Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apple and Samsung earn 99 percent of mobile phone vendor profits

Friday, May 18, 2012

Windows Phone Marketplace storefront

Original Article posted on Microsoft plots to bring Android apps to Windows Phone By Jason Ankeny and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has applied to patent technology that enables users to migrate applications from rival operating systems like Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS to its Windows Phone platform.
A patent application originally filed in late 2010 suggests Microsoft is working on a service that would scan applications installed on the Windows Phone user's legacy iPhone or Android device to identify identical or similar apps available for download from the Windows Phone Marketplace storefront. However, in the event Microsoft is unable to make a match, the service also would enable consumers to transfer their existing iOS and Android apps to their new Windows Phone handset, guaranteeing them continued access to their favorite games and services. While the Microsoft service is compelling in theory, it is unclear how it would work in practice. Neither Apple nor Google currently allow users to migrate their apps from one platform to another. The patent also indicates Windows Phone users looking to repopulate their handset with the same premium apps available on their previous device would likely be expected to purchase those apps from Windows Phone Marketplace, which could limit consumer interest in switching operating systems. ABI Research anticipates consumers will download close to 36 billion mobile applications this year, with iOS and Android combining to drive 83 percent of all downloads. Windows Phone devices are expected to generate just 2 percent of all app installs this year, ABI notes. Critics commonly cite the relative scarcity of Windows Phone apps compared to rival platforms: Windows Phone Marketplace currently offers about 80,000 apps, while Apple's App Store features more than 600,000, followed by Google Play at around 400,000. The Android operating system powers 56.1 percent of all smartphones sold in the first quarter and now represents 36.4 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to Gartner data issued earlier this week. iOS fuels 22.9 percent of first-quarter smartphone sales and accounts for 16.9 percent of the global market. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Microsoft sold just 2.7 million Windows Phone devices in the first quarter and controls a mere 2.6 percent of the worldwide smartphone market.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Hidden Cost of Outsourcing Software: Software Intelligence

Great article written by Chad Davis As everyone knows, time in the world of software passes very quickly when compared to other aspects of business. So, in the last ten years, the way many companies handle their software needs has seen drastic change. In particular, many companies and organizations that would have, in the last century, employed their own software engineers, now outsource the creation of software to external sources. I'm not talking about India or Russia, though that could very well be the case -- I'm just talking about having someone else do the work because the costs of doing it in-house are too high. This is not news. It's a fact of life. The cash-wise savings are undeniable. But I'm not here for, nor interested in, a discussion of the economics of outsourcing software. I'm here to discuss something a little less tangible. I think the speed of change in the world of software has outstripped our ability to develop sound correspondent business practices. Being young enough to have only worked as a member of small teams that do the outsourced work of larger companies, I have given a lot of thought to the odd relationship between us and them. Yes, us and them is how I think of it. There are the occasional "partnership" moments, but typically it feels more like us and them. And it's quite clear that the us and them relationship is not doing anyone any good. I have come to realize that many companies, in the rush to eliminate their in-house software engineers, have failed to recognize that they may have inadvertently thrown the baby out with the bathwater. The bathwater is the cost of full time employees. Again, no one denies that you can lower costs of developing software by outsourcing. There is, however, the baby to think of. With in-house software engineers, your assets are twofold, at least. First, they produce software for you. With outsourcing, that aspect is covered perfectly well by the external team. But the second, and perhaps most important, asset you have in an in-house software team is Software Intelligence. This is Intelligence with a capital I, as in the CIA. With an in-house software team, you have folks that know about software and can advise you on how various types of software, various trends in software, and all those software related buzzwords might play a role in your company's business model. By using their irreplaceable knowledge of both your company's business and software they can help guide you towards the software decisions that will best realize the business goals of your company. But now that you've eliminated these folks, who can you expect to provide this advice to your decision makers. One might suggest, as I am suggesting, that you seek advice from those external teams that you have hired to build the software. They have replaced one aspect of your internal team, why not ask them to replace both aspects? It's hard to envision this from the us and them context. So, why does it have to be us and them? It's mostly economics I'm afraid. When the company buying the software negotiates the deal with the seller of the software, it seems that the primary thing on everyone's mind is the total cost. For the customer, it's critical to get the software for a price that doesn't break the budget; keep in mind that it was cost that motivated them to outsource in the first place. For the seller, it's critical to get paid enough to make a profit; estimating software costs is not easy, and the demands to produce an upfront not-to-exceed estimate can be stressful on many levels. It's hard not to see this relationship as something of a poker match at best, and, at worst, openly adversarial. So, in this environment, it's hard to conceive of an "advisory" capacity for these external teams. Of course, the purchasing company could hire an external "consultant" to advise, but that seems a bit redundant. The solution is probably a lot simpler than one realizes. The money-based us and them scenario arises from the fact that everyone is only thinking about the software product and how much it's production and delivery should cost. If you start thinking of the external team as a provider of two services -- software production AND Software Intelligence -- then you've already shifted the focus of the relationship away from buyer and seller. If the external software team believes that their ability to provide Software Intelligence for the outsourcing company will contribute to a long and prosperous relationship for both sides, then you're that much closer to a true partnership. Besides, asking for advice always changes a relationship for the better. While this may be hard to envision, there are few good options. When you got rid of the in-house software team, your company may have lost all of it's Software Intelligence. If you don't recover that Intelligence from somewhere, then it's hard to imagine that you can make the right software decisions. If you are still thinking about the money . . . then you've missed the point.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Android Ported to C# Android Ported to C# Oracle and Google are currently in a $1 billion wrestling match over Google’s use of Java in Android. But Java is not the only way to build native apps on Android. In fact, it’s not even the best way: we have been offering C# to Android developers as a high-performance, low-battery consuming alternative to Java. Our platform, Mono, is an open source implementation of the .NET framework that allows developers to write their code using C# while running on top of the Java-powered operating system, and then share that same code with iOS and Windows Phone. Unlike Sun with Java, Microsoft submitted C# and the .NET VM for standardization to ECMA and saw those standards graduated all the way to ISO strong patent commitments. The .NET framework is also covered by Microsoft’s legally binding community promise. Last July when Xamarin was getting started, they got there team together in Boston to plan the evolution of Mono on iOS and Android. After a day of kayaking in the Charles River, they sat down to dinner and turned their attention to how we could improve the performance and battery life of applications on Android, and make our own Mono for Android even better.