If driving to a store and waving your phone by a terminal puts too much sweat on your brow, American Express has launched a new way to part with your money in exchange for physical goods that’s even more effortless. Since last year, Amex Sync has let American Express cardholders earn discounts in return for posting tweets including hashtags about certain products, and now it’s letting them buy things just by tweeting special hashtags. After signing up for the service, users can send out a tweet with a hashtag such as #BuyAmexGiftCard25, reply to the @AmexSync account to confirm their purchase and wait for the package to arrive via free 2-day shipping. As of now, the outfit is offering a $25 American Express gift card for $15, but will being offering up new products, ranging from a Kindle Fire HD to an Xbox 360, with sweetened prices starting February 13 at noon EST. Not a Twitter user? According to AllThingsD, Leslie Berland, Amex’s SVP of digital partnerships and development, says the solution will head to the likes of Facebook and other platforms at some point as well.
Filed under: Internet
Amazon’s got a new way to buy stuff for anyone who has a Kindle Fire. Amazon Coins are a virtual currency that will come out in May, and work for all app and in-app purchases on the Kindle Fire.
The Coins will function exactly the same as real money, and developers will still get their standard cut. Amazon thinks it will help drive more business, and that makes some sense. Especially with apps and games for kids, it seems like a nice addition where you can maybe set up a Coins purse without allowing access to another payment method. And since Amazon will obviously never stop accepting real money—unlike virtual currency-only merchants like Xbox Live—you don’t have quite the locked-in headache here, either. [Amazon]
This chart shows trailing 4 quarter profits for Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices group, which includes smartphones and the Xbox. (Using T4 smooths the profit spikes that happen every holiday season, which is the second quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year.)
After years of losses, the E&D group was consistently in the black. In the 2010 holiday season (Q2’11) Microsoft introduced Kinect, driving profits even higher.
But a year later, Microsoft began paying Nokia $250 million every quarter for carrying Windows Phone 8. In exchange, Nokia pays Microsoft a license fee (estimated at under $20) for every Windows Phone it sells. (The arrangement between the two has other elements as well, like technology sharing.)
Unfortunately, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, is selling poorly. So poorly, in fact, that the company just cut its price in half.
So Nokia helped send the E&D back into the red — it’s lost more than $200 million in each of the last two quarters. If Windows Phone sales don’t pick up, E&D will turn into a consistent money loser again.
Nielsen report finds 56 percent of US households have a modern game console, total gaming time up seven percent
A few other tidbits: 65 percent of consoles are located in the living room, online shopping for games is up while other channels continue to decline, and streaming video continues to be a growing secondary use for game consoles (particularly on the Wii, where it accounts for 33 percent of console usage, compared to roughly 15 percent on both the Xbox 360 and PS3).
Nielsen report finds 56 percent of US households have a modern game console, total gaming time up seven percent originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Mar 2012 14:40:00 EDT. Please see our term! s for us e of feeds.
Two bits of news came out yesterday that illustrate how far ahead Microsoft is in the battle for the living room.
First, Microsoft announced it had sold 1.7 million Xboxes in November. That includes 1 million in the week of Thanksgiving.
The firm says that sales of those devices will reach 12 million in 2011, with Apple TV shipping 4 million.
In other words, Microsoft sold more Xboxes in a single week than Apple sells in an average quarter. And Apple is the market leader in that “connected TV players” space. At least when you ignore game consoles.
This isn’t to pick on Apple. It’s simply to point out that Microsoft’s “Trojan horse” strategy with the Xbox has worked amazingly well.
And this was absolutely part of Microsoft’s strategy from the beginning — way back in 2005 before the Xbox 360 launched, Microsoft executives were talking about trying to expand the market beyond hardcore video gamers and turn it into a more general-purpose entertainment device. But Microsoft always knew it had to make a top-notch game console first to get the installed base, then add entertainment features over time.
It’s been doing that, quietly, for more than five years now and has sold almost 60 million Xboxes in the process. With the addition of a whole bunch of TV and other video content last week, the strategy has finally reached full fruition.
Apple, Google, and other connected TV companies could still have a chance if they team up with TV makers so the software is built into your new television set. But any company who hopes to compete with the Xbox by selling an add-on box that DOESN’T play games is in a deep state of denial.
- Microsoft Sold 1.7 Million Xbox 360 Consoles LAST MONTH
- Microsoft Wants TV Execs To Come Make Shows For Xbox
- THE MICROSOFT INVESTOR: Microsoft With Xbox Will Dominate Apple TV
While Microsoft‘s online division remains a money pit, the gaming division is starting to make a lot of money for Microsoft. Last night the company reported $679 million in operating income giving it a trailing-four-quarter profit just over $1 billion.
Considering the company lost money for years on the Xbox (we’re only showing part of the money burn), this is great news for shareholders, and it provides a sliver of a reason for optimism about the online division. Maybe it too will get turned around some day.
Sure, Microsoft may have given away its lead and legacy in mobile and probably jumped into too many hyper-competitive sectors, but they still have the widest reach in technology. And they’re still pretty damn successful.
In recent years, Microsoft may be a step or two behind, but they’re relevant in nearly every sector. And with Office 2010, a new Xbox 360, Kinect, and perhaps most importantly, Windows Phone 7, all receiving substantial upgrades this year, 2010 is shaping up to be absolutely huge for them. And that’s coming off a 2009 where Windows 7, Bing and the Zune HD were introduced. We’re just so used to Microsoft being around that we sort of take them for granted for all the good that they do.
So Microsoft revealed some numbers to serve as a reminder:
• 150 million Windows 7 licenses sold
• 7.1 million projected iPad sales in 2010
• 58 million projected netbook sales in 2010
• 355 million projected PC sales in 2010
• less than 10% of US netbooks ran Windows in 2008
• 96% of US netbooks ran Windows in 2009
• 16 million subscribers to the largest 25 US daily newspapers
• 14 million Netflix subscribers
• 23 million Xbox live subscribers
• 173 million Gmail users
• 284 million Yahoo Mail users
• 360 million Windows Live Hotmail users
• $5.7 billion Apple net income for fiscal year ending in Sept 2009
• $6.5 billion Google net income for fiscal year ending in Dec 2009
• $14.5 billion Microsoft net income for fiscal year ending in June 2009
Yes, they’re patting themselves on the back a bit but the numbers are just staggering. If you’ve forgotten, now you know: Microsoft will always be a very, very big deal. [Official Microsoft Blog via Bits]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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