Monday, 16 May 2011

Why did Microsoft spend billions on Skype?

The main assets would be :

extra $800m+ on line revenue

27 million active Skype users

Microsoft can “bundle” their existing on line products such as Bing and Hotmail to the millions of Skype users.

Skype has readymade relationships with Telco’s that terminate their internet based calls onto their fixed line networks. This will be useful in their corporate market where they are pushing Lync hard as a PBX replacement.
No doubt the first development will be a Skype button appearing on your MS Hotmail tool bar.

Also there is an overlap with their Lync unified communications / presence client and the Skype client.  

On the financial side, Skype will add $860m revenues to Microsoft’s on line services division. This is the lowest revenue earner within the Microsoft group with existing revenues of $2.2 billion and is also the only division to have made a loss of $2.4 billion.

Microsoft’s previous attempts to enter the on line consumer market have failed, Yahoo and Facebook’s management turned down Microsoft’s takeover attempts.

Tony Bates, Skype’s CEO stated cinema trailers being swapped over Skype as a growth revenue stream. This will add to Microsoft’s advertising revenue it currently gets from its Bing search engine.

During their joint press conference, I thought it was interesting that Steve Ballmer refused to mention Android when asked about continuing Skype support for non Windows platforms?
All he did say was we will support the Apple Mac platform?

Overall it seems a wise move for Microsoft, so long as it can realise a $8.5 billion increase in on line services (adverting revenue, group video conferencing, calls to non Skype users etc.) over the next two or three years?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Which tablet client device will the corporate market adopt?

Today I attended a meeting where we were planning on rolling out a new product offering based on a tablet device, i.e. Apple iPad or one of the newer rivals such as the Blackberry Playbook or the Cisco Cius.

The initial suggestion was, “everyone wants an iPad lets offer that”.

Our company sells IT and data comms products from several vendors, but not Apple.

Apparently Apple was insisting on a very large commitment to sell a minimum number of products before agreeing to allow us to become an authorised reseller. So that effectively ruled them out of consideration.

Another contributor suggested the new Blackberry Playbook, but apparently they have exclusive deals with the larger mobile vendors who will have access to the product for a period of time before anyone else is allowed to sell it.

A third possibility mentioned was the new Cisco Cius. As a Gold Partner we have good contacts with them and therefore will be able to sell and support the product as soon as it’s released. I’ve had a brief hands-on experience with this new device, but there was a lack of apps on it so I couldn’t really comment on its usability.

For this and almost no other reason, it seems we will adopt the Cius and offer it to our SME and corporate customers.

The various technical / commercial aspects of the three different devices are known and it’s up for debate as to which is better?


·         excellent user interface, my three year old can use it

·         huge range of consumer based applications

Blackberry Playbook

·         huge installed base of Blackberry users who want a familiar interface

·         back catalogue of business applications


·         Existing popular instant messaging, / presence client, video conferencing technology using the Cius’ has front / back cameras

·         Security technology equivalent or better than Blackberry’s

I don’t believe the corporate market will adopt the Cisco tablet based on our decision, but it is interesting that it seemed to be the easiest device for our company to offer?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Sony’s million dollar mistake

Are the bloggers being too hard on Sony over their security breach?
Probably not.
Imagine if a major bank had been breached and had to admit that 70m+ user’s personal details had been hacked?
However I suspect that a major bank has been hacked to a greater or lesser extent to Sony. The difference is that they have kept their online service up and running and made sure their customers money has been protected and or refunded if necessary.
If Sony had kept their online portal up and running would anyone have realised they had been hacked?
If they had kept their Playstation Network up and running and someone had been compromised due to the hack would the situation have been any worse for them than it is at the moment?
At the time of writing their network has been down for thirteen days. Every day it is down users are getting more and more frustrated and I’ve no doubt a minority are giving up and moving to Microsoft’s XBOX network and possibly may never return?

update 22nd May

After their network was re opened, I downloaded and installed the latest software update. Now my "fat" PS3 has just shut down and will not re-boot. I checked the Sony support web site and it seems this has happened to a lot of other users after they installed the latest software update. It doesn't look like this can be resolved without a hands on hardware repair?

Following on from the three week network outage, Sony have just handed another large number of their customers to Microsoft.

Update 28th May
Got a call from Sony, they want to charge me £134 to replace the PS3 which was damaged by their software update.

A lesson in how to lose your customers.

Interesting article on Research In Motion from the Wall Street Journal