Last week I was at Ford for a press event. I got to talk directly to Ford CEO Alan Mulally (he was interested in my Google Glass). I didn’t ask about the Microsoft offer because that was covered in the press bombardment earlier — which he side-stepped the answer. But now, Microsoft is facing a new issue as a top Microsoft engineer Blaise Agüera y Arcas has announced he is joining Google. Will more follow?
Blaise has been with Microsoft since 2006 when his company (Seadragon) was acquired. Arcas was a lead software architect on Bing Maps photosynth software. In a blog post confirming his departure, Arcas said this was “The hardest decision of my life.”
Writings on the Wall?
If Mulally doesn’t head to Microsoft, the company will be in a very bad spot for the start of 2014. Most other CEO avenues have been closed up – most recently Steve Mollenkopf of Qualcomm as he accepted the CEO role there. With Microsoft being the world’s largest software maker, you don’t want to have an unidentified road map coming into Q1.
Add to that the bad year that Microsoft had. Windows 8.1 was lack-luster, the Surface tablet was not what they expected in sales, and phone sales are not even competing with the iPhone. Even the XBox One is having a hard time catching up to PS4 sales.
So with all this data, how will other employees react? Will we start to see a ship jump as the month goes on?
If Microsoft can’t get a CEO that can handle the job by January, we could start seeing employees sprucing up their resumes. Other names in the CEO hunt are former Skype CEO Tony Bates and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.
Some have even suggested Bill Gates come back and help in these questionable times. If the other avenues turn to be dead ends, would Gates come back?
In the meantime, reports of Ford hosting their own analyst meeting to figure out the direction if Mulally steps down. There are rumors he could step down as Ford CEO even if he doesn’t take the role at Microsoft. CFO Bob Shanks will address those issues next week.
We knew Microsoft was out of the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013 and going forward. The company decided that, like Apple, it could do better on its own. However, Steve Ballmer decided to make a cameo appearance tonight on the CES stage during Paul Jacobs’ keynote address.
It was a handoff from old technology to new, but with a bridge in between as the Microsoft CEO and Qualcomm chief showed off their respective Windows Phone handsets (both Nokia Lumia 920′s) in an effort to demonstrate how the two technologies meet.
The new Snapdragon chips are powering many of today’s mobile devices, including Windows Phone 8 handsets. Steve Ballmer spent about five minutes with Jacobs talking up the technology, but left as quickly as he appeared, marking what is likely the end of an era — Microsoft is now gone from the world’s biggest showcase and the torch has been passed to a new generation.
Qualcomm which is known for its silicon and wi-fi technology for handsets and tablets is spreading into software and service. One of the consumer products they are currently developing is called Skifta. It is a media shifting platform which works through DLNA-certified and UPnP -compatible devices. DLNA protocol has been around for about eight years. Most TVs today which are over 36 inches and Internet enable are DLNA capable. The Web site of your TV’s manufacture should let you know if your TV is DLNA capable. DLNA is a nonprofit trade organization which enables the sharing of digital media between various consumer devices by defining interoperability guidelines. Because DLNA is a nonprofit organization they don’t have the money to spend on advertising and promotion, so its adoption has been slow but steady. The growth of the Smart or Connected TV market has help to increase its popularity over the last 12-18 months. Its biggest rival is Apple’s Air Play.
Qualcomm was showing off its software platform Skifta at CES 2012, which works with the DLNA platform. Think of Skifta as Airplay for Android. Once Skifta is installed on your Android device, it will go out and find any DLNA enabled device including TV’s, computers and the Playstation. You can then sending any media that is available on your network to that device. Skifta also gives you access to various Internet providers including Revision3, Ted Talks, Facebook and others.
Qualcomm is also developing a Skifta audio adapter which you attach to a receiver that is not DLNA enable and enable it. They are also making a DLNA platform that can be installed easily by the manufacture into a receiver. I installed the Skifta application on my Android phone and it almost immediately connected and found the media on my network. Once I set up an account it also let me pick up media from Revision3 and Ted Talks among others. Unfortunately I don’t have a connected TV, so for me its use is limited, but I love its possibilities.
Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee Wave of Tech
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