This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 2nd August 2013

Microsoft must rebrand SkyDrive after trademark dispute
In what may be déjà vu to those who remember Microsoft’s ‘Metro’ name fiasco before the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has been forced to rebrand their commercial cloud storage service “SkyDrive” after a court ruling that the SkyDrive name infringed on BSkyB’s “Sky” brand. With SkyDrive in use in mobile apps, deep integration into Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Office 2013 and more, this is no small task. No new name for the service has been announced yet, but expect a slew of updates coming soon across Microsoft’s product portfolio to correct this, in addition to a new marketing campaign aimed at SkyDrive’s 250 million+ user base to save confusion when the change does happen.

Apple still making developers more money than Google
Even though Android phones and tablets have been outselling iPhones and iPads for some time now, the Apple App Store is still the most profitable app market out there. It’s not for lack of downloads either. The Google Play store now receives more downloads of Apps than Apple’s. It seems that the Android users are simply not hitting the “buy” button, as they are happy with the free offerings available. In fact Apple Apps despite fewer downloads are making more than twice the revenue of Google. Of course if you are selling Apps ideally you will cover as many platforms as possible to increase potential sales, but you can’t take for granted that the largest platform is the most profitable.

Google Glass as punishable as mobile phones when driving
Efforts in West Virginia USA, to outlaw the wearing of Google Glass when driving are crossing over to the UK, as they are being considered by the Department of Transport in the UK. Discussions are being held with the police to ensure individuals do not use the technology when driving to ensure full attention.

MIT creates perfect mirror
Physicists at MIT have created the first perfect mirror. This could lead to breakthroughs in fibre optic networks, lasers and solar power. When light hits the mirror (or any other kind of wave, including acoustic or water waves), it bounces off perfectly and preserves the original image (signal). Normal mirrors block the passage of light, sound, water or radio waves and can only reflect, which is never perfect. Reflecting a laser down hundreds of miles of optic fibre would highlight any imperfection and cause a huge drop in efficiency. Whilst the research involved a phototonic crystal, the potential is an exciting step forward for the future of data infrastructure networks.

Amicus ITS weekly technology news – Easter Edition

Windows Store V Mac App Store
This week the Windows Store hit over 50,000 published downloadable Apps on Windows 8 and RT. Although this number is smaller compared to the app stores for smart phones, it is definitely worth noting that the Mac App Store launched in January 2011 currently has only around 16,000 Apps. Microsoft is effectively beating Apple at its own game!. What comes of the future from Microsoft and Apples ecosystem?

Continued growth in mobile browser usage
Web browsing on phones and tablets has tripled in the last two years, and doubled over the last 12 months. Apple’s Safari leads all mobile traffic with over 50%, people are using iOS much more for web searching than other mobile platforms. Although other browsers including Chrome and Safari are available on the iOS app store they are in reality just Safari re-skinned. The importance of information being quick and easy to find on a mobile browser is more important than ever! Is your website user friendly enough on a mobile, or are you potentially ignoring this new growing sector of ’mobile on the go’ users?

USB’s and IT Professionals
At the recent RSA conference, more than three-quarters of IT professionals admitted to breaching their own protocols and plugging in USB flash drives that they found abandoned or lying around! There are a number of ways to prevent this as an organisation, as a starting point, we would suggest educating your staff against this. Why not supply your staff with encrypted USB sticks which can be regularly checked for malware, or you could use software which restricts USB devices. However you choose to address this issue, you should be aware and actively trying to reduce or restrict it.

Cyber Attacks
You might have heard about the recent major cyber attacks, firstly the attack that South Korea has accused China of starting (potentially falsely) and then a row between a spam-fighting group and a hosting firm. Cyber attacks on national infrastructure remains a top concern. In the US, President Barack Obama has recently signed a cyber security executive order requiring federal agencies to share cyber threat information with private companies. Security experts are voicing concerns about the choice of targets for the recent cyber attacks which suggest that an attack that could put a nation into jeopardy could happen. The Cyberbunker attack is said to be on an unprecedented scale and has been continuing for well over a week with five national cyber police forces currently investigating. Whilst this highlights some potential gaps in the security, organisations need to remain vigilant in their search of indicators of compromise on their networks.

Have a happy Easter !

The latest in technology news by Amicus ITS

Growth in enterprise app stores

“Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies,” said Ian Finley, research VP at Gartner. By 2017 Gartner expects 25% of enterprises to have developed their own app stores and to be negotiating with software vendors for products that can be added to the ecosystem. We believe this shows the move from apps downloaded from traditional commercial App Stores to business stores hosting secure, trusted Apps for corporate use.


Live Messenger closing down, Skype & Lync on talking terms

Microsoft has announced it will be enabling its two communication products; Lync and Skype to talk together to enable audio call and Instant Messaging interoperability as well as shared presence.  In addition Microsoft is shutting down Windows Live Messenger and encouraging users to login to Skype, we see these aggressive actions as a way of ‘market share growth’ for Microsoft over the coming year.


Datacentre risk v cost.

With increasingly tightening budgets, businesses are taking risks when choosing a datacentre strategy. Reports show cost is becoming the single top priority over resilience, capacity and backup strategy. However, as recent high profile failures show, if data is lost or hard to recover, the original cost savings don’t look quite as good. This is a warning to choose your datacentre (or datacentres) wisely.


Google on the high-street?

Recent rumours indicate Google may join Apple and Microsoft with their own physical retail stores. Google would be able to use these stores to sell their Nexus phones and tablets directly to customers in addition to their Chrome Book. Google could also let the public get “hands-on” with in development products like their wearable computer; Google Glass. We think products like these “smart glasses” are a tricky sell without being able to try before you buy.