ArabBrains http://arabbrains.com MENA Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:07:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AppyKids, One of the Leading Children’s App Developers in the MENA Region, Announce 1 Million App Downloads http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/appykids-one-leading-childrens-app-developers-mena-region-announce-1-million-app-downloads/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/appykids-one-leading-childrens-app-developers-mena-region-announce-1-million-app-downloads/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:07:11 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12922 AppyKids™ are delighted to announce that they have passed the 1,000,000 download milestone since their first app was launched in July 2013.

Today AppyKids released a video ‘1 million appy downloads equals 1 million smiles’ to thank their users and community.

“While we take today to celebrate this incredible milestone, we remain focused on innovating and designing the best app’s for parents, teachers and children. On behalf of the entire team, thank you for making AppyKids an inspiring and rewarding pursuit,” said Dinesh Lalvani, Founder and CEO.

Based in Dubai, with a team of 20 multi cultural and talented people, AppyKids develop and design edutainment content for the MENA and South Asian market. Recently two of AppyKids apps, Zee’s Alphabet and Alfie’s Alphabet, made the Apple Best of 2014 list.

AppyKids is a Growl Media brand, whose vision is to educate, entertain and empower children by creating culturally-relevant, localized, edutainment content for young children. To date the Company has released 11 interactive apps and one Arabic cartoon series ‘The Adventures of Zee’ launched on their YouTube and Facebook pages.

Learn more about Growl Media at http://www.growlmedia.com

Learn more about AppyKids™ at http://www.appykids.com

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/appykids-one-leading-childrens-app-developers-mena-region-announce-1-million-app-downloads/feed/ 0
Etihad flight college receives GCAA approval http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/etihad-flight-college-receives-gcaa-approval/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/etihad-flight-college-receives-gcaa-approval/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:47:23 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12919 .

.

Etihad Flight College, the world-class flight training college based at Al Ain International Airport in the UAE, is now authorised to provide the Multi Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) training program following certification as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority ( GCAA ).

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Etihad Airways , Etihad Flight College was established to train ab-initio pilots for the airline’s rapidly expanding fleet, and currently provides fixed wing training to over 90 Emirati and international students.

The MPL training program provides students with the core competencies required of an airline pilot in today’s ever changing aviation marketplace. It focuses on relevant and operator-specific training, rather than the traditional model of performance-based training in a generic format. It produces pilots with not only the skills to fly a modern commercial aircraft to the most exacting standards, but the competencies and attitudes required of a professional pilot as well.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways ‘ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Establishing our own world-class training facility is a long-term strategy to support our needs for the future. As the national airline of the UAE, it is vital for us to offer training and manpower development for Emirati’s while also providing a source of well-trained, highly-skilled pilots for our growing operations.”

Established following the acquisition of the fixed wing division of Horizon International Flight Academy from Mubadala in September 2014, the Etihad Flight College will train up to 200 Emirati and international cadets annually.

Etihad Airways currently employs over 2,200 pilots to operate its fleet of 110 Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/etihad-flight-college-receives-gcaa-approval/feed/ 0
HBMSU to launch Innovation Arabia 8 in February http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/hbmsu-launch-innovation-arabia-8-february/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/hbmsu-launch-innovation-arabia-8-february/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 05:41:15 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12914 .

.

Dr. Farouk El-Baz to discuss innovative solutions to drive comprehensive development in Arab world


Event is expected to draw wide participation from MSc and PhD students with 30 research papers and 75 poster presentations


Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) has revealed plans to launch this year’s edition of Innovation Arabia 8, an annual event that provides a platform to exchange ideas, discuss trends, solutions and challenges in the development of sustainable economies and societies in the Arab world through innovation, which will be held from February 16 to February 18, 2015. The event is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the HBMSU.

The conference, which aims to drive innovation and creativity as fundamental mainstays for the transformation into full-fledged knowledge economies in the Arab World, is being organized under the theme ‘Innovate, Collaborate, and Differentiate: Honouring the Past, Treasuring the Present, and Shaping the Future.’

Innovation Arabia 8 attracts some of the world’s leading experts, including Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, USA, who has had significant contributions to the fields of innovation and scientific research. On the sidelines of the conference, academic research papers will be presented before high-level academics, experts, decision makers and regional and international intellectuals. The papers will feature four important tracks, namely; Quality and Business Management, e-learning Excellence, Health and Environment, Islamic Banking and Finance, in order to find out effective solutions that meet the requirements of sustainable development in the Arab World.

The conference will also feature notable international, regional and local keynote speakers, including Hussain Al Qemzi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Noor Investment Group and Chief Executive Officer of Noor Bank; Eng. Sobhi A. Batterjee, Founder, President and CEO of Saudi German Hospitals Group; Gregory H. Watson, past-President and Honorary Member of the International Academy for Quality (IAQ); and Alan Bruce, CEO & Director of Universal Learning Systems and Vice President of EDEN.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, said: “The launch of Innovation Arabia 8 reflects HBMSU’s belief that innovation and creativity are of a great significance as the path towards a better tomorrow for the Arab World. The conference will be an ideal platform to discuss new ideas and effective solutions that can drive sustainable economic and social development in the region, in line with the demands of 21st century.”

Al Awar added: “The Arab countries need to embark on a journey of innovation and prepare a solid ground for the rise of a creative society and accelerating the pace of digital transformation. Our high-profile conference will help to capitalize on the promising human potentials and unleash the huge economic opportunities waiting within the Arab World through innovation.”

Innovation Arabia 8 will highlight the promising research capabilities of the young generation, through discussing research papers submitted by 30 MSc and PhD students from prominent local and international universities, focusing on four important tracks, including Quality and Business Management, e-learning Excellence, Health and Environment, and Islamic Banking and Finance.

Innovation Arabia 8 will also discuss 75 poster presentations–38 of which were submitted by graduate students from universities in the UAE, including HBMSU, which will showcase 22 presentations, while another 27 coming from students of international universities, eight from the private sector and four from the government sector.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/29/hbmsu-launch-innovation-arabia-8-february/feed/ 0
Dream of remote internet connections still up in the air http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/dream-remote-internet-connections-still-air/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/dream-remote-internet-connections-still-air/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:12:27 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12911 Image credit: Fredrik Naumann/Panos

Image credit: Fredrik Naumann/Panos

There’s no shortage of ideas for getting internet to people in developing countries, specially remoter areas. But will they work? Gareth Willmer investigates.

New technologies using balloons, drones and unusual satellites have been tested in recent years with the aim of improving global access to high-speed internet. The hope is that some of these innovative technologies could help narrow and eventually eliminate the global digital divide.

Several billion people around the world — some estimates say around three billion —  are still without internet infrastructure, many of them in developing countries. Often  they are in areas remote from fibre-optic cables or too poor for expensive satellite access.

While the development of new technologies has been welcomed and major global companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have made moves to invest in them, the dream of internet access for all, in particular reaching the so-called ‘last mile’ of remote communities may still be some way off.

The hard truth is that communities are different so a ‘one size fits all’ approach is unlikely to be successful. In addition, some of the promising technologies may require regulatory changes which could be a lengthy process.

Carried by cable

Fibre-optic cable is the backbone of much of the West’s internet infrastructure, but for some regions the technology is currently too costly and difficult to deploy in more remote areas, or areas where people have more limited financial resources.
Frank McCosker, general manager of affordable access and smart financing at the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, believes fibre is not a panacea for bridging the global digital divide.

“You’d probably only get to about (another) 2.1 billion people in an affordable way,” McCosker tells SciDev.Net. ”There’s still this question of how you deal with the next five to six billion.”

For example, many Pacific island communities are unlikely to be well served by fibre, says Christian Patouraux, CEO of Kacific Broadband Satellites, which has offices in Australia and Asia, is planning to launch a new type of low-cost, high-throughput satellite for broadband in early 2017.

“The Pacific will never be entirely covered by [fibre optic] technology,” says Patouraux, adding that many Pacific island communities simply cannot absorb the enormous cost.

Balloon delivery

Many organisations recognise that bringing internet access to geographically remote or otherwise isolated communities will require some innovative thinking.

Project Loon is one of Google’s more widely publicised plans. It envisages creating wi-fi hubs using high-altitude balloons floating on currents in the stratosphere, ten to fifty kilometres above the Earth’s surface. The aim is to create an aerial wireless network.

“Two out of three people on the planet are still not online,” according to a Google spokesperson. “Most people think current approaches will get us there, but they aren’t. That’s why we thought Loon was worth a shot.”

This year Google plans to gear up from small-scale tests to regular multi-balloon launches, as part of its vision of creating a global ‘balloon network’.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that many of these technologies will prove to be valuable parts of the network mesh that we need to drive the ‘everything online, always connected’ future.”

Christopher Sampson, Digital Society Foundation

The balloons made of polyethylene plastic are designed to last for around 100 days. What happens once they descend to earth, and how the company plans to clear up any plastic pollution, isn’t clear.

Others exploring balloon-based technologies for localised connectivity include the Conectar initiative in Brazil, which aims to get remote communities online, such as people living in rainforests.

Jose Ângelo Neri, senior technologist for the Conectar project, says a test carried out in November showed Connectar balloons could deliver cost-effective internet access to large areas.

Sent by satellites

Satellite is a more traditional way to reach remote areas. Google is one of the investors in O3b Networks, which launched four new satellites in July and a further four in December from French Guiana’s space centre.

These satellites have a medium-Earth orbit closer that is to the ground than traditional geostationary satellites and reduces the distance required for data transmission. This helps improve broadband speeds in remote areas.

“Customers have reacted very positively to the higher throughput and quicker application response time,” says Ashok Rao, vice president of product development at O3b. He adds that O3b which stands for the unconnected ‘other three billion’, is rapidly gaining customers.

O3b has more than two dozen contracts to supply services worldwide, with a focus on poorly connected developing and remote markets in Latin America, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

It began offering commercial high-speed internet and mobile services in March in the Cook Islands, and has since launched commercially in other locations, including Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Timor-Leste, South Sudan and Madagascar.

Though not necessarily cheaper on its own, O3b says it could work out to be more cost-effective than laying fibre for remoter areas. Some observers note the emphasis at the moment for many companies is to develop the technologies first, and work on costs after.

Left-over spectrum

Another platform attracting attention is the use of television ‘white space’ — the currently unused segments of the broadcasting spectrum.

White-space power stations do not require large amounts of electricity, and can be charged using solar panels. That makes them vastly cheaper than fibre optics, says Microsoft’s McCosker.

“You’re not having to build major new infrastructure,” he explains, adding that delivering internet access via white space to every fibre-free region of a country like Kenya would cost around US$100 million, compared to several billion dollars to roll out a 3G or 4G fibre network that would only reach around a third of the population.

Microsoft is carrying out white-space trials in several African countries, aiming to provide internet access to schools, universities and rural communities. It recently completed its largest pilot so far, connecting 28 schools in northern Namibia.

However, competition for white space is fierce in many markets and persuading governments to allocate it to internet companies is a hurdle, often requiring legislative or regulatory changes.

Microsoft hopes the success of recent pilots could persuade African governments to make the changes necessary to roll out the technology more broadly.

Mariya Zheleva, a computer science researcher at the University at Albany in New York, is studying the provision of wireless networks for regions underserved by good infrastructure. She believes white space is the most feasible option.

“A network in the air might be much more susceptible to the elements and harder to maintain,” she says, referring to the balloon technologies.

Bespoke solutions

Some companies are adopting a more tailored approach. Facebook is exploring a range of broadband delivery technologies through the Internet.org partnership formed a year ago with several other technology firms, including Ericsson, Nokia, Opera Software and Samsung.
Internet.org broadly divides the world into regions of ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ urban population density, with a view to identifying platforms and technologies that can provide efficient and cost-effective connectivity in each, whether it is wi-fi access points, mobile phone transmission towers, solar-powered aircraft, drones, or low-cost satellites.

“We don’t believe there’s just one solution to bridging the digital divide,” says a Facebook spokesperson. “Different markets and areas will require different solutions.”

Realistic prospects?

Realistically, there is still some way to go before even successfully tested technologies can be brought to market, and opinions differ widely on the feasibility of these ideas, and whether any one idea will win out over the others.

Jane Coffin is director of development strategy at the non-profit Internet Society (ISOC), which promotes access to new broadband technologies that are interoperable with other technologies, networks and platforms.

She welcomes the exploratory steps to widen internet access, but urges that “the safety, environmental and privacy aspects are considered” as part of taking new technologies to market.

“Having all these initiatives from different players is definitely great in general,” agrees Stéphane Boyera, CEO of France-based ICT research and development organisation SBC4D. Boyera took part in the 2009 launch of the World Wide Web Foundation, which lobbies for open, accessible internet access for all.

Christopher Sampson, founder of the non-profit Digital Society Foundation, adds: “There’s no doubt in my mind that many of these technologies will prove to be valuable parts of the network mesh that we need to drive the ‘everything online, always connected’ future.”

The GSM Association (GSMA), which represents mobile operators worldwide, notes in a July 2014 report titled Mobile access — the last mile that new internet connectivity technologies are, for the most part, “nascent”, with no firm timelines, and that aerial technologies in particular may face significant national and cross-border legal challenges.

“A telecoms network in the sky would require multiple national regulators to coordinate to develop a system of tracking flight paths of balloons and the process of ascent and descent into different countries — they cannot be stateless,” a GSMA spokesman says.

Moreover, “commercial viability of these technologies on a wide scale is unlikely in the short to medium term,” says Tim Hatt, an analyst with the GSMA.

He believes there is more scope for regulatory incentives for mobile operators to expand their networks and share infrastructure to reduce costs.

Who will pay?

Some argue access is not as big a barrier to digital participation in developing countries as cost.

GSMA estimates 30-50 per cent of people in developing countries with potential access to 2G networks cannot afford a mobile phone, and Boyera says internet access in some African countries is up to ten times more expensive than in Western markets.

“You usually pay a couple of dollars for a day of connectivity … which costs far more than an all-you-can-eat plan in Western countries,” he says.

New ways to make these technologies more affordable are needed, but this could require further development of a number of different technologies and delivery models before this can be resolved.

Sampson says the decider for many new technologies will be down to national governments, and the role they will play in owning or regulating infrastructure.

The key is getting data moving around in such a way that operating networks and building more infrastructure can be done at the same time as providing affordable access, he says.

So while the ideas are innovative, their implementation could still mean overcoming a large number of hurdles.

GSMA Mobile access — the last mile (GMSA, 2014)

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/dream-remote-internet-connections-still-air/feed/ 0
Education to Double Device Utilization across GCC http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/education-double-device-utilization-across-gcc/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/education-double-device-utilization-across-gcc/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:04:44 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12908 .

.

Intel and IDC research finds that technology-driven education is a fast emerging trend that has already begun transforming learning experiences, for better student success in the region


News Highlights:
Technology is already rapidly transforming pedagogical practices within institutions and is paving the way for the region to become a modern educational powerhouse


Device split between laptop and tablet usage is a 60-40 with 60% of the students still utilizing laptops for content creation, coursework and presentations


Figures show that education sector accounted for 10.3% of all tablet shipments to the Middle East region during the first half of 2014


IDC report expects education segment to be one of the most advanced verticals in the coming years


The education sector in the GCC is expected to increase its device utilization to 100% in the coming two years, according to a study commissioned by Intel to IDC. The region-wide study has revealed that the adoption of technology by educational institutions across the GCC has nearly become mandatory, as a result of a focus on delivering quality education. The trend is facilitating a drastic shift from teacher-centric teaching methods to learner-favoured styles across the GCC.

The ‘Role of Technology in the Education Sector’ survey show the education sector accounted for 10.3% of all tablet shipments to the Middle East in the first half of 2014, up from 2.2% for all of 2013. IT infrastructure has also been ramped to support the increased usage of devices for teaching and learning purposes.

“We found that over 90% of the educational institutes interviewed utilize laptops, tablets and 2 in 1. The GCC’s education sector is witnessing significant growth and a focus on delivering quality education has driven institutions to adopt technology at every level,” said Frederico Carvalho, META Regional Business Director at Intel Corporation Technology. “Quality education is the foundation of a country’s development and prosperity, and technology is key to unlock its potential and reach,” he added.

Current Usage Behaviour

  • The utilization split between laptops and tablets in the region is currently 60-40, with 60% of students using laptops for content creation.
  • All the institutions interviewed discourage the use of smartphones in the classroom, and do not provide connectivity or support for such devices.
  • The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept has also proved popular with institutions; over 60% of those interviewed have a BYOD policy for students using their own devices for learning purposes. The rest of the institutions provide support for student’s devices but do not have a formal BYOD policy in place.
  • Less than 30% of the institutions interviewed use interactive whiteboards for teaching. Many institutes reported having LCD or LED panels that are connected to the instructor’s tablet or laptop to display teaching material. All of the institutes reported utilizing video projectors to promote audiovisual learning for certain course material.

Benefits and Challenges

In terms of device utilization today, on average, 60% of the devices being used by students are laptops; these devices are favoured for content creation, whereas tablets are seen as suitable for reading and accessing applications.

Tablets are now utilized more in kindergarten and primary schools however, where the students are provided with institute owned devices. As an evolution between laptops and tablets, institutions are considering 2-in-1 devices.

The foremost challenges faced by institutions are deployment, maintenance and IT skills. Institutes face high operating expenses and maintenance costs for their infrastructure, making it difficult to recognize ROI on their IT purchases. However, since the region is on its way to developing itself as an educational hub, most institutions do not compromise on technology standards.

Areas of focus and future investments

All of the institutes surveyed have an aim of increasing their device utilization within the next 12 to 24 months. Universities that do not have a formal BYOD policy aim to put one in place, considering the tremendous increase in students using their own devices. The security of devices, apps and institution networks is another focus area with an effort to provide maximum flexibility to students and teachers while remaining secure.

“Beyond the adoption of mobile devices through government initiatives and private sector investments, we have also observed an acceleration in the adoption of Private Clouds”, says Adriana Rangel, Systems & Infrastructure Solutions Director at IDC. “Cloud-based architectures facilitate better content management by providing institutions with the ability to manage users, applications and school policies remotely across the entire fleet of mobile devices, going further to increase collaboration between students, faculty and other school members.”

Over the last decade Intel Education has invested over US $1 billion to improve teaching and learning environments in more than 70 countries across the globe. Intel’s goal is to help educators, IT professionals, and government leaders inspire excellence in their students with fresh insights, unique programs, and holistic solutions. (Learn more about Intel Education by clicking here.)

Methodology

The White Paper is based on in-depth qualitative interviews with key educational groups across the GCC region. In addition, the insights gathered are supplemented by a number of secondary sources, including but not limited to, IDC’s Quarterly Research Trackers and research and advisory work conducted for CIOs and other IT decision makers.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/education-double-device-utilization-across-gcc/feed/ 0
Etisalat Successfully Completes the Sale of its French-speaking West African Operations to Maroc Telecom http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/etisalat-successfully-completes-sale-french-speaking-west-african-operations-maroc-telecom/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/etisalat-successfully-completes-sale-french-speaking-west-african-operations-maroc-telecom/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 05:24:37 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12905 .

.

Etisalat Group announced today that it has completed the sale of its French-speaking West African Operations to Maroc Telecom. The announcement comes as part of the acquisition of a 53-percent shareholding in Maroc Telecom that took place in May 2014.

As part of this sale, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation ( Etisalat ), through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Atlantique Telecom SA (AT) and Etisalat International Benin Limited (EIBL) successfully completed the sale of Etisalat ‘s shareholdings in its operations in Benin, the Central African Republic, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo to Itissalat Al Maghrib (Maroc Telecom). These operations provide both mobile voice and data services and operate under the Moov brand. The sale also includes Prestige Telecom, established in Ivory Coast, providing IT services to these same operations.

The final consideration in return for Etisalat ‘s equity and receivables (including shareholder loans) from these seven companies amounts to Euro 474 million.

The combination of Maroc Telecom’s existing West African assets with Etisalat ‘s Atlantique Telecom assets will result in the creation of a strong French speaking West African offering that will benefit from critical scale. This transaction will enable Etisalat to significantly strengthen its position in Africa via Maroc Telecom.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/28/etisalat-successfully-completes-sale-french-speaking-west-african-operations-maroc-telecom/feed/ 0
Microsoft Cloud and Devices Momentum Highlights Second Quarter Results http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/microsoft-cloud-devices-momentum-highlights-second-quarter-results/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/microsoft-cloud-devices-momentum-highlights-second-quarter-results/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:38:30 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12902 .

.

Commercial cloud revenue grows triple-digits for the sixth consecutive quarter, reaching an annualized revenue run rate of $5.5 billion

 

Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $26.5 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2014. Gross margin, operating income, and diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) for the quarter were $16.3 billion, $7.8 billion, and $0.71 per share, respectively.

These financial results include $243 million of integration and restructuring expenses, or a $0.02 per share negative impact, related to both Microsoft’s restructuring plan announced in July 2014 and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services (“NDS”) business. There is also a $0.04 per share negative impact related to income tax expense resulting from an IRS audit adjustment.

Microsoft also announced its intention to complete the existing $40 billion share repurchase authorization by December 31, 2016.

The following table notes the impact of the integration and restructuring expenses on the company’s financial performance (“Noted Items”). This financial information is provided to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

Three Months Ended December 31,
($ in millions, except per share amounts) Revenue Gross Margin Operating Income Diluted EPS
2013 As Reported (GAAP) $24,519 $16,197 $7,969 $0.78
2014 As Reported (GAAP) $26,470 $16,334 $7,776 $0.71
%Y/Y (GAAP) 8% 1% (2)% (9)%
2014 Impact of Noted Items - - $(243) $(0.02)

“Microsoft is continuing to transform, executing against our strategic priorities and extending our cloud leadership,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.  “We are taking bold steps forward across our business, and specifically with Windows 10, to deliver new experiences, new categories, and new opportunities to our customers.”

“We remain disciplined in our approach to operational and execution excellence, balanced with investments that drive meaningful growth for the business while increasing capital return to shareholders,” said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft.

Devices and Consumer revenue grew 8% to $12.9 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Surface revenue of $1.1 billion, up 24%, driven by Surface Pro 3 and accessories
  • Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers increased to over 9.2 million, up 30% sequentially over prior quarter
  • Search advertising revenue grew 23%, with Bing U.S. market share at 19.7%, up 150 basis points over prior year
  • Xbox console sales totaled 6.6 million units, with strong holiday season performance
  • Phone Hardware revenue of $2.3 billion, with 10.5 million Lumia units sold driven by growth in affordable smartphones
  • Windows OEM Pro revenue declined 13%; revenue was impacted by the business PC market and Pro mix returning to pre-Windows XP end of support levels and by new lower-priced licenses for devices sold to academic customers
  • Windows OEM non-Pro revenue declined 13%, with license growth from opening price point devices

Commercial revenue grew 5% to $13.3 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Commercial cloud revenue grew 114% driven by Office 365, Azure and Dynamic CRM Online, and is now on an annualized revenue run rate of $5.5 billion
  • Office Commercial products and services revenue declined 1%; transactional revenue was impacted by the continued transition to Office 365 and declines in commercial PCs following the XP refresh cycle
  • Server products and services revenue grew 9%, with double-digit growth of SQL Server and System Center
  • Windows volume licensing revenue increased by 3%, with annuity revenue growth partially offset by declining transactional revenue

“We again saw enthusiasm and demand around our cloud offerings like Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online and Azure, as well as Surface Pro 3,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “Our sales engagement worldwide continues to focus on helping customers and partners transition to the cloud and navigate the shifting product mix related to our services and solutions.”

Business Outlook

Microsoft will provide forward-looking guidance in connection with this quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call and webcast.

Webcast Details

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, John Seethoff, deputy general counsel, and Chris Suh, general manager of Investor Relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. PST (5:30 p.m. EST) today to discuss details of the company’s performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/investor. The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on January 26, 2016.

Noted Items Definition

Integration and restructuring expenses were $243 million during the three months ended December 31, 2014. Integration and restructuring expenses include employee severance expenses and costs associated with the consolidation of facilities and manufacturing operations, including asset write-downs and contract termination costs, resulting from Microsoft’s restructuring plan. Integration and restructuring expenses also include systems consolidation and other business integration expenses, as well as transaction fees and direct acquisition costs, associated with the acquisition of NDS.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/microsoft-cloud-devices-momentum-highlights-second-quarter-results/feed/ 0
Bayut.com Android App Launch http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/bayut-com-android-app-launch/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/bayut-com-android-app-launch/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:22:24 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12892 Bayut.com, a leading Dubai property portal, is proud announce the launch of its eagerly awaited android app for real estate enthusiasts. After the iOS app that was launched in November last year, and its immense success, the portal has now expanded its reach to investors, consumers and corporate entities on the Google platform as well.

Bayut.com’s android app is available for free download on the Play Store and lets users search and post properties for rent and sale throughout the UAE. Properties on the UAE’s smartest portal have been made more accessible than ever thanks to the new launch.

The app’s user-friendly design and simplistic features allow users to explore the listings available in Bayut.com’s extensive database of properties on sale and rent, save your searches, receive push notifications and explore other key features with ease. The Bayut.com app was designed to revolutionize the way property is found.

“We aim to explore all avenues in the ‘smart-world’ and facilitate our users’ access to everything we offer, directly through this app. It is part of our strategy to make the Emirates’ real estate as accessible and visible as possible,” said Haider Ali Khan, Chief Executive Bayut.com.

Releasing this app is part of our plans to shift towards a more mobile-focused approach due to the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones in the UAE, where smartphone penetration was 78% in 2014, according to Nielsen,” he added.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/bayut-com-android-app-launch/feed/ 0
Batelco Continues its Fiber Optic Network Expansion http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/batelco-continues-fiber-optic-network-expansion/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/batelco-continues-fiber-optic-network-expansion/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:36:35 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12897 .

.

Superfast Broadband now available in Riffa


Manama, Bahrain: Batelco, the Kingdom’s only provider of Broadband over a fiber network continues to expand its network to reach more and more customers all over Bahrain. As part of its Fiber Network programme, Batelco is now providing Superfast Broaband over its new Fiber Network in Riffa. The new network enables Batelco to deliver a great range of Smart Home solutions such as Internet TV and Quadro Play.

With the most reliable Broadband network using cutting edge technology, existing and new Broadband subscribers can benefit from the unbeatable and best Braodband packages in Bahrain featuring the highest dedicated, guaranteed and stable superfast download speeds upto 150Mb and the highest throttling speeds upto 20Mb.

All new Broadband customers will enjoy a very reliable and stable service over fiber access, while existing Broadband customers on High Speed packages will be automatically migrated to the new Fiber network and will benefit from attractive exclusive offers available limited period.

High Speed Broadband Packages

Batelco’s Superfast Fibre Optic Broadband packages, with great benefits are available for new and current customers in many areas including Saar, Riffa Views, Reef Islands, Juffair, Sanad, Khaleej, Tubli, Ishbiliya and Busaitain. The rollout continues with a number of new locations to be added throughout 2015.

Customers who wish to get conncected to Batelco’s Fiber Optic Network and sign up for Superfast Broadband packages may visit any Batelco Retail shop or phone 196 for full details. A limited number of the first customers to sign up will receive a free trial of Superfast Broadband.

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/27/batelco-continues-fiber-optic-network-expansion/feed/ 0
Research by 3 UAE universities reveals that investors value integrity over ideas http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/26/research-3-uae-universities-reveals-investors-value-integrity-ideas/ http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/26/research-3-uae-universities-reveals-investors-value-integrity-ideas/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:45:00 +0000 http://arabbrains.com/?p=12882 .

.

A joint study UOWD, Zayed University and Emirates Aviation College reveals that global investors are more likely to invest in individuals with integrity, willpower, commitment and passion than those with a good business plan alone


Dubai – A study by a team of researchers from three UAE universities has revealed that entrepreneurs who display integrity, willpower, commitment and passion are more likely to gain funding from private investors than those who have just a sound business plan.

The research conducted by Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan (University Of Wollongong in Dubai), Ian Michael ( Zayed University ) and IonicaMurtaza (Emirates Aviation University) found that 99 per cent of investors view integrity as either extremely important or very important when it came to selecting which companies or entrepreneurs to back financially.

Over 94 per cent saw willpower or commitment to the business as an important factor, with 93 per cent agreeing that passion for an idea also held sway. Investors also valued the strength of a business’ team and their willingness to learn. Interestingly, just 54 per cent of investors deemed a company’s existing relationships to be either extremely important or very important when it came to backing businesses.

The team of researchers presented their findings at the recent AIB MENA (Academy of International Business Middle East and North Africa) sponsored social entrepreneurship workshop held at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. The group first began researching into factors that influence investment decisions in 2010, supported by a grant from the Abraaj Group, and have since gathered evidence from almost 100 renowned venture capitalists, angel investors and private investors from across the globe.

Commenting on the findings, researcher Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan said: “Of course a sound business plan is of importance when seeking investment from venture capitalists, angel investors and private investors. However, overwhelmingly the individuals we interviewed agreed that this wasn’t the most influential factor when deciding how funding should be distributed because business plans are fluid and ideas are easily copied as soon as a product goes to market. Instead, investors place great value on the personal brand of the entrepreneur – if they project certain traits and values, they are far more likely to get funding. Many of the investors involved in our study agreed that one of the first factors that comes into consideration is “Do we like each other?” and (they) put their faith in the person or the team behind the idea first and foremost, with the idea itself often taking second place.”

Entrepreneur Mona Tavassoli, Founder and Director of Mompreneurs Middle East and MomSouq, who attended the workshop added: “In my experience the entrepreneur behind a business is one of the most important factors in gaining investment. Entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their motive it isn’t just to make money are often the ones who show the qualities that investors are looking for – like integrity, passion and willingness to learn.”

]]>
http://arabbrains.com/2015/01/26/research-3-uae-universities-reveals-investors-value-integrity-ideas/feed/ 0