Windows 10 is now on over 270 million devices

Windows 10

Microsoft today announced that Windows 10 is now installed on over 270 million devices. It took the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft about eight months to hit the new milestone.

“Windows 10 is off to the fastest adoption of any release ever,” Terry Myerson, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said on stage at Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference. Hardware partners have launched more than 500 new devices designed specifically for Windows 10 he added.

24 hours after its July 29 launch, Windows 10 was installed on more than 14 million PCs. Then it passed 75 million PCs after four weeks, 110 million devices after 10 weeks, and 200 million devices in under six months.

Microsoft is aiming to have 1 billion devices running Windows 10 “in two to three years,” though that includes not just PCs, but smartphones, consoles, and other devices, as well. In other words, Microsoft has reached more than a quarter of its goal in eight out of 36 months.

windows_7_8_10_at_8_months

As you can see, Windows 7 and Windows 8 milestones were similar for the first six months or so, though it quickly became clear that Windows 8 was not selling as quickly as its predecessor did. In addition to the free upgrade, Microsoft also changed the game with Windows 10 by including phones (Windows 10 Mobile) and other devices in the total count.

But even so, the growth is impressive. And the biggest driver is, of course, the fact that the operating system is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users during its first year. This is why, when compared to its predecessors, Windows 10 is being adopted more quickly (and also why this time Microsoft is counting “active devices” rather than “license sales”).

As Microsoft loves to tell anyone who will listen, Windows 10 is a service. That means it will be updated with not just fixes, but new features in the coming months and years. Windows 10 was built in a very different way than its predecessors. And it is still being built.

For all the reasons above, Microsoft is very aggressively pushing Windows 10. And because no software is perfect, there are many reasons why someone many not be thrilled. Some users have even complained that their PCs have upgraded without permission. While the company means well (new, more secure software for free!), and has backpedaled on upgrade mistakes, the reality is you can’t please everyone, even with a free upgrade.

But Microsoft isn’t budging. “Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices, and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update (WU) by changing the WU settings,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat earlier this month.

270 million down, 730 million to go.


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CockroachDB just raised $20 million from Benchmark, Index, and GV

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 8.04.44 AM CockroachDB, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based open-database company that aims to keep the applications of its enterprise customers up and running, even when their data centers and cloud infrastructure suddenly go offline, has raised $20 million in Series A1 funding. The capital comes from Index Ventures and earlier investors Benchmark and GV (formerly Google Ventures). The new money… Read More

Google now shows swipeable image ads when you search for cars

Google Model Automotive Ads

Google has released what it calls “Model Automotive Ads,” a new ad format that brings up slick swipeable images of cars when consumers search on Google for particular models.

The auto industry is just the latest to be aggressively targeted by Google, as the company faces heightened competition from Facebook in attracting advertisers. Just three weeks ago, Google released a new search format aimed at the travel industry. Called Destinations on Google, it isn’t an ad unit, but rather helps users more quickly find hotel and flight info. Such search features are a key advantage Google has over Facebook. So far, Facebook hasn’t been able to effectively serve users who are searching for specific information or advertisers looking to respond to such direct intent from users.

The latest ad format plays to Google’s strengths and provides automotive companies with an innovative way to feature their cars and to more quickly pull users into their dealerships.

Search for Toyota Prius 2016, for example, and Google will return a rotating reel of images of the car, its interior and its other features, along with buttons (located underneath) that you can click to reach Toyota’s official Prius site and interact with local dealers.

A Toyota Prius Ad

Above: A Toyota Prius Ad

In its blog post, Google said this is the first search ad format to include this type of dynamic, swipeable imagery.

The company initially shared plans to build these ads back in May of last year. Today it finally made the ads available to all OEM automotive advertisers in the U.S.

Google announced stats from Toyota and Dealer.com that suggest the ad is performing well. Toyota, for example, reports seeing a 45 percent increase in conversion compared to standard text ads, according to the Google blog post. Dealer.com saw a 30 percent higher click-through rate, and website visitors from intent-based dealership queries increased by 40 percent, the post said.

Google said the feature responds to a change in the way people are shopping for cars. They no longer like going from dealership to dealership. Instead, they’re using their smartphones to search for models, compare prices, and get advice. Google said that half of all searches for cars are on smartphones and that car searches are up 51 percent from last year alone.

Google said people also like to use images to help them with their choices, reporting that searches for “pictures of [automotive brand]” are up 37 percent over the last year.


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KLM now uses Facebook Messenger for boarding passes, flight info, and customer service

Facebook Messenger

Facebook and KLM airlines have formally announced a partnership that will allow KLM customers to receive flight confirmations, boarding cards, reminders, flight status updates, and ask questions directly through the Facebook Messenger app.

At its F8 developer conference last year, the social networking giant first unveiled plans to expand Messenger beyond a simple messaging app and into a platform — one that can be used to power and underpin a myriad of third-party services. Retailers Everlane and Zulily were among the first partners announced, though it was later revealed that KLM would be added to the mix too.

The KLM rollout kicks off today, though it hasn’t revealed in what markets and to whom — though Messenger chief David Marcus did confirm that it would be available globally “in the coming days and weeks.”


MoreBreaking news from Microsoft's biggest event of the year.  









Protecting identity could be key to enterprise security

Hand over field of zeros and ones with username and password what the hand is trying to steal. When you hear from people who know about security, the discussion often turns to end users, who are considered the weakest link in the security chain. While IT and the powers that be struggle to secure their networks and IP, the employees are forever screwing up succumbing to phishing scams, using weak credentials and generally causing problems for the security experts who know best — or… Read More

Lyft engineering VP Peter Morelli to speak at Mobile Summit about building bigger, faster on mobile

Peter Morelli lyft

Since Peter Morelli joined ride-hailing company Lyft a year ago to lead its engineering efforts, the company has faced continued tough competition from Uber, the bigger player in the space.

Lyft has raised more than $2 billion from investors like General Motors and Rakuten, and while Uber has raised much more and has many more drivers, Lyft has managed to keep parity in key markets on details like price and wait time. Lyft has also struck key partnerships to help it scale.

There are even a few areas where Lyft is attempting to pull ahead. One of these is the ability to push out feature updates quickly — for example, rewriting its entire iOS app on Swift to make the app easier to maintain.

We’re delighted to announce that Peter Morelli, VP of engineering at Lyft, will be speaking at our executive-level Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Ca on April 4-5. He’ll be talking about what it takes to build faster, better mobile products at a time when customers are expecting such snappy service.

Kleiner Perkins partner John Maeda will moderate

Above: Kleiner Perkins partner John Maeda will moderate

He’ll address things like how to structure an engineering team to move faster, how to build an intuitive UI, and how to manage an app’s performance while responding to the massive amounts of data it collects. For a service like Lyft, routing drivers to the right places is a complex task, especially as it upgrades its ride-sharing service Lyft Line, which connects passengers who are traveling similar routes.

The engineering challenge comes just as Morelli is furiously building out his engineering team. When he arrived at Lyft last year, he was tasked with doubling the engineering team within about nine months. Fortunately, Morelli brings significant scaling experience to the table, having previously helped build out Twitter’s engineering team.

He’ll be speaking on stage with John Maeda, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and an expert in design, with a background as an MIT-trained engineer.

Learn more about monetization strategies at the Summit, where our boardroom sessions offer smart exchanges between senior marketers and product and engineering executives. Other speakers at this year’s Mobile Summit include leading executives from Google, Amazon, Pinterest, Runtastic, Pandora, GrubHub, LinkedIn, Zynga, Pocket Gems, Touch of Modern, and AOL. And there’s a surprise guest we can’t talk about just yet.

We invite only 180 executives to the Summit (you can apply to attend here). It’s designed to be an intimate experience where top people in the field exchange strategies around some of the hottest trends in mobile — at a time when brands are having to move quickly to embrace instantaneous distribution. The goal is to make the Summit the best insider event, which is why it’s also free of influence from specific vendors or platform owners.

Leading vendors will be there, of course, but we prioritize brands and other independent app owners to create the best mix possible.

Working sessions go into depth on specific topic areas, and cocktail receptions make sure the networking juices flow.

Topics include the following:

  • User acquisition
  • Designing the user experience
  • Messaging and video
  • Mobile marketing automation
  • Targeted marketing
  • How to build your mobile marketing team
  • How to orient an entire organization around mobile
  • M-commerce and online-offline convergence
  • Nurturing existing users
  • Harnessing data for mobile engagement
  • Mobile advertising attribution
  • Predicting and measuring

MoreBreaking news from Microsoft's biggest event of the year.  









Lyft engineering VP Peter Morelli to speak at Mobile Summit about building bigger, faster on mobile

Peter Morelli lyft

Since Peter Morelli joined ride-hailing company Lyft a year ago to lead its engineering efforts, the company has faced continued tough competition from Uber, the bigger player in the space.

Lyft has raised more than $2 billion from investors like General Motors and Rakuten, and while Uber has raised much more and has many more drivers, Lyft has managed to keep parity in key markets on details like price and wait time. Lyft has also struck key partnerships to help it scale.

There are even a few areas where Lyft is attempting to pull ahead. One of these is the ability to push out feature updates quickly — for example, rewriting its entire iOS app on Swift to make the app easier to maintain.

We’re delighted to announce that Peter Morelli, VP of engineering at Lyft, will be speaking at our executive-level Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Ca on April 4-5. He’ll be talking about what it takes to build faster, better mobile products at a time when customers are expecting such snappy service.

Kleiner Perkins partner John Maeda will moderate

Above: Kleiner Perkins partner John Maeda will moderate

He’ll address things like how to structure an engineering team to move faster, how to build an intuitive UI, and how to manage an app’s performance while responding to the massive amounts of data it collects. For a service like Lyft, routing drivers to the right places is a complex task, especially as it upgrades its ride-sharing service Lyft Line, which connects passengers who are traveling similar routes.

The engineering challenge comes just as Morelli is furiously building out his engineering team. When he arrived at Lyft last year, he was tasked with doubling the engineering team within about nine months. Fortunately, Morelli brings significant scaling experience to the table, having previously helped build out Twitter’s engineering team.

He’ll be speaking on stage with John Maeda, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and an expert in design, with a background as an MIT-trained engineer.

Learn more about monetization strategies at the Summit, where our boardroom sessions offer smart exchanges between senior marketers and product and engineering executives. Other speakers at this year’s Mobile Summit include leading executives from Google, Amazon, Pinterest, Runtastic, Pandora, GrubHub, LinkedIn, Zynga, Pocket Gems, Touch of Modern, and AOL. And there’s a surprise guest we can’t talk about just yet.

We invite only 180 executives to the Summit (you can apply to attend here). It’s designed to be an intimate experience where top people in the field exchange strategies around some of the hottest trends in mobile — at a time when brands are having to move quickly to embrace instantaneous distribution. The goal is to make the Summit the best insider event, which is why it’s also free of influence from specific vendors or platform owners.

Leading vendors will be there, of course, but we prioritize brands and other independent app owners to create the best mix possible.

Working sessions go into depth on specific topic areas, and cocktail receptions make sure the networking juices flow.

Topics include the following:

  • User acquisition
  • Designing the user experience
  • Messaging and video
  • Mobile marketing automation
  • Targeted marketing
  • How to build your mobile marketing team
  • How to orient an entire organization around mobile
  • M-commerce and online-offline convergence
  • Nurturing existing users
  • Harnessing data for mobile engagement
  • Mobile advertising attribution
  • Predicting and measuring

MoreBreaking news from Microsoft's biggest event of the year.  









Square’s new platform lets sellers build customized apps on top of its payment service

Build with Square

Square has started to think beyond what it can do in the commerce space. During the company’s Q4 2015 earnings call, CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that his company wouldn’t be able to build everything, “so we opened up a bunch of APIs, and in that marketplace, for third-parties to actually build functionality and services that extend our ecosystem.”

While Square has built hardware and software for small businesses in the past, as it looks to the future, it’s particularly focusing on helping merchants sell, regardless of whether they’re using Square’s off-the-shelf products or not. The company today introduced Build with Square, a collection of bundled-together APIs that developers can use to bring Square’s payment experience right into their own apps.

“We’ve found that as merchants grow, or you move more up market, there’s a need for customization,” explained Carl Perry, the general manager. “These companies will either work with existing developers to build apps or if they’re larger merchants, will have their own IT shop.”

At the heart of this new platform are Square’s register and ecommerce APIs.

The former provides payment processing with just two lines of code. If a seller has highly individualized point-of-sale (POS) needs, the Register API will not only manage the payments, but also provide the Square experience. Other features include being able to accept EMV payments and Apple Pay, in addition to the transparent pricing and financial services any Square seller receives.

The latter API is aimed at those who want to process online payments on their own site. The checkout form can be completely customized to suit the seller, while Square continues to handle credit card information. Perry said that credit card fields are transparent iFrames, meaning that the data is being entered on Square’s side, rather than the seller’s, making the transaction more secure.

Square has also added a new API to the mix, one that allows sellers to tie their customers to the purchases they’ve made. Eventually, Perry said, you’ll be able to associate customers by credit card (with customer permission, of course) and take steps to improve future sales. This customer API joins the handful of feeds the company offers, around location, inventory management, transaction, subscription, and employee management.

What Square realizes is that although small businesses are an essential part of its survival and success, there are times when Square’s own hardware and software won’t be enough. Sellers have their individual needs and assess solutions differently, so if they want to create a customized POS system so that works for them, so be it. Square will simply provide the payment processing component in the background. Building customized tools has certainly become easier and cheaper in recent years.

Build with Square compliments the company’s wide array of existing offerings. These include its App Marketplace, which showcases apps like Intuit QuickBooks, Xero, IFTTT, Stitch Labs, Bigcommerce, and Weebly that work with the service. “Now any developer can get the advantage of our API solutions,” Perry stated. “We’re opening it up to let more and more people build solutions.”

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The Wall Street Journal: Venture-capital firms raising money at highest rate in more than 15 years

Venture-capital firms are raising money at the highest rate in more than 15 years, even as the values of some once-hot startups have begun to cool. With the quarter nearly over, U.S. venture funds have collected about $13 billion, which would be the largest total since the dot-com boom in 2000, according to preliminary data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

Why, Despite Reporting Record Investment Figures, Private Equity in India Needs Structural Changes

Even though Private Equity investment figures in 2015 surpassed the previous high (of 2007), the expert panel at the Venture Intelligence APEX'16 PE-VC Summit felt the PE segment still faces a challenging environment and that "selectivity" will be keyword for such investments in the months ahead. Speakers on the panel included Pradyumna Nag, Director, Prequate (moderator); Arvind Malhan, Partner