Microsoft will be holding the unveiling event of ” Windows 9 ” in San Francisco, shortly today. A Technical Preview will follow. Expected additions in this technical preview are a ‘new start menu’, ‘ a virtual desktop feature ‘, and a ‘notification centre’. A new unified app store is also on the cards.
Windows 9 is the outcome of Microsoft’s internal project “Threshold”.
Satya Nadella is in India now, and he won’t be physically present at this unveiling.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is a man with a mission. After taking over as CEO in February he specially made a reference to ” Reinvent Productivity ” as his goal. Microsoft which made two upgrades in the last two years to its Windows and which is used to bringing new versions every three years earlier is on course to make a ‘game changing’ move with this unveiling.
Just three points in terms of Management Perspective :
1. Windows 9 is sure to signal Microsoft’s transition from device orientation to services orientation across all its products.
2. Windows 9 will possibly also mark its ‘innovation and creativity’ growth just as Excel did in the 1990s.
3. Windows 9 will also possibly raise its Brand Equity, and be a step in the direction of bringing its glory back again.
CEO Satya Nadella is testing the waters of support services with Windows 9, for sure !
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 – 9. 59 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” In all labor, there is Profit “
P.S. : I write this after Microsoft unveiled its new software “Windows 10” skipping/overlooking the much expected and pre-release discussed number “9”. May the ‘ Windows 10 ‘ sit over others in the competing category with ’10 tonne weight’ and mark a new chapter in its history !
This is recounting in brief the principles behind some views/ideas expressed to me by a good samaritan, who I held in esteem as more than just an intimate acquaintance/well wisher for a short period of three years – a good two decades ago. He was narrating some salient characteristics of his few unconscious and unconventional actions that brought excellent results at work in his career. He was neither a management professional nor a business executive, but a highly acclaimed trainer. Except for the aspect of ‘proper planning’ which word he mentioned in clear terms and details, nothing did he do following the well known management principles, though every part of the good results achieved can be held to follow a code and pattern of established management framework. It was just his logic, intuition and commonsense that earned him a special status. Sans the specific incidents, here it is moving on to specifying the 7 principles that I culled from his experiences. The connection(s) given to the PM’s meet with Business Executives is only spontaneous and incidental.
We all think of any New Year, a few days or a few weeks earlier, whether to make resolutions or to start anything new. It is not right. ‘Plan at least three months earlier’ is the right recipe ( Crux ).
1. I learnt from him that planning for the year has to start at least a good three months ahead – say from October. More so for businesses since it follows the heavy buying season of the customers ( October through December – advantages of festivals and the good climate combined ) probably followed by a lull. The first lesson in planning here is : Are you making yourself aware of the expectations of the stakeholders, and customers. Applies equally whether you are the head of a family, small/medium/large business, institution, or government. For the family, it is their siblings. PM Modi’s first meet with CEOs in U.S.A. and the discussions could not have come at the most opportune moment ! Quite appropriate for deeds in ‘2015’. As for continuation, realization and implementation, however, it is too early to hazard any guess at this stage.
2. Are you setting the “right goal” for the next year ? Setting an order of priority or an ABC classification for the actions/elements fulfilling the goal is a key step. This can be done effectively only when the interests of the stakeholders are defined in clear terms for fruitful progress. Families make a laundry list of needs, wants, and actions to meet them in order. Even if it has firmed up the preliminary understanding and mutual interests – the process of getting to know each other – PM Modi’s meet with the CEOs would have made some nascent ground in this respect. With no information out officially at this stage, it is again too early to hazard any guess.
3. How have your acts in the past nine months served you so far : be it in discussions, consultations, suggestions, communications ( regular/occasional – formal/informal ) ; and how can you re frame if there is a need based on the appraisal occupies the next step. For individuals and businesses ( small and medium ) it affords a less difficult path to tread compared to the Government ( specially when there is lack of continuity or new policies are planned ) and the big businesses which are subject to the special provisions of the government. The present government which is just 4 months old has its task cut out from the scratch on this. And so it is too early to hazard a guess on any new measures aimed at correction/continuation or otherwise.
4. How have your finances served to be satisfying, competitive, or alternately fell short on planned objectives in terms of growth, new avenues of investment/expenditure be it at individual, local, national, … level(s) ? This in effect is in the realm of resource planning at every level. For families a simple budgeting activity will suffice. PM Modi and his team may have earned a sense of the possibility during the meeting. Until official word comes one needs to keep the fingers crossed.
5. Did you have a formal system, in the earlier period, of planning, coordinating, and directing and in the event of the same have you been able to achieve what was intended without any gap or shortcomings ? While for the family it is more on the lines of a routine ‘stocktaking’ , for any government it is critical. The present government is, nevertheless, blessed with the existence of a legitimate, long enduring, and credible system in place with activities covering the entire gamut of sectors for suitable action. So it will not be clear until the government’s identified and assigned actions are specified/revealed.
6. Have you made a SWOT analysis of your members of the family, institution, business or the government ? Have you allowed your members and associates/subordinates to contribute effectively true to potential and taken remedial actions to overcome the weaknesses ? For the family it mainly rests on the head forming another of a set of regular features. Big businesses and government need to follow their own established procedures and processes. Trusted aides, advisors and team members in the case of PM Modi’s government would have a template of this ready even prior to the discussion(s). But finalized plans and actions will always remain close to their chest(s) until it is communicated formally.
7. What constitutes your long term goal(s), say for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and so on ? Have you zeroed in on a particular set of parameters to measure performance against the goals ? Is there need for additional program(s), strengthening tools, and infrastructure to make them efficient and effective ? While for the family, education and career growth of children will constitute the chief factor, the focus becomes even bigger and broader for the government. It is not just looking for opportunities to improve ideas and do better as in business. It is also looking for ‘problems’ – both internal and external – and to secure the nation. A new theory suggests molding the attitude of leaders to “Take Problems with Optimism” be it in business or government. Business meet will have it in their plans and the government for its part will not be strictly bound by ordinary descriptions and requirements of mandates or obligations.
In purlicue, can I say that starting October ‘Commit yourself to this exercise to grow stronger even while boosting the morale of self and others’.
I am compelled to do this more than anyone, anywhere, anytime.
” Dieu avec nous”
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 – 9. 09 a.m.
Tidbit : ” A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble “. – Mahatma Gandhi
” It will change the way Professionals get work done ” ;
” It is created to drive Productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular screen, all touch devices “
” I’ll challenge you guys to bend a Passport which you are about to see ” – a reference to reports of bent iPhone 6 Plus a few days back.
Executive Chairman and CEO, John Chen, said these while unveiling the new ‘BlackBerry Passport’ Smartphone in Toronto, Canada, on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. London and Dubai also witnessed the unveiling on the same day.
The new device is of the same size and shape as the Canadian Passport ( U.S. passport too ).
Uniquely designed, BlackBerry Passport Smartphone comes with a 4.5″ high resolution screen, 1440 x 1440 pixel resolution, Qwerty Keyboard, 13 MP Camera, 2.2 GHz Processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB memory, BB 10.3 OS, 3450 mAh Battery, and 18 hrs of talk time plus 12 hrs of video plays time ( running time is more than those of smartphones and tablets available currently ).
It can show 60 characters in a line. It is a reader’s delight. Worth noting that the print industry’s optimal guide is 66 characters per line !
It offers two modes of operation and users can switch from personal to work profiles from Quick Settings menu.
It has also partnered with Amazon App Store. It comes pre-installed. Users can download Amazon Apps. Worth noting is that users are not restricted to BlackBerry World App Store like in BB Z 10 and BB Q 10.
A text to speech app called BB Assistant offering deep integration with BB Hubs, Calendar, and Contacts is a significant addition. BB Asst can read the e:mail to the user who can then reply hands free and eyes free. It also allows the user to speak the command ” book a meeting ” to schedule an event. A taste of Apple’s ‘Siri’ , Google’s ‘ Google Now’, and Microsoft’s ‘Cortana’ presented to the user here !
The phone’s width is 3.5 ” making handling with one hand a tad laborious and risky.
If you are a strong votary of Blackberry with a physical keyboard, then this smartphone can well be your favorite.
It’s time to record my perspective now :
That BlackBerry has been struggling in the Customer front and experiencing internal shake ups at senior levels is all too well known. Two points to consider here :
1. Management Guru and late Professor P K Prahalad coined the term ” Core Competence” to imply the chief strength of expertise in an organization. That has stuck firmly now in the DNA of BlackBerry. Having tasted a failure of sorts trying to break ground in the consumer segment, BlackBerry has chosen to fall back on their Core strength – enhancement of their presence in the Business Market ( providing enterprise software ) focusing on what it does best. This can be viewed as its effort to tie the product firmly to the ‘Corporates’. May I suggest a theme of ” Don’t be in Business without Blackberry Passport ” defining their game plan now. That Corporates all over the world have similar needs in this new age makes BlackBerry’s offering easier, acceptable and feasible too.
2. In marketing parlance BlackBerry’s “(re)Positioning” targeting business executives is in fulfillment of two aspects : (a) of doing the right job in positioning; and (b) of avoiding competition with larger ones in this sector without rocking the lead boat. With this move, Blackberry may well be on its course to secure ( retreive lost ground ) its position in the face of dominance from others, while being left to pursue profits in the key Corporate segment. In many ways, the switch from Consumer focus to Enterprise focus again will favor BlackBerry clearly. If the shares move up post BlackBerry Passport sales, it will be a positive reflection of its chosen option. We shall wait.
BlackBerry Passport is the third Blackberry smartphone released this year, and a fourth ” BlackBerry Classic ” is likely to be unveiled before this year end.
Questions do arise though. Will the business market reach a saturation point and if so when ? What opportunities do BlackBerry gain during much of the 2010s now ? Can BlackBerry Passport be an iPhone 6 killer ?
People are getting wearied of Apples and Samsungs now, and BlackBerry and Motorola ( another player on revival course ) may do well to seek the opportunity and give a fair fight to them.
BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, wants to bring a three-in-one device combining a phone, a laptop, and a tablet. Can BlackBerry Passport satisfy his vision is the question crossing the minds of the customers now.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, September 26, 2014 – 10. 29 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Hooray ! We are rolling out your passport to ‘getting things done’ ! ” – CEO gives a call to specially the Corporate Customers.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook emphatically said on September 9 during the unveiling of ‘iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’ : “The biggest advancement in the history of iPhone ” ; ” the best iPhones ever produced ” – a shrewd ‘promotional’ strategy to captivate the audience many of whom are already sold on the idea of the premium brand and status symbol that Apple has been identified with.
Reports say that Apple iPhone 6 is being sold in the grey market in India for Rs 1,10,000/- and iPhone 6 Plus for Rs 1,80,000/- while the same in U.S.A. cost $ 199 and $ 499 with a two year contract. Official launch in India is expected on October 17 and it is rumored that the date may even be shifted further. That 10 million iPhones were sold in the opening week end after sales opened on Sep 19 in the U.S. officially is a boost to Indian buyers.
There really has not been a breakthrough feature in the phone however, quite understandably, and the general view of the analysts and experts seem to focus mostly on incremental improvements aside from the NFC chip.
It occurs to my mind that “Smartphone features and the market itself may have reached the maturity phase with distinguishing among different customer needs ( different models, budget smartphones and the like ) also reaching a point of saturation” placing the goal of all players in this sector, specially the big three or four leaders, to seek new ways to protect its/their share.
Also, targets of opportunity in terms of segment and geography are further shrinking posing challenges even while the market space is getting crowded with many entrants.
Seen in this context, CEO Tim Cook’s emphasis throws more insight into the strategies needed to stay afloat in the market for many players.
Large screens, powerful processors, camera with good image quality, battery with good life, usable apps – have all become common among the many brands in the market today. Big players’ dominance is even threatened by others who are just a few years old. One doesn’t have to move beyond comparing the key features of some major players :
Samsung Galaxy S5 : 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution; Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip; 16 MP primary camera; 2 MP secondary camera; S Health Fitness Tracker, Ultra Power saving mode and Download booster (these two are absent in iPhone Plus);
Xiaomi Mi3 Phone : 1080 x 1920 Full HD resolution; IPS retina display; Android 4.3 optimized MIUI version 5; 13 MP primary camera; 2 MP secondary camera; 3050 mAh Lithium ion battery.
Sony Xperia Z3 : 1080 X 1920 pixel resolution; 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip; Live color LED with Triluminos Technologies ( iPhone 6 has LCD panel with IPS tech); 20.7 MP primary camera with Intelligent Active; also featuring a high resolution audio effect.
HTC One M8 : 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution ; Snapdragon 801 SoC; Quadcore Krait CPU; ( Apple’s A8 is more powerful ) 4G LTE Connectivity ( absent in Apple )
There does not seem to be much difference in functionality. Hence the need for some special strategies. When, product, price and place have little to yield to the participants, “Aggressive Promotion” appears to be the key route to survive, sustain and prosper. I am tempted to propose at least three points here :
1. The primary task is to ‘place the smartphone deep in the heart of customers – regular or otherwise – evoking the Global Spirit of Communication’ constituting a basis for formulating New Strategies. This simply lies in influencing the various user groups covering the stakeholders, customers, government and even other business executives (SME) through a set of ‘organized activities’.
2. Efforts to induce the customers to hear the friendly voices, see the eye catching pictures, read the informative treasure of words and messages, enable efficient transactions, play the games and gamers, plan simple data analytics to enhance the decision making process – all to stir up good feelings about the phone and services to make people interested and buy.
3. Supporting schools and hospitals through services, communicating positives through reports, news releases, films, news shows in all media will play a lead role in the campaign process of every smartphone player now. A sort of PR role revisiting essentially.
In the present crowded and challenging situation, the distinction between regular users, non users, temporary users, and users who switch from one brand to another with attractive deals is getting blurred. Nobody, howsoever big a player is, can afford to think that he/it is firmly entrenched in this milieu with inherent complexities.
Will the American, South Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Finnish push hold and ‘speak smart’ is the 64 thousand dollar question in the mind of every customer now.
” Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 – 11.29 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Communication is so good and fast now that any number of nations can praise or insult each other in a minute.”
A pleasant coincidence of sorts while India and China ( Narendra Modi & Xi Jinping ) were focusing on “Economic Engagement” to boost bilateral relations in India, the Chinese Internet Giant ( Alibaba ) was on course to making millionaires with its largest IPO raising $ 21. 8 billion equalling the combined IPOs offered in the first six months in U.S.A. creating a new history in ‘e-Commerce’ – the growth phase of future retail in the world.
” Visit India Year 2015 for China “;
” Visit China Year 2016 for India “;
” Two bodies, One Spirit ( India & China ) “;
” Natural Partners ( India & China ) “;
” 12 MOUs signed & China committed an Investment of $ 20 b in India over 5 years ” .. .
Just 24 hours later, Jack Ma, Chief Founder of Alibaba, rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange – NYSE – ( it was actually Eight Customers of Alibaba who rang the bell signifying “customer Ethos ” and the ‘importance of the Number 8’ which in Mandarin means “ba”, considered LUCKY in Chinese Culture – Alibaba has two ‘ba’s in its name ) signalling its course to the “Leadership” among the internet players as the following peek at the market cap will depict :
[ Market Cap in $ : 1. Alibaba – $ 223 billion; 2. Facebook – $ 200 billion; 3. Amazon – $ 151 .7 billion; 4. e-Bay – $ 65. 5 billion; 5. Yahoo – $ 41.0 billion ; 6. Twitter – $ 30. 8 billion; 7. LinkedIn – $ 25. 6 billion ] Only GOOGLE with a market cap of $ 400. 3 billion stands tall above all these.
It also signifies China’s (a) sign of Growth and tech enabled Commerce, and (b) the rise of their common class as consumers.
Of significance is also the attention captured by Alibaba in the U.S.A. to an extent that many companies totally avoided listing IPOs this week for fear of being outplayed and outsmarted. Only 4 companies in the previous week engaged and 12 expected do so next week.
Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japan Telecommunications ( Softbank ) holds a 32. 4 % share being the biggest shareholder, and Yahoo holds a 16. 3 % share in Alibaba. While Masayoshi Son has been a visible player in Asia ( he is the richest man in Japan ), Jack Ma can emerge as a strong rival on the higher rungs of the ladder contributing to China’s economic power. That Alibaba’s IPO holds a mythical power cannot be disputed.
The expectations from the two events are not just huge but even transformational. 1. Indian people expect better relations with China and 2. the Business World expects Alibaba’s growth to sustain and boost e-Commerce even while stimulating competition. Investors in general, institutional and retail, will as always look for ways to enhance their wealth by being a member of the financial parlor.
1. Improved relations and economic development with the inherent capacity to influence one another can shape the path of progress fructifying the goal of ‘peace and wealth’ standing out as the ” Greatest Transformational Event ” in the history of India in this millennium. The leading dispensation has been presented with a god-send here to engrave and embellish the mark in Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver or any precious gem.
2. People also expect that e-Commerce will get bigger by the day transforming the way we buy, sell and improve our standard of living. I visualize the challenge for the companies to lie in (a) getting in to its fold sectoral items in terms of healthcare, energy, transportation and the likes through vertical integration; and (b) to look for new models of e-business.
Both the events face challenges and prospects.
Better relations is a gain for Peace, Progress and Wealth. Will India redefine its relationship with China ?
IPO (Alibaba) is a gain for economy, business and investors. Will Alibaba dominate the sectoral horizon and will the dominance be sustained and promoted ?
Keep watching is the best any one can do at this juncture !
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, September 20, 2014 – 9. 59 a.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” The best minds are not in Government. If any were business would have hired them away ” – Ronald Reagan
Apple’s journey along the yellow brick road has been marked by new technologies and new types of products raining features on consumers each time. It has changed the face of American Tech by offering products of the times beginning Apple II; MaCintosh through to iPods, iPhones, iPads now battling competition along the way.
Apple’s competitive strategies and methods constitute a study in management for professionals and students alike.
September 9, 2014, will mark a new milestone in Apple’s history and it is already significant for two reasons :
First, the event unveiling ‘iPhone 6’ will be held at the Flint Center for Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, where 30 years ago in 1984 the Macintosh was unveiled embellishing the emblematic event.
Second, the event is likely to showcase two versions of ‘iPhone 6’ with larger screens ( 4.7″ and 5. 5″ ) with an update for its mobile OS the iOS 8; a new ‘iWallet’ mobile payment system with NFC tech; and a wearable tech device ‘iWatch’ with sophisticated sensors for measurement of sugar levels and sleep cycles. In addition, an announcement regarding ‘iTV’ is also on the cards.
Apart from creating a technical edge in the highly competitive landscape of mobile devices the event will also mark Apple’s practice of Three Strategies when the market faces a plateau in terms of growth, competition, and a need for revitalization of product portfolio for every player. They are :
1. Incremental Improvements : Large screens, iOS 8, 128 GB Storage, 20 nanometers A 8 Chip, Sapphire crystal screen in some models, getting photos on to the devices close to it when clicked – are some of the incremental series of variations to the model reinforcing the emerging category of customer opportunity in the market. It also seeks to establish its competitive advantage without breaching others’ turf. It also enables survival and coexistence – a requirement to secure the goodwill of both existing and new customers. Apple scores well here.
2. Fulfilling an identified need : Apple has established that it has made an audit of its own adaptabilities and tech superiority by fulfilling the consumers’ need for a product with a beneficial feature through its ‘iWallet’ expected to enable the role of a credit card. In a situation where 2 or more players dominate the market ( Apple, Samsung, Nokia … … ) action(s) of any one can be imitated/followed reducing the competitive edge. In the present times when the path to radical breakthroughs remain almost closed and competitive firms fight for a constricted source of revenue, the new feature can hold the company and stay the pace to maintain position. Apple achieves this here.
3. Prospecting in times of challenges : Any announcement regarding the ‘iWatch’ is likely to be the most significant event emphasizing Apple’s repertoire of “Prospecting” in new areas – a clear proactive strategy. This will mark Apple’s “Window of Opportunity” signalling its move to provide offerings served by a full line of products. Apple’s Health & Fitness apps support can get the ‘Diagnostic Business’ to accept the product readily. Many new apps are sure to follow.
Apple sports a strong Brand Name; it has resources to exploit the market attractively; it has its own loyal base in a category where it is the leader; it has the resilience to overcome the market forces any way – all these factors spell a perfect combination for making the new product introduction a success. It also helps taking Apple through “niche marketing”. Apple’s product has always been perceived as a low – risk one. Apple enhances its strength here.
More recently, Apple is also seeking to break new ground building on Unified Computing at individual level, linking home devices, shaping itself to be the David as opposed to the Goliath(s) engaging in Enterprise level attempts to establish industry standards.
Will September 9, 2014 then be the day marked with a white stone for the company, customers and stakeholders is what crosses everybody’s mind now.
Apple’s reign as ” Chakravarthy ” ( King of Kings ) of Tech Prowess will go through the test on that day.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, September 6, 2014 – 6. 29 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” I never did anything worth doing by accident; nor did any of my innovations come by accident; they came by plain work.” – Thomas Edison.