While Microsoft isn’t exactly hurting, the company has had very mixed success entering new markets for some time. In fact, without the OS and Office cash cows, it’s failures would have torpedoed most companies. One thing Ballmer and company do seem to have is tenacity. That tenacity can be seen in action with Windows Phone.
Windows Phone is a well executed smart handset platform that came to market a little to late. It’s also lacks any real advantage over the established Apple and Android platforms. Add to that the obstacle a its licensing fee and there’s not much to make Windows Phone compelling to potential manufacturing partners. That gives Android a price advantage while Apple holds the overpriced designer label space. Microsoft has tried to remove that disadvantage by patent trolling Android manufacturers, with mixed success. There are also rumors that the company could acquire the ailing Nokia, likely giving Windows Phone a stable hardware partner. None of this will open any shelf space for MS as long as devices are joined at the hip to service plans that are sold exclusively by carriers.
That brings us to Skype. The VoIP company that Ebay notoriously overpaid for, was acquired for far less by Microsoft last year.The company is currently testing an app that will add the mostly free to talk service to Windows Phone 8. Tight integration of Skype into the Windows Phone OS has the potential to accelerate the end of by the minute mobile voice plans forever. That is assuming the carriers cooperate. While the mobile hardware space continues to become more crowded, the carrier space is not with incumbents scrambling to consolidate. Despite what we keep being told, mobile data is enormously profitable. That profitability is eclipsed by the margins on voice by the minute and messaging. Without major changes in the wireless connection business, Skype will do nothing to improve Windows Phone’s fortunes. (more…)
With the dramatic reduction in the number of movies being shot on film, camera manufacturers have responded. Is it the end of moving images on reels? I don’t think so. While digital has matched and gone beyond the old analog capabilities, the main issue is the greater speed and efficiency demanded by the movie business. With all of its advantages, digital lacks the look and feel of film, along with the slow deliberate process it requires. Like music and still photos, I think the movies will find a growing subset of artists who will gravitate towards the analog medium and keep it alive. That could give totally new meaning to the phrases film school and film festival.Having said that, analog projection is toast. Film will be scanned for digital presentation.
Is there a war looming between Google and Microsoft?A few new fighting words emerge from the mouth of Google’s normally stoic Larry Page.
With so much of public school’s focus going to theoretical pseudo science like man made global warming, it’s great to see the Girl Scouts step up to help fill the real science void. Kudos, ladies!
Congressmen Barton and Markey are worried about Amazon spying on Kindle owners via it’s Silk broswer. Funny thing. These two arrogant elites are among the many Congressional hypocrites that enthusiastically advocated for unconstitutional spying by the feds.
Teachers Union fails to block free online classes. This is one to watch carefully. As the interwebs take exclusive dominance from the traditional classroom, one of the nation’s most powerful lobbying groups will attempt to limit free information (AKA free speech)
The MicroSkype hookup is final. Skype will continue as a separate on at least the near term. In the past, most MS acquisitions were tightly integrated. Doing that would most likely be harmful to Skype. Is it possible Ballmer’s marketing savvy is finally overshadowing the conventional Gates way of doing things?
Has the bubble popped? Facebook shares sputter on the second market.