New data visualization apps for Excel 2013 could help Microsoft hang on to customers looking for better data visualization tools.
Google, Apple, and Microsoft all report earnings next week -- here's what we hope to learn
Three giants of tech -- Google, Apple, and Microsoft -- will release earnings reports for the fourth quarter of 2012 next week. That's a particularly important quarter because it contains the holiday season, when the bulk of consumer sales happen.
As consumers buy products from these companies, they will begin to find their way into enterprises. So there's lots of interesting information that could come out of next week's calls.
Google goes first, on Tuesday, January 22. Here's what we're most curious about:
- Are Chromebooks selling? The newest Chromebooks were unveiled in October, following what's thought to be very slow sales of the previous versions. But there are some signs that Chromebooks may be picking up steam, especially when compared to higher-priced Windows 8 machines. Google isn't likely to reveal actual unit figures but it may shed some light on customer enthusiasm.
- How serious is Google about its enterprise business? In December, Google eliminated the free version of its Google Apps for business. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the vast majority of Apps for business users are on the free version. Those customers could start paying, leading to a revenue boost for Google, or drop off. Google's decision to get rid of the free version comes just as Microsoft is about to launch Office 2013, with its new subscription model, giving those free Google Apps users a new option. Google doesn't typically reveal Apps revenue details but if we're lucky it will offer some insight into how many of its customers are actually paying (businesses using the free version are grandfathered in). That could give a hint as to whether Google is getting more serious about its enterprise business, or whether it still ranks behind ad-supported businesses, Android, and other initiatives.
Apple comes next on Wednesday. Here's what we want to know:
Surface has been a stiff so far, but Microsoft reportedly has big expectations for its next fiscal year. Here's why the company may not be crazy.
Brandon Porco, the chief technologist for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, says that IT will have to try lots of different things and move quickly to keep abreast of evolving employee needs. "Google has it very well-patterned: Launch and iterate."
Although Apple is often accused of not being an enterprise company, it's only in the last few years that Apple has abandoned its enterprise-oriented products. The real story may be that Apple's discovered that making enterprise-focused efforts simply don't deliver a huge return on investment.
Majority of Windows 8 PC owners launch less than one app a day