Morning Coffee Aug 29 2012

Microsoft's Mobile Success Depends on YOU!

By Joseph Walker

The wind appears to be at Microsoft's back as it prepares to unveil its first new smartphone containing its latest Windows Phone software. The company's advantages include a mobile industry eager to see another strong competitor emerge after Apple's $1 billion patent win against Samsung and Google last week and positive reviews of its operating system.

What Microsoft doesn't have is an app ecosystem, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the popularity of Apple and Google smartphones has depended in large part on the third party apps available to its users, Windows phones have yet to capture the attention of app developers.

That's partly because Microsoft has just 3.2% of the global smartphone market, double its share last year, but tiny compared with Google's approximate 70% share and Apple's roughly 18%. Developers are reluctant to invest time and money building apps for so few users, and consumers avoid phones without a rich array of downloadable features to help them share photos or find restaurants.

To encourage developers, Microsoft has reportedly paid up to $600,000 to app makers in exchange for making the Windows Phone a priority. Zynga is planning to release Windows versions of popular games "Draw Something" and "Words With Friends" in coming months, WSJ reports. Still, with 100,000 apps, Microsoft offers a fifth as many as Apple and Google.

Still, don't count Microsoft out. With its reliable cash flow, the company can pour money into software development and marketing. According to Vanity Fair, Steve Ballmer was once fond of saying that Microsoft may not be the first to be cool, but it will always figure out how to make money. For enterprising app developers, betting on Microsoft presents an opportunity to be both first and to make money.

Layoffs (Bloomberg)

Printing technology company Lexmark plans to lay off 1,700 workers, or 13% of its staff, and will look to sell off its inkjet business. The moves could make the company an acquisition target of companies like Xerox or Dell.

Departure (AllThingsD)

Zynga Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu is leaving the company to start a new game company in which his old employer will be an investor. Verdu oversaw game studios in Los Angeles, Baltimore and other cities.

Correction (San Francisco Chronicle)

Turns out that job growth in San Francisco did not triple since the beginning of 2012, as many media outlets, including FINS reported. The error came from a typo in a city official's press release.

Surprise! (Business Insider)

Yahoo Chief Marketing Officer Mollie Spillman was vacationing on the beach when she received a call from Marissa Mayer informing her that she was being replaced. Mayer reportedly asked Spillman to stay with the company, though it's unclear whether she has decided to or not.

Gone Baby Gone (AllThingsD)

RealNetworks, the maker of Internet media players, is laying off 80 employees, about 7% of its workforce. The company is trying to trim $45 million in costs from its budget.

New Wave (Times of India)

A crop of start-ups is betting that mining social networking data can lead to better hiring and recruiting processes. It's a way of bypassing the job boards and going straight to the candidates.

Being Rich (Business Insider)

An anonymous Quora user describes what life is like after cashing out of a successful start-up with $10 million at the age of 26. He finds it hard to wait for the subway when he knows he can take a cab instead, he doesn't think twice about $100 parking tickets and his only fear is inflation.

Letting Go (Bits)

The idealistic founders behind Diaspora, the privacy-centric social networking alternative to Facebook, are leaving the company to start a new venture. While Diaspora gained media buzz, the project never really took off.

New Playbook (Bloomberg)

Electronic Arts has often accused Zynga of ripping off its ideas, but the tables have turned. EA is making a big push with free-to-play gaming and $1 in-game purchases, a model perfected by Zynga.

Buzz Around the Office

The Donald Speaks (TMZ)

Donald Trump has never been one to hold back on taking sexist jabs at powerful women (just ask Rosie O'Donnell). His latest victim is Arianna Huffington, whom The Donald referred to as "unattractive both inside and out." Then he really got to work.

List of the Day: Losing Out on a Promotion

If you didn't get that promotion you wanted, here's what you should do next to make the most of the situation.

1. Push through the disappointment and take an honest look at your work.

2. Tell the decision maker you understand and respect their decision.

3. Have a heart-to-heart with your new boss and offer them support.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

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