Microsoft changing value chain

I think part of Microsoft DNA is running after Apple in the consumer arena. After copying the window User Interface of the Mac computers 25 years ago, they are currently copying its value chain. I mean Apple integrated value chain. If you think of Microsoft as a software company, you are wrong. It is now a service and device company.

Microsoft value chain

Microsoft value chain

As Apple did they want to control every step of their value chain from content and services to devices.

They have services like skype, skydrive. They aggregate content and provide platforms both software and hardware. And since it is a device maker with Xbox, Surface PCs and tablets, and Mobiles with the recent Nokia acquisition.

What they still miss is some retail presence like apple stores. The danger here for Microsoft is to upset its long standing partnership with PC manufacturers. But can they fight back at Microsoft move in their backyard? The answer seems no. Linux isn’t an alternative in the mass market, neither is Chrome OS from Google or Android. Microsoft has been upset at their tablet attempts with Android. Now PC makers have a few years before Microsoft gets the lead in the PC consumer market. Some are trying to reinvent themselves like Dell who wants to focus on the business segment.

The missing part for Microsoft is Distribution and Retail. Will Microsoft open some flagship store or some corner within existing stores like Darty, Fnac, Saturn, Currys, or PC world ? I bet they will.

Vertical integration seems to be the unstoppable business model, every IT giant is running after including Google and Amazon. Until someone finds a smart and disruptive new business model.

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Why my company will unsubscribe GoogleApps

At first we thought that Google Apps was a good idea. It provides cool tools to collaborate and can replace Microsoft Office more or less.

But as in every company new people join some people leave. Here is the harsh discovery. When people leave your organisation you expect to keep the documents they have create and the contribution they’ve made, as you would expect from a file server or drive.

But Google Apps isn’t working like this. Google Apps is just a collection of individuals that collaborate not individuals working in an organization. So when they leave all their docs disappear! Unless you’ve been wise enough to ask them to transfer the property of the doc to someone staying.

To put it in a nutshell, we will unsubscribe Google Apps and restore our file server with LbreOffice on every PC. Google Apps ? A false good idea for enterprises.

PS : We haven’t tried Office 365 from Microsoft. But Microsoft is in the enterprise business long enough to avoid this kind of bug.

Adapting smartphones to senior users

I took this picture when queuing up for a museum a few days ago. A senior person had added some stockers to his android phone.

The stickers are replica of the button. Apparently this person was struggling in seeing the button as they light up only when one touches them.

Senior customization

Senior customization

Senior people are not comfortable with unapparent features.

Nevertheless, this person in his 70s was using perfectly the device: doing searches on the Internet, checking emails, etc.

Adapting a smartphone to senior people is not just a question of interface. The whole user experience including hardware needs to be adapted. Fujitsu and Doro are struggling hard to seduce this new customer segment. But can it be done with a few stickers ?

When advertising for mobiles gets nasty

After a few years of armisitice camera are back at the heart of the fight in mobile devices. Since 2009, mobile makers have focused on processing power, 4G and both size and resolution of screens. Now the battle gets nasty with comparative advertising on the camera quality.

Nokia Comparative ad

Nokia Comparative ad

According to this ad, Lumia 925 gets some pretty good imaging compared to iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4.

It is even trickier because of the very restrictive laws in Europe on comparative advertising. Nokia seems to get some advance on its device imaging capabilities. Let’s see if they can get some market share out of it. After all, camera is the second most used feature on a mobile after the phone.

The dawn of the Camcorder

Camcorder as a category of product is no exception. It will be swallowed very soon by mobile phone, if it isn’t already done. The better proof is this ad coming from Panasonic:

Mobiles do moments / We do memories

panasonic ad

What a better confession that their days are numbered ? Little big events belong on a big screen but if they are captured by a 41Mpixel camera from a mobile (let’s say the impressive Lumia 1020), who cares ?

It shouldn’t be long before we see mobiles featuring UltraHD cameras (4k x 2k resolution). The same resolution as the one of the best high end TV sets… So long camcorders!