This Week’s technology news – 22nd November 2013

Slap on the risk
Interruptions caused by IT failures of major institutions like banks or 3rd party suppliers can have a substantial impact on a company’s ability to function. Eliminating software bugs and system weaknesses can be very expensive and is often a commercial balance between risk and reward. Banks and large institutions are predominantly old, with 20% of banks for instance, running on “out of life” technology. Cheap software can be prone to locking up or crashing, whilst a lack of thorough testing prior to rollout by people and process failure, often lies at the heart of problems. Strategic outsourcing of a project or pilot (though not washing hands of the responsibility), offers a chance for organisations to assess reliability and modernisation – and inform longer term decisions for their valuable IT estate.

When social media is infectious
A recent US survey has established the extent that employees are putting themselves and their companies at risk through the uninformed use of social media and a lack of understanding as to how information published on the internet gets used. Over 60% embraced the principle of individual responsibility to protect online privacy, but only 20% had ever having adjusted their own account settings. Companies meanwhile compounded matters with many activating the most open settings by default, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Firms should not make assumptions that employees understand how to be safe online personally, or when using company devices. Policies and firewalls should only be the first step to an educated and integrated HR approach to risk minimisation.

Musical chairs at Microsoft
Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia and shortlisted for the new Microsoft CEO position, has been considering killing off Bing and selling Xbox if he wins the big seat. The advantage would be a return to a business focus. This would be a high risk strategy, despite Bing not being profitable in itself, as it has now been deeply integrated into most of Microsoft’s products. Xbox on the other hand has become the entertainment brand, absorbing Zune music service as Xbox Music and Xbox Video, to compete with Apple offerings. Current CEO Steve Ballmer however, reiterated at a shareholder’s meeting this week that his vision includes Bing and Xbox! Will Elop’s ruthless attitude, which arguably saved Nokia, stop Elop getting the top job at Microsoft?

Apple buys PrimeSense, creators of the Kinect camera
Apple is reported to have acquired PrimeSense for $345 million. This is the company which created the 3D camera used by Microsoft’s Xbox console for ‘controller free’ motion control. The current technology is too bulky to go in an iPad or MacBook. Is Apple planning the next generation for Apple TV using virtual swiping gestures versus a traditional remote control? It would give Apple a new market in a new App Store for TV and offer developers the ability to create unique Apps powered by tracking people in 3D space. Mere speculation now, but it would not be the biggest surprise if it was announced in 2014.

Your weekly news direct from Amicus ITS

Amicus ITS makes Global MSP Rankings

The annually published MSPmentor 501 is a global ranking of the World’s Top 501 Managed Services Providers, and celebrates quality of Service, Growth and Expertise within the Global MSP arena.  Amicus ITS are delighted to have been placed 29th Globally and 4th in Europe.  This is a great accolade of what we think has been a fantastic effort from all of our teams for our role as trusted advisor and service provider to our clients in both the healthcare and corporate markets.

‘It is an honour to be recognised this year as one of the Global Top Managed Service Providers. To be ranked 29th in the world and 4th across Europe is a fantastic achievement by the team’ said Steve Jackson, Managing Director Amicus ITS who himself was ranked as one of the Top 250 entrepreneurs in his industry at the end of last year.

Dell goes private with help from Microsoft

Michael Dell, the original founder and current CEO of Dell is taking the company private. This is possible through a combination of cash and equity direct from Dell, investors affiliated with Silver Lake, MSD Capital and a $2 billion loan from Microsoft. Microsoft may be looking into making Dell the ‘signature’ platform for Windows 8 PCs and tablets and if so how will this affect Microsoft’s own new hardware team and other OEM partners?

Have you been Scroogled?

“Scroogled” is a Microsoft made anti-Google marketing campaign, It shows users how Google uses your personal information from searches, emails and documents, to help push paid adverts over perhaps more relevant unpaying results. Microsoft’s marketing team has been pushing these “Scroogled” ads recently on their new Outlook.com website. This is an aggressive move against Google, but aims to promote their Bing service.

Surface Pro succeeds where other have not

After just hours of the Surface Pro going on sale last Saturday the 128GB version was sold out. Customers were upset at not being able to pick up the new device on launch day. Microsoft will need to be careful on treading on the toes of their OEM partners who have not yet made a huge splash selling Windows 8 tablets.