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Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Ballmer’s Brilliant Plan: Make Microsoft ‘Cool’

When you try to think of the most groundbreaking “devices and services” company in the world today, the first name that comes to mind is…Microsoft, right?

No? Well, CEO Steve Ballmer wants to change all that, and he’s got a brilliant, semi-secret plan to do it—by making the company “cool” again. See those air quotes? Oh yeah, we’re totally (not) feeling it.

Ballmer’s recent letter to shareholders promises to deliver more products like the Xbox (which is actually pretty cool) and the Surface (which is an iPad with a kickstand) as well as the brand new MS Office and Windows 8, opening on PC screens near you later this month. Ballmer also plans to focus more on omnipresent cloud services, which will be key to any electronics company looking to compete in the market of the future—or the present, come to think of it.

By referring to “a new era”, Ballmer all but concedes that his company has fallen behind a certain fruit-themed competitor—a theory reinforced by Kurt Eichenwald’s Vanity Fair article about Microsoft’s “lost decade” which notes that the iPhone currently “brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft”. The article focuses on bureaucracy inhibiting innovation—and, you know, we haven’t heard about too many ground-breaking products emerging from Microsoft in recent years. Have you?

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Tim Cook Is, Like, So Sorry for Apple Maps

The public doesn’t know Apple as a company prone to apology. We imagine its communications team would be far more comfortable issuing a statement to the effect of “the obvious superiority of our products speaks for itself, hahaha”. Hey, we understand—apologies acknowledge the imperfections that come with being human, and CEO’s aren’t generally too big on humility (with good reason).

And yet, CEO Tim Cook felt the need to release an official statement to customers today in order to control the spread of bad publicity stemming from the awfulness that is Apple Maps.

We can’t imagine Cook enjoyed writing this little letter, and we wonder what finally led him to draft it: Was it Motorola’s viciously effective #iLost ad? Was it this hilarious tumblr page? We’re not sure, but we do admire Cook’s ability to acknowledge that his company made a completely terrible product!

Readers should note Cook’s unreservedly apologetic tone in writing that Apple “fell short on this commitment”. Unlike the other big “damage control” missive released this morning, Cook’s note includes the word “sorry”. A real-life apology! We just might be impressed!

Cook promises to get to work on improving the map app, and we’re sure that a few programmers have had anxiety attacks this week–but what will the CEO’s next move be?

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Could Samsung’s Loss Be a Win in Disguise?

Generally, we PR professionals expect the loss of a major lawsuit to prove damaging for a company’s reputation and, consequently, its sales. Yet Samsung‘s recent billion-dollar loss to Apple in a patent infringement trial seems to have had the opposite effect.

Since a jury found Samsung guilty of copying the technology used to create the iPhone and iPad in late August, sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S3 have taken a major leap–the model has even sold out in some locations. It would seem that smartphone and tablet users care less about the ethical questions raised by copyright infringement than the fact that Samsung makes toys that are virtually identical to Apple’s but cost significantly less!

In a telling and amusing blog post, Digithrive‘s chief technology officer Enrique Gutierrez recounts conversations he overheard in a coffee shop as customers read about the verdict in the paper. Some typical reactions:

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Marissa Mayer Pushes Forward with Yahoo Re-Branding

Have you heard? New Yahoo CEO/former Google exec Marissa Mayer is one of the most powerful women in the world—and she wants to prove it by dragging her company into the present day and re-branding them to improve their reputation as a fading remnant of the ill-fated tech bubble.

Last week she made the small but symbolic announcement that every Yahoo! Employee should use a company iPhone—no BlackBerries, thanks—to achieve a better sense of “consistency” across the company. While Mayer clarified that she is open to giving employees Android phones as well, the point was clear: Yahoo isn’t a relic—it needs to be perceived as a company both in and of the moment.

Yesterday she made her first big hire, bringing on digital entrepreneur Kathy Savitt as chief marketing officer. Savitt has quite a history, founding social media venture Lockerz and working in prominent communications positions at retailers Amazon and American Eagle. It will be her job to redefine Yahoo in the eyes of the public, and it’s quite a challenge.

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Apple PR Fail: Tech Giant Scolds New SVP

Hey, how’s Apple doing? Well, their stock just soared to an all-time high in anticipation of new iPhone and iPad models, and they’re currently the most respected company on the planet according to a recent Barron‘s survey. So yeah, no worries there.

But today we bring you news of a rare PR Fail among Apple’s top brass. John Browett joined the company in January as senior vice president of retail, replacing the lamented Ron Johnson after he left to head aging retailer JCPenney–and the new guy found himself in a bit of hot water this week thanks to a few well-placed rumors and some very dedicated bloggers.

Seems like Browett told some insiders at the company that, in his humble opinion, the celebrated Apple Stores were “bloated” with too many employees. He then shared news of his plans to help them run “leaner” by reducing the hours of part-timers and laying off hundreds of recent hires at branches around the world if they insisted on working more than 32 hours a week. This tough talk quickly came back to bite Browett–hard.  Read more

What are the Best Apps for PR Pros?

Today in Truly Helpful Listicles: Check out PRDaily‘s “50 useful apps for PR and social media professionals” post and get back to us: Which apps really help you do your job? Which ones make it easier for you to check all your work-related boxes, and which are all sound and fury, signifying nothing?*

*(No, we didn’t major in theater. Why do you ask?)

Pinterest Pushes Ahead with New Mobile Apps

Digital scrapbooking site Pinterest, which made headlines last week by dropping its invitation-only status, stepped up its mobile game today with the announcement of new tablet apps for the iPad and Android (available for free download here).Today’s rollout also includes an updated version of the Pinterest iPhone app, which is already a big winner.

The site is a natural fit for the world of tablets because larger screens allow for a more immersive visual experience—trust us, your homemade cupcakes will look even more delicious when they’re eight inches wide.

Note: the app should also be available to Kindle Fire users later this week.

So who’s rushing to download these new toys? Will they change the way you approach Pinterest?

Elevator Pitch: Wyst Sends a Message in a Bottle From Your iPhone

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler meets with Yago Amerlinck Huerta, whose startup, Wyst, gives users the ability to send a digital message in a bottle from their iPhones.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Elevator Pitch: Moonit App Finds Friends, Lovers Using Astrology

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler chats with the co-founders of Moonit, a social discovery app that connects people using astrology.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Elevator Pitch: Storyville Wants to Do for Short Stories What iTunes Did for Music

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler meets with Storyville co-founder Paul Vidich. Storyville is a mobile app for short stories that connects readers and authors.  A former music executive, Vidich helped Steve Jobs bring music singles to iTunes. He hopes Storyville will do for the short story what iTunes did for the single.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Also, find out who’s hiring on the Mediabistro job board.

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