Tag Archives: business model

Are Microsoft and Minecraft a Good Fit?

17 Sep

Mojang, the maker of the highly popular Minecraft video game, has reached an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. The purchase price is $2.5 billion. The deal is important to both Mojang and Microsoft, the maker of Xbox.

As Mojang posted at its Web site:

“Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft. Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft. It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that. We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.”

And in this YouTube video, head of Xbox Phil Spencer discusses Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft and Microsoft’s respect and admiration for the Minecraft community.
 

 
But, when the acquisition  is completed, the hard part starts — blending the Mojang culture with that of Microsoft. As Evelyn M. Rusli and Shira Ovide write for the Wall Street Journal: 

News that Microsoft is acquir[ing] Swedish company Mojang AB up a clash of cultures between the corporate giant and Minecraft loyalists — spanning from middle-school children to video-game diehards. To many of its fans, Mojang’s antiestablishment swagger has always been part of Minecraft’s mystique. Mojang, which has only about 40 employees, is run by programmer Markus Persson, who has gained a cult following by publicly blasting big tech companies, including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Facebook.  Microsoft, pushing 40 and worth about $387 billion, is seen as the software industry’s Goliath.”

“Already, there are signs that a Minecraft game under Microsoft will be different. According to people with knowledge of the matter, Mr. Persson is expected to leave Mojang if Microsoft completes a deal. The company’s game-development office in Stockholm isn’t expected to move or close, a person familiar with the deal negotiations said. On online forums such as Reddit and Twitter, many players questioned whether a sale would destroy the game’s indie spirits. ‘Why pay $2.5 billion for something just to alienate all the fans?’ wrote a Reddit user who goes by the handle Joebovi.”

 
 What do YOU think?
 

Social Media Maturity: An MIT Infographic

9 Sep

Some firms and individuals have reached a level of maturity with their use of social media — based on their levels of experience and activity. Others are still at the early or developing stages of social media use.

Recently, MIT’s Sloan Management Review did a global study on this topic: “The findings from our July 2014 global study on social business indicated that ‘social business maturity’ is related to the level of results that companies achieve. A new infographic illustrates how social business creates value, and outlines the primary drivers for companies seeking to advance toward social business maturity.”

Here is that infographic.
 

 

Tumblr Acquisition Seems to be Working for Yahoo — If It Could Only Sell Ads

30 Aug

Yahoo and CEO Marissa Mayer, who joined Yahoo from Google in July 2012, have had a difficult time making the firm more dynamic in today’s marketplace. However, 2013 acquisition Tumblr may be turning out to be wise strategic move. But its impact on Yahoo’s ad revenues is still in question.

What is Tumblr? According to its Web site: “Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme’s HTML.” As of now, there have been 833 billion posts across 200 million blogs at Tumblr.

New research from eMarketer sheds light on how rapidly Tumblr is growing and is expected to grow:

“Tumblr continues to gain popularity in the U.S., with the number of users increasing 46.2% in 2013, totaling 13.7 million internet users, according to new figures from eMarketer – our first-ever forecast of Tumblr usage. Usage of the Yahoo-owned social blogging platform will increase by nearly another 25% in 2014, according to our estimates, totaling more than 17.1 million internet users this year. Growth in the number of users who access their Tumblr accounts each month will taper off into the single digits by 2017, when the user base totals 22.8 million users, or 12.0% of all social networkers in the U.S.”

Nonetheless, “questions have hovered around the site’s value to the internet giant, and whether its youthful user base can inject life into Yahoo’s declining display advertising business.”

 Click on the image to read more.
 

 

A New Focus for P&G

19 Aug

Procter & Gamble, the long-time world leader in consumer products and the leading global advertiser, is ready to embark on another new strategy. It has tried many tactics in recent years to try to stimulate company growth and profits.

P&G’s latest approach may seem counter-intuitive — to grow by shrinking its brand portfolio. However, this idea does seem on target and reflects the essence of the Pareto 80/20 Principle that relatively few products account for a disproportionate amount of sales and profits.

As reported by Rachel Abrams for the New York Times:

“After years of expansion into areas like pet food and beauty products, Procter & Gamble announced that it would cut as many as 100 brands from its arsenal to focus on others, like Tide, that made the company a powerhouse over the decades. The move is part of a strategy to improve the company’s financial performance by doubling down on about 80 brands that generate 95 percent of the profits and 90 percent of sales, according to A. G. Lafley, the firm’s chief executive. The company, and the industry at large, have faced pressure as consumers continue to spend less than they did before the financial crisis.”

[According to Lafley,] “‘This new streamlined P&G should continue to grow faster and more sustainably, and reliably create more value. Importantly, this will be a much simpler, much less complex company of leading brands that’s easier to manage and operate.'”

Click the image to read more of Abrams’ story.

 

Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

 

Amazon Versus Hachette, Amazon Versus Disney, Etc.

18 Aug

As the world’s largest book seller and online retailer, Amazon is never afraid to flex its muscles with regard to suppliers. So, these questions come into play: Is Amazon acting as an advocate for lower consumer prices (as the retailer claims)? OR is Amazon an unrestrained bully trying to increase its margins at the expense of its content providers (as critics claim)? WHAT IS YOUR CONCLUSION?

For several months, Amazon has been  battling with publisher Hachette. Consider this observation in Catey Hill’s report for MarketWatch:

“Amazon and book behemoth Hachette — along with some publishers’ groups and writers — are at one another’s throats, in a fight that’s escalated just within the past week. Amazon, which accounts for about 60% of the digital-book market, wants to use its market power to get Hachette to lower E-book prices, while Hachette says that this is ‘punitive,’ hurts authors and bookstores, and doesn’t take into account the costs — like royalties, marketing and expenses — that go into creating books. Hachette also notes that 80% of its books are already selling online for $9.99 or less, which is the price at which Amazon hopes to sell many of its E-books. For its part, Amazon has used its leverage against Hachette by delaying shipping and stopping pre-orders on some Hachette books.”

Now, Amazon has also decided to do battle with the Walt Disney Co., another behemoth content provider. Consider this observation in Greg Bensinger’s report for the Wall Street Journal:

“When Amazon.com Inc. wants to fight, it turns to a familiar playbook. The latest to feel the Seattle retailer’s sting is Walt Disney Co. Amazon isn’t accepting pre-orders of forthcoming Disney DVD and Blu-ray titles including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Maleficent. As Amazon continues its well-publicized battle with Hachette over E-book costs, it has now engaged in a battle with Disney. It is the same tactic Amazon has employed in a bitter four-month spat with Hachette Book Group over E-book pricing. To press its point, Amazon suspended pre-orders for physical copies of many Hachette titles and lengthened shipping times or pared discounts for others. The tactics underscore Amazon’s unusual sway in E-commerce, where it is by far the dominant player, particularly for books and media.”

Click the image to see a Wall Street Journal video on this battle.

Photo by Associated Press

 

An Interview with Fashion Legend Diane Von Furstenberg

17 Jul

Diane Von Furstenberg has been a prominent, trend-setting fashion designer for decades. Take a look at the Web site of her company to see what she’s doing now.

Here’s a brief bio of Von Furstenberg by Liz Welch of Inc.:

“Designer Diane von Furstenberg was 27 when she made the first wrap dress in 1974. The iconic design landed her on the cover of Newsweek — and millions of women snapped up her dresses. But when demand faded, von Furstenberg ended up selling most of her licenses to avoid bankruptcy. In 1997, von Furstenberg relaunched her company, which now has annual sales of more than $200 million. The wrap dress, too, made a comeback, and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with ‘The Journey of the Dress’ exhibition, which traveled the globe. And, as the 68-year-old designer recently shared with Inc. contributing editor Liz Welch, she is focused on building a company to outlast any fad.”

Click Von Furstenberg’s photo to read her recent interview with Liz Welch for Inc.
 

 

Resources for Women and Minority Business Owners

16 Jul

Although these observations by the National Women’s Business Council refer specifically to female business owners, they are equally applicable to minority business owners:

“Like all entrepreneurs, women business owners face many challenges in making their entrepreneurship dreams a reality.  Some of the challenges faced by women may be specific to women, due to the historical and cultural context within which they do their work.  Women have the challenge of confronting and overcoming the historical barriers of being kept out of business and capital markets until the late 1980s.  Even today, women’s access to information (or lack thereof) about financing strategies and opportunities may be limited due to a lack of access to the social networks where many key decision makers and capital players make deals.  A lack of information about financing a business may result in more women raising lower levels of capital or pursuing only debt financing, which can limit their growth potential. ”

Click the image to read more from the NWBC.
 

 
With the above in mind, Tom Shaw (a Visible Systems Specialist for Magnatag) has published an excellent series of links to resources for women and minority business owners. Shaw provides links to 45 resources!! Click here to access Shaw’s “Women and Minority-Owned Business Resources.”
 

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