Monthly Archives: July 2015

Windows 10: Will Microsoft’s final OS reverse its fortunes?

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Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has quite confidently said: “Windows 10 is a huge milestone for us as a company, and quite frankly the industry.”

You would expect this from the chief executive of what is still one of the globe’s largest and most influential tech companies, just maybe not as influential as they still perceive themselves to be or as threatening to the big A and G.

Microsoft’s decision to launch its OS for one last time in this manner and seek to upgrade in the same way as competitors do when needed or rather stealthy is a good idea. But financially, it may prove costly to manage when you consider the revenues Windows would generate for the company.

Once upon a time, the company’s OS was on 95% of OEM devices and now on an estimated tiny 14%. That’s a lot of licensing revenue down the tubes and with a mobile platform that is only on 3% of smartphones.

Now with Windows 10, perhaps achieving status as a serious player, offering synergy and a uniformed approach across not just PC’s, tablets and mobile but the Internet of Things will hopefully make Microsoft a more desirable platform to create apps for. The strategy, may just work if marketed and deployed successfully.

What does success look like? Doubling or tripling your share in smartphone penetration to some would be viewed as success but is 6% or 9% penetration even enough? I suspect not.

In order to do so, consumers need freedom of choice and cross-compatibility utilising devices and brands that they chose, with devices and software working in concert serving to enhance, not hinder the user experience. It’s the panacea every tech giant wants to achieve but as humans, we are pre-disposed to never be satisfied.

That’s what makes us unique, which reluctantly keeps tech evolving at a rate that many companies can’t feasibly afford to chase anymore, maybe?

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Will Apple Music match up to Spotify?

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Apple oh Apple. While this week it’s been all about Apple Pay, just last month all eyes were on Apple Music. Initially launched on 30 June, the product has so far been made available across all Apple products and PCs, but the global giant naturally has bigger plans.

While the date has not yet been set, rumours are flying that Apple could be making the app available on Android devices this autumn. But what does this move signal, much speculation abound?

Up until now Apple has maintained an ecosystem which is exclusive for its own devices. Could branching out to Android devices point towards an acceptance that Apple is no longer feeling like the ace in the pack?

So far this year, 11.5 billion songs have been streamed in the UK; an 80% increase from last year. While Apple Music customers account for 22%, paying Spotify users are leading the way at 31%.

With half of Spotify users also iTunes members, the question should be asked – can Apple steal the spotlight following its initial three month Apple Music trial?

Currently, Beats 1 Radio station on the Apple Music app is free, however it will come at a cost for Android users. The station has received generally positive reviews so far, with 84% of tweets on launch day expressing positive sentiment about the new service.

Whether this encouraging reception towards Apple Music continues is questionable. Already, the app has been criticised for being difficult to use – overwhelming for a first time user and not as sleek and user-friendly as you might expect an Apple product to be.

Apple’s planned partnership with Sonos puts to rest some rumours that Apple Music would only work on Beats speaker devices. With this, Apple Music will match Spotify’s universal reach, meaning users are no longer locked into its exclusive ecosystem. Will this mean extra subscribers? Probably.

Streaming users want the freedom to use any device or speaker system. Locking users out is limiting its audience.

While Apple’s previous strategy has been centred on selling more products, Apple Music is different. As the service is slowly becoming cross-compatible with other devices, users will no longer need to purchase an Apple product to listen.

At this stage, and once again, Apple is the follower rather than the innovator, and is unable to compete with Spotify if its users are limited to Apple’s existing customer base who already own an Apple device.

To catch up with the mass streaming hype (the volume of total streams on audio services hit 5.32bn in Q1 this year, up 81.4% on the equivalent period in 2014), Apple has paid a vast amount for Beats, radio presenters and thanks to Taylor Swift, doing the right thing by paying artists for the work they’ve created. The question is – how can Apple sustain this commercial model and succeed without total control or delving into someone’s pocket, privacy or enjoyment? Where’s the catch?

If Apple is to become a universal music destination it can’t sustain ‘exclusivity’. Music is a consumable product which stimulates our senses rather than a lifestyle choice. It’s what makes us shake that leg spontaneously, and we will continue to seek it out and listen wherever we can find it, usually in the easiest and cheapest manner like free to air radio.

 

Read more are: http://wallblog.co.uk/2015/07/16/will-apple-music-match-up-to-spotify/

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