2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand strategy

Microsoft's Nadella Gets Down to Business with Marketing Shake-Up

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 4, 2014 02:07 PM

Satya Nadella has been the CEO of Microsoft for exactly one month and he's already shaking up the ranks at the venerable tech brand. 

The company announced Monday that executive Tony Bates, who had been passed over for the CEO role, and Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief marketing officer, would be leaving the company. While Reller's departure means the loss of one of Microsoft's top female executives, it signals a change in the company's marketing and brand strategy.

That new outlook will be ushered in by Chris Capossela, an executive on the company's marketing team who Nadella has promoted to EVP and CMO to oversee all marketing, and Mark Penn, the creator of Microsoft's "Honestly" campaign (including the Google-tweaking "Scroogled" campaign), who was named Chief Strategy Officer. 

“He’s aggressive,” Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said of Penn, according to Bloomberg. “Maybe this will add a little testosterone to the organization to counter the fact that Satya is more of a deep thinker.”Continue reading...

app watch

Could IBM's Watson Be the Next Big App Platform?

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 27, 2014 04:19 PM

Amid the flurry of product announcements (even by left-for-dead BlackBerry) and buzz over wearables at this week's Mobile World Congress, there was a keynote speech by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty that may have long-term implications for the mobile application world.

During her presentation, Rometty announced the "IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge," a first of its kind global competition to encourage mobile developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson, the company's super-computer of Jeopardy! fame. The competition comes on the heels of IBM's launching of the IBM Watson Group, which it unveiled at CES 2014 in January.

While Watson made news by beating human contestants on the popular Jeopardy! television show more than two years ago, the commercial viability of the super-computer, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, has only recently gained traction. In November 2013, for example, Fluid, a digital shopping company, introduced its "Expert Personal Shopper" application, which incorporates consumer information to become smarter with each interaction and operates as a knowledgeable sales associate in the palm of a shopper's hand.Continue reading...

executive decision

Microsoft Elevates Nadella to CEO with a Mandate to Drive Innovation

Posted by Dale Buss on February 4, 2014 02:57 PM

Microsoft confirmed today that the right person was in-house all along as it named Satya Nadella its new CEO, succeeding Steve Ballmer to become only the third Chief Executive in the company's history along with founder Bill Gates.

With his name only recently being tossed into the race that was rumored to attract such external candidates as Ford CEO Alan Mulally and other notable front-runner Sundar Pichai, a Google exec, Nadella assumes the top role of what once was the definitive technology bellwether.

Pundits and analysts were quick to outline the many challenges that face the 22-year Microsoft veteran in his new role, including the "most pressing" question of "whether or not Microsoft still wants to be an arbiter of technology," Bloomberg Businessweek said, arguing that, "in many ways, Google has become the company Microsoft always hoped to."Continue reading...

executive decision

Could Microsoft's Enterprise Chief Lead Company to Mobile Greatness?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 31, 2014 02:53 PM

It's been nearly six months since Microsoft launched its CEO search and announced that Steve Ballmer would be stepping down. And while months of rumors have led industry analyts to mull who might fill the seat, from Ford CEO Alan Mulally to Ericsson's CEO Hans Vestberg, it seems a candidate has finally been confirmed. 

According to reports, Satya Nadella, who leads Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, is now the internal frontrunner, with a possible announcement coming in early February, according to Re/code. That doesn't mean that Nadella is the only remaining candidate, however. According to reporting (that's been disputed) by SiliconANGLE, Google SVP of Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai, is still being wooed by Microsoft's board.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Lenovo Aims to Build Global Tech Brand to Rival Samsung, Apple

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 30, 2014 02:28 PM

Google’s mobile phone experiment has ended after just 22 months with the announcement that it sold Motorola's handset business to China's Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion. 

Following its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in 2012 to "supercharge Android," Google has uncharacteristically struggled to boost its market share in the mobile hardware business, with Motorola's global share of the smartphone market falling to about 1 percent in 2013. 

So while Google will retain Motorola's bank of 20,000 patents to be used to build up its successful Android brand, the aging brand's fate in hardware now lies in the hands of Lenovo—a little-known Chinese company that has been making some big moves in the tech world lately. In a blog post on the news, Motorola hailed Lenovo as its new brand steward.

“Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem,” Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post about the sale. His sentiments are echoed by IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, who told the Wall Street Journal, "This gives Lenovo the all important foothold to get into North America.”Continue reading...

brand revival

All Arrows Are Pointing Up for Microsoft as Ballmer Readies to Exit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 27, 2014 04:52 PM

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer is headed for an early retirement at 57, but he's getting out while he's on top. 

In the quarter that ended Dec. 31, Microsoft’s revenue went up 14 percent to a record $24.5 billion, Bloomberg reports. All this while personal computer sales continue to diminish and amid a vast company reorganization including its merger with Nokia's mobile unit. The quarter's boost was tied to the successful launch of its Xbox One gaming system as well as web-based software such as Azure and Office 365, which sold more than double the amount than that sold in the same quarter a year earlier.   

The cloud appears to be a major new battleground for Microsoft. According to Arstechnica, Amazon recently announced that it would cut the prices of its S3 and EBS cloud-based storage, to which Microsoft responded by announcing it would cut its cloud storage prices as well. Microsoft also benefitted from a sales boost of its Surface tablets, which saw sales double from the first quarter of the fiscal year.Continue reading...

brand battle

Amazon Asks: Can’t We All Just Get Along? Not if IBM Has Anything to Say About It

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2013 04:14 PM

Book lovers have long had a love/hate relationship with Amazon. It’s nice to have access to the world’s books at the click of a button but it has come at the expense of the local bookstore, putting plenty—from mom-and-pop owned storefronts to major chains like Borders—out of business because they can’t keep up with the amount of stock and low prices of their online counterpart. 

Now Amazon hopes to appeal to those same shops by asking them if they’ll sell Kindle e-readers in their locations, the New York Times reports. In exchange, the bookseller gets “a small payment on each sale and a commission on all e-books that the reader buys in the next two years.” Previously, Target and Walmart stopped selling Kindle products due to the effects of showrooming, so perhaps this outreach to smaller sellers hopes to make up for the loss of retail presence.Continue reading...

cloudsourcing

Amazon Gaining Traction in the Cloud as it Threatens Venerable Tech Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 22, 2013 05:39 PM

Amazon isn't only expanding its e-commerce offerings. The leading e-tailer has nearly beat out IBM on a $600 million, 10-year US Central Intelligence Agency contract. Long the gold standard in advanced computing and data, IBM and others are increasingly challenged by Amazon's growing cloud data services. 

IBM has stalled the process for now with an appeal, but it’s a fact that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has evolved into a robust competitor in supplying information technology and services to enterprise companies and government agencies.

"AWS is one of the main spokes of the bull case on Amazon shares," Ron Josey, analyst at JMP Securities, told Reuters. "Software and IT investors are aware of and are trying to size AWS, and what the impact could be on their sector."

Public cloud computing, pioneered by AWS in 2006, offers organizations power, storage and other services at prices cheaper than they can manage themselves. To date, AWS has worked with Samsung, Pfizer, PBS and NASA, generating $2 billion annually with expectations to hit $10 billion in the near future—growth largely spurred by government cloud spending.Continue reading...

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