Tag Archives: microsoft

The iPad’s Disruption Of The Windows PC Market

Windows PC vs iPad
Chart via Horace Dediu

Now we can actually confirm that the day the iPad was introduced, Personal Computing changed forever.

Two years earlier, 2008 was the year of the netbook. Analysts would doubt whether Steve Jobs was right to dismiss netbooks when he insisted Apple would never launch one.

And once a gain his genius was spot on. In 2010 the iPad created a new category that made netbooks completely irrelevant. The rise of the netbook signaled a need for light computers with long battery duration and just powerful enough for everyday use. Now we know the answer was not going to be just a smaller PC.

The inevitable growth of broadband pipes and services in the cloud are a perfect fit for tablets, phablets and smartphones to become a more and more frequent replacement of laptops in our daily life. In emerging markets the leapfrog to wireless broadband and mobile computing is a reality. It will only accelerate the trend the chart shows.

Microsoft has a big problem with mobile and tablets. Windows 8 is a compromise to address tablets and desktops, but it is not working neither of them. Microsoft faces disruption in the personal computing space they used to dominate. Compromises have never worked well in face of disruption.

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[Read] NYT: Apple Passes Microsoft as No. 1 in Tech

Apple-vs-Microsoft

The moment came when Apple surpassed Microsoft in Market Cap [*].

A few numbers:

Market Cap: Microsoft at $219 billion – Apple at $222 billion (yesterday)
Revenue: Microsoft at $58.4 billion – Apple at $42.9 billion
Net income: Microsoft at $14.6 billion – Apple at $5.7 billion
Cash: Microsoft at $39.7 billion – Apple at $23.1 billion

Microsoft is still has bigger earnings, but Apple has the momentum. Apple still sells computers, but twice as much revenue is coming from hand-held devices and music. And smartphone sales are growing faster than PCs.

Worse for Microsoft, analyst perceived that “The battle has shifted from Microsoft against Apple to Apple against Google,” as said Tim Bajarin, a technology analyst following Apple.

Google has a market cap of $151 billion.

Read original NYT Article: Apple Passes Microsoft as No. 1 in Tech

[Chart] Apple Gets Close to Microsoft on Market Cap

chart-of-teh-day-market-capitalization-microsoft-vs-apple-052410

Via Silicon Alley Insider. The great turnaround of Apple illustrated in a chart.

Since the iPhone launch in 2007 Apple has been getting closer to Microsoft faster and faster. The iPad “effect” is closing the final gap. It is only a matter of time that Apple will surpass Microsoft in market cap. Apple’s “reinvention” of the phone is paying off.

When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7,  a newspaper headline read “Microsoft follows Apple and Google and moves into Smartphones”. It is a pity (for Microsoft)  the reporter had not noticed that Microsoft had Windows Mobile phones for several years before the  iPhone…

Blue-ray Won the Battle but Lost the War

bd-sony

It is already one year since Sony signed with the four big movie studios and knocked out Toshiba in the war for the high-definition video format. Seagate’s CEO said then “Blue-ray won the battle but lost the war”, referring to hard-drives as the end winners that will store HD movie downloads. Time is predictably confirming his point, as broadband speed grows, movie downloads gain popularity and storage costs drop.

As NYT writes in Blu-ray’s Fuzzy Future, DVD was a big step forward compared to VHS, but Blue-ray quality improvement versus a DVD is not enough to compel consumers to invest into it, less in the middle of a recession. And time plays against Sony’s format. A Blu-ray disc (BD) has 25 GB capacity,or 50GB for two-layers BDs. By next year memory cards of 32GB will be available, and that will kill the adoption of BD-ROM units in computers. The Mac Air and all netbooks already said good-bye to DVD-CD discs. The popularity of external Terabyte drives makes the use of a 50GB Blu-ray disc irrelevant for back-up too.

Not even Microsoft is considering anymore to include Blue-ray in the Xbox 360. Why would they make it more costly when the 360 already has an Internet connection to download movies and games?

With the growth of  broadband speed and cheap storage, do not be surprised if Blu-ray is not in the picture(s) in ten years. As flash get cheaper, even SanDisk could venture into SlotMovie to distribute movies in micro-SD cards, as they did with SlotMusic.

Interview to Bill Gates

Charlie Rose interviews Bill Gates a few weeks ago in Seattle. They talk about the remarkable life of a man who changed the World by putting a computer on everyone’s desk. And about someone who we all expect will make an impact with the foundation he runs with his wife. You may like or dislike Microsoft, but Bill Gates is an admirable man.

Who Wouldn’t Back Android?

Android announced this week that 14 new companies are joining the Open Handset Alliance. The new members are: AKM Semiconductor, ARM, ASUSTek Computer, Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International, Huawei Technologies, Omron Software, Softbank Mobile Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba Corporation and Vodafone.

Some readings:

  1. Sony Ericsson sold their shares of Symbian to Nokia to be able to run to Android, as predicted.
  2. ARM does want to power Android handsets processors (G1 has a Qualcomm processor)
  3. Even Vodafone will put Vodafone Live on Android. Wouldn’t they sell it as a mobile App in App Market and make Vodafone Live available to users from any carrier for a  wider audience?
  4. Softbank (is this the same Japanese mobile operator that sells iPhone?) might be hoping for an Android flip phone that meets the Japanese taste for clam-shell phones.
  5. Garmin, fearing of the strong threat of mobile phones with A-GPS and Google Maps to their navigator devices, might be thinking that better partnering than fighting. Garmin already launched its first GPS-phone, the Nuvifone, earlier this year. It seems that there will be more to come, confirming that GPS and Phone synergy is here to stay.
  6. Nokia, RIM, Microsoft and Apple keep resisting to join the “Alliance”, and remain in the dark side of the Force. No wonder Android logo looks so much alike C-3PO!

Let’s get ready to enjoy the cool devices that the members of the Alliance, as well as Apple, Nokia and RIM, will bring in their own star wars.

Android, may the Force be with you.

Modular Data Centers: Containers for Clouds

Mike Manos, Microsoft Data Center Chief, has unveiled in his blog the design of future “Generation 4″ Microsoft data centers. With the mission to provide massive easy-to-scale computing infrastructure to power the Cloud, Microsoft envisions pre-assembled containers equipped with a few thousands of servers each and its associated cabling and cooling system.

Microsoft is already using the flexibility of “containerized servers” in their Generation 3 Data Center under construction in Chicago. Generation 4 pretends to take the concept of building block even further with a central spine infrastructure for mechanical, electrical and security components, to which the pre-assembled containers are connected in a plug-and-play mode. The containers are designed for high efficiency, minimizing both footprint and the use of water or air for cooling.

The target is to achieve an average power usage effectiveness (PUE)* of 1.125 by 2012. Taking into account that current average data centers have a PUE of almost 2, that would be a huge achievement in green IT, even though Google alreadly claims to be at a 1.21 PUE in some of their facilities.

Microsoft modular container-based design is ideal for a scalable cloud infrastructure that can adapt computing capacity to demand. On top of that, not only operation costs are reduced due to the optimized footprint and cooling, but also CAPEX is improved with server containers assembled in a single manufacturing plant for far less cost than deploying the servers on-site.

Watch Microsoft video illustrating the Generation 4 Data Centers. An interesting approach to counter attack Google’s thought leadership earned with their patent filing for floating, wave-powered data centers.

Microsoft is taking Cloud computing seriously, as Allan Leinwand of GigaOm writes today:

“… in conjunction with announcements of the Azure Services Platform and Office Live, there is no doubt that the giant in Redmond is aggressively focused on delivering enterprise cloud computing. ”

*Definition of PUE extracted from Google corporate site:

PUE is defined as the ratio of the total power consumed by a data center to the power consumed by the IT equipment that populate the facility:

Power Usage Effectiveness

For example, a PUE of 2.0 indicates that for every watt of IT power, an additional watt is consumed to cool and distribute power to the IT equipment.