InTech Latest News: Microsoft and Apple product launches, Facebook's earnings and how the world computes!
Written by and opinion of: Justin Lawless, CEO of Intact Software.
My latest roundup of what’s happening in the world of technology…
Facebook continue to Nail it!
Facebook released its quarterly results this week and wow! Here are just some of the highlights in an easy to read format. If you think Facebook advertising is not for you because ‘your customers are not on Facebook’ - you should rethink that strategy…. It seems EVERYONE is on Facebook whether or not they admit it!
|Daily Active Users:||1.179 Bn|
|Of which on Mobile:||1.091 Bn|
|Monthly Active Users:||1.788 Bn|
|Of Which on Mobile:||1.658 Bn|
|Q3 Revenue:||$7.011 Bn|
|Of which on Adverts:||$6.816 Bn|
If you'd like to see the full quarterly results and comparisons, here's the link
If you look a bit deeper at this report, you will see there is still massive growth opportunities for Facebook which is why getting the Internet to emerging markets is, and will continue to be, so important to them. How they infiltrate China and the ‘Great Firewall of China’ will be testament to their senior team.
During the results announcement, Zuck presented their 10 year roadmap which seemed to have 'spooked' the markets… perhaps the slump represents an opportunity to invest!
Microsoft and Apple launches
It seems that Microsoft are taking business as a given and are going after a relatively niche market, but I personally think this to be a clever move. Microsoft launched a ‘new category’ - (this is something tech companies love to say), called the Surface Studio. It is a handsome piece of technology - it is an all-in-one PC that would look pretty good on any desk space, but it's aimed at the 'Creators'.
The keynote around Microsoft's launch was all about saying ‘we are all creators’ and I guess it does sit aligned to their strategy of being the ‘productivity company’ - their argument here is that the iPhone and iPads are consumption devices whereas Windows and MS technology is all about creating content.
Coming in at $2,999 for the base model (it does have a 28’ touch screen mind you), it is certainly an expensive piece of kit for (believe it or not) Microsoft's very first desktop PC. This is a premium device and I think this is a really clever move by Microsoft. Considering that its traditional business has always been to provide manufacturers like Dell, HP and Lenovo with Windows OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) licenses - this premium price tag focuses on a small market segment that won’t really compete with their OEM partners like Dell etc.
I suppose Microsoft is creating aspirational equipment and is 'leading the way' in manufacturing; Dell, HP & Lenovo might take offence to such a statement… teaching grannies to suck eggs I guess…..
I believe the important thing is that manufacturers like Dell and Lenovo sit up and take note that it's not alright to load 'bloatware' on to PCs. Most Intact customers that buy hardware from us wouldn’t realise that most PCs come loaded with really terrible software that our team removes before it hits your business network.
Manufacturers using this method of getting margin from users is a horrible business model i.e. a software company like McAfee pay to load trial versions of their software on to new PCs that just slows down the new equipment. Take note manufacturers and stop this muck being sent out to users or Microsoft or Google or Apple will eat your lunch.
Has Apple lost its mojo?
Apple launched a new range of laptops last week and it was quite a whimper after what seemed to be a Microsoft roar. It's many years since it was plausible to say such a thing. The MacBook’s launched last week are mediocre at best and while they are calling them MacBook Pros, it feels more like a new version of the MacBook Air, specification wise that is. The new touch strip leaves consumers wondering - why not make the whole screen a ‘touch screen’. They've proved with the iPad and the iPad Pro that such an interface is desirable amongst users. I'll hold thoughts on this until I get to play with one. For Intact users, a keyborad's Function keys are an important part of the user interface and the physical use of the Escape and F9 keys are something that our users enjoy pressing! The satisfaction of completion and hitting those keys as hard as you like is not the same on a virtual key.
The lack of a new Mac Pro is a demonstration of their focus on mobile and a lack of 'caring' for the desktop user world. It has been 3 years since they upgraded the Mac Pro which many people in Design, Music, Art & Production have championed and were the original fan boys claiming Apple > Microsoft. Already many have had their heads turned by the Surface Studio…. I'm sure Apple know what they are doing, I just don’t get it.
While not really a business tech piece it certainly warrants a mention. There is no doubt that this device was a massive turning point in the world of tech and who better to recall the event and with some amazing stories than Steven Levy. Here is his recollection including when he had the pleasure of showing Bill Gates the first iPod for the very first time. Read about it here
Hints, Tips and Fun stuff
Multi-step verification vs multi-factor authentication
I often talk about security in this blog and one thing I'm regularly asked to explain is the difference between '2 step verification' and '2 or even 3 factor authentication'. So here it goes...
Two step verification - Two Step Verification refers to the user being asked for 2 pieces of information when logging in to a secure location. An example of this is seen in banking - when you log in, you may be presented with a springboard verification. For example:
Step 1 - an account name with a date of birth or mobile number, or mother's maiden name
Step 2 - a password or pin number. The challenge here is that these are all pieces of information or 'things that you know' and that you are likely to record insecurely.
Most believe this to be less secure than 2 factor authentication and certainly less secure than 3 factor authentication.
Two (and 3) Factor Authentication relies on not just knowledge but on other things. Taking the banking example, to add a second Factor to the above security could be using out a passcode generator that some banks set up. So that means it’s something that you HAVE and that is quite often a mobile phone i.e. when you try to log in, you may be sent a text message and asked to provide this for the 2nd step of log in. Becoming more and more popular is the bio metrics factor i.e. finger print, Iris scanner, facial recognition etc.
Factor 1 - Something you know e.g. Username and Password
Factor 2 - Something you have e.g. Mobile phone number or passcode generator
Factor 3 - Something you are e.g. Finger Print, Facial Recognition
These are not mutually exclusive and the best way to be secure is to ensure you are using at least 2 step verification and one of the steps is a second factor and preferably a third factor. Many are now saying that SMS to mobile phone numbers is not ideal… we are always trying to stay ahead of the bad guys!
How the world computes!
If you are like me and are really interested in what people are doing on-line, how many internet users, how many devices, how they purchase things on line etc. then the Consumer Barometer is a place you should visit - here's a quick link to it.
If you're in business, then I see no reason why you (or someone in your organisation) wouldn’t be interested in this. It's a Google provided service that allows granular data that makes really interesting reading including usage trends. It's a bit geeky but it's fun geeky…. Enjoy!
Sources: twit.tv, Backchannel.com