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The main page content on Stratechery is free for all readers, but I also offer the Daily Update via email and RSS for $10 per month/$100 per year.1 This is a selection of items that were sent out in this week’s Daily Updates. To sign up, visit the Membership page
Microsoft Cloud Announcements
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Microsoft made a whole bunch of cloud announcements at the opening of their annual TechEd conference, including a host of services to enable hybrid clouds (combining on and off-premise services), new types of cloud storage, and considerable enhancements to their security offerings.
What jumped out at me, though, were several of their mobile and developer offerings.
From Mary Jo Foley’s writeup of Mohoro, Windows-as-a-service:
Mohoro — known officially as Azure RemoteApp — allows users to deliver Windows Server applications on a variety of devices. The accompanying remote desktop client apps will run on Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and/or Android.
From Ryan Faas’s writeup of Microsoft’s enhancements to its Enterprise Mobility Suite:
One of today’s biggest announcement is management of Office mobile apps across multiple platforms including iPad, iPhone, and Android through Intune and Office 365. The management capabilities will be rolled out later this year and mark Microsoft’s entry into the mobile app management (MAM) space.
From Peter Bright’s writeup of Visual Studio’s Cordova integration:
Emphasis mine, but perhaps Microsoft’s as well. iOS and Android are officially Microsoft target platforms, and not a moment too soon. In fact, while it often takes an impossibly long time to turn a company like Microsoft, it’s truly impressive how quickly things can happen once they are finally moving in the right direction. There is absolutely an opportunity to be a platform on top of a platform for iOS and Android; as I’ve noted in these updates, Facebook is pursuing that on the consumer side, and Microsoft is finally seizing their opportunity on the enterprise side.
Pinterest Launches Promoted Pins
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Last fall, Pinterest announced it would begin experimenting with advertisements on its service in the form of “Promoted Pins,” which would be featured placements from select retailers and other businesses. Today, the company says that it’s expanding on these earlier tests with the rollout of a paid test of Promoted Pins. These pins will only appear on the search and category feeds, says Pinterest.
A small number of brands from across different industries are participating at launch, including ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia, GAP, General Mills, Kraft, lululemon athletica, Nestle (select brands), Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Ziploc.
Pinterest says this test group is being kept intentionally small, so that it can collect feedback prior to opening up the paid advertisements to more businesses throughout the year.
I have long been bullish on Pinterest (although broader interest definitely seems to have stagnated), but have been very puzzled at how slowly they have been moving on monetization. In fact, the two are related; to my mind, the Pinterest monetization model seems quite obvious.
Think about the biggest ad platforms out there:
- Something like Yahoo simply has some modicum of attention, but little to no data. They charge the lowest rates
- Facebook has very impressive demographic information, but when you’re on Facebook you’re not necessarily looking to buy something, limiting some upside. That said, this has proven to be different on mobile, where app installs have been especially profitable
- Twitter understands your interests, potentially leading to even better targeting and theoretically higher rates (Twitter’s rates aren’t bad, but are still half of Facebook’s)
- Google has long been the king, simply because they are the service you use when you have a high intention of buying; if you need a lawyer, you search Google
What makes Pinterest so interesting is that it is very aspirational. For serious users Pinterest arguably knows more about what you dream about than any other Internet service. Moreover, their strength with women especially makes them an ideal partner for companies seeking to serve that demographic. There is also a bit of purchase intent as well; think about someone planning a wedding or building a house, who is collecting ideas on Pinterest. They are a prime audience for advertisers.
However, despite this obvious angle, Pinterest has been exceptionally slow to roll out any sort of advertising, and I suspect it’s due to flatlining growth. As Twitter is demonstrating, having a good signal is not enough; you need scale as well.
Still, this is a good sign and something I will be keeping a close eye on.
The full list of topics covered this week in the Daily Update include:
- Google v Oracle
- Mobile Gaming and Gambling
- 3rd Party Mobile Platforms
- Microsoft Cloud Announcements
- Cordova v Windows RT
- Xbox Silliness
- Pinterest Promoted Pins
- ISPs and Regulation
- The Right to be Forgotten
- Square Retrenches
- Tencent Crushes Earnings
- Cisco and the NSA
- Xiaomi Releases Tablet
- Pinterest Raises $200m
- Zendesk IPOs
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