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Saran999 posted a topic in Tech NewsApple’s full-frontal assault on Microsoft yesterday didn’t go unnoticed by the folks in Redmond. During its iPad event yesterday, Apple went out of its way to not only attack devices like the Surface but also go after the company’s approach to operating system upgrades and productivity software. Today, Microsoft is striking back, and it’s taking the very same direct approach that Apple did. In a post on the official Microsoft blog, communications VP Frank Shaw railed back against Apple, which he argues has extended its reality distortion field beyond Cupertino. Defense 1: Unlike the iPad, the Surface is a work machine While Apple CEO Tim Cook might argue that hybrid devices like the Surface are a sign that its competitors are confused, Shaw says the Surface’s hybrid approach is actually its biggest strength. he writes. Translation: When Microsoft gave the Surface both a touchscreen and a physical keyboard, it wasn’t because the company was confused — it was because Microsoft knew exactly what people wanted in tablets and was responding to that. In other words, the Surface is meant to be for work and play. Apple, Shaw argues, can’t say the same thing for the iPad. Defense 2: Microsoft understands productivity (better than Apple does) This, Shaw points out, taps into another one of Microsoft’s traditional strengths: As the history of Windows and Office shows, Microsoft understands productivity better than just about anyone else. (Or so it claims.) he writes. Microsoft, it seems, is drawing the line in the sand: While Apple’s tablets may be good for burning time, Microsoft’s approach the tablets make them better for both burning time and actually getting work done. Defense 3: Apple’s approach to productivity software is ‘watered down’ Shaw, also uses his post to take a few shots back at Apple’s iWork productivity suite, which he says is “watered down” compared to Office. (Presumably, this is also how Microsoft justifies charging $99 a year for a subscription to Office 365. You get what you pay for, right?) More, Shaw also downplays the significance of Apple’s decision to make iWork free, a move he says wasn’t surprising or significant because not many people were using iWork to begin with. he writes. Ouch. Overall, a few things should be clear from the above: Apple’s comments yesterday clearly touched a nerve at Microsoft, which is still struggling to catch up with tablets despite throwing lots of money at it. Shaw’s argument that the iPad “isn’t a productivity machine” ignores the fact that, for a lot of people, it is a productivity machine. No amount of spin can change that It’s also telling that Shaw didn’t respond to Apple’s move to make Mavericks, the latest version of OS X completely free. Why? Because this is an area where Microsoft really doesn’t have much to say. Software upgrades are a big part of its business, while for Apple they’re quickly becoming just one check box in the feature set for Mac owners.
Saran999 posted a topic in World NewsGoogle has been posting a bunch of “Google Ideas” discussions to YouTube this week. One that went live today discusses smartphones and their role in making law enforcement “smarter.” It’s only seventeen minutes long, so it won’t take too much of your time. Google says in the description. Robert Muggah, Research Director at Igarape Institute and Vanessa Coimbra, Pacification Police Units, Military Police of Rio de Janeiro attempt to answer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KJ0im58A35w More of the talks are available at the Google Ideas YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleIdeas?feature=watch
This week, eBay announced the launch of some new personalization and curation features for the eBay Marketplace, and that it is expanding its efforts in local commerce, including the extension of its eBay Now delivery service into 25 new markets by the end of the year. It has been about a year since eBay unveiled its Pinterest-like feed design, which it rolled out to users in February. Now, eBay is continuing in the Pinterest/Etsy-esque direction, launching five new specific features: Collections, Curators, Follow, Profiles and eBay Today. Collections are described as groups of products that have ben handpicked by “expert curators, buyers and sellers.” Curators are “top trendsetters across a variety of interest areas, who create beautiful collections on eBy to help you easily connect you with items you’ll love.’ At least they didn’t say “tastemakers.” The Follow feature lets eBay users personalize their feeds by following collections, curators or regular eBay users, as well as specific interests. The Profile is pretty basic. It applies to both buyers and sellers, and lets you share info about yourself, the collections you’ve created, your interests, and the people you follow. Finally, eBay Today is a new page aimed at helping users discover “the very best collections of items” on eBay, selected by the company’s Chief Curator and Editorial Director Michael Phillips Moskowitz. eBay has 200 curators including: Alexandra Cousteau, Andrea Linett, Ashley Avignon, Benjamin Clymer, Billy Farrell, Brian Walton, Cecilia Dean , Chris Benz, Chrissie Miller, Darcy Miller, Eddie Borgo, Graham Hill, Janie Bryant, Jauretsi, Jen Atkin, Jeremiah Brent, Jon Rose, Justin Bell, Kelly Oxford, Lucy Sykes, Pharrell Williams, Richard Rawlings, Ryan Block, Solange Knowles, Tenzin Wild, Todd Selby, Veronica Belmont, and Zem Joaquin. eBay tells sellers, I have to say, the discussion out there around these features from what I seen has basically consisted of tumbleweeds. One reader, however (commenting on this very article) makes an interesting point, saying, Is eBay in fact trying to be something that it’s not? Must everything consist of social/follow features? Frankly, I personally don’t have a lot of use for them on a site like eBay, but perhaps a substantial amount of people do. It will be interesting to see how the enormous eBay community engages with these features over time. Will sellers really see a significant difference? The local stuff, on the other hand, may just turn out to be huge for businesses and consumers alike. We’re talking rapid delivery of products, and it’s only the very early days of this roll-out. eBay Now was first introduced a year ago. It lets shoppers have products from local stores delivered to them in an hour or less. As mentioned, it’s expanding into 25 new markets. It goes live in Chicago on Tuesday, and then in Dallas later this year. This will be followed by unspecified international markets, including London early next year. eBay also plans to offer eBay Now same-day delivery for local goods on eBay.com in cities that have the service. eBay will also release scheduled delivery for eBay Now so that customers can buy something and pick an appropriate time to have it delivered to them. In addition to that, eBay is letting shoppers order online and pick up products at local stores. This particular feature is live immediately for Toys ‘R’ Us and Best Buy, and will be for other retailers in the near future. Finally, the company announced that it has acquired Shutl, a marketplace that utilizes a network of couriers to deliver local goods on the same day. The pick-up should help eBay its expansion efforts for eBay Now.