Wow! Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn, the leading social network for business. They are paying a massive premium over the current valuation so what's the long-range plan? Some are speculating that LinkedIn will be tightly integrated with Office. Another option is to extend it into the CRM space and compete with companies like Salesforce.com. This will be very interesting to watch. My first thought is that it really positions Microsoft more as a B2B company, and one focused on Internet-based services.
It also makes me wonder if Apple is pursuing the right strategy by continuing to focus on devices. This wouldn't be the first time that Microsoft has sprinted ahead of Apple based on taking a different strategy. Remember, that's how Microsoft ended up with 90% market share in PC operating systems.
More bad news for Apple. Educators are choosing Chromebooks over iPads by a wide margin. In the first quarter of 2016, Apple OS products only accounted for 17% of purchases in the K-12 market segment. Here's a telling quote from the article:" In one district in Maine that gave iPads to students, 88.5% percent of teachers said they preferred laptops." The problem is, of course, that Apple doesn't offer a laptop for anywhere near the Chrome prices.
I was surprised last semester by how many of my students are using Amazon's Echo and Alexa services. These allow you to order products or play media using voice commands. Apparently no one wants to bother logging in on their computers or phones anymore. Too much effort!
Anyway, Recode has an excellent summary and interview with Bezos. Amazon has more than 1,000 people working on advancing the AI technology in its products. Give it a read to understand more about the future of retail commerce and home automation too. Is Amazon leading the way into the Internet of Things?
Android and Apple mobile operating systems now account for 98% of the global market according to a new report from Gartner. It's time to observe a moment of silence for BlackBerry and Windows whose combine market share is just under 1%. Ouch! In the case of the once-mighty BlackBerry, it surely points to the end of their OS, especially with recent phones like Priv running Android.
Two other interesting stats popped out at me. Overall sales growth in Q1 2016 was 3.9% compared to the prior year. So, this market is definitely maturing. Smartphones now account for 78% of the total phones sold.
Twitter is modifying its limit on 140 characters in an effort to become more user friendly. Under the new rules, adding photos, GIF's, and tagging users will no longer count against the content limit. The service has around 300 million users a month but seems to be struggling to expand this month. I know that among my students, Snapchat seems to have become more popular than Twitter recently. As for me, I've resisted opening an account up to now. My favorite line is that nothing good can come from Twitter. That's because many users post before thinking and then have to suffer the consequences.
What's the hardest thing about selling? That's easy. Closing. Now, thanks to the skills of Mr. Robert DeNiro, we are making it easier for you to close more sales and win more new customers. That's right, all you need to do is watch this short video clip and practice, practice, practice. I can't wait to teach the DeNiro technique to my students in Sales and Sales Promotion next semester.
Tired of "flat design" like the latest iOS interface? Sick of seeing all that white space and Helvetica type? You might be a candidate for this post from Fast Co. on minimalism. According to designer Stuart Tolley, "Minimalism is a barometer of social change —it comes in and out of fashion in response to social factors." I like the perspective that minimalism strips away the complexity in any type of communication and distills it down to the essential message. And I still love Helvetica!
Millennials are changing the world! Every day, I see more evidence of companies adapting their marketing strategies to try and appeal to millennial consumers. The latest example is a new hotel brand, Tru by Hilton, aimed at those with a "millennial mindset." Apparently this move aims to counter the rising popularity of Airbnb. Referring to their target audience, a Hilton executive in charge of the new brand said, "These travelers tend to have similar expectations and travel attitudes, including a desire for human connection, an emphasis on personalization, and an environment that fosters creating experiences because creating memories is important to them," Expect a mid-level price, funky atmosphere, and lots of social media connections to promote the new brand.