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Skype創辦人攻東南亞信貸 Oriente服務無銀行賬戶基層

東南亞逾6.5億人口當中,逾七成人沒銀行戶口;圖為印尼首都雅加達。(法新社資料圖片)

Read more: http://bit.ly/2KDlTpw

Skype now supports up to 50 group call participants, topping rivals

Skype is capitalizing on Apple’s struggles with Group FaceTime to attract attention to its own group calling features. Today, the company announced it’s doubling the number of people who can simultaneously participate in a group audio or video call.

Read more: https://tcrn.ch/2YPgEGp

A VC fund set up by Skype’s cofounder has raised $765 million to invest in European startups

Atomico has raised a $765 million (£613 million) fund to invest in European technology startups, shrugging off any concerns that Brexit has made it harder for venture capitalists to raise large sums.

Read more: http://read.bi/2kyiwCF

Source: Microsoft mulled an $8 billion bid for Slack, will focus on Skype instead

When Slack announced new voice and video services earlier this week, the enterprise messaging startup signalled a move into territory dominated by the likes of Microsoft’s Skype. But it looks like this is not the only moment when the two company’s paths have crossed in recent times.

Read more: http://tcrn.ch/21d29Fg

Steve Ballmer 最後一封股東信

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好不容易,硬件、軟件、作業系統、手機平台、商店、廣告、等各方面的業務,來到這一刻,Microsoft終於齊全了,但Steve Ballmer亦要退下來。

Microsoft的轉型,目標是統一各業務部門,整合資源,達到「一個Microsoft」的整體用戶經驗(Total UX)的結果,就像Apple那種從手機到平板以至商店的用戶經驗。走到這一步,方向正確,奈何速度太慢,各條主要戰線除了XBox以外,尤其是Windows 8.1 和 Surface,看不見太多曙光。

Ballmer寄語Microsoft的黃金時代「尚未來臨」,作為他最後一封的股東信的最後一句話,與其說是一個寄望,聽上去似乎更像是一個遺託。

以下是 Steve Ballmer 股東郵件全文

TO OUR SHAREHOLDERS, CUSTOMERS, PARTNERS AND EMPLOYEES:

This is a unique letter for me — the last shareholder letter I will write as the CEO of the company I love. We have always believed that technology will unleash human potential and that is why I have come to work every day with a heart full of passion for more than 30 years.

Fiscal Year 2013 was a pivotal year for Microsoft in every sense of the word.

Last year in my letter to you I declared a fundamental shift in our business to a devices and services company. This transformation impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses.

This past year we took the first big bold steps forward in our transformation and we did it while growing revenue to $77.8 billion (up 6 percent). In addition, we returned $12.3 billion (up 15 percent) to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases. While we were able to grow revenue to a record level, our earnings results reflect investments as well as some of the challenges of undertaking a transformation of this magnitude.

With this as backdrop, I’d like to summarize where we are now and where we’re headed, because it helps explain why I’m so enthusiastic about the opportunity ahead.

Our strategy: High-value activities enabled by a family of devices and services

We are still in the early days of our transformation, yet we made strong progress in the past year launching devices and services that people love and businesses need. We brought Windows 8 to the world; we brought consistent user experiences to PCs, tablets, phones and Xbox; and we made important advancements to Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Office 365. We are proud of what we accomplished this year and continue to be passionate about delivering better devices and services more quickly.

To increase innovation, capability, efficiency and speed we further sharpened our strategy, and in July 2013 we announced we are rallying behind a single strategy as One Microsoft. We declared that Microsoft’s focus going forward will be to create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.

Over time, our focus on high-value activities will generate amazing innovation and new areas of growth. What is a high-value activity? Think of the experiences people have every day that are most important to them — from communicating with a family member and researching a term paper to having serious fun and expressing ideas. In a business setting, high-value activities include experiences such as conducting meetings with colleagues in multiple locations, gaining insight from massive amounts of data and information, and interacting with customers.

Microsoft will enable these types of high-value activities with a family of devices — from both Microsoft and our partners — as well as with our services.

As we go to market, we will primarily monetize our high-value activities by leading with devices and enterprise services. In this model, our consumer services such as Bing and Skype will differentiate our devices and serve as an on-ramp to our enterprise services while generating some revenue from subscriptions and advertising. Enterprise services continue to be an area of great strength, growth and opportunity as businesses of all sizes look to Microsoft to help them move to the cloud, manage a growing number of devices, tap into big data and embrace new social capabilities.

Executing and accelerating

In the past year we took many bold steps forward in executing on our strategy.

First, we are well underway in implementing the new organization structure announced in July. The teams are working together in new and exciting ways. The key change we made is deceptively simple but profoundly powerful: Instead of organizing our teams around individual products, we’ve organized by function, including, for example, engineering, sales, marketing and finance. It ensures we have one strategy and work as one team with one set of shared goals.

Second, in September we announced we are purchasing Nokia’s Devices and Services business — including its smartphone and mobile phone businesses; award-winning engineering and design teams; manufacturing and assembly facilities around the world; and teams devoted to operations, sales, marketing and support. This is a signature event in our transformation and will bring together the best mobile device work of Microsoft and Nokia. It will accelerate our growth with Windows Phone while strengthening our overall device ecosystem and our opportunity.

Third, in September, we also announced a new segment-reporting framework. We have five new reporting segments tightly aligned with our focus on delivering innovative devices and services for both our enterprise and consumer customers. This framework was designed to give valuable insight into our progress in the key transformations we are undertaking in our businesses to drive long-term growth.

As I think about what’s ahead, I’m incredibly optimistic about what Microsoft will deliver. We are accelerating as we bring to market Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets with our partners, Surface 2, Xbox One and new phones; advance our enterprise services including Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Office 365; and innovate on new high-value activities.

Moving forward

With the decisions we’ve made this year, the strategy we’ve put in place, the organization we’ve designed, the world-class talent we have, and the devices and services we are creating, we are well-positioned to deliver growth and world-changing technology long into the future.

We have seen incredible results in the past decade — delivering more than $200 billion in operating profit. I’m optimistic not only as the CEO but as an investor who treasures his Microsoft stock.

Working at Microsoft has been a thrilling experience — we’ve changed the world and delivered record-setting success — and I know our best days are still ahead.

Thank you for your support.

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
September 27, 2013

Microsoft買貴又買錯

Photo credit: thenextgreatgeneration.com

本周的科技大新聞,肯定是Microsoft以85億美元天價收購Skype。

眾所周知,Skype是再嫁之身,03年創辦,兩年後eBay以26億美元「禮金」擊敗其他收購對手。eBay倒相當老實,於07年大方認錯,公佈季度業績,撇賬14億美元,以行動直接告訴華爾街:「別再對eBay和Skype抱有幻想,兩者之間不可能產生甚麼化學作用。」結果eBay更在09年將Skype分拆出來。也許,上天總會獎勵老實人,eBay最終在是次交易中獲利14億美元。

說回Microsoft,知道收購的第一個感覺是「買貴了,不過Microsoft有的是錢。」再看Tony Bates和Steve Ballmer的對話,前者強調廣告,包括說視頻廣告是目前增長速度最快的市場云云。不難猜想到,他日使用Windows Phone、Kinet、X-Box Live、Hotmail、Outlook的時候,很有可能,可以一按啟動Skype的語音或視像通話,便可免費享用通話服務,但於接通之前,就像電訊公司的客戶服務熱線,我們要先聽或看由他們(Bing)提供的廣告!問題是,類似的廣告模式,早有其他公司試驗過,但不見成功,更關鍵是,Skype的早期廣告客戶Volkswagen對傳媒表示,Skype廣告的conversion rate並不理想。

就價錢而言,85億美元是Microsoft有史以來最貴的收購。其次,傳聞有份參與競爭的Google,出手也只是40億美元,不及Microsoft出價的一半。炒股有句術語「只有買貴,不會買錯」,但對象,是那些潛力深不見底的公司。目前為止,科技業可能尚處於牛市,但Skype的潛力早已見頂,而且作為Microsoft其中一個部門,再強的團隊和技術,都不見得有甚麼發揮空間,買貴了,即等同買錯。換言之Microsoft買Skype是既買貴,又買錯!

《2011年5月14日刊於蘋果日報》

[YouTube] iPhone5 正式面世

我有理由相信又是一條有心人故意上載的Viral video,順帶一提,此乃Skype的正確發音 ,並非 “Sky” “Pi”!!

高追貨

減息以來,全球股市持續亢奮。然而美國某上市公司大方承認一項兩年前的巨額M&A失利,乘公佈季度業績,撇賬14億美元(約109億港元),額度超過整項投資一半,這正是eBay。

科網喘定後,eBay乃少數「挨過」的公司,站穩的原因,全因擁有一副健康性感的商業身型。始終,現在靠真正本事賺大錢的互聯網商業模式,就只有「廣告」和「商貿」兩瓣。分別的頭號人馬,正是Google和eBay。

話說回來,eBay所撇業務,是05年以天價26億美元(約203億港元)收購Skype。一直以來,華爾街認定當年eBay接火棒,是因為從來不見Paypal、eBay、Skype發揮甚麼三位一體的神奇功效。

Skype所欠缺的,正正是eBay所依杖的:健全的盈利模式。VoIP不錯是很方便的產品,可惜它難以盈利。最多用戶撥打免費的SkypetoSkype電話,付費的Skype-in和Skype-out,局限於小部份用戶,而且盈利需要跟傳統電訊商對拆。

雖然Skype年收入也有8000萬美元(約6.2億港元),但Skype-out用戶,卻呈現減少象,eBay短期上看來,也沒甚麼靈丹妙藥,壯士斷臂,撇掉14億美元,有如豐的盈利預警,是告訴投資者和分析員,不要對她再抱有甚麼浪漫幻想,Skype和eBay之間,不可能產生甚麼化學作用。

早前,波士頓eBayLive,MegWhitman堅稱Skype定位溝通,思哲也曾萌發拍賣服務遐思,料不到eBay居然放棄,認輸。整宗交易,最聰明還是Skype創辦人NiklasZennstrom,5億美元(約39億港元)分手費平安落袋,退居非執董位置,抽身又大搞另外一場P2PTVHype去也!

2007年10月3日刊於《蘋果日報》

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