2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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 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...

tech fail

Snapchat Slow to React to Data Breach as SEA Strikes Skype

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 2, 2014 11:14 AM

Being among the top downloaded apps of 2013, attracting brands as diverse as MTV and IHOP, and getting immortalized in a marching band halftime show wasn't enough to save Snapchat from a data hack of immense proportions. 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers were leaked online Tuesday night, posted as a downloadable database by still-anonymous hackers.

The database site disappeared Wednesday morning—ironically mirroring Snapchat’s founding promise of photos that would self-destruct in a snap.

The hacker group seems to be sending more of a message to Snapchat than the public, as it censored the last two digits of phone numbers "in order to minimize spam and abuse," but said users could contact them directly for the uncensored version, which they would make available "under certain circumstances," according to RT.com. 

In a statement on the now-defunct webpage, the group said it posted the database to "raise awareness on the issue" and warn Snapchat users: "The company was too reluctant at patching the exploit until they knew it was too late and companies that we trust with our information should be more careful when dealing with it."Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Microsoft Nets a Profit as Turnaround Takes Shape

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2013 01:45 PM

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer may be heading out the door in the next year, but he certainly doesn't have a case of Senioritis. He's aiming to finish out strong as the company moves to refocus its efforts on devices and services—an increasingly crowded space where the company will face Apple, Samsung and others head-on.  

And it's been a rough road so far. The company has endured backlash over its new tile-like Windows design, and its Surface tablets have underperformed. With better hopes for its mobile business, the company acquired Nokia's devices division last month, but how the two companies will meld their operations and offerings is still unclear. In desperate need of a pick-me-up, the company posted a profitable first quarter.

The company reported revenues of $5.24 billion, up from the $4.47 billion it earned at the same point last year, as sales climbed 16 percent to $18.5 billion. The boost is mostly built on the demand for corporate software such as SQL database server, SharePoint, Exchange for e-mail, and Lync for corporate messaging and telephony. While not as 'sexy' as say, the iPad Air, they pay the bills.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Honda, United Airlines, Pinterest and more

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on September 20, 2013 09:36 AM

In the News

Honda recalls nearly $375,000 cars in US for airbag issue. 

United Airlines brings back old slogan for new campaign. 

Pinterest launches promoted pins—for free. 

AllThingsD and the Wall Street Journal are breaking up.

AOL launches premium ad formats. 

Apple begins selling its new iPhones today. 

Beyonce and JayZ named Forbes' highest earning couple. 

Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer will part ways

Ford weighs options with aging Lincoln brand. Continue reading...

logo-a-gogo

Microsoft Hopes to Set Up Bing for Success with New Logo, Search Upgrades

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 17, 2013 04:31 PM

Following a recent trend of web facelifts, Microsoft's Bing search engine has debuted a new logo and site redesign as it looks to continue its fight to overtake Google search. 

The move follows logo updates by Yahoo, YouTube and (maybe) even Google itself, but Bing's transformation goes a lot farther than simply going from a round to flat design. 

According to a blog post by Lawrence Ripsher, General Manager of User Experiences at Bing, changes have been considered for some time as the way people search has changed in recent years. “We ‘search’ on maps using our fingers, ask our devices questions using our voice, use our social networks to figure out what’s happening, and even use our phone’s ‘eyes’ to navigate foreign cities,” he wrote. “Search has never been asked to do so many things in so many different ways across so many devices.”Continue reading...

auto motive

Ford's Mulally Quells Departure Rumors as Company Contemplates Future Without Him

Posted by Dale Buss on September 9, 2013 04:35 PM

It's unclear to what extent how integral the leadership and personal brand of Alan Mulally is to the continued brand success of Ford Motor Co. But the company isn't eager to find out anytime soon whether their CEO is irreplaceable.

On Friday, Mulally sort of knocked down an earlier report by reapeating his intention to remain Ford CEO at last until the end of 2014, according to USA Today. A Reuters story the day before said that the company's board of directors would let him leave sooner if he wanted to take another high-profile job, such as the soon-to-be-vacant post at the top of Microsoft when CEO Steve Ballmer retires soon.

"I love serving Ford and will continue serving Ford," Mulally said in an interview on Bloomberg Television, according to the newspaper. Reuters had cited sources who said the board was aware of Mulally's potential pursuit of other opportunities, also possibly including a post in the Obama administration, and that directors would be fine with Mulally's exit before 2015.Continue reading...

mobile brands

Microsoft, Nokia Deal: Will Two Wrongs Make a Right?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 3, 2013 01:47 PM

In what may be the last notable move from exiting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the company acquired Nokia's devices and services division and its intellectual property for $7.2 billion. 

While the brands have been connected since 2011, when Nokia adopted Microsoft's software across its smartphones, the merger will create a hardware and software supplier bolstered by the addition of Nokia's 32,000 employees. Ballmer believes that a deeper integration between devices, software, and services is required to compete with Google and Apple and that vertical integration will better finance the development of the Windows Phone platform.

While the deal at first glance seems to be a departure from the "One Microsoft" idea that Ballmer debuted in July under his restructuring plan, the company has outlined a connection between the success of its mobile venture and its other devices. "Success in phone is important to success in tablets. Success in tablets will help PCs.”Continue reading...

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