News that Caught My Eye: Week of Nov. 16, 2018

Citrix Acquires Sapho

Citrix announced on Thursday that it had acquired Sapho, a leading micro-app platform which it will use to enhance the guided work capabilities within Citrix Workspace, enabling people to work with even greater speed, intelligence, and simplicity.

Via Citrix

  • Sapho is very well known for delivering micro-apps for collaboration platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams
  • The micro-apps are linked to popular SaaS products such as Outlook, Google Drive, Salesforce, Concur and the allow for actionable tasks within those collaborations tools.
  • Citrix paid $200 million in an all cash deal for the startup that had raised just shy of $30 million since 2014 a good return for Sapho but a good investment for the future of Workspace for Citrix.
  • Citrix will integrate Sapho within its Workspace so as to streamline processes and workflows. For instance, a Concur micro-app allows a manager to approve or deny an expense report all without having to leave Workspace and launch Concur full app.
  • This seems like a very good fit given the overlap the two companies had in their client base and the request both companies were receiving from customers for more integration.
  • Many companies will appreciate the integration of Sapho’s micro-apps into Workspace purely from a productivity perspective. However, users will also see a way to bridge old and new by bringing legacy apps that might have lost some
    “sexiness” into a much more modern workflow that will appeal to the growing numbers of the younger workforce.

Facebook: Delay, Deny and Deflect

 In a devastating article, the New York Times, citing more than 50 sources, accused Facebook of:

  • employing a Republican opposition research firm to “discredit activist protesters,” in part by linking them to the liberal billionaire George Soros;
  • using its business relationships to lobby a Jewish civil rights group to flag critics and protesters as anti-Semitic;
  • attempted to shift anti-Facebook rhetoric against its rivals to soak up the blame by planting stories with reporters;
  • posting “less specific” carefully crafted posts about Russian election interference amid claims that the company was slow to act;
  • and urging its senior staff to switch to Android after Apple chief executive Tim Cook made critical remarks about Facebook’s data practices

Via The New York Times 

  • Over the past year, I have discussed the Cambridge Analytica as well as Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s trips to Washington several times. In my assessment, there were always two constants: one that the business model called for growth and more growth and two that Zuckerberg just does not seem in touch with his own company or humanity
  • After this week, and especially after today’s call with the press, I am even more convinced that those two points are true but a few more were added.
  • As you can imagine, Facebook denied that much of what the New York Times reported was true. Yet, the call itself was the best example of delay, deny and deflect.
  • Deny the story
  • Deflect by announcing that Facebook appointed a new independent council to deal with appeals to decisions on content. It seems that this council was thrown together in a rush and has no real power to actually change the course of things.
  • Delay responsibility as Mark says that users are pretty clever and they should figure things out by themselves. This in particular seems to be missing the very point of why fake news, propaganda and the rest worked. Users are not smart enough to figure out whether what they read is true or not. It also seems like Facebook is throwing in the towel and putting the burden on the victim. It is like saying I cannot hold on to this dog but I trust you can run fast enough not to get bitten! It just does not work like that. The responsibility must be on Facebook
  • As I always say, it is not the incident that will get you to lose customers but the way you respond to it. With Facebook users might have moved on from the Cambridge Analytica story, but management lack of leadership, their little willingness to be held accountable have done nothing to reassure users that things will be different in the future.
  • Facebook’s leadership might just see #deletefacebook as an annoyance for now, but I do wonder if the biggest impact this whole situation will have on the business is going to be a lack of trust from advertizers in the company’s management to resolve it, but most importantly in their ability to recover from it and move the business forward.
  • The board continued support for Zuckerberg and Sandberg might also start to concern Washington who has started asking questions before the Midterms and will only escalate as we get closer to the 2020 Presidential elections.

Google Maps New Features

Last year Google enabled users in select countries to message businesses from the Business Profiles on Google. Sending messages to businesses gives you the opportunity to ask questions without having to make a phone call. Now you’ll see your messages with the businesses you connect with via Business Profiles within the Google Maps app, where you’re already looking for things to do and places to go or shop.

Via Google 

  • Google announced that this feature will be coming last spring at Google I/O and I thought it made a great deal of sense.
  • Keeping users inside the app to get more information makes perfect sense and in a world where it seems we all prefer to message than talk so does letting you message the store to save you a call.
  • I also like the thinking behind keeping messaging businesses separate from personal messaging so there are no concerns about accidentally messaging a business rather than a personal contact
  • Of course, Google wants you to message rather than call not just cause they want to make your life easier. If you call the business there is no direct way for Google to use the information you share to improve the service, something they can do with messaging. Think for instance if you are asking about whether or not there is parking at a store. Once you get your answer that information could be added to maps for other users to know without having to ask.
  • All that said, there is a concern that I share with some who have reviewed the new feature that maps is turning into a huge source of information at the expense of the very thing they were designed for: navigation
  • Users can find the new richness of Maps overwhelming. More importantly, with more information displayed on the map core information like street names have less space making reading the map harder.
  • It will be very interesting also to see how this feature is enabled within Android Auto. I would expect that for legal reasons that messaging will only be supported by voice which might lead some users to revert to calling the business for a more straightforward exchange
  • It is always hard to find the right balance between offering more information and keeping things visually simple for straightforward navigation and this is especially true with maps. I have always been a fan of Google maps because it gives me more so I am eager to test if more is just becoming too much!



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Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

2 thoughts on “News that Caught My Eye: Week of Nov. 16, 2018”

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