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Blog Index
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Thursday
Dec122013

Getting To Know You

When I talk to people about indoor-tracking tools like iBeacon, which Apple launched at its US stores last Friday, they're both fascinated and frightened. They quickly appreciate how helpful a connected world can be when it knows where you are and what you're doing. But the steady of stream of news about privacy intrusions -- mostly by the NSA -- makes them wonder if the cost of allowing access to more personal data is really worth it. 

Location is the cornerstone for contextual awareness, a collection of efforts aimed at giving our smartphones the tools they need to begin making timely, relevant suggestions and even take action on our behalf. Understanding that we're standing in front of the smartphones rather than the tablets is an important piece of the puzzle.

Apple introduced the iBeacon feature as part of the iOS 7 launch in September. It makes use of the iPhone's Bluetooth radio to communicate with other iOS 7 devices as well as compatible sensors placed at strategic spots around Apple stores. Among other things, the close-range nature of Bluetooth can be used to pinpoint a shopper's whereabouts to deliver location-specific messages. For example, someone with an older iPhone might get a trade-in offer while checking out the newer models.

The demand for insight into ever-more pots of your personal information is increasing just as the backlash from ongoing NSA revelations is making consumers more aware of the digital fingerprints they're leaving behind, and increasingly wary of those with access.

Read the entire column HERE.

Friday
Dec062013

2-in-1 PCs Brighten Holidays

 

Cool new hybrid laptops, a bit of tablet fatigue and some pent-up demand could make this the best holiday season for the PC market since before the iPad.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct022013

To iOS or Not to iOS

Microsoft finally has given us a sign that the company understands its enterprise hegemony is at risk – and that it intends to do something about it. At their financial analyst gathering last month, executives dropped strong hints that the company is developing Outlook for the iPad and Android, although they didn't come right out and say so.

No question that such a move is long overdue. Office dominates business productivity, though it's under attack from Google Docs and other cloud-based services. And the longer it takes to protect that turf with moves like porting Office to other platforms, the larger the threat becomes.

But in fairness to Microsoft, the issue is so knotted up in a web of competing company interests that I'm surprised that executives are able to do anything. Indeed, one of the more difficult challenges any executive faces is how to make and manage decisions that benefit one internal group at the expense of another. The rational option, at least from a pure market potential point of view, is usually pretty apparent. The difficulty comes in trying to navigate all the beehives around the organization that you'll be poking with your chosen direction. Imagine telling one of your kids that you love his sister more than him. If you can picture saying that -- and what it would do to your day -- then you've got a feel for management's challenge.

The dilemma for Microsoft with its Office decision is that versions for iOS and Android would weaken Windows' market position because it would hand to competing tablet platforms what today is an exclusive benefit that comes with choosing Windows. And it's not as though Windows' place in computing is so secure that in can afford to lose that. Many of its problems have been self-inflicted, yes. But the onslaught of tablets undoubtedly has contributed to the platform's state, which is shakier now than at any time since a superior DOS from Digital Research threatened the transition to Windows.

So what to do? Prop up Windows or let Office address the entire market?

Read the entire column HERE.

Tuesday
Sep102013

Great Time in IT for a Shopping Spree

Most IT managers are well aware that they have barely 200 shopping days to replace the remaining Windows XP systems in their fleets before Microsoft stops supporting the 12-year-old operating system. The good news is that if you've waited this long, you'll be rewarded for waiting at least another couple of days because there's a truly great class of systems that starts to come available later this week.

All of the major OEMs will begin rolling out these systems on the heels of news from the Intel Developer Forum, which opened today in San Francisco, that Intel's enterprise-ready Haswell processors -- fourth-generation Core chips with built-in vPro, the company's security and manageability package -- are now available.

The newest Core processors boast an impressive jump in power management along with a corresponding bump in performance. That's well understood by now, given that Intel's fourth-generation Core chips were launched in June. What's new this week is that Intel is folding its enterprise-class vPro technology into the lineup.

Intel's added a few things to the vPro bundle, with a new twist. VPro's always been all about making IT's job easier. Now this new vPro makes life easier for the rest of us too.

Read the entire column HERE.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug262013

Ballmer Couldn't See the Desktop For the Tiles

It should come as no surprise that Steve Ballmer is out as Microsoft CEO. The company's vision for client computing is miserably off base, and that's on him. How could he have blessed such a misguided strategy for client devices?

On Ballmer's watch, Microsoft rolled out Windows 8, a product that is destined to go down as one of the most colossal missteps in computing history. I wouldn't be surprised to see it morph one day into a verb for undermining your own product. Like, for example, "the way they eight their core product like that, it's no wonder they went belly up."

Any first-year b-school student would tell you that Microsoft disregarded the basic tenets of business expansion with Windows 8. Find out how and why HERE.