog

Elon Musk admits the Tesla Model X was overly ambitious — but still ‘the best car ever’ - The Washington Post

Check the full article for a case study in successfully managing expectations

""In retrospect, it would've been a better decision to do fewer things with the first version of Model X and roll out" new features more slowly over time, Musk told investors on a conference call. "I think there was some hubris there with the X."

Despite all that, Musk quickly added that all the Model X's features add up to "the best car ever" — an extremely ambitious vehicle that no other automaker would dare attempt.

"I'm not sure Tesla would make a car like this again," he joked."
Elon Musk admits the Tesla Model X was overly ambitious — but still ‘the best car ever’ - The Washington Post

Peach Is a Great New App You Definitely Don’t Need - Bloomberg Business

A stark messaging startup reality check

"Before cratering, each of these apps boasted a new mode of digital interaction that might have been better than current favorites, if only they’d been given more of a chance. But there’s no air for alternatives to breathe—not with Facebook to keep tabs on friends (and frenemies), Twitter for news (and self-promotion), and Instagram for sharing photos (and humble brags). Then there’s LinkedIn for professional development, WhatsApp for messaging, and Snapchat for anything else we wouldn’t want published to posterity. We’ve settled into a world where we’re good with the apps we have, thank you very much. Which is too bad: Just because an app can’t take away market share from Facebook—a suicide mission from the start—doesn’t mean it can’t add value. “I always love seeing new experiments,” says famed investor Marc Andreessen, who won’t say if he has money in Peach."
Peach Is a Great New App You Definitely Don’t Need - Bloomberg Business

Twitter, to Save Itself, Must Scale Back World-Swallowing Ambitions - The New York Times

Tweet different; also see Twitter User Growth Stalls, and the Chief Pledges to Make Fixes (NYT)
"Instead of aiming for something like Facebook, Twitter could mold itself on some other template for success. It could become a venture like Wikipedia, run by a nonprofit that depends on donations, or a business like The New York Times Company, a publicly traded enterprise controlled by a family that has a preference for journalistic ambition.

In other words, Twitter should make clear that there are limits to the scope of its business ambitions, and that it is guided by a philosophical bias for the health of the service over an ambition to grow at any cost."
Twitter, to Save Itself, Must Scale Back World-Swallowing Ambitions - The New York Times

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Marc Andreessen Compares Free Basics in India to Colonialism | Re/code

Check the full article for a case study in how not to use Twitter; see this tweet series for some constructive context-setting
"Venture capitalist and well-known Twitter philosopher Marc Andreessen made a few enemies Tuesday night. Okay, a lot of enemies.

That’s because Andreessen, a Facebook board member, took to Twitter to defend the company’s Free Basics service, which offers users some free Internet services. It was recently banned by Indian regulators for violating the concept of net neutrality.

The discussion started off with Andreessen calling the ban “morally wrong.”"
Marc Andreessen Compares Free Basics in India to Colonialism | Re/code

Twitter Will Offer Selected Tweets to Keep Users Coming Back - The New York Times

Hopefully a Twitter signal-to-noise ratio improvement; tbd how the #RIPTwitter community will respond; also see Twitter Tweaks the Timeline, but It’s Not the End (WSJ)
"The company, based in San Francisco, announced on Wednesday that it would start showing a selection of tweets that a user who has been away from the service might want to see.

“There are lots of people on Twitter who follow hundreds or even thousands of accounts,” Jeff Seibert, Twitter’s senior director of product, said in an interview. “When they come back to Twitter, there’s actually too much for them to catch up on.”

Tweets in this update can come from any time, from minutes to hours ago. The idea is to put important tweets up top so the user does not have to wade through less interesting information."
Twitter Will Offer Selected Tweets to Keep Users Coming Back - The New York Times

Tech Stocks Have Fallen Faster and Further Than Broader Market - The New York Times

A big day ahead for Twitter; also see Twitter isn’t Facebook, but Wall Street expects it to be. That’s a problem. (The Washington Post)
"The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is down 9.4 percent this year. The index’s technology components are down about 12 percent, and the closely watched so-called FANG stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google — are down even further, falling 17 percent on average this year after an 83 percent rise in 2015.

“They go faster on the way up, they go faster on the way down. That’s about as simple as I can make it,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners.

Shares of Twitter, the popular social media service, for example, are down about 40 percent so far this year. And some analysts worry it could tumble even more after the company announces quarterly results Wednesday afternoon."
Tech Stocks Have Fallen Faster and Further Than Broader Market - The New York Times

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Official Google Blog: Building a safer web, for everyone

Check the full post for an overview of five focus areas

"Today is Safer Internet Day, a moment for technology companies, nonprofit organizations, security firms, and people around the world to focus on online safety, together. To mark the occasion, we’re rolling out new tools, and some useful reminders, to help protect you from online dangers of all stripes—phishing, malware, and other threats to your personal information."
Official Google Blog: Building a safer web, for everyone

Apple's Notes for Mac to support Evernote file imports in OS X 10.11.4

Noteworthy

"The new Evernote compatibility comes as part of Apple's Notes buildout, a project that most recently resulted in substantial feature upgrades on iOS 9 and OS X last year. Adding to a rich in-app note-taking toolset, .enex file support means enhanced flexibility for those invested in Evernote's platform. Alternatively, the additional support might also be a play to grow Notes adoption, as a recent AppleInsider reader poll revealed Evernote as the most popular third-party note-taking solution."
Apple's Notes for Mac to support Evernote file imports in OS X 10.11.4

Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do the Same With AI | WIRED

Also see If Artificial Intelligence Kills Us All, I'm Blaming Android Founder Andy Rubin (Gizmodo)

"Playground’s ambitions extend far beyond building individual gadgets or even individual companies. Rubin wants Playground to become the factory that creates the standard building blocks—the basic quartermaster’s inventory of components—for the AI-infused future. And he wants to open up this platform of hardware and software tools so that anyone, not just the companies he works with directly, can create an intelligent device. If he’s successful, Playground stands to have the same kind of impact on smart machines that Android had on smartphones, providing the technological infrastructure for thousands of products and giving a generation of entrepreneurs the ability to build a smart drone. Or a house’s worth of intelligent appliances. Or, hell, a full-fledged robot."
Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do the Same With AI | WIRED

Donate Your Old USB Drives to Fight North Korean Brainwashing | WIRED

Interesting times

"Late last week, the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and the Silicon Valley nonprofit Forum 280 launched Flash Drives for Freedom, an initiative to collect USB flash drive donations from Americans and then ship those slices of silicon to North Korean defector groups. The Korean activist organizations, starting with the Seoul-based non-profit North Korean Strategy Center, will then fill the drives with Western and South Korean films and TV shows and smuggle them across the border into North Korea, where their contraband contents can break Kim Jong-un’s ban on all foreign media. The glimpse of the outside world that those TV shows and films provide is meant to dispel the ideology and illusions the Kim regime depends on to control its populace: that the outside world is poor, dangerous, hostile, and inferior to North Korea."
Donate Your Old USB Drives to Fight North Korean Brainwashing | WIRED

Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers - Bloomberg Business

Likely a trendsetter

"More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far."
Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers - Bloomberg Business

Monday, February 08, 2016

Facebook's Sports Stadium Is No Threat Yet To Twitter's Live Event Dominance (Marketing Land)

Also see Facebook's Sports Stadium Is Having a Rough Super Bowl And users are airing frustrations on Twitter (Adweek)

"The company’s Sports Stadium product struggled for much of Sunday’s game. So-called “live” updates often lagged several minutes behind the actual game action and, at one point in the first half, the live updates stopped altogether for an extended period of time.

Sports Stadium is the live experience that Facebook launched last month as a real-time hub to let users connect while talking about live events on Facebook. In the big picture, though, its purpose is to show the world — consumers, brands, celebrities and more — that real-time conversation happens on Facebook and doesn’t belong solely to Twitter.

Here’s how Facebook tried to capture the Super Bowl conversation in real-time on Sunday."
Facebook's Sports Stadium Is No Threat Yet To Twitter's Live Event Dominance

Roasting Toaster Fridges | Monday Note

Jean-Louis Gassée shares his Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro impressions

"A longish exploration of two hybrid devices, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 and Apple’s iPad Pro.
The short version: The Microsoft product is a decent laptop but it’s better as a tablet. The iPad Pro is also not a laptop replacement, but it’s a substantial enhancement of the tablet genre, thanks to a better/bigger screen, a very good stylus, and plenty of processing power. This leads to a brief speculation on the future of OS X and iOS."
Roasting Toaster Fridges | Monday Note

I Want Amazon Bookstores - The Wayfinder - Hugh C. Howey

Check the full post for nine more Amazon points from author Hugh Howey

"Here are a few things that the anti-Amazon crowd don’t seem to get and why they are going to be surprised and completely wrong about all their prognosticating:
1) Online retail accounts for 8% of total retail. EIGHT PERCENT. Amazon might own half of this. That leaves another 92% to grab a slice of. Even if they only grab 4% of this massive chunk, that’s a doubling of their retail business! Amazon is not foolish to enter a segment where 92% of the action lies. Instead, look at them as the classic disruptor: Setting up a beachhead in the low-margin and low-startup cost end of a sector before moving upstream. That’s exactly what they would be doing by moving into physical retail. And guess what? They already have the hub-and-spoke distribution network in place to feed that retail system. Not going the last mile to customers will be an increase in efficiency, not a decrease."
I Want Amazon Bookstores - The Wayfinder - Hugh C. Howey

Twitter's Challenge: Updating a Product Users Love to Hate - Bloomberg Business

Tumultuous Twitter times

"The problem with the crowd: They seem to agree Twitter is flawed, but they don’t have a solution, and they don’t like change. Twitter can’t afford to listen only to its most vocal users. The company has a sweet spot among celebrities, politicians, journalists and other commentators; to scale beyond that, it needs to listen to the data that comes in from product testing. And fast."
Twitter's Challenge: Updating a Product Users Love to Hate - Bloomberg Business

Friday, February 05, 2016

Death To The Dumb Phone: Soon, Nearly 80% Of Mobile Phones In The US Will Be Smartphones [Marketing Land]

One of the smartphone market stats referenced in this summary: Facebook and Google together control 8 of the top 10 U.S. smartphone apps
"Facebook’s app is the most popular one for smartphones: it’s installed on more than 75 percent of them in the US. Facebook Messenger has risen to number two. Google has six of the top 15, including apps 3 through 7. YouTube is the most widely distributed Google app, according to comScore."
Death To The Dumb Phone: Soon, Nearly 80% Of Mobile Phones In The US Will Be Smartphones

Atlassian, the Last Good Tech IPO of 2015, Tops Analyst Estimates | Re/code

Check this Atlassian release for details

"The company estimates between $113 million and $115 million in revenue for the current quarter and between five and six cents of profit per share. Analysts were anticipating guidance of $107 million and three cents per share for the quarter. For the full fiscal year ending June 30, Atlassian projects revenue in the range of $443 million to $447 million, with earnings per share between 30 and 31 cents, beating analyst estimates of $425 million and 19 cents a share.

All in all, Atlassian’s numbers from this quarter show 45 percent growth from the same quarter last year."
Atlassian, the Last Good Tech IPO of 2015, Tops Analyst Estimates | Re/code

Six Degrees of Separation? Facebook Finds a Smaller Number - The New York Times

Check this Facebook post for the research project details

"The new statistic is as much a testament to the growing popularity of Facebook as it is to a steadily shrinking human social world. The calculation includes only connections between the network’s 1.59 billion users, ignoring the approximately 5.7 billion other humans who have yet to set up accounts. (In July, the United Nations estimated that the current world population to be 7.3 billion.)

If you are logged into Facebook, the blog post will tell you your average degree of separation “from everyone.” The number is an estimate derived from statistical algorithms and not, as it seems, an intrusive estimate of the reach of your friends and family. According to the post, Facebook users in the United States are connected by an average of 3.46 people."
Six Degrees of Separation? Facebook Finds a Smaller Number - The New York Times

LinkedIn Shares Plummet After Sales Outlook Trails Estimates - Bloomberg Business

Another case study in the importance of managing and meeting expectations
"LinkedIn Corp. shares lost almost a third of their value after the professional networking site forecast a year of slower revenue growth amid signs of weakness in sales of advertising and marketing tools.
Revenue will be about $820 million in the first quarter, and $3.6 billion to $3.65 billion for 2016, the company said in a statement Thursday. That missed analysts’ average estimate for $867.1 million and $3.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. LinkedIn had 414 million users in the fourth quarter, up from 396 million in the prior period."
LinkedIn Shares Plummet After Sales Outlook Trails Estimates - Bloomberg Business