In the world that is Microsoft, all seems to be progressing reasonably well with their recent Windows 8 release and cross device too. According to Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Balmer, sales of Windows Phone devices are four times higher than they were last year. This is in no small part to recent slew of Windows 8 enabled devices to have hit the market, notably HTC and Nokia, both of which are meeting with very positive reviews and are initially sold out in many countries. As for specific sales figures, these are, as ever, very difficult to come by currently. The sticking point for Microsoft (when compared to the likes of Apple) has always been around its dearth of apps, however, if Balmer’s recent hints are anything to go by, some big-hitting app titles may be in the pipeline "46 of the top 50 apps that people use". Whilst I’ve not counted them personally, there are reportedly around 120,000 apps currently available (but you wouldn’t probably think it). In non-mobile land, things seem to be progressing well too with Microsoft announcing 40 million license sales for the last quarter, well up on comparative Windows 7 license sales for the same post-launch period.
20 years of text messaging
Did you know it’s almost 20 years to the day since the first text message was exchanged between PC users? The text message passed from a desktop PC to an Orbitel 901 handset. And what was the content of that message? Simply “Merry Christmas”. Whilst text messaging experienced a three-fold rise in the 5 years to 2011, from 51 to around 150 billion texts in fact, SMS messaging appears to be on a steady, but slow, decline. For the first time, figures for Q1 and Q2 this year tell of two periods of consecutive decline. You don’t have to look too hard to find the likely reasons why; instant messaging, email and social networking.
Redefining the service experience
If I was to say to you “car showroom”, what picture would this conjure up in your mind? No doubt, something involving large double glazed showroom windows, a big open plan space and a tile floor punctuated by a series of the latest car models. Point of sale display racks dripping with range brochures and no doubt some sales literature on the latest high-tech digital gadgetry featured in the latest model range thrown in for good measure. Now just think, what if you took that digital aspect a step further and applied that to the channel experience itself. What would it look like? How would that make you feel? Well, that’s exactly what Audi’s done with one of its latest ventures. Watch Audi City London opens - First all-digital showroom on YouTube. The times are achanging. I for one will have to continue to admire from afar, as my personal finances decree.
Personalised pricing - suits who?
Anyone familiar with this concept? Well arguably it’s existed in the physical retail environment for some time now. Think of your Tesco clubcard enabling you to accumulate points and receive targeted offers based on your stated preferences and purchase history. The type of personalised pricing being talked about here however may very well leave a bitter taste in many people’s mouths. This type of personalised pricing is about using your online data or data containers e.g. cookies to determine where, what and how (e.g. what devices) you’re accessing the web and then using this information to determine appropriate price points based on your web usage profile. It’s all down to cookies and the information stored within them. Following on from the introduction of EU Cookie law in May this year, requiring websites to be explicit about getting user permission to use them, the legal community is starting to take notice of the importance of online and some of its practices. That also includes the OFT (Office Fair of Trading). According to legal experts it’s the fact that the capture of this information is much less explicit in the case of online behaviour. Currently differential pricing can be offered online to consumers in one of two ways, previous purchasing history or via passing on of third party data between between websites/search engines. Using geolocation, device type or any of piece of data, which could be passed between a device and a website could equally be used as the basis for differential pricing be it for better or for worse. One thing’s for sure, this debate will run and run and I, for one, will be keeping a closer eye on my checkout cart in future.