Microsoft Announces Deals with 74 Device Makers

Carl Weinschenk
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2016 Telecommunications Trends: More Choices, Less Lock-In

Microsoft this week unveiled partnerships with 74 device makers in 25 countries. The mobile initiatives focus on bundling the company’s apps on Android tablets and smartphones, according to InformationWeek. Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype will come pre-installed on the devices.

This is a follow-up announcement to one last May in which Microsoft said it would partner to bring Office and Skype to 31 Android tablets. The bottom line, according to the story, is that the company has decided where it should best focus its energy:

Microsoft has recognized its strength is not in mobile hardware but in mobile apps, especially those built for productivity. With its smartphone market share tumbling by the quarter, it makes sense to expand its mobile strategy by offering those apps on competitor devices.

People Like Their Smartphones

Parks Associates has released numbers on smartphone sales. It found that 86 percent of broadband households in the United States have a smartphone. The numbers are similar in European countries: 76 percent of households in the UK, 82 percent in Germany, 78 percent in France and 90 percent in Spain have a smartphone.

The firm found that Apple still leads – but that the gap is closing. Apple controls 40 percent of the market, with Samsung at 31 percent. There is a gap to the third-place firm, which is LG at 10 percent. Other research from the firm found that more than 70 percent of users watch short streaming video clips, with 40 percent watching longer clips. More than half of iPhone users use Siri. Overall, the firm found, almost 40 percent use a voice recognition function.

VMware Moving in on Cisco in SDN sector

Just as Samsung is approaching Apple in market share, VMware is a bit closer to Cisco in the software-defined network (SDN) sector, though the gap is not diminishing as dramatically.

Network World said that in the autumn Cisco had a 2-to-1 lead in customer adoption. More recent results show, however, that the ratio has fallen below that mark.

The piece said that Cisco gained 1,100 customers for its Nexus 9000 and 300 for its ACI products. This was positive, but VMware seems to have done a bit better:

By comparison, SDN rival VMware saw a threefold increase in the number of paying customers for its NSX network virtualization product from 2014 to 2015, to 1,200. VMware NSX began shipping in Q4 of 2013.

The computations seem to be a bit of apples to oranges. The overall theme -- that VMware is making progress – seems likely to be true. The early market share for a category that stands to be massive are very important.

Verizon Wireless, SpiderCloud Testing LTE-U

Lightreading reports that Verizon Wireless and SpiderCloud, which it describes as an enterprise small cell provider, will test LTE-U small cells as a way to improve in-building coverage.

LTE-Unlicensed is one of the approaches to using the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum. It’s controversial because the Wi-Fi ecosystem fears that the cellular companies will be the source of interference. SpiderCloud, according to the story, has emerged as a major small cell vendor and has a partnership with Cisco.

Qualcomm Targets the Wearable Market

Qualcomm this week introduced what eWeek calls “a broad array” of chips that can be used beyond mobile devices. The targets include wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC (system on a chip) is the main introduction, the story said. It will displace the Snapdragon 400 as the main chip for wearables. The SoC is 30 percent smaller and draws 25 percent less power than the 400. This will enable the manufacture of thinner devices with longer battery lives. The SoC offers an integrated, low power sensor hub, an LTE modem and other features.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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