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Microsoft has spent more than eight years and millions of dollars developing both its Windows Mobile smartphone technology and an enterprise marketplace for it.

Despite that hefty investment, the company says it is now poised to push into consumer markets — but not using Windows Mobile.

Instead, it plans to turn to Danger, Inc., a vendor of consumer smartphone software. Microsoft said Monday it would acquire the privately held firm for an undisclosed sum.

Since its founding in 2000, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danger has established a platform, a reputation and an audience for its popular consumer handset technologies — embodied in the Sidekick, a phone sold by wireless carrier T-Mobile, built by Motorola and powered by Danger’s systems and applications software.

Now, Microsoft has decided that Danger is a must-have purchase if it wants to speed up its quest to become a heavy-hitter in the high-volume, less-expensive realm of consumer smartphones and their accompanying services.

“We’re broadening our customer base, trying to nail the business requirements [for enterprise customers] and we also know we need to address the consumer space,” Scott Rockfeld, group product manager with Microsoft’s mobile communications group, told chúng tôi

Long road ahead for Microsoft

The announcement comes on the heels of a report last week by analysis firm Canalys that put Windows Mobile-powered phones in a distant second place globally for 2007.

The report found Windows Mobile held 13 percent of the market, far behind Symbian OS devices, at 67 percent.

On top of that, in the higher-end smartphone and “converged devices” category, Microsoft actually came in behind Apple’s iPhone during the fourth calendar quarter of 2007, the report states.

Canalys’ figures nearly match numbers from analysis firm Gartner, which found Symbian held a 62 percent share during third quarter, while Windows Mobile had only 12.7 percent.

In what might help Microsoft gain a greater foothold in the market, Danger is primarily a software and services company. As a result, it could fit tightly into both Microsoft’s emerging software-plus-services initiative, while boosting its consumer-focused mobile device strategy.

It’s unclear how the deal with T-Mobile and the Sidekick itself will figure into Microsoft’s plans. Part of that may also be contingent on whether Motorola spins off its mobile phone business — a move it’s considering.

For now, however, Microsoft plans to continue the T-Mobile deal.

“We have no plans to change those relationships, but what we do want to do in the future is take those consumer assets and combine them with the enterprise apps and provide a unified device — one phone for your entire life,” Rockfeld said.

Microsoft has made significant headway in recent years with Windows Mobile, carving out a niche in the smartphone marketplace, even out maneuvering established rivals in what has primarily become a market for high-end phones with enterprise applications such as corporate e-mail.

In that regard, the company has done well recently. For example, Gartner puts Research in Motion’s Blackberry — a popular device with business users — at 10 percent share for the third quarter of 2007. (Canalys lists a similar figure for the entire year.)

However, due to the relative expense of the devices and the services, as well as Microsoft’s focus on enterprise customers, the company has been largely stymied in marketing Windows Mobile devices to consumers so far.

That may change with the purchase of Danger.

“If you’re Microsoft and you have a big pot of money, you can start investing in some alternative systems,” Roger Kay, president of consultancy Endpoint Technologies, told chúng tôi “Buying their way into consumer electronics is an interesting play for them.”

That’s in contrast to other Microsoft consumer electronics ventures, such as the Xbox game consoles and Zune music players. In both cases, the company developed and built the devices itself, while also writing the software.

Meanwhile, the Danger acquisition signifies a willingness for Microsoft to buy its way into the consumer mobile handset software market, jumpstarting its efforts with an already-established player.

“One of the big things is Danger brings an immense knowledge of young consumers [to the table],” Rockfeld said.

Among the capabilities that Danger’s software and services provide are instant messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, social networking and personal information management — all in a consumer-friendly device, he said.

“We realize that we need to capture consumers’ hearts and minds,” he added.

Additionally, Microsoft recently moved to beef up its executive ranks to strengthen its push into the consumer phone market. Among other changes, Microsoft in late January hired Todd Peters, a former Staples exec to serve as vice president of marketing for Microsoft’s mobile communications business.

While at Staples, Peters championed the office supply firm’s “easy button” marketing campaign.

Danger will be integrated into Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, headed by division president Robbie Bach, who Peters reports to, according to a Microsoft statement.

Alongside those changes, Microsoft also is setting aggressive sales targets for itself, even within the coming months. Rockfeld said the company expects to have sold 20 million new Windows Mobile-based phones during its current fiscal year, which ends June 30 — an increase from 11 million a year earlier.

The Google factor

Perhaps more than a little ironically, one of the original co-founders of Danger, Andrew Rubin, sold his latest startup, Android, to Google in 2005.

These days, Google and Rubin are behind the Open Handset Alliance. The group has adopted Android technology as its integrated, open source mobile operating system stack — a threat to Windows Mobile, and possibly to Danger, in the future.

Google has yet to signal that it plans to mount a challenge to the Danger acquisition on antitrust grounds — as it has Microsoft’s separate purchase offer for Yahoo. Even if it doesn’t contest the Danger bid, Google’s growing clout in mobile and the burgeoning interest in Android may spell trouble ahead for any competing offering.

Additionally, another fact about the Danger acquisition might make Microsoft swallow hard as it gobbles up the company: the smaller firm’s software is built on Java — anathema to Microsoft.

Despite assertions that longer-term, Microsoft is looking to create a unified offering, how Microsoft will deal with Danger’s reliance on Java remains unresolved question.

“Those decisions have not been made yet,” Rockfeld said.

Details of the Danger sale were not disclosed, nor was a timeframe for when the deal will be finalized.

Rockfeld said the proposed acquisition is currently under regulatory review.

This article was first published on chúng tôi

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Windows On Mobile Is No Longer Relevant To Microsoft

Windows on Mobile is no longer relevant to Microsoft

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Microsoft has been in the mobile game longer than most, especially longer than Google and Apple. For many reasons, though, the company has fallen far behind. Due to the position Microsoft is in, it is difficult to believe it will ever rise from the rut its in.

We’ve long known that attempting to catch up with Apple and Google would have turned out be a difficult task after the launch of Windows Phone 7. The operating system flew through the gates with support from several OEMs, but what it brought to the table in terms of features were below average compared to what Android and iOS had to offer at the time.

Even after several updates — and a big one in Windows Phone 7.5 — the operating system still felt ancient and a lack of quality apps made the experience even worse, especially for those contemplating whether or not they should switch from Android or iOS.

As time went on, Microsoft came back strong with Windows Phone 8, and this operating system was a huge upgrade over Windows Phone 7.5. Nokia was onboard and with that came an influx of awesome, well-designed devices. Interestingly enough, the platform actually gained market share at a slow pace because there was a clear focus. It wasn’t perfect but it was effective in many ways.

Things began to go downhill after Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile division. At that point, it was easy to see the company no longer had that passion behind the launch of a new device as they did before. Slowly but surely, Microsoft spoke less about its mobile ambitions when it came to Windows Phone.

The plan for Windows 10 Mobile was laid out and we got to see several cool things. Continuum was one of them. By then, though, the market share the platform gathered quickly dissipated. Everything the software giant had worked for since Windows Phone 7 was quickly thrown under the bus.

The platform in its current state is nothing but a joke. No one cared about the first round of Windows 10 Mobile smartphones that were released in 2024. Unlike the Nokia-made devices, these, according to reviewers, felt cheap. Worst of all, the operating system was a mess, as if Microsoft released a beta product for mass market consumption.

Build 2024 came and went, yet nothing much was mentioned about Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft spoke about Android and iOS more than it did its own mobile offering. Not mention, developers from the company’s garage project only release apps for Android and iOS.

What is this rant all about you wonder? We’re basically trying to say that Microsoft might very well be on the verge of killing Windows 10 Mobile. One does not simply treat their own platform as garbage while giving more support to the competition. For those who are die-hard, unwilling to let go, maybe it is time to do so.

There’s not much to lose seeing as many of the most important Windows 10 Mobile features can be found on competing platforms — they are just an app away.

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Compare Microsoft 365 Plans – Business Vs Business Essentials Vs Business Premium

Office 365 Business Plans (Now called Microsoft 365) mainly offer 3 variants – Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium. Each of these editions provides something different depending on your needs. In this post, we’ll compare the plans so that you can decide which plan suits you better –

Office 365 Business

Office 365 Business Essentials

Office 365 Business Premium.

Microsoft 365 Business vs Business Essentials vs Business Premium

If you are using Office 365, licensed as a monthly or annual subscription, you get powerful services like business-class email, online storage, and teamwork solutions that you can access from anywhere. But when it comes to making a choice between different editions, we get confused. Worry not, we are here to make things simpler for you.

This breakdown will help you determine which edition of Office 365 Business is better -Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Essentials or Office 365 Business Premium.

Detailed read: What apps does Microsoft 365 include?

1] Office 365 Business Essentials

This edition of Office 365 features only online services like OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Exchange Online. It does not give access to any of the popular and widely used Office Desktop apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).

Since it does not run any Office Desktop apps, Office 365 Business Essentials can support online meetings and video conferencing for up to 250 people.

Organizations that want to have managed email, cloud storage along with a pocket-friendly option will find Office 365 Business Essentials as the best bet.

2] Office 365 Business Premium

Unlike its sibling, Office 365 Business Premium runs all of the online services and Desktop apps. It is more suited for larger organizations that have more than 300 employees.

One license Of Office 365 Business Premium covers fully-installed, always-up-to-date Office apps on 5 phones, 5 tablets, and 5 PCs or Macs per user. Like, Office 365 Business Essentials you can create team sites to share information, content, and files throughout your intranet using SharePoint in Office 365 Business Premium.

Apart from these differences,  Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 Business Essentials show some core similarities like,

Email hosting with 50 GB mailbox and custom email domain address

File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage

Hub for teamwork to connect your teams with Microsoft Teams (this facility is not available in Office 365 Business version)

24/7 phone and web support

3] Office 365 Business

If you want a fully-installed and always up-to-date versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint for Windows or Mac (plus Access and Publisher for PC only), check out Office 365 Business. Each user can install the Office apps on up to 5 PCs or Macs. In comparison to Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 Business Essentials, many features are cut short in Office 365 Business. For example,

You cannot use your own custom domain name (e.g. [email protected])

No facility to get business-class email on phones, tablets, desktops, and the web with Exchange

You do not have an option to manage your calendar, share available meeting times, schedule meetings, and get reminders

No ability to schedule meetings and respond to invitations with ease using shared calendars

What Is A Gate Access Control System & Does My Business Need It?

Reap the benefits of the gate access control system in a business for better operation

Readily agreeing to spend more money on efficient business management can be tough, especially for SMEs. However, there is always a positive long-term effect of implementing smart improvements on your business site, and a gate access control system is a case in point. If vehicles are a regular feature of your business premises, then the

What Exactly is a Gate Access Control System?

A Gate Access Control System or Automated Gate System primarily aims at giving your business a higher degree of convenience and security. This system could be a significant contribution to your business’ broader access control system. The operational features of gate access controls systems work in a similar way to most other access control systems. There is a central access control system that is integrated with the electronically controlled gate. Parts of this system usually include a controller, reader, tokens, and dedicated software. The gate is unlocked by an electronic signal after approving the credentials. There is a variety of access mechanisms in the market, some of the most popular being touch-free access, fully automated access, and keypad access. Your budget and preferred applications will determine the right access mechanism for your business.  

Benefits of a Gate Access Control System

From security to smoother operations, a gate access control system can generate a variety of positive results for your business.  

Better Operations with Less Interruptions

Interruptions result in frustration especially if a few vehicles are waiting for their turn and the vehicle right at the gate is struggling with verification issues. On top of that, some vehicle owners have a habit of arguing with security staff, ignoring the frustration they are causing for those waiting their turn. These incidents are not rare and tend to happen more during peak hours. A gate access control system operates smoothly, without the queue facing delays and unnecessary arguments.  Everything follows a delicate system most would never challenge. The problem will security staff is that regular visitors sometimes simply love arguing. They will stand their ground yelling at the staff, but nobody will argue with an automatic gate!  

Better Monitoring

Automated systems lower the chances of error, which is a massive benefit for businesses. Any system that relies on manual handling is inherently open to human error and negligence. The latest technology ensures precision and consistency when it comes to monitoring, with the minimum risk of error.  

Significant Contribution to the Overall Access Control System

One of the reasons why businesses suffer from an occasional theft or even a series of thefts is a lack of gate monitoring. With a proper gate access control system, staff and maintenance workers know that the system is monitoring who entered, who left, and at what time. This realisation will deter anybody from thinking about stealing something, whether a one-off or regularly. These issues are all too common for many small businesses and a gate access control system can effectively put an end to such incidents.  

Fewer Security Guards Needed

It is important to note that a gate access control system does not only deal with vehicles’ credentials but also visitors on foot. With these systems, you will need fewer security guards to be present. Verifications are done electronically and the guards can generally stay at a control centre, ready to address any issue or problem. Traditionally, there had to be at least two guards verifying the vehicles and two separate guards facilitating the visitors on foot at each gate. However, electronically verifiable tokens or cards have made life easier. The electronic readers do their job and you do not have to pay so many security salaries.  

Key Takeaways

Microsoft Office Mobile Review: Is It As Good As The Desktop Version?

Previously, the mobile suite of Microsoft Office was exclusively available for Windows Phone only. Since Windows Phone is not the leading mobile OS, and it is quite unlikely that it will overtake iOS and Android and become the king of mobile, the only way for Microsoft to expand its reach is to port its Microsoft Office mobile suite to iOS and Android. This resulted in the Microsoft Office Mobile app for Android and iOS.

When it comes to document editing, there are already several players in the mobile market. Google Drive (Words and Sheets), Quick Office, Kingsoft Office, Documents to go, etc. Can Microsoft Office for Android break into the market like it is on the desktop? Let’s check it out.

Note: This Microsoft Office Mobile review is done on an Android phone, though reference to iOS (and App Store) will be provided too.

Installation and Setup

Head over to Google Play (or App Store) and install Microsoft Office Mobile. The app is free to download and use, though you will need a OneDrive account. For Android phone, it only supports Android 4.0 and above.

Open up the app, and you will notice the big MS Office splash screen. If you have used Windows 8 or Windows Phone, you will find the familiar Metro-style interface in the app.

Once you get past the introduction screen, it will require you to sign in to your OneDrive account before you can use the app.

The sign-in process requires Internet connection, which means you won’t be able to use the app offline (unless you have signed in previously).

Usage

Once you are logged in, you will see three tabs in the main screen: Recent, Folder and Add New.

The Folder tab allows you to view your OneDrive folder and open documents from it. As can be seen, it doesn’t allow you to choose files from your local storage or SD card. I believe this is purposely designed so that more users will sign up for OneDrive even though it reduced the functionality of the app greatly.

Viewing and Editing Documents

Viewing Words, Excel and Powerpoint documents with the app is great. The viewing is optimized for mobile screen and most, if not all, of the formats are preserved. Editing them is another story.

Microsoft Office Mobile app only works with the newer Office Open XML format (namely docx, xlsx, pptx). While you can still view documents with the legacy format (doc, xls, ppt), you won’t be able to edit them.

While editing a Word document, there are not much formatting choices for you. You won’t be able to change fonts, heading, alignment, etc. All you can edit is basic stuff like Bold, strikethrough, increase/decrease font size, italic, underline, and change font color and background. Even then, you can only pick from three colors: Red, Yellow and Green. You can’t choose the color you want. Forget about inserting images into your document too.

When saving the document, you can only save to your OneDrive account. If you are not connected to the Internet, it will be cached locally, but you won’t be able to access it using your file manager yet.

As for Excel documents, the formatting options are pretty limited too.

Conclusion

Microsoft Office Mobile is really great for viewing documents on the go as most of the formats, animation, images, charts are preserved. However, when it comes to editing, it is really not up to par to the rest. Unless you need to regularly view heavily formatted documents on your phone and have all your documents in your OneDrive account, there is little reason for you to switch from your current mobile office suite.

Have you tried Microsoft Office Mobile? Let us know what you think about the app.

Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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Is Your Business Really A Small Business?

The SBA defines which companies are officially designated as small businesses.

Your industry determines whether your business’s designation depends on its number of employees or its annual revenue.

You can find your industry code in the U.S. Census Bureau’s NAICS publication.

This article is for business owners who are trying to determine whether their organization is technically considered a small business.

You can call your company a small business, but if you don’t meet the SBA’s definition you could lose out on some opportunities. The SBA’s standards for small businesses are based on three factors: your company type, your average annual revenues and your number of employees. Is your business truly small? Read on to find out.

How to tell if you own a small business

To qualify as a small business, a company must fall within the size standard, or the largest size a business may be to remain classified as small, within its industry. 

The U.S. Census Bureau provides a list of industry codes to help businesses determine their size designation, and the SBA maintains an extensive list of small business size standards with the maximum requirements to remain classified as a small business in each sector and subsector.

“The definition of ‘small business’ is dependent on which industry code a company is in,” said Molly Gimmel, CEO of Design to Delivery. “My company’s primary code is 541611. In that industry, a small business is defined as one with average revenues, based on the past three completed fiscal years, that are less than $16.5 million.”

Though size standards vary by industry, they are usually measured by the number of employees or average annual receipts. The current SBA business size standards include the following.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: Between $2 million and $30 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction: No more than 250 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector. There are four sectors with annual revenue rather than employee limits, ranging from $18 million to $41.5 million.

Utilities: No more than 250 to 1,000 employees, depending on your sector. There are three sectors with annual revenue limits instead, ranging from $26.5 million to $36 million.

Construction: Between $16.5 and $39.5 million in average annual receipts.

Manufacturing: No more than 500 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector.

Wholesale trade: No more than 100 to 250 employees, depending on your subsector.

Retail trade: No more than $8 to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector. Other subsectors have defined employee maximums from 100 to 200.

Transportation and warehousing: No more than 500 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector. Some subsectors have maximum average annual receipt limits ranging from $8 million to $41.5 million.

Information: No more than 250 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector. The maximum average annual receipts ranges from $9.5 million to $41.5 million.

Finance and insurance: No more than 1,500 employees for direct property and casualty insurance carriers, and a maximum of $13 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts. Certain financial institutions instead qualify as small businesses if they have no more than $750 million in assets.

Real estate, rental and leasing: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts.

Professional, scientific and technical services: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, or no more than 150 to 1,500 employees, depending on your subsector.

Management of companies and enterprises: No more than $34 million in average annual receipts for offices of bank holding companies. Offices of other holding companies must earn no more than $40 million in average annual receipts.

Administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services: No more than $7.5 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Educational services: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Healthcare and social assistance: No more than $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Arts, entertainment and recreation: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Accommodation and food services: No more than $8 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts, depending on your subsector.

Other services: No more than $7 million to $41.5 million in average annual receipts depending on your subsector.

Benefits of being classified as a small business

Business size classification isn’t frivolous. Being classified as a small business comes with certain benefits, so it’s important to know if your business qualifies. Here are some of the benefits small businesses can enjoy.

Loans: Rather than lending money directly to businesses, the SBA works with lenders and essentially acts as a co-signer for small businesses seeking loans. This provides lenders a stronger guarantee that they’ll be paid back, which gives small businesses access to better rates than they might receive on their own.

Tip

If you need to obtain funding for your small business, visit our page on the best business loans.

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