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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Cloud computing and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are inarguably two of the hottest trends in high tech today. These enabling technologies increase productivity but they also present corporations and consumers with significant security, privacy and manageability challenges.

A new software service from nCrypted Cloud, a Boston-based startup, secures and encrypts cloud-based data in a straightforward, easy-to-use and affordable manner.

nCrypted Cloud encrypts data from recognized cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. nCrypted Cloud comes in three versions: a basic Consumer version which is free; a Consumer Pro version and an Enterprise edition aimed at corporate users.

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ITIC’s WIndows 8 Survey Data shows that companies and the industry at large is taking a “wait and see” attitude towards the Windows 8 Surface Tablet which Microsoft formally unveils this week.

Reviews so far have been mixed but there’s no doubt that this is Microsoft’s attempt to beat Apple at its own game in the tablet market AND one-up the iPad maker by delivering a tablet-like device that also has the power of a full-blown computer.

Hence, the mood is more cautious with respect to the Windows 8 RT Surface Tablet. This is Microsoft’s first foray into the tablet arena which is dominated by Apple’s iPad with 68% marketshare. Just over one third – 34% — of the over 500 ITIC survey respondents said their Windows 7 desktops were fine; another 24% indicated they’re already using the Apple iPad and are satisfied with its performance; 18% said other device purchases take priority and 16% said they were waiting to see how the Windows 8 Surface Tablet is priced. Ironically, only nine percent of survey participants said the Touch screen factored into their decision not to purchase the Windows 8 Surface Tablet. Interestingly, only 12% of survey participants said they would pass on the Windows 8 Surface Tablet because they’re already using an Android-based tablet.

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Let’s be blunt: the biggest issue with Windows 8 is not the much-maligned Metro touch interface; it’s that 60% majority of corporations say they have “no compelling business need” to upgrade to the latest Microsoft desktop or the Windows 8 RT Surface Tablet which debut this week.

Those are the findings of ITIC’s latest independent ITIC Windows 8 Deployment and Usage Trends Survey which polled over 500 organizations during September.

The Web-based survey found that only 10% of respondents – or one-in-10 companies – have definitive plans to migrate to Windows 8 once it’s released on October 26. That’s in stark contrast to the 64% of the respondents to ITIC’s Windows 7 poll who stated their intentions to migrate to Windows 7 just Microsoft released that operating system in the fall of 2009.

Similarly, only 9% of those polled currently plan to purchase a Windows 8 Surface Tablet compared with 49% who say they will not buy the forthcoming Windows 8 Surface Tablet.

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According to some press and industry, you’d think that Microsoft was all but dead. Microsoft’s tactical and strategic technology and business missteps are well publicized and dissected ad infinitum. Less well documented are Microsoft’s strengths from both a consumer and enterprise perspective and there are plenty of those.

Microsoft Strengths

One of the most notable company wins in the past five years is the Xbox 360 and Kinect.

Xbox 360 and Kinect: Simply put, this is an unqualified success. The latest statistics released earlier this month by the NPD Group show that Microsoft has a 47% market share and sold 257,000 Xbox 360 units in the U.S. in June, besting its rivals the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii for the 18th consecutive month. But Microsoft and indeed all the hardware games vendors find their sales shrinking due to the sharp increase in the numbers of users playing games on their smart phones. In Microsoft’s 2012 third fiscal quarter ending in March, Xbox 360 sales dropped 33% to $584 million. The consumer space is notoriously fickle and games users are always looking for the next big thing. Microsoft’s ace in the hole is the Kinect motion-controller, which still has a lot of appeal. The company is banking on that as well as slew of new applications and functions like the Kinect PlayFit Dashboard which lets users track the number of calories they burn when they play Kinect games.

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It’s been a busy summer for Microsoft and chief executive Steve Ballmer.

In recent weeks, the software giant; released customer previews and ship dates for the newest versions of its flagship Windows and Office products; purchased Yammer, a cloud-based enterprise social networking company; hosted its annual Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC) in Toronto, and; vocally signaled its intent to leave no stone unturned in competing head-on with rivals Apple and Google.

Sounds good, right? Unfortunately all of these positive moves are overshadowed by three things:

  • Microsoft reported the first quarterly loss in its 26 years of being traded as a public company. Slipping into the red for the first time in nearly three decades, Microsoft has reported a loss of $492 million in the June quarter. Most worrisome is the reason for the loss. Microsoft took a non-cash write-down of $6.2 billion related to non-performance of online advertising business and Internet services division, aQuantive, which Microsoft acquired in 2007. On a positive note, revenue for the fourth fiscal 2012 quarter rose four percent to $18.05 billion, compared to the $17.36 billion sales Microsoft posted in the same period a year ago.
  • A scathing profile, titled “Microsoft’s Lost Decade” in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine by contributing Editor Kurt Eichenwald. In it, Eichenwald makes a case that Microsoft has spent the last ten years unsuccessfully dithering in several key market segments including smart phones, search engine, social networking, mobility and tablets, falling far behind competitors like Apple and Google.
  • Windows 8 is being dubbed as a “disaster” three months in some quarters before its scheduled October ship date.

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