• Home
  • About
  • Archives
  • Authors
  • Contact
  • Polls
  • Small Biz Interviews

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Skype Hype: Are you using it for your business?

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Now that the founders have become rich (again) and sold Skype to Microsoft – a questions must be posed.  “Did Microsoft completely overpay?” Not that question, but maybe (how the hell would I know).  “Will Microsoft underfund and completely destroy this new asset?”  yes…but not right away and that’s not the question. 

No, the real question is how will this new found attention to Skype change how will you use it for your business.   Before every cable company offered a VOIP solution, Skype was the way to talk over the internet for very little cost.  That uniqueness has gone away, but it still is the best way to talk internationally without it costing a lot.

The way we’ve been using Skype is for video conferences with our team (some of us are in Denver, some in the D.C. area) – and I’m sure we’ll continue to use it that way.  But Skype has competitors in that space with video chat already offered by Apple and other web camera services. 

One of the more interesting ways could be a combination of Skype into social media.  Don’t forget that Microsoft invested in Facebook a few years ago  — so forget poking, what about video chatting with your social network.

Any other thoughts on how Skype can help your business?

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Internet Explorer 9 “Do Not Track” Security Feature…Will it Really Work?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

I was reading this article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday when I realized that Microsoft released their new version of their uber popular Internet Explorer web browser which included the highly touted “Do Not Track” feature. The new feature is news-worthy for a few reasons in my opinion.  First of all, Internet Explorer is now the first major browser to include this type of feature in a major release of their we browser although Mozilla’s Firefox browser is said to include a similar feature in an upcoming release.

I think that this new “do not track” feature is also an interesting advancement because of how quickly Microsoft developed and included this functionality in a major release of their web browser.  This type of new feature only started making news a few months ago when a number of consumer privacy advocates started complaining about how so many websites, like Facebook and others, are now collecting personal information about people and their web browsing habits when they visit their websites.  Microsoft and Mozilla took these requests so seriously that they decided to include this feature in their next browser releases only a quarter later.  In my opinion these web browser companies decided to include this feature so quickly because they knew it was relatively easy to implement (in the way they have) and they also knew that this new feature would make big news and would therefore help market their new releases.

Finally, I think this new web browser feature is of note because of the way it has been implemented technically may not be very effective at doing exactly what it is meant for.  Basically, now when a person using Internet Explorer 9 browses to a web page that is trying to collect information about the person or their computer or their web browsing history it sends a series of “header” records to the requesting website indicating that the person requests that the information not be shared with anyone else or used for marketing purposes.  The only problem here is that there are no set standards around these “header” records and no major websites or eCommerce associations have acknowledged that they will accept or abide by these requests to not share the user’s data.  Inevitably, what will happen here is that Microsoft will start pointing the figure at the eCommerce sites that do not recognize these header records until they cave in and recognize them because Internet Explorer is the most used web browser in the world and nobody wants to fine themselves on the wrong side of this argument because their sites will be bad mouthed in the press and seen as non-consumer friendly.

In conclusion, I think this is definitely a step in the right direction by Microsoft but I am not sure that this is really the best or most effective way to go about it.  I guess if this is just the first step in the direction of better security for shopper’s personal information on the web then it is probably worth it and will probably get us where we want to go. 

What do you think about this new feature that Microsoft started offering yesterday in their new Internet Explorer 9?

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Jersey Shore of Business: Is Your Brand Overexposed

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Yes, another blog post about business and t.v.  I’m not an academic, poet or deep thinker.  I work on the biz and I watch my stories.  Over the last year, one of my favorites has been Jersey Shore.  I know I’m not alone.  I think the magic behind the JS is that all the participants in the show are relatable.  In the first Season, they drove crappy cars to a C-class vacation resort.  And they worked in a t-shirt shop to cover their living expenses.  Never would this be confused as a high-class lifestyle.  But growing up in Middle America, driving a Pontiac Grand Prix (or as my wife called it, the “Big Prix”) to the family lake cabin, I related.  I was Jersey Shore. 

Now, Season 3 is here and the Situation is driving a Bentley and not really taking the job at the t-shirt shop seriously.  Snooki is playing up her characterizati0n — acting more and more outrageous and calling attention of the cameras.  Worst of all, Vinny is getting girls.  This is not the same group of people that I related to last year. 

It got me thinking about companies.  Every hugely successful company has a known brand.  And in getting that brand exposed, they eventually overexpose it.  Overexposure, in my opinion, is not easily calculable.  Everyone loves the Fonz, until he water skis over a shark, and then they don’t.  So when do you realize that your brand (or take on your brand is overexposed)?  Here are my thoughts:

1.  People hate your commercials:  A great example is the GEICO ads with the “weeee” pig screaming in the back of a car.  I honestly will never consider GEICO as an insurance provider as long as this commercial is in rotation.

2.  You are known more for your Brand than your product:  Microsoft would be a good example.  You know the logo, the founder, and the word processor, but what about their mobile phones, Xbox product line, Halo or database technology?

3.  People that don’t use your service have an opinion about it:  Howard Stern, if his radio show could be considered a product or service, would be a good example of this.  I’m a huge fan of his.  Listen to him in the car and at work.  Most of the time, it’s about in-fighting with his staff or a great celebrity interview.  But everyone that doesn’t listen to him thinks its about scantily clad women discussing personal matters.

Any other thoughts on whether your brand is overexposed?

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Are You Smarter Than a Smart Grid?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I was reading this article in the Denver Post today when I realized that the next large source of consumer behavior-related data may not be Facebook or any other social networking site…heck, it might not even be sourced directly from the Internet!  Judging from the fact that the “smart grid” is supposed to be rolled out to 52 million people by 2015, the next source of data that marketers may very well be trying to get about you and I may be obtained by determining the patterns and type of electricity we use on a daily basis.

If companies were able to get their hands on this data they could apparently not only determine how many loads of laundry you do each week, but they could also figure out what kind of TV you own, how many times you shower and how many people are in your household!  I never really thought about it this way, but the way we use electricity can tell a lot about a person and an entire family.  Just think how powerful this data would be to consumer goods companies that could market certain products to people based on this information!

Another use for this data is law enforcement…this electrical data could point police to homes that are using certain lights to grow marijuana in their basements or to other criminals who use certain power-consuming equipment to make methamphetamine.

To nobody’s surprise Microsoft and Google are already all over the management of this smart grid data.  Microsoft’s Hohmproduct and Google’s PowerMeter application are already being used by the 200,000 early adopters of the smart grid being tested in Boulder, Colorado, that now monitor their electrical consumption online using these tools.

What could your business do if you had access to this data?

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark