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Fresh off the rumors that Microsoft may be divesting itself from their Xbox consumer electronics, Digitimes came forward today stating Microsoft may be existing the Surface business due to abysmal sales. Abysmal sales for Microsoft hardware is nothing new, and the idea that Surface, despite a massive advertising campaign, is seeing nearly zero interest outside of Redmond, Washington should be a shock to no one, save for perhaps ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

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Competitors say Apple Watch to be a hit

by: E. Werner Reschke | Oct 08, 2014

Bill Gates, MicrosoftMy Dad likes to say, “You often can tell as much about a person in what they don’t say as in what they do.” So since the launch of iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay and Apple Watch what have Apple’s competitors been saying or not saying? Here’s a quick recap if you haven’t been keeping score.

Microsoft: This time around this there is no Steve Ballmer at the helm to laugh off any of these products and suggest that an iPhone is just too expensive and therefore will never catch on or that paying $350 for a watch is ridiculous. Instead new CEO Satya Nadella has been quiet. Microsoft is doing the right thing by keeping its head down and saying nothing, because they have nothing to say in regard to any of these announcements, because they have no product response to Apple’s new offerings. Oh but wait, Bill Gates didn’t get the memo. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Gates basically said that Apple is the innovator and Microsoft is the follower. Thanks Captain Obvious. Some habits just die hard.

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A lot can be said of Steve Ballmer — good, bad or ugly, and there are two items I confidently speak to: Microsoft and the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer left Microsoft in a shadow of its former glory, with many multi-billion dollar ventures gone, with others surviving on life support. The L.A. Clippers is Ballmer’s latest venture, but if history and current decision making is any guide, we will be left to watch in horror as the derailment that began under Sterling will certainly end with Ballmer.

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iOS 8.0.2 = Wonderful

by: E. Werner Reschke | Sep 26, 2014

Ios-8-logoApple’s latest update to iOS, version 8.0.2, removes many 8.0 glitches and is certainly an an improvement over iOS the ill-fated 8.0.1! One of the items that has been problematic with iOS and some iPhones is the axis/gyroscope sensor determining which orientation to display items on the page. Even when turning iPhone around in a circle the orientation in iOS 8 seemed to be “stuck”. This bug seems to have been eliminated in iOS 8.0.2.

Bugs aside, Continuity is a key feature of iOS 8, and while it currently works with other iOS devices, to take advantage of it's seamless workflow between an iPhone or iPad and a Mac requires OS X Yosemite (due next month). To see how Continuity works, if you have an iPad that is WiFi only, and for example, if you are traveling in your car, the WiFi only iPad can now see your iPhone and begin using it as the hotspot. This is different than legacy hotspot capabilities, as there is no need to do anything on the phone. It can remain in your pocket, or on the dashboard or in a purse and still be found and used by Wi-Fi only devices — which includes Macs.

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Wells Fargo Endorses Apple Pay

by: E. Werner Reschke | Sep 15, 2014

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Late last week Wells Fargo customers received an email from their bank notifying them that they were fully onboard with Apple Pay. The email starts by saying,

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Angry_samsung_kim_team_americaIn 2011, Samsung launched the Galaxy SII with an – at the time –  massive 4.3" display. The launch was a key moment in time for the Korean tech giant, as the company heavily leveraged their larger-than-iPhone display sizes. But starting today, the display options from Apple arrive in three flavors; 4", 4.7" and 5.5" displays. The major advantage Samsung had over the iPhone is now officially gone. Samsung's display supremacy has just run aground on an obvious question: What does Samsung do next?

Hot on the heels of Apple's special event, Samsung's ad agency of record RGA pushed out a slew of advertisements, bashing everything from Apple's event streaming issues, to the fact Apple now offers large display smartphones... Many of these ads have a nonsensical core to them, but apparently, bashing Apple (whether it makes sense or not) is the core to their advertising strategy. But advertising is one thing and countering Apple's latest iPhone lineup is another.

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Apple_beats_down_samsungForget about Apple's courtroom battles with Samsung. On Tuesday Apple launched what can only be described as an all-out nuclear attack on Samsung. Apple has taken the war from a nearly broken court system and onto the consumer battlefield. Apple's dual combination product launch wasn't just a shot across Samsung's bow, it was a devastating blow to Samsung's front line which is rapidly collapsing.

In 2007 Apple's original 3.5" iPhone display was massive, but while their engineers were focused on delivering amazing high resolution 4" displays in ever-greater iPhones, Samsung rapidly deployed their patent infringing products with even larger display sizes which many consumers rapidly adopted. Some say Apple stubbornly stuck to the 4" display size, giving away market share in regions outside the U.S.. Low-end smartphones and large screens expanded Samsung's market share grip, as many Asian consumers could not afford both a tablet and a smartphone, thus one large screen device acted as a tweener product that met both needs. Samsung took advantage of the space Apple seemed to have no interest in serving. 

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Yosemite: SpotlightIn 2011 the world was introduced to Siri — your personal digital assistant. Siri works on iPhone 4s and forward. Siri lets you use voice, instead of touch, to make appointments, call friends, send texts, and much more. It is the “much more” that is particularly interesting, because this is exactly what a search engine does. You type in a particular request and returned to you are several (hopefully) relevant results. Google has been the king of search for nearly 10 years now. No one, not even Microsoft or Yahoo!, has been able to make a dent in Google’s search dominance. But that may soon change.

Siri could do “much more” such as look up a baseball score or let you know about the nearby dry cleaners. In order to do this, Siri uses partners to return outside-the-iPhone type requests. Siri’s original partners included (info provided by wikipedia):

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Steve Ballmer's Need To Be Relevant

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 20, 2014

Steve_ballmer_clippersWe just can not get rid of this guy. Like a nagging winter cough, a bad back or rheumatoid arthritis, Steve Ballmer’s need to be relevant seems insatiable. With his recent overpaid L.A. Clippers acquisition, it sadly appears he will be in our consciousness for some time to come. 

Yesterday, at the Clippers Fan Festival, Steve Ballmer brought out his nearly trademark maniac appearance. Going quasi-crazy on the fans, followed up with a 13 minute speech that did not excite anyone, but probably scared many. Some say Ballmer is simply an extremely passionate guy in whatever he gets into. That’s one apologetic opinion. The other is Ballmer simply cannot get over himself, and since his rise and reign at Microsoft is over, he needs the spotlight now more than ever.

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Iphone-launch-steve-jobsApple is a unique company, and anyone who would deny that just doesn’t understand the company's history. While IBM created the first personal computer, it was Apple that made the PC useable by people who weren’t programmers. Yes Apple leveraged the idea from Xerox (and then Microsoft from Apple), but does anyone think we would have seen mass adoption of PC’s in the 90’s if Xerox were leading the charge with the GUI interface? And it wasn’t just the GUI interface. Apple delivered files, folder and a trash can, in easy-to-understand icon format. Apple then linked the PC with design software and laser printers and an entirely new way to publish documents was born.

Fast forward two decades and Apple launched the iPod. Apple did not create this product category either, but took it to the next level and made it a must-have for an entire generation. Once again the iPod portable music player was not a standalone device. iPod  came with iTunes vertically integrated, quickly followed with the iTunes store, and the music industry was transformed overnight.

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