I’ve read six or seven articles about Lenovo’s purchase of Motorola (for 2.9 billion dollars) but not a single one shares, what I think, is the most obvious point. This is Lenovo’s entry point to owning the business smartphone market in the US.
BlackBerry’s departure from relevance has left a power vacuum for the de facto work device (yes, even after all these years) and this is where Lenovo wants to position themselves - every employee at every major company is given a laptop and a phone. Lenovo wants to be the one company providing both.
Lenovo is already the “number one PC company in the world for large business and the public sector” and their ThinkPad is a legendary “work computer.” With businesses as their primary customer it doesn’t take much of a leap in logic that they’d want to sell other things to their customers. Phones are a no brainer.
Lenovo already sells a ton of phones. They’re in fourth place globally with no footing at all in North America. What’s the best way to break into a highly competitive market? Buy someone who is already competing.
And that’s exactly what Lenovo has been trying to do. They tired to buy BlackBerry very recently and to me, tipped their hand that they want to focus on business. Lenovo wouldn’t have looked at BlackBerry if they wanted to make a dent in the consumer market. The BlackBerry brand has never been relevant to consumers but has (until recently) been a mainstay for the white collar at work.
So, Lenovo didn’t buy BlackBerry but instead bought Motorola. Probably a better move since the Motorola name doesn’t immediately evoke a company floundering.
I see no reason why big companies, with thousands of employees, would go anywhere else. Giant companies rotate out laptops and phones every few years. My girlfriend works for one of the big four accounting firms and recently had her work computer upgraded. She went from a 3 year old ThinkPad to a new ThinkPad (still running Windows 7). And she’s eligible for a new phone when her contract runs out at the end of the year.
A Lenovo that owns Motorola will now be able to deliver both, ThinkPads and phones, to companies who buy devices by the gross. Thousands of employees all rotating through 3 year laptop cycles and 2 year phone contracts.
Lenovo can own the business sector in two easy steps:
1) Make devices cheaper for companies that buy laptops and phones together.
2) Bake in some software that will allow IT to to easily deploy and update their applications on desktop and mobile.
Game over. Lenovo wins.
This is the same thing many people, myself included, thought HP was going to do with the consumer market when they bought Palm. Buying a laptop for your kid going to college? For another $100 add a TouchPad. For $50 more add a Pre on contract.
HP had all the retail connections anyone could want. It was just a matter of bundling those devices together in a compelling way. But I guess HP couldn’t see the writing on the wall and, well, we all know what happened to Palm.
I don’t think Lenovo is going to miss this though. Their attempt to buy BlackBerry shows you exactly where their head is. They want the business market, not the consumer one. And they are poised to take it over.
Variety: Jesse Eisenberg Cast As Lex Luthor in ‘Superman/Batman,’ Jeremy Irons Set as Alfred -
This cast is so random…
- Can’t you just see a world where Lex owns a Google like company, and Clark is a tech journalist?
- I’m surprised that Alfred is even in the movie…
Microsoft testing Windows 8.1 update that hides tile interface by default | The Verge -
I know Tom Warren. He is a man who wouldn’t publish this story unless there was validity to it. It’s a huge shame:
While the software giant originally released Windows 8.1 last year with an option to bypass the “Metro” interface at boot, sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have revealed to The Verge that the upcoming update for Windows 8.1 will enable this by default. Like many other changes in Update 1, we’re told the reason for the reversal is to improve the OS for keyboard and mouse users.
I have been a fan of Windows 8 since I first saw it in person at CES in 2012. I like that Microsoft has a different idea on how we could be using computers. I like that they actually were moving away from the windowed desktop view that they helped make so popular. I like that it could scale up to 27 inch displays and down to phones. And for the most part, the few Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8) devices that I’ve used looked and felt pretty good.
Yes it favors touch screen computers. And while Microsoft is trying to push touch computers and convertible tablets it still seems that a majority of users are using a mouse and keyboard (not surprising). I understand the reasoning I just can’t help but think there has to be a better way to optimize Metro (sorry “Modern UI”) for mouse and keyboard. Hiding it isn’t going to push things forward.
GameStop, Tomb Raider, and how retail and online competition remains unfair -
Ben Kuchera throws some light on GameStop and the tension between the online retailers and actual physical retail stores:
The tension between digital game sales and retail is only going to get worse, and it’s likely to blame for some of the odd behavior you can see in the market. GameStop released Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition days before the announced street date, and many eager gamers rushed to their PlayStation 4s or Xbox Ones to try to buy the game online, only to find that the original street date of January 28th was being honored online.
Remember when Blockbuster would get movies before they were available on Netflix? It was a short window before Netflix had total domination and when the streaming service was in its infancy. Blockbuster signed contracts with the big studios to have movies 28 days before Netflix. It was a way for physical stores to have an edge over the online rental places. The studios agreed because blockbuster had been a cash cow for a long time, and they didn’t want to upset a player as dominating as Blockbuster.
This is what’s happening with video games. The good news is that we’ve seen this play out once before, and it doesn’t end well for brick and mortar stores.
The crazy part is that developers are essentially forced into playing ball with GameStop, who are actively trying to screw them. GameStop sells used games at a huge markup and lock people into their used ecosystem. It’s a toxic relationship and you’ll bet that devs will cut GameStop out of the equation as quickly as possible.
At least Blockbuster wasn’t relying on studios for movies to rent, while also actively screwing them.
I feel obligated to say something about the Nintendo investor meeting that ended a short time ago since I did write quite a bit about Nintendo earlier today.
If you didn’t see the news it’s this: Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, outlined a strategy for the company. They’re looking to the health market for new business. They’re not putting games on mobile devices but they do have a mobile strategy. They want to make more Wii U games that show off the GamePad Controller.
This was a meeting for investors so none of this is a surprise.
- Of course Iwata was going throw his weight behind the Wii U, their current console, and promise games that would take advantage of the one thing that distinguishes it. Because even if they were abandoning the hardware, it’s not going to happen over night, and they need to keep selling a console in the interim.
- Of course they’re not going to put their 40 dollar games on phones, where 99 cents is considered pricy. Nintendo doesn’t know how to make a freemium game, and I hope they never learn. But people are yelling their heads off that “all they need to do is release Mario Kart on the iPhone” so phones and tablets needed to be addressed. Companion apps that drive people to Nintendo hardware doesn’t sound appealing to me, but ok.
- Of course they’re looking at new markets. Investors love hearing about new markets. I am intrigued by what they’re looking at in the health space. The Wii Balance Board was interesting, I guess. And the 3DS does count my steps when I bring it with me. I’m curious to see how this new thing fits in with the rest of their current hardware. Maybe it doesn’t.
Overall, not a lot was said. This sounds like they’re staying the course. Which is good, it’s what I think they should do. Hopefully they spend the money they have to stay the course better than they have been the past two years.
A history of Boba Fett’s Helmets - as researched by The Dented Helmet
This a very comprehensive look at the second most iconic helmet in Star Wars. Full size image.
[The Dented Helmet via LikeCool]
Earlier this month Nintendo drastically cut its sales forecasts for the fiscal year after they missed their targets during Christmas. This sent everyone with an internet connection into a tizzy suggesting that Nintendo could make buckets of money releasing iOS and Android games and that they should pull a Sega and exit the hardware market (Kotaku wraps it up nicely, thanks Kotaku).
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed this by saying, “It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Nintendo needs to be Nintendo. They need to make great hardware and make great games for that hardware.
So, while people are yelling for Nintendo to abandon their hardware business they’re not seeing that Nintendo has 10.1 billion dollars in the bank. That’s enough money to allow them to coast for decades.
It’s undeniable that Nintendo doesn’t have the marketshare or the mindshare they had at the start of the last generation. Their new console didn’t grab the hearts of the everyman the way the Wii did, but there is still a way for Nintendo to continue to be Nintendo and, perhaps, return to the top.
I have a four point plan:
1) Nintendo needs to pull a Microsoft and start paying developers to develop for their platform. It’s exactly what Microsoft is doing on Windows Phone, and slowly, it’s working.
Nintendo should be actively pursuing indy developers and spurring games creation for their devices. Have ‘dev days.’ Pay for companies of all sizes to release their titles on your platform. Create tools that make it easier to develop. Start earning back that developer trust.
2) Abandon the Wii U. Make it a “hobby” if you want (the way Apple made the Apple TV a hobby for a few years). Sony and Microsoft are using off the shelf parts for their new consoles. Use the same ones. Release modern hardware and price it the same as the PS4. Yes, you’re going to get called out for releasing a “me too” box. But you need to do that. If you can put an Wii / Wii U emulator (or really, all the hardware the way Sony installed an entire PS2 in the PS3 at launch) that’s a bonus. We’re expecting this console cycle to last 8-10 years again, so even if this was released in 2015 it would still sell for six years.
A day we should all celebrate!
Our Fastest Cameras Are Now 10 Billion Trillion Times Faster Than the First Cameras
Photographs from different eras are deceptively similar. A photograph from 1860 and one taken on our smartphones are both called the same thing, after all.
And yet, the resemblance of the end product masks that there have been huge changes in the way that photographs are made. What was once a slow, rare chemical process has become a ubiquitous, electronic one.
Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]
10 billion trillion?! That’s a great fact, but it does make The Atlantic sound a little like a 5 year old.
There hasn’t been a lot of speculation on which DCU character The Rock will be playing in 2014… but I wonder.
This is a good idea.