Posts Tagged ‘ internet ’


The company suffers in comparison to the same period last year, but sales of tablets and Windows help it beat expectations

Microsoft’s profit dropped and its revenue was almost flat in its third fiscal quarter, during which the company replaced Steve Ballmer with Satya Nadella as CEO.

Revenue came in at US$20.40 billion, down slightly from $20.49 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income was $5.7 billion, or $0.68 per share, down from $6.1 billion, or $0.72 per share.

However, Microsoft’s revenue matched the forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters and exceeded their earnings-per-share estimate by $0.05. Sales growth for tablets and Windows helped Microsoft’s results.

On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain one-time items, revenue increased 8 percent and earnings per share rose 5 percent.

“I sum up this quarter in two words: execution and transition,” Nadella said on a conference call to discuss the results. “We delivered solid financial results and we took several steps to reorient Microsoft.”

Nadella was appointed CEO in early February, before the quarter was halfway through, and sounded upbeat on his first earnings call since taking over.

He said the results reflect Microsoft’s strengths and opportunities in a “mobile-first, cloud-first world,” a phrase he has used constantly since becoming CEO.

Keeping the staff and products focused on that idea is one of his priorities, he said on Thursday.

Asked on the call if any significant strategy changes are in the works, Nadella didn’t mention any particular area but said his philosophy is to have the company on a continuous cycle of planning and execution, and to revise plans as frequently as needed based on the market.

“We’ve picked up the pace on asking the hard questions,” he said.

Nadella said he was particularly satisfied with the adoption of Microsoft cloud services, which he considers key for the company’s long-term outlook.

He cited recent moves to boost the Office and Windows franchises, such as the launch of Office for the iPad, the update to Windows 8.1, the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade and the decision to license Windows for free to hardware vendors making smartphones and tablets with screens smaller than 9 inches.

The shift from PCs to mobile creates opportunities for Windows and Office, according to Nadella, but requires a different approach to licensing, pricing and technology.

“We are committed to ensuring that our cloud services are available across all device platforms that people use. We are delivering a cloud for everyone on every device,” he said.

The Devices and Consumer division’s revenue grew by 12 percent to $8.30 billion, while gross margin fell 1 percent to $4.71 billion. Some highlights were a 4 percent revenue increase in Windows OS sales to hardware vendors, and a 50 percent increase in Surface tablet revenue, to $500 million.

Windows sales to hardware vendors weren’t uniform. The regular consumer version of Windows saw revenue drop 15 percent, while Windows Pro, which ships with business PCs, posted a 19 percent gain. Microsoft attributed that growth to strong sales in developed markets and in enterprises, and higher penetration in small and midsized businesses.

Microsoft also highlighted that Office 365 Home, the subscription-based version of Office for consumers, ended the quarter with 4.4 million subscribers, almost 1 million more than in the previous quarter, and that Bing’s search ad revenue went up 38 percent.

Despite that spike in search ads, total online ad revenue was up only 16 percent, crimped by a 24 percent drop in display ad sales.

Revenue for the traditional Office suite, sold via perpetual licenses, rose 15 percent, thanks primarily to sales in Japan. Combined with Office 365 Home sales, revenue for those consumer-focused versions of Office increased 28 percent. Microsoft cited the April 8 end-of-support deadline for Windows XP for spurring sales of Windows and Office.

The Hardware segment of the Devices and Consumer division had revenue growth of 41 percent, reaching $1.97 billion and driven by Xbox and Surface. Microsoft sold 2 million Xboxes during the quarter, and the Xbox business had revenue growth of 45 percent.

The Commercial division’s revenue rose on a pro forma basis by 7 percent to $12.23 billion, and gross margin rose 6 percent to $9.91 billion. The division’s performance was helped by a more-than-100-percent revenue increase from Office 365, the cloud and subscription suite of server and desktop productivity applications for businesses, and by a 150 percent hike in revenue from the Azure cloud platform services. Overall, the Commercial division’s cloud revenue more than doubled.

Other highlights from the Commercial division include an 11 percent revenue increase in Windows volume licensing for business customers and “double-digit” revenue growth for on premises collaboration and communication server products Lync, SharePoint and Exchange, as well as for the SQL Server database and Windows Server OS. Taken together, on-premises server products had a revenue increase of 10 percent. Revenue from traditionally licensed Office was up 6 percent.

Microsoft estimates that about 90 percent of enterprise desktop PCs worldwide now run either Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Overall gross margin rose 3 percent during the quarter to $14.5 billion, while operating expense grew 2 percent to $7.5 billion. Microsoft expects to include in its next quarterly report the impact of its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s devices business.


 

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With Chromecast, Google reveals Chrome as its strategic big gun
The browser is behind Google’s play for user data from as many screens as possible

Chrome is Google and Google is Chrome.

The Chrome browser is Google’s most potent strategic weapon, a former Microsoft program manager said last week.

“Chrome is the focus at Google; Android is an afterthought,” asserted Ben Thompson, who writes on his Stratechery blog. Thompson, who left Microsoft earlier this month, has quickly made a name for himself with insights into the technology market, in particular Microsoft, Apple and Google, ranging from Microsoft’s massive reorganization to the possible role for a larger, 13-in. iPad.

“Chrome shouldn’t be thought of as a Web browser,” Thompson wrote. “Rather, it’s an optimized bi-directional delivery vehicle: the best experience with Google services for users, and maximum user data for Google. And it runs everywhere. This is why Google has been investing millions of dollars in building the Chrome brand.”

Thompson’s latest post was reacting to the debut of Chromecast, the $35 stream-to-TV device Google introduced last week. Chromecast, said Google, is powered by a simplified version of Chrome OS. (Although GTVHacker.com claimed Chromecast is “more Android than ChromeOS.”)

“As a horizontal company, Google wants to be on every screen, and their vehicle to accomplish that across verticals, both from a technical and brand perspective, is Chrome,” Thompson added. By “verticals,” Thompson meant “devices.”

It’s hard to argue with Thompson.

Google has been expending significant resources to push Chrome into as many corners as possible.

Not only is Chrome (the browser) available for all major desktop and mobile platforms — from Windows and OS X to Android and iOS — the major features of Chrome OS are being added to the browser, including packaged, nee “native,” Web apps and the ability to view and edit Microsoft Office documents.

The goal? From Thompson’s viewpoint, control of a “multi-screen world.”

Others have had similar thoughts.

“It looks like Google is defining the Chrome platform as what I’d call ‘Web Platform Plus,’ and intends for Chrome OS and the Chrome browser to be a ‘platform on a platform’ on any device it is permitted to run on,” said IDC analyst Al Hilwa in a May interview, months before Chromecast.

By defining that “platform on a platform” — Chrome on Windows, on Android, on iOS, on OS X, on the television — Google is trying to turn as many devices and screens as possible into ones locked into the company’s ecosystem, keep users loyal to that same ecosystem of sites, service and apps, and entice others to join them.

The ultimate prize is more revenue, which Google generates almost exclusively from online advertising. All Google does, argued Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester, is driven by its search for more, and more expensive, advertising.

“Google is advertising driven. All its efforts, including Chromecast, are not just about selling more ads, they’re about aggregating data about the customer to make those ads more valuable,” said Golvin in an interview last week. “The more you can target the ads, the more attractive they are to advertisers, and the more Google’s real customers — advertisers — are willing to pay.”

Thompson dubbed that “maximum user data,” but his meaning was the same as Golvin’s.

Chromecast is Google’s newest blatant example of a Chrome-centric strategy. Not only does it carry the “Chrome” moniker, important in itself as an expression of brand identity, but it heavily leans on the browser for functionality.

Only a handful of dedicated apps support Chromecast out the gate: Google’s own YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music; and the only third-party entry, Netflix. The rest of the lifting is done by Chrome, the browser.

Content on any Chrome tab active on a device within range of a Chromecast-equipped TV can be displayed on the television. During installation on a Windows or OS X personal computer, Chromecast automatically adds the Google Cast add-on to the browser; it can be downloaded separately from the Chrome Web Store, but again, requires Chromecast.

Not only does Chrome’s ability to cast ease the early adopter pain of too-few Chromecast-supporting apps, but it circumvents the limitations of accumulating data when third-party apps are used to display content on a television.

Instead, the normal data collection rules — as Google spells them out in its privacy policy for Chrome — apply.

Specifically, Google knows what you watch, at least in a general way.

“For Chromecast users, Google may collect system activity, crashes, and other details about how you use Chromecast, including use of apps and domains (but not full URLs) accessed by Chromecast,” Google’s privacy policy states.

Maximum user data, as Thompson put it.

In fact, argued Thompson, Google has bet its strategic coin on Chrome, not Android, the mobile operating system also launched in 2008, the same year as Chrome. Thompson noted that Android was largely absent from last week’s unveiling of Chromecast — even to the point, if GTVHacker.com was correct, fudging the code foundation of the device’s firmware — as it was earlier this year at Google’s I/O developer conference.

That’s no coincidence, Thompson said.

“Android … enables several of those verticals [devices], and keeps Apple honest in phones especially,” said Thompson. “However, by virtue of the hardware world it lives in, it’s not the best vehicle for reaching all users, and Google is fine with that. Now that Android is good enough on phones, there simply isn’t any point in investing in it as heavily as before.”

Put plainly, Chrome is Google … and Google is Chrome.

 


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Microsoft promises more Windows Embedded Compact 7 updates

Microsoft has revealed several Windows Embedded Compact 7 updates, one planned for the fourth quarter of this year and one for the second half of 2012. Next year’s version will get an updated kernel, faster file system, and broader hardware support, according to an EE Times report.
A 9:30 a.m. keynote was delivered Oct. 26 at the ARM TechCon show in Santa Clara, Calif. by Microsoft’s Dan Javnozon, group product manager for the Windows Embedded marketing group. At the time, we were up north in our Palo Alto batcave getting other news stories out, so we’re grateful to EE Times for reporting on what transpired.

According to writer Rick Merritt, Javnozon spilled the beans regarding two pending updates to Windows Embedded Compact 7. Building on an “Windows Embedded Compact 7 Update 3″ version that was released last month — see later — the revisions suggest that the Windows CE-based operating system won’t be left forgotten in the wake of an ARM-powered Windows 8.

Microsoft’s Dan Javnozon announcing Windows Embedded Compact 7 updates

Source: EE Times
Javnozon, pictured above, is said to have promised a Compact 7 update for the fourth quarter of this year, though apparently no details were provided. In addition, Merritt writes, he promised “Compact v.Next” for the second half of 2012 — with an updated kernel, faster file system, and “broader hardware support.”

Compact v.Next will also get boosted real-time capabilities, EE Times reports. But in a brief post-keynote interview, Javnozon declined to provide further specifics, the story added.

Microsoft’s most recent revision to Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating system was announced on Oct. 17. “Windows Embedded Compact 7 Update 3″ includes approximately 125 code defect fixes, several new tools for automating testing, and available Silverlight source code for the operating system’s media player, according to the company.

Windows Embedded Compact 7 was first announced in June 2010 as a significant upgrade to the previous Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3. New features included multicore support, an upgraded Internet Explorer web browser, Adobe Flash support, user interface (UI) development via Silverlight, and the ability to share and manage content across DLNA (digital living network alliance) devices.

The operating system runs not only on x86 processors like its big brother Windows 7, but also on other architectures such as ARM — including the multicore Cortex-A9 — and MIPS. (However, Microsoft notes, Hitachi’s SH4 is no longer supported by this particular Windows CE variant, and ARMv5 is the earliest supported ARM architecture.)

According to an Oct. 17 blog entry by Olivier Bloch, chief software architect for Windows Embedded, Windows Embedded Compact 7 Update 3 is now freely downloadable. He wrote that the new release contains “approximately 125 code defect fixes” for the Compact 7 operating system, Platform Builder tools, and the Compact Test Kit (CTK).

The installer for Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Compact 7
The CTK has two new tools, Bloch adds: The Compact Automation Tool Solution (CATS) for automating test scenarios, and The Compact Stress Tool for automating stress tests. Also now included is new Silverlight for Windows Embedded (SWE) sample code for the Compact 7 Media Player, which was previously provided only in binary format. A previous dependency on the compositor in the sample code has been removed, so Media Player performance should be improved across all hardware configurations, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft originally promoted Windows Embedded Compact 7 as “bringing the power of Windows 7 across … specialized devices such as slates, portable media players, and others.” Indeed, the operating system was shown off last year on an early version of the Asus Eee Pad EP101TC (below), a tablet that was later revamped to run Android instead.

The Asus Eee Pad EP101TC originally ran Windows Embedded Compact 7
Since then, both the progress of Android devices and the announcement of a pending, ARM-based version of Windows 8 has caused Redmond to lower its sights — or so it would appear. Thanks to its low cost, simpler hardware requirements, modularity, and real-time characteristics, however, Windows Embedded Compact 7 will continue to find customers, or so its supporters argue.


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Everybody is busy these days, and inevitably should we decide to advance our future prospects, taking a course alongside a job is the only option open to us. Certified training from Microsoft can be the way to do it. In addition, you may like to talk in detail on the sort of careers to be had when you’ve finished studying, and which personalities those jobs may be appropriate for. Many people like to discuss what they might be good at. Ensure your course is matched to your needs and abilities. A reputable training company will ensure that your training track is relevant to the status you wish to achieve.
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Any program that you’re going to undertake must provide a properly recognised qualification as an end-result – and not a worthless ‘in-house’ diploma – fit only for filing away and forgetting. If the accreditation doesn’t feature a big-hitter like Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco or CompTIA, then chances are it will have been a waste of time – because it won’t give an employer any directly-useable skills.

Don’t get hung-up, as a lot of students can, on the accreditation program. You’re not training for the sake of training; you’re training to become commercially employable. You need to remain focused on where you want to go. It’s quite usual, for instance, to find immense satisfaction in a year of study only to end up putting 20 long years into a tiresome job role, simply because you did it without some quality research at the beginning.

Take time to understand how you feel about career development, earning potential, and whether you intend to be quite ambitious. You should understand what (if any) sacrifices you’ll need to make for a particular role, which particular certifications will be required and where you’ll pick-up experience from. We’d recommend you seek guidance and advice from an industry professional before you begin a particular training path, so you can be sure that the specific package will give the skill-set required for your career choice.

There are colossal changes washing over technology in the near future – and it becomes more and more thrilling each day. We’re barely beginning to get a handle on what this change will mean to us. How we interact with the world will be inordinately affected by computers and the web.

If earning a good living is around the top on your wish list, then you will be happy to know that the usual remuneration for most men and women in IT is much better than with most other jobs or industries. The need for appropriately qualified IT professionals is certain for a good while yet, thanks to the substantial growth in the technology industry and the huge deficiency that we still have.

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