Microsoft

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  • December 17, 2014

    Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and their uncertain future

    One year on from the launch of the latest generation of gaming consoles Microsoft and Sony remain locked in a high stakes struggle for dominance of the gaming industry, and longer term viability of the console category. Sony's PS4, which we estimate outsold Microsoft's Xbox One 3:1 in Q3, looks certain to win this round in a return to form for Sony following the relative disappointment of the PS3. Microsoft, struggling from missteps early in the Xbox One cycle, may have left it too late to catch up. The wider games market continues to shift to mobile and online gaming, as developers seek to exploit the vast installed base of connected devices. New console gaming experiences from Steam and Amazon may be the primary growth driver for controller-based gameplay.

  • November 3, 2014

    UK Digital Upfronts and internet advertising update

    Recently we attended the inaugural IABUK Digital Upfronts, in which 11 digital media companies pitched their wares to advertising agencies and advertisers. UK growth in internet advertising is now powered by mobile, social and video, and these three areas were the focus of the Upfronts. The Upfronts are symbolic of the rising importance of digital media in the UK and worldwide; while broadcast television remains the king of brand advertising, marketing and advertising are becoming less TV-centric.

  • September 12, 2013

    Microsoft and Nokia: marriage of irrelevance

    Microsoft dominated PCs and Nokia mobile phones, but both are irrelevant in the dominant model for tech in the next decade, smartphones and tablets. An acquisition may have been necessary, but by itself it solves nothing. Smartphones are now half of all mobile phone sales, and the 255m smartphones and tablets sold in Q2 2013 dwarf the 76m PCs sold. Microsoft now powers less than a quarter of all the personal computing devices being sold. Microsoft retains a leading position in enterprise and in console gaming. But if it cannot return to relevance in consumer, the strength of the whole business will suffer.

  • March 25, 2013

    PS4 and next-gen Xbox: the last console cycle?

    Next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft, expected late this year/early next, will kick off a new cycle for the games industry, but enter a much more competitive market. Smartphones and tablets offer an alternative gaming model, with more variety, lower cost, greater convenience and, crucially, rapidly increasing sophistication. These new platforms are expanding gaming to a much larger audience, but also increasingly competing with consoles for the time and attention of core gamers. This could be the last recognisable console cycle.

  • September 2, 2012

    Announcement Season: Amazon, Nokia, Apple

    Amazon, Nokia and Apple are expected to announce new mobile devices in the next fortnight. We outline the main products and features expected and their implications

  • August 21, 2012

    Mobile platforms update, Q2 2012: Apple. Android, Samsung and Fac [...]

    Around 125m smartphones were sold globally in Q2, up over 30% from Q2 2011. Around 450m mobile handsets were sold in the quarter, giving smartphones a volume share of around 28% Apple and Android dominate with a combined of 85% of units sold, and a cumulative total of 810m devices running their mobile platforms. Of these we estimate that 680m are active, of which 95m are tablets Android arrived later and has grown faster, but Apple's market share of smartphones as been steady at 20-25% for several years: Android's growth has come at the expense of Nokia, RIM and feature phones

  • August 16, 2012

    Google winning battle for internet display

    Search remains the main engine for Google's core business, but display is rising fast: we estimate display gross revenue will reach $9.2 billion in 2013, representing 16% of projected gross revenue (excluding Motorola). Gross revenue from YouTube looks set to more than double to nearly $4 billion by 2013. Revenues from Google's ad networks and platforms are also growing strongly, mainly to the benefit of publishers. We project Google's net revenue from display next year will amount to $4.2 billion, equal to 10% of net revenue from its total advertising business.

  • July 4, 2012

    Tablets: Google and Microsoft try for second place [2012-068]

    Apple sold 67m iPads through March 2012, and retains over 70% market share for premium tablets. Apple is aiming for the same long term dominance it enjoyed with the iPod, which maintained similar market share for a decade Microsoft and Google are taking radical steps to try to change this. Both are now making and selling their own hardware, while Google will sell a tablet at cost Microsoft and Google now have coherent tablet propositions, but they remain far behind on broader app ecosystems. Like Nokia, they are now back in the game, but they still have to play

  • March 22, 2012

    Google+: hollow circles

    Google+, the social network, has around 100 million users worldwide, although user growth appears to have stalled and usage is low on weak network effects. Facebook users, now 70% of the adult internet audience (excluding China), have no incentive to switch to Google+, starving the social network of vital momentum. Facebook is likely to dominate socially enhanced search, unless Google+ takes off, which seems unlikely.
  • November 25, 2011

    AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo! seek solace together

    AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo! are partnering to cross sell non-guaranteed display inventory in the US, highlighting their need for scale in the face of increasing competition from Google and Facebook. Aggregating unreserved ads via their respective networks may boost share of ad budgets, but the focus on less valuable inventory means any impact is likely to be small. Short of extending the partnership to include all inventory and greater investment in technology there seems little the three companies can do to stop further erosion of display share, though revenues should continue to rise.

  • November 7, 2011

    Nokia brings a new ball to the game

    Nokia has launched its comeback with two very solid Windows Phone devices at €420 and €270. Next year Nokia, like Apple, will have handsets with uniquely appealing industrial design. However, Nokia will not launch in the USA until 2012 and needs to add cheaper smartphones to the portfolio. Nokia and Microsoft face a hard struggle in establishing a third mobile app ecosystem. However, it is not impossible (Google has managed it in 18 months) and given more devices and the right execution they could manage it. 2012 will be the critical year. We believe that the flaws in the Android proposition mean there remains a real window of opportunity. However, if Apple launches a cut-price iPhone then the market will be turned upside-down, again.

  • August 18, 2011

    The mobile platform wars

    In this report we outline the current state and likely development of the war between mobile platforms. We discuss installed bases and activity levels, the key issues facing Apple and Android, including Android fragmentation and Google's acquisition of Motorola, and go on to look at the tablet market and the outlook for RIM, Nokia and Windows Phone.

  • October 21, 2010

    Windows Phone 7: fast but late

    Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system is launching with a big bang: ten handsets, eighteen operators, and a massive marketing campaign. The OS itself is positioned firmly in between iPhone and Android in terms of ease-of-use and customisability; it is as fast as the best-in-class but no faster; and its interface is bold but will not be to everybody's taste. A lack of apps, limited distribution, and expensive handsets will likely limit sales in the short term. Longer term, being late in the game with no truly compelling unique feature will make building a major position very challenging, but not impossible.
  • November 20, 2006

    Microsoft’s Zune: credible or incredible competitor to Appl [...]

    The Zune will compete with the iPod Video – but not the mini, nano or shuffle that have built Apple's player market share. The Zune's USP of Wi-Fi capability (to share tracks locally, not download) is just a gadget, not a must-have selling point