Friday, 6 September 2013

Never a fan but this Guinness Commercial is really worth the look. Really.

Not a fan of Guinness Advertising at all, at all although I do drink the stuff (as often as I can). But this really caught me off guard.

Story of a basketball game but the story of friendship, togetherness, told in a very effective way. Which you'll see at the end. Might even shed a tear or two, if you're a girl......lads don't do that sort of thing.

Music is 'To Build a Home' by The Cinematic Orchestra.
After that, I've no idea who is behind this. 
Just presume it's AMV BBDO

Lovely job really.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Samsung launch the first 'wearable computing', their Smartwatch. Pity about the name.

Samsung have finally launched their long awaited 'Galaxy Gear' smartwatch.
The first real attempt at wearable computing and this is the first generation watch - so it will improve in time.

Bigger than most watches, it's seen as a bit 'chunky' with a flat, rather than curved, screen. Doesn't look too bad though, although it's not a replacement for your phone but an addition to it. You won't have to use your phone so much, but you will need it.

Connected via bluetooth, it has a camera on the wristband and touchscreen. There's a Pedometer which allows you to track your running and it costs 300 us dollars. And it comes with nice colour choices (6) making it 'fashion technology'. Or so they say.

So we'll see. Apple are due to launch theirs, next week.

Samsung have gained first-mover advantage here and it shows they can deliver innovation, quickly and affordably. It will be 'in the shops' at the end of September.

What they can't deliver however, is a name. 
Galaxy Gear? Catchy.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Microsoft pays 7 Billion for Nokia. It feels like 1997.

In one of his last great acts, 'Crazy' Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO has agreed to buy Nokia, for about 4.6 billion stg/7 billion us dollars. 

Nokia, the one time Finnish world leader in mobile phones, has worked with Microsoft since 2011 on the Lumia phone. More importantly perhaps, former Microsoft executive, Stephen Elop and current Nokia CEO, was tipped to replace Ballmer.

So is this case of getting a new Microsoft CEO with the company? Buy one, get one free?

It's yet another Microsoft deal that seems on the surface, "bizarre". They all do at first and then when you reflect....well, they all still do.

Firstly Microsoft already has working relationships with other hardware manufacturers, notably Samsung, who'll see this as competitive. A huge conflict of interest anyway.

Secondly a price tag of nearly 7 billion usd seems high for a company that had its stock recently at 'junk status' and frankly, that has little brand status remaining in the smartphone market. All to be paid in cash.

Thirdly, 32,000 employees come with it. That's a big, huge ongoing cost and basically increases the Microsoft workforce by a third.

As one blogger put it, "This would be the deal of the year....if it was 1997" Another suggesting they should buy AOL and Betamax next. In other words, it's all a bit late and a surprising concept for Microsoft to tackle Apple/Samsung mobile dominance, now. That game, one would have thought, is well and truly over.

And you know what? Microsoft just do things and leave them there. Perhaps like the Skype acquisition, there just isn't, a plan.

Here's Ballmer note to staff about the Nokia buy;

From: Steve Ballmer
Date: Sep. 2, 8:00 PM PDT (Sep. 3, 6:00 AM EET)
Subject: Accelerating Growth
We announced some exciting news today: We have entered into an agreement to purchase Nokia’s Devices & Services business, which includes their smartphone and mobile phone businesses, their award-winning design team, manufacturing and assembly facilities around the world, and teams devoted to operations, sales, marketing and support.
For Microsoft, this is a bold step into the future and the next big phase of the transformation we announced on July 11.
We are very excited about the proposal to bring the best mobile device efforts of Microsoft and Nokia together. Our Windows Phone partnership over the past two and half years has yielded incredible work - the stunning Lumia 1020 is a great example. Our partnership has also yielded incredible growth. In fact, Nokia Windows Phones are the fastest-growing phones in the smartphone market.
Now is the time to build on this momentum and accelerate our share and profits in phones. Clearly, greater success with phones will strengthen the overall opportunity for us and our partners to deliver on our strategy to create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most. 
We have laid out Microsoft’s strategic rationale for this transaction in a presentation that I encourage you to read.
This is a smart acquisition for Microsoft, and a good deal for both companies. We are receiving incredible talent, technology and IP. We’ve all seen the amazing work that Nokia and Microsoft have done together. 
Given our long partnership with Nokia and the many key Nokia leaders that are joining Microsoft, we expect a smooth transition and great execution. 
As is always the case with an acquisition, the first priority is to keep driving through close, which we expect in the first quarter of 2014, following approval by Nokia’s shareholders, regulatory approvals, and other closing conditions. 
But I also know people will have some questions about what happens post-close. While details aren’t final, here is what we know, and how we’re generally approaching integration:
1. Stephen Elop will be coming back to Microsoft, and he will lead an expanded Devices team, which includes all of our current Devices and Studios work and most of the teams coming over from Nokia, reporting to me.
2. Julie Larson-Green will continue to run the Devices and Studios team, and will be focused on the big launches this fall including Xbox One and our Surface enhancements. Julie will be joining Stephen’s team once the acquisition closes, and will work with him to shape the new organization.
3. As part of the acquisition, a number of key engineering leaders will be joining Microsoft from Nokia, reporting to Stephen in his new capacity:
  · Jo Harlow, who will continue to lead the Smart Devices team
  · Timo Toikkanen, who will continue to lead the Mobile Phones team
  · Stefan Pannenbecker, who will lead Design
  · Juha Putkiranta, who will lead the integration effort on Nokia’s behalf
4. Regarding the sales team, we plan to keep the Nokia field team, led by Chris Weber, intact and as the nexus of the devices sales effort, so that we can continue to build sales momentum. After the deal closes, Chris and his team will be placed under Kevin Turner. We will develop a single integrated team that is selling to operators, and there may be other integration opportunities that we can pursue. Kevin will work with Chris Weber and Chris Capossela to make those plans.
5. Our operating system team under Terry Myerson will continue unchanged, with a mission of supporting both first-party and third-party hardware innovation. We are committed to working with partners, helping them build great products and great businesses on our platform, and we believe this deal will increase our partner value proposition over time. The established rhythms and ways of working between Terry and his team and the incoming Nokia team will serve us well to ensure that we do not disrupt our building momentum.
6. We are planning to integrate all global marketing under Tami Reller and Mark Penn. It is very important that we pursue a unified brand and advertising strategy as soon as possible.
7. Finance, Legal, HR, Communications, DX / Evangelism, Customer Care and Business Development will integrate functionally at Microsoft. Sourcing, customer logistics and supply chain will be part of Stephen’s Devices organization. ICM / IT will also integrate functionally for traditional IT roles. We will need to work through the implications for factory systems given the differing manufacturing processes and systems at both Nokia and Microsoft.
8. We plan to pursue a single set of supporting services for our devices, and we will figure out how to combine the great Nokia efforts into our Microsoft services as we go through the integration process.
9. There are no significant plans to shift where work is done in the world as we integrate, so we expect the Nokia teams to stay largely in place, geographically.
10. Tom Gibbons will lead the integration work for Microsoft.
While today’s announcement is big news, we have to stay heavily focused on running the current business. We have a huge fall and holiday season ahead of us, so we need to execute flawlessly and continue to drive our business forward. I have no doubt we will.