Blog

June 24th, 2016

2016June24_Google_BLike most cloud software platforms, Apps for Work is a great way to untether access to company documents and information from a physical location and allow employees to work more efficiently. However, no matter how much you love Apps for Work it’s always had one pretty glaring flaw. If you use the service or have avoided it because of the disconnect between the different apps, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Springboard is here to give Google’s cloud software a much needed facelift.

Although it has been a long time since we’ve seen a big update from the service, the silence was finally broken when Google unveiled Springboard earlier this month. To understand what this new tool does, we need to get a better idea of the problem it aims to solve. Apps for Work includes ten separate cloud software packages that allow users to create, share and collaborate documents without any local installations. All of these services keep documents in Google’s cloud storage for quick and easy access from any web-based device.

Unfortunately, most of these applications run independently of each other and individual documents need to be shared between each platform for there to be proper cross functionality. In fact, Google estimates that Apps for Work users currently waste nearly one full day each week tracking down and researching information in their Google cloud storage. And that’s exactly what Google wants to change.

Springboard will allow users to connect all of their Apps for Work documents into one file system. Did you schedule a meeting but can’t remember if you used Gmail, Google Calendar, or your meetings spreadsheet? No need to pinball between the different applications until you eventually find it, one simple search will scan all of your Google cloud storage.

As if this simple but vital upgrade wasn’t enough, they’ve also claimed that Springboard will provide recommendations and suggestions for “actionable information”. This suggests that we will see something equivalent to Google Now for our business accounts, where Google will begin to recognize search habits, appointments and requests within the text of your Apps for Works documents and turn them into unprompted recommendations.

Alongside the Springboard announcement was a pretty large update to another Apps for Work service: Sites. This tool allows Google business users to create intranet sites for collaboration and organization, and the update increases the functionality to include more dynamic design tools like automatic mobile optimization, drag and drop frames and live editing on the page. Unsurprisingly, it also showcases a new function to search across all company Apps for Work documents. Almost like a customizable version of Google Drive for your office.

Despite the announcement of these services, Google has refrained from providing demonstrations or screenshots as of yet. Although the Springboard and Sites updates are currently only available to early adopters, companies can sign up to join that group and try it out for themselves.

Interested in signing up to try it out? Or do you currently use the free, less equipped version of Google Apps and think it’s time to make the switch to Apps for Work? We’re experts in all things Google and want to show you what it can do for you -- send us your questions today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic google
June 23rd, 2016

2016June23_Hardware_BWhether it be sending an important email to a major client or watching the season finale of your favorite series, a stable internet connection is needed. In order to gain the competitive business edge, there is literally no room for constant page refreshes and never-ending buffering. These ten tips will not only speed up your Wi-Fi but also get you ahead of the competition:

Router centralization and elevation

For optimal signal strength it is best to place the router in the middle of the room, away from other electronics without any doors or walls obstructing it either. It’s always good to keep the router high since routers tend to spread signals downwards, meaning the higher you place it, the more coverage you’re going to get.

Reposition antennas

Try positioning them perpendicular to each other, one being horizontal and the other vertical. Reception is maximized when your device and the transmitter are both operating on the same plane. Former Apple Wi-Fi engineer, Alf Watt, attests to this theory: “perpendicularly positioned antennas ensure optimal wireless reception”.

Use powerline network adapters

Multi-story housing prevents routers from being centrally located, so the next best thing is to use powerline network adapters. These devices work by utilizing the electrical wiring in the walls. First off you would have to plug it in near to and connect it with your router through an Ethernet cable, then plug in the second adapter after you have chosen a room for network coverage. Connection will then be delivered.

Wireless security

Setting up wireless security prevents your network from being compromised by external threats that lead to undesired downtime. After logging into your router’s admin page, change the encryption method to WPA2 and select a password that’s easy to remember.

Utilize heat mapping software

This allows you to see what your wireless heat map looks like, showing you exactly how much coverage each area is getting. With this information, you’d be able to reposition the router into an optimal position, adjust antennas or powerline network adapters to eradicate problematic areas.

Switch to 5GHz

Firstly there are two frequencies to choose from: 2.4 and 5GHz, and for homes or offices dotted with electronic devices the 2.4 GHz spectrum gets crowded pretty quickly. Solve this problem by switching to the 5GHz spectrum since it allows for more devices without cluttering the Wi-Fi.

Move to less crowded channels

Living in crowded neighborhoods or buildings mean that you share the same signal space, depending on which frequency your network operates on. By choosing the right channel, interference is reduced thus speeding up the Wi-Fi. Applications such as Wifi Analyzer or WifiInfoView helps find which channels are overflowing and which ones aren’t.

Router upgrades

Wireless and internet technology have come a long way in the past 5 years, and if your router is older than that - you might want to consider upgrading it. The easiest way to determine if your router is slowing down is to look up the model number and compare its specs with those of the internet package from your ISP.

Turn old routers into Wi-Fi repeaters

When you want to extend your network but your powerline network adapters won't do, the next best option is to turn your old router into a wireless bridge. This involves installation of custom firmware on your router. If wiring isn’t your thing, this is the best alternative of extending your Wi-Fi to the outer limits of your property.

Contact your ISP as a last resort

If nothing does the trick you should consider calling your ISP. Despite it being an uncomfortable task to accomplish it potentially saves you any future frustration. By contacting your ISP, they’d be able to diagnose the problem and provide a solution for it, at your own expense of course.

The benefits of having an efficient and stable Wi-Fi connection are endless; better communication with clients, more streamlined business operations or even watching your favorite videos without the buffering. Give your business the edge it deserves by giving us a call, we’ll gladly answer any questions you have.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
June 22nd, 2016

2016June22_Web_BIf the longevity of a content management system’s (CMS) history is an important factor for you, Squarespace is one of the first and oldest. If ecommerce and analysis is an even bigger factor, they’re definitely for you. With their announcement and demonstration last week, Squarespace solidified itself as an excellent choice for SMBs focusing on internet-driven ecommerce. Read on for more details on how their new service helps you achieve better conversions.

Squarespace publicly admits that their earliest iterations of Commerce, the platform’s ecommerce tool, were targeted at businesses that didn’t see their online sales as their number one objective. Unsurprisingly, that mentality didn’t last long and the website creation company caved in to consumer demands for deeper functionality.

Squarespace Commerce originally did offer some data analysis via a service titled ‘Metrics’, but was recently granted a huge upgrade and the new title of ‘Advanced Analytics’. To access it, simply click ‘Analytics’ from the ‘Home Menu’ on your site. From there, you are taken to a dashboard that displays an overview of seven of your most important data points: Revenue, Units Sold, Orders, Visits, Conversion Rate, Average Order Volume and Revenue per Visit. You can see the performance of these variables over any period of time you set and exact values can be found by clicking on the graph wherever you need more specific information.

So far this isn’t anything that several other CMS platforms can offer you. What begins to set Squarespace Commerce apart is the ability to sift these seven data points by source. You can filter the indicators by sources such as device (desktop, mobile, tablet), site/social network (Google, Facebook, direct, etc.) or by specifying which product produced the data. Although, potentially the most helpful upgrade of all is the ‘Abandoned Checkout’ feature. As one of the biggest problems among ecommerce sites, Squarespace sets its sights on determining why your customers fail to finish their purchase in your online store. It does this by tracking data from all seven of the aforementioned data points and allowing you to create custom followup emails for anyone that has entered their email address and added items to their cart without finishing their purchase. The email can act as a simple reminder or even include a ‘Complete your Order’ call to action in the text of the message.

And since Squarespace is putting such a huge emphasis on data, there’s a whole tab under the Analytics menu titled ‘Purchase Funnel’ that allows you to see how far into the shopping process your customers get. You can compare the number of site visits to the number of users that viewed a product, added an item to a cart and completed a purchase, all in one screen. This will allow you to see where in your sales process you’re losing customer interest.

Of course with any announcement comes all of the finer details like adding templates for ecommerce websites, the addition of a mobile app that allows store managers to keep an eye on their ecommerce from mobile devices and an order delivery calculator.

Although Squarespace promises more availability of customer data is on the way, it still believes that business owners don’t want to be inundated with overly verbose data. Right now they want to focus on simple, key indicators that result in higher profits.

Nowadays the vast majority of SMBs will be offering at least one product or service for sale over the internet. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, but something as simple as improved conversion tracking or mobile management on your ecommerce store could become the reason your company is in the black, or the red. We’re well versed in all of the CMS vendors operating today and we’d love to help you find out which one is best for you -- ask us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud
June 21st, 2016

2016June21_SocialMedia_BYou can easily measure any celebrity’s success by one thing: their reputation. Celebs with questionable track records tend to star in less movies and make less money. This same notion can be applied to your company. By investing in the creation of a well-liked and interactive online reputation, the chances of skyrocketing towards success is a mere hop, skip and a jump away. Here are ten tried and tested reputation marketing tools you should consider:

ConsumerAffairs

Businesses can forge a strong online reputation and boost revenue with an array of advanced features. Namely, unpaid business plans along with third-party accreditation programs coupled with powerful software as a service (SaaS) platforms - offering companies various resources to convert customer engagement into cash.

BazaarVoice

Ideal for companies with deeper budgets, BazaarVoice extends the online marketing potential of customers’ voices to shopping portals, offline channels as well as natural search. Customers are also able to leave reviews, rating, questions and other customer-generated content on client websites which will then be shared on social media.

Better Business Bureau

Suitable for entrepreneurs and SMBs, not only does this non-profit group mediate and resolve customer-business disputes but also helps you to personally interact with customers - other networking services are also available at an affordable price.

Yotpo

The mechanism behind this ecommerce-oriented plug and play solution is that if you have made online purchases via Yotpo, after receiving them you will get an email asking you to review the product(s). This Mail After Purchase (MAP) provides more verified reviews since they are sent directly to the customer.

Cision

Focusing more on public relations, Cision allows your company to connect with over 1.6 million contacts and outlets, including influential journalists, bloggers and social influencers that would normally be inaccessible.

Percolate

Create campaigns, store files, create content and manage your business’s marketing efforts with Percolate. It takes into account all your details, target audience, brand identity and objectives, after which it provides a cross-channel marketing calendar that helps you plan ahead and eases the process of sharing content with consumers on social media, the Internet and other methods.

Reputation Loop

Similar to Yotpo, Reputation Loop primarily works by automatically emailing customers for product reviews but with this tool, additional features such as real-time reporting, review monitoring on Yelp and Google+ are at your brand manager's disposal.

TinyTorch

Utilizing social influencers and user-generated content (UGC) to build your online profile, TinyTorch is a social platform that allows brands to identify, monitor and manage their online presence. The tool helps you locate your most influential customers and redistribute their stories and photos across multiple marketing channels.

HootSuite

This social media management platform allows your business to monitor and sync all social media accounts onto one interface. HootSuite makes it easier to monitor customer feedback on their social media accounts and share positive reviews across multiple social media networks at once.

TrustPilot

TrustPilot is ideal for businesses looking for something simple to work with. Users get to leave business reviews on its website while offering both free and paid brand listings. It’s an easily-navigable site equipped with an assortment of analytic and engagement tools,

Building a credible and consistent brand reputation might not be easy, but it isn’t an impossible task to complete. Whether or not you have one, it’s never too late to start. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the efficient tools that’ll help you get started on creating your own company’s reputation.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
June 20th, 2016

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For some NBA fans, the Milwaukee Bucks have long been a laughingstock on court. However, their most recent loss is no laughing matter. According to Yahoo! Sports, last month a team employee unknowingly sent out names, addresses, Social Security numbers, compensation information and dates of birth of players to a spoofed email account operated by a hacker. However, the Bucks are simply the latest victim in what is a threat to businesses of all sizes. We’ve come up with some pointers on how to protect your business from spoofed emails.

Education is key There are countless cliches out there promoting the importance of education, but when it comes to cyber security, you might as well embrace them all. In the case of spoofed emails, you need to make sure your employees know what these are and how they can harm your company. They can come in several forms and look to attack your organization in a number of different ways. A good defense starts with trained employees using best security practices when it comes to emails. Knowledge isn’t just the key to success, it’s the building block of a comprehensive email security plan.

Check the sender The easiest way to determine a real email from a spoofed one is to view who is sending it. While your basic junk mail folder will screen the really lazy attempts at spoofing, you and your employees can’t rely on it to weed out everything. A lot of cybercriminals have gotten skilled at mimicking the look and feel of companies through professional looking graphics and signatures. For starters, you are going to want to ignore email display names as these can be deceptive. The domain name provides the best clues as to who the sender really is. For instance, if an email requesting your company’s financial documents claims to be from the IRS but the domain reads IRSgov.com, it’s a spoof email since that domain is not what the IRS uses. If you ever spot an email containing a domain you consider to be suspicious, delete it immediately. If it is from a legitimate sender, they will send you a follow up email in a couple of days.

Embrace DMARC Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) can help reduce the risk of spoofed emails being sent internally. For businesses that do not set this up, it is possible for someone to spoof an email account that looks like it is from your business or a current employee and send it from a different server. As we saw in the case with the Bucks, these can appear legitimate to employees who will then in turn do what is requested such as turn off security settings or handover sensitive data. With DMARC in place you can prevent spoofed emails from utilizing your domains by requiring any email sent by your domain to come from your server. This greatly reduces the risk of an internal spoofed email showing up in the inbox of your employees.

Utilize email protections A lot of companies believe they can get by with the simple protections that come standard with an email client. However, doing the bare minimum is rarely enough to stop spoofed emails, not to mention all of the other threats lurking in your inbox, and high-powered email and spam protection will give your organization the added layer of security it needs. Much like elite-level basketball players need the best coaching and equipment to succeed, the only way to truly reduce the risk of falling victim of a spoofed email is to educate your staff properly and then equip them with email filtering. This ensures they aren’t wasting their time constantly trying to identify legitimate emails from fake ones but are prepared when the situation presents itself.

When it comes to email security, working with us is a slam dunk. We may not have the skills of Steph Curry on the basketball court but when in the realm of IT, competitors say they want to be like us. Give us a call today to find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
June 16th, 2016

2016June16_Office_BRecent research by Burning Glass revealed that nearly 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs now require digital proficiency - and jobs that require digital skills pay an average of 18% more than those that don't. Essentially, the more literate you are digitally, the more money you will make. This means paying extra attention in class (instead of skipping it) might actually benefit you in the long run. If classes aren’t a viable option, here are seven beneficial skills to help switch up your tech game:

Easy as pie Charts

If you’d still like stakeholders to continue investing in your business, bombarding them with endless numbers and decimal points might not be the wisest thing to do. It might be better to compile the data into a comprehensive chart. Enter the Recommended Charts tool that offers a basic visuals that depict the latest data trends. More than one set of numbers? No problem, since you can insert multiple charts onto one sheet. After entering the data into the column headers, head to Insert > Chart > Chart Type and choose whichever one you’d like.

Conditional Formatting

This tool helps you highlight any points of interest within your dataset, for example, you are presenting the latest numbers on project efficiency - any numbers lower than 80% are highlighted in red, making it easier for everyone in the office to not only see but also understand the dataset. If red isn’t your favorite color, the formatting is fully-customizable. Select the cell, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Add and voila!

Quick Analysis

Lessen the time needed to sift through and compile numbers from small data sets while also reducing time needed to create charts. Select the data, then click on the icon in the bottom right corner and bring up the Quick Analysis menu - this comprises a variety of tools such as formatting, charts, tables, totals and Sparklines.

Autofill

After Excel picks up on the pattern within your data, Autofill fills in the other rows and columns for you. This saves you time by removing the need of having to manually enter row upon row of data. Just click and hold the lower-right column of the cell and drag the column the down.

Power View

After making yourself comfortable, allow this Microsoft Powerpoint-compatible data exploration and visualization tool to help decipher large datasets to create interactive, presentation-grade reports. With Power View, not only are you saving copious amounts of working time but also minimizing any human errors that could affect the accuracy of the report. For Excel 2013, click Insert > Report.

Pivot Tables

When it comes to data analysis, Pivot Tables might be one of the most powerful yet intimidating tools in Excel’s arsenal. Summarize large amounts of data in lists or tables without having to use a single formula. Head over to Insert > Pivot Tables and select the data range, then select the fields in the top-half of the right-hand sidebar to generate the table.

VLookUp

If you think using Excel was challenging, try working across multiple sheets and workbooks, now that’s a challenge. With the help of VLookUp, you can create reports and/or summaries by collating data from the multiple sheets. For example, sales professionals can pull information on item descriptions, prices, inventory etc. without having to endlessly wander between rows and columns. Start off by selecting the VLOOKUP formula in the formula menu, then enter the cell containing the reference number. Then enter the range of data you want to pull the data from, the column for the data point you’re looking and click either “True” or “False”.

It’s safe to say that Excel is one of the most commonly used business software on the market. And yet not everyone is able to fully utilize it. For any questions on the previously mentioned, or other features on Excel give us a call and allow us to help elevate your user status from beginner to pro.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
June 14th, 2016

2016June14_Productivity_BWhat do circuses, the Internet and Harry Potter fans have in common? They are all communities that house numerous individuals sharing experiences and showing support on a common interest that defies geographical limitations. The 21st Century is an age where information reaches thousands in mere seconds, and what that can do for your business is astounding, to say the least. Like Rome, online communities aren’t built in a day. It takes time, patience, and the following tips to make it happen:

Make sure your customers are passionate

The number one rule of online community is that it should be a place where like-minded people are genuinely interested in your brand and are able to engage, if that’s not the case, it won’t be any different from throwing a party that everyone ignored. Make sure you have brand appeal, pick up on vibes your customers are giving off and figure out what they really want. The size of your online community isn’t what’s important, customer’s annual revenue and genuine passion for your products play a much bigger role.

Loosen the reins

It’s an undeniable fact that you have put copious amounts of time and energy into building and managing your business - so you can’t help but develop an attachment to it. What business owners have to realize is that your company really belongs to your users. This is a difficult obstacle to overcome, but when you are still clinging on for dear life and discouraging open discussion, you’ve basically shot yourself in the foot. Several times.

Another rule to follow is NEVER delete a post (unless it’s spam), under no circumstances would you want to hide negative feedback. Online communities might be the reality check you’ve been looking for, so accept honest feedback with open arms.

Create a rich experience

Thriving communities are the ones that engage in numerous activities, the same can be said for online communities as well. An example to help put things in perspective is bird watching. Let's say one community only has support forums dedicated to basic subjects whereas the other community offers a feature request area that allow customers to give their thoughts on what they want to see next as well as a visual library on local species. Ensure that there’s always something for your community to do.

Invest in infrastructure

Dedicated team members and the right software are essential components required in taking on an online community - don’t pinch any pennies here. Growing the team and utilizing suitable tech resources are necessary steps that (although nerve-wracking) need to be taken. Entice customers further by tying up all the technological loose ends, make it easy-to-use and devoid of downtime.

Don’t stress over measurements

We live in a time where numbers hold immeasurable power and people expect dashboards to show trending activity constantly. It’s a fact that measuring the ROI of an online community is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There is one way of measuring your community’s value, not with a measuring tape, but by looking at the number of posts.

If you're aiming to establish higher brand credibility, corporate integrity and customer loyalty but aren’t exactly sure how to go about it, just give us a call! We’ll help you with any questions you may have about building an online community for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
June 9th, 2016

2016June9_Security_BThe worrisome rise of ransomware doesn’t seem to be slowing as Microsoft recently announced the detection of self-propagating iterations of the malware. With this evolution, it is essential for SMBs to update their understanding of this security threat in order to properly protect themselves. Keep reading to learn how ransomware is continuing to extend its reach.

Ransomware, the malware that locks up infected systems and demands payment to return access to users, has been steadily increasing its infection rate over the course of this year. Enigma Software reported that, “After staying steady for the last six months of 2015, ransomware detection has begun to climb; February saw a 19 percent increase over January, while March had almost a 10 percent increase over February. Then, in April, infections more than doubled.”

And as if that wasn’t frightening enough, Microsoft announced last week that a recently detected ransomware software was found copying itself onto USB and network drives. The ransomware, titled ZCryptor, disguises itself as either an Adobe Flash installer or a Microsoft Office file to trick users into opening it.

Once opened, it displays a prompt that says “There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive D:”. If you see this after opening a suspicious file, it is most likely ZCryptor trying to distract you while it works in the background to add a registry key that buries itself deep in your system and begins to encrypt your files.

Although previous ransomware iterations like Alpha Ransomware had the ability to find and encrypt files on shared network drives, security experts believe this is the first time a ransomware variant has included self-replication via removable drives into its framework.

When it was first detected in May, Microsoft found ZCryptor singling out 88 different file types for encryption. However, later on a security expert analyzed the ransomware and found 121 targeted file types -- inferring that creators of the malware were continuing to develop its source code.

It’s commonplace for ransomware to demand payment to be made in Bitcoins as they’re an almost totally untraceable online currency. ZCryptor is no different, demanding 1.2 Bitcoins (500 USD) unless payment is more than four days after infection -- then it increases to five Bitcoins (2,700 USD).

Compared to other more complex security threats, ransomware is still relatively easy to avoid. Always verify the source of email attachments and website downloads before opening files, disable macros in Microsoft Office programs, maintain regular backups and update your security software.

Still concerned about security at your SMB? It doesn’t have to be as difficult and draining as you may think. Contact us today for advice on keeping your network protected around the clock.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
June 8th, 2016

2016June8_Google_BIn an age where information is abundant and easy to access, it's quite hard to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not. Luckily, annual conferences like Google I/O 2016 help keep budding developers and tech connoisseurs up-to-date by going through a series of key announcements. On top of that, a variety of interesting products are explored, explained and expanded on. Let’s take a look at five of them:

Google Assistant

Unlike its predecessor, Google Now responded exclusively to voice queries, Google Assistant is less clunky and is slightly more personal. This upgraded version does the same but also manages to book flight tickets, order takeout, and just about anything else by simply searching in Google. The Google Assistant can even make recommendations, distinguish your questions, and return with the 'right' answer. Think of Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada, but on your smartphone.

Google Home

Since its release, Amazon’s voice-controlled computer took the US by storm. Google responds to the situation by announcing the tentative release of Google Home. According to the tech giant, it is equipped with the best-in-class voice recognition technology. Google Assistant is also integrated into Google Home, which will allow you to order an Uber, get down on Spotify, set daily alarms or inquire about the weather.

Allo and Duo

Sounding like the quintessential Cockney greeting, Allo is dubbed Google’s new smart messaging app. Where does the smart come from? Not straying too far from the general nature of other messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger - Allo also has nifty built in with nifty features such as “Smart Reply”, where it suggests responses when you don’t feel like typing. On top of that, you can converse with Google Assistant on Allo, and simultaneously order pizza while bickering over the toppings.

As for Duo, it’s basically Google’s version of FaceTime or Skype, allowing for internet video calls. Both applications will be available on iOS and Android operating systems this summer.

Virtual Reality

Daydream is the latest step taken in Google’s venture into virtual reality. This feature allows certain phones to enhance VR. Google is also set to release a Play Store, Street View and YouTube just for VR. On top of that, a blueprint of a third-party friendly headset as well as controller reminiscent of Apple TV’s Siri-powered pointer has also been produced.

Android Wear

Plenty of new features accommodate the recently updated Android Wear 2.0, the most notable of which are applications that can run without having to rely on the usage of smartphones, potentially boosting the overall efficiency of smartwatches. Not only that, it has become easier to respond to messages on Android Wear through the Smart Reply and handwriting recognition features. Also, there are new fitness functions that is set to roll out this summer.

We hope this Google I/O 2016 roundup was beneficial for you. For any further information on the key announcements or products to look out for this year, feel free to contact us anytime!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic google
June 7th, 2016

2016June7__MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_BFor the past couple of years, Microsoft’s smartphones have been struggling to keep up with Android and Apple devices. Although Microsoft sells their handsets at lower price points and are constantly trying to improve user experience, the Windows Phone just isn’t cutting it in the consumer market. So what’s happening to Microsoft’s smartphone business? Let’s find out.

A brief history

The Windows Phone was introduced in 2010 and quite late in entering the smartphone game. After acquiring Nokia - a company facing severe losses - for $7.6 billion, Microsoft introduced Lumia handsets in the market. Since then however, Lumia handset sales fell by 49%. Additionally, over 10,000 employees were laid off and the failed smartphone venture would then be sold to Foxconn, a multinational company in Taiwan, for $350 million.

Reasons for the failure

There were many reasons why the Microsoft smartphone was not successful in the consumer market. Perhaps the biggest reason was because Microsoft entered the smartphone market too late, especially when Apple and Android devices were already starting to dominate the market. While the Windows Phone was a perfectly fine device, it lacked the “wow” factor that brands like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android captured.

Apple and Android already had a wide variety of apps and features available for users by the time Microsoft joined in. So it didn’t help that Microsoft, at the time, had limited access to popular social media apps and advanced hardware features, which is why consumers kept lining up for the latest iPhone. Furthermore, Microsoft’s phone success had only been limited by its low price point and commitment to security, which might be good for business but not for consumer use.

Additionally, the success of Apple and Google was a result of being laser focused on the mobile market, while Microsoft simply had priorities other than their smartphone venture. Overall, phones are just a very small part in Microsoft’s strategy. They are more focused in areas like developing their cloud productivity suite, the Surface Pro tablet, and getting more consumers and organizations to use Windows 10 as their operating system of choice. On the other hand, Android’s operating system was far more advanced and Apple’s constant development of their hardware made it almost impossible for Microsoft to infiltrate the smartphone market. Therefore from the beginning, Microsoft was already fighting an uphill battle.

What now?

Though Microsoft has experienced a heavy blow in their smartphone development, this doesn’t mean they are down for the count. They decided to remove their products from the consumer market and focus on enterprise only markets as their product appeals to value-oriented buyers. As for the significant losses, Microsoft is not likely to go broke any time soon.

There are also rumors going around that the success of the Surface Pro tablet might bring about a Surface Phone. And even if there won’t be one, Microsoft’s tablets performance are on par, if not better, than the iPad Pro, so the company still has chances to enter the mobility devices market. At the end of the day, the failure of Microsoft’s smartphone gives the tech company more time to focus on areas like HoloLens, Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, the cloud, and the further development of their operating system.

Do you think Microsoft will survive their smartphone blunders? If you want to learn more about the latest Microsoft trends, features, and applications, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Windows