Category Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft Offers Ad-free Bing Search for Schools

Bing has launched a pilot scheme in the US to offer all schools ad-free access to the platform. 

Bing for Schools also offers enhanced privacy settings and filters to block adult content, along with a digital learning exercise delivered everyday via the homepage at the right level for each student. 

This is the first time a service like this has been offered by a major search engine, giving schools the ‘choice to avoid the commercialisation of student web searches’. More than 800,000 students have already been signed up, from school districts in LA, Atlanta, Fresno and Detroit. 

Parents have the opportunity to earn Bing Rewards for participating schools by using the regular search engine at home – and no doubt a sweetener for the company as it seeks to increase its share of search users. Microsoft says that 30,000 credits will get the school a Mircosoft Surface RT  – which the company estimates would only take 60 regular users a month to do.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here:

Microsoft Promises Cheaper Windows 8 Tabs in Q3 Earnings Call

Microsoft has announced revenue of $20.49bn for its third quarter ended 31 March, an increase of 18 per cent year-on-year.

The Entertainment and Devices division, which includes Windows Phone devices and with games console, posted revenue of $2.53bn, an increase of 56 per cent from a year earlier. The Windows division, including Surface tablets and PCs, saw a year-on-year revenue increase of 23 per cent to $5.7bn.

Windows Phone ‘momentum’

Although Windows Phone is trailing far behind Android and iOS, Steve Ballmer, CEO, said on an earnings call that he is happy with its performance so far: “Momentum with Windows Phone continues to build. The device is now available in a broad range of price points. We’re receiving great reviews and carrier support continues to grow.

“We now have over 10 per cent share in several countries, but realise there is still a lot of work ahead to break through in some key markets. The growing awareness of Windows Phone has sustained innovation from our hardware partners, and we feel well-positioned to continue our momentum.”

The company’s CFO, Peter Klein, who is stepping down at the end of the financial year, said he expects the final quarter revenue growth in the Enterainment and Devices division to be in the mid-teens. In the Windows division, he said that manufacturer revenues will be hit by declining sales of PCs but it will be working to increase its tablet share.

Low-end Windows 8 tablets
Asked how Microsoft intends to increase its share of the tablet market, Klein  said that Microsoft has already increased distribution on Surface to 22 countries and 70 retailers, “and we’ll continue to look to expand that. Not just expanding, but improving the experience. And that’s true not just for Surface, but for broadly Windows 8 devices. So we’ll be investing against that for both Surface and a broader array of Windows 8 devices at multiple price points, including lower price points going forward.”

“The biggest thing we’re doing is helping OEMs develop new and improved user experiences across the board, across size, across price point and deliver a really compelling Windows 8 experience,” Klein said. “And it’s not just the devices. It’s chips, it’s the apps, it’s the buying experience, it’s the user interface. So we’re really focused on all five or six of those dimensions going forward.

“As we look towards the future, we have a solid foundation of products and services in market, and our leadership team is collectively focused on advancing every one of our businesses. You can expect to hear more about the specific actions we are taking over the next few months.”

Written for and first published here:

Gates: Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy “Clearly a Mistake”

In an interview with CBS, Bill Gates admitted that Microsoft’s mobile strategy was “clearly a mistake” and it didn’t allow them to “get the leadership” against companies like Google and Apple.

Asked about current CEO Steve Ballmer’s leadership, while Gates said he believed that lots of “amazing things” had been done in the last year, including Windows 8 and Surface, he admitted: “no, he and I are not satisfied”.

Having set out with the mission to have a “computer on every desk and in every home”, and succeeded, the company is still clearly banking on mobile to make sure it is now also in everyone’s pocket. But is it too late?

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here:

Women in Wireless London – Building your International Career

Written for and first published here:

 Women in Wireless London welcomed two internationally successful women in mobile to talk at their event last night, ‘Building your International Career’.

Both Cynthia Gordon, CCO at Qatar-based network Qtel, and Marianne Roling, MD of Mobile for Microsoft in Central and Eastern Europe have had impressive 20 year careers that have seen them living all over the world.
Cynthia Gordon 
Cynthia GordonCynthia’s roles have taken her from the -35 temperatures she experienced when working for MTS, the largest mobile operator in Russia, to the +50 heat she now works in at the Qatari firm that serves 90m subscribers and generates $10bn. “One tip – it’s all about clothing” she said.

“Europe and the US are quite similar, there are commonalities. Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Rajasthan are truly different – the culture, the environment. If I can excite you about anything – grasp those opportunities to experience something that is totally different.”

GSMA MWomen Programme

She said that an international career gives you a fantastic opportunity to learn but also fantastic opportunities to help other women in the customer base or company you work for – women are often hugely underrepresented in emerging market companies.

She highlighted the MWomen Programme of the GSMA. “In Iraq – women are killed for having a mobile phone. Men think they will have affairs or it will take them away from their families.” The GSMA created special TV ads to address the cultural barriers and have increased the female user-base from 20 to 30 per cent. “How many women have the opportunity to use mobile phones is a big issue in emerging markets.”

From the Berlin Wall to real-time global translation
Marianne Roling 
Marianne RolingAfter the fall of the Berlin Wall, Marianne had the opportunity to work on a Hungarian project funded by the World Bank to build telecoms infrastructure, where just 8 per cent of the homes had a telephone line.

She has seen the internet boom and bust, the development of the mobile industry and now the smartphone and tablet revolution. Micosoft recently performed a real-time translation between the US and China as if the American speaker was fluent in Chinese.”This is the most viibrant, amazing industry ever,” she said.

Work/life balance

She separated her success into having great networks and role models, identifying sponsors, mentors and coaches, as well as getting a work/life balance. She moved five times in five years while she was working for Lucent in South America, completely starting form ground zero every time.

“Now I don’t travel at the weekends and do lots of conference calls early in the morning. You have to create the rhythm with your family.” But Cynthia said she believes you can’t have it all. “My husband gave up his career even though when we met we were level.”

Her key advice to get that international mobile career you crave: “Numbers numbers numbers. Go into the detail – never skim over the topic, seek to understand it better than anybody else. Have confidence in what you can do and achieve, get on that plane, you can do it.”