Author: Charles King

Charles King, Pund-IT’s president and principal analyst, has deep communications expertise that makes him a valuable and trusted asset for clients. In addition, Charles regularly speaks with the mainstream and technical media on topics from emerging IT products to continuing market trends.

Though it slipped beneath some radars during CES 2019, the full implications of a Microsoft announcement reemerged a week later at the National Retail Federation (NRF2019) conference in New York. In the original press release, Microsoft and Kroger announced Retail as a Service (RaaS) solutions they’ll develop together which the pair believes “will redefine” the retail customer experience. The companies demonstrated the new solutions at NRF2019. Plus, Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, discussed the effort during his conference keynote. Is this a big deal? Given the size of the companies involved, maybe so. But it also highlights the current…

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The IT industry absolutely loves new products and technical achievements but like any obsession, it occasionally turns pathological. A good example is the assumed superiority of emerging technologies over well-established products and services. As a result, leading vendors, like IBM, Cisco and Oracle are regularly depicted as circling the drain due to ascendant plucky upstarts. Oft times, these breathless claims carry more than a hint of competitive wishful thinking, like the past quarter century of claims that IBM’s mainframe business is on the verge of collapse. Despite the melodrama, these vendors (with a few tweaks and adjustments) continue to motor…

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There are numerous ways to screw-up classic or iconic products but two come immediately to mind. First, a vendor can treat the device like a holy relic, scrupulously avoiding changes so the thing loses its allure and drifts in irrelevance. Alternatively, a maker can mistake ephemeral trends for valuable innovations, eventually erasing what made the product great in the first place. However, a few vendors handle the process pretty seamlessly, managing to maintain iconic elements while keeping products contemporary and up-to-date. With that point in mind, let’s look at Dell’s XPS 15 2-in-1 which extends the company’s XPS line with…

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“May you live in interesting times” is an ancient Chinese curse that’s often perfectly suited for the tech sector and vendors. A recent example is the painful past few months suffered by Intel. That began with the surprise exit of CEO Brian Krzanich whose resignation was requested by Intel’s board of directors after an internal probe found that he had engaged in a consensual relationship with a subordinate, which the company said violated its anti-fraternization policy. Since then, Intel shares have trended steadily downward until its recent quarterly (Q3 2018) earnings report reenergized buyers. The sources of Intel’s good fortunes,…

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The IT industry loves to hype new technologies—no surprise there. But during the past decade many of these promotional efforts has been throttled by what might be called the “iPhone Effect.” That’s the case when vendors pitch new technologies to consumers first, no matter how well-suited they may or may not be for those purposes. You can see why this happens. With the iPhone, Apple created an essentially new market for web-enabled apps and content that eventually led the company to unimaginable riches. Problem is that few, if any, other technologies have caught eve a small portion of the iPhone’s…

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A confluence of IT trends and achievements have made AI more achievable and affordable than ever before. That’s certainly good news, but it’s also wise to remember that AI announcements typically mirror a company’s specific talents and skills. So, in AI, silicon vendors might focus on the importance of their products in machine learning performance. Or software vendors may tout the value their frameworks, algorithms and models bring to the AI table. All fine and good, since artificial intelligence is a very large pool with space for lots of talent. But keenly focusing on smaller, often esoteric elements can make…

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The commonplace role of strategic partnerships in IT industry is easy to understand. The fact is that most computing solutions are so inherently complex that single vendors have a tough time meeting the needs of myriad specific markets. But though they’re usually well-intentioned, some of these efforts fail totally. Why so? Some are built on faulty assumptions or are badly crafted. Others founder when one or another partner changes course or can’t deal with rapidly shifting circumstances. But many strategic collaborations do succeed, especially those whose partners are well-matched from the get-go, that share common goals and pursue individual efforts…

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For a technology that gets more than its fair share of media and other attention, the Internet of Things (IoT) tends to deliver way less substance than its vocal evangelists promise. Why so? Two reasons spring immediately to mind. First, the raft of so-called Smart Home consumer devices that have come and mostly gone outweigh the progress in promising areas, including enterprise IoT. In fact, compelling and commercially sustainable IoT market opportunities mostly reside in vertical industry use cases. More importantly, effective IoT solutions are far more complicated and require greater knowledge and expertise than any single vendor possesses. In…

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Household appliances are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget the lengthy, difficult road most travel  to success and longevity. Sometimes challenges arise that are simple matters of changing taste, like transition from the Autumn Gold and Avocado Green kitchen appliances of the 1970s to contemporary consumers’ preferences for stainless steel. In other cases—rotary dial telephone handsets are a good example—core design points can last for decades that also masking massive behind the scenes evolution in supporting infrastructures. Compute-enabled smart home concepts and products have been around for over two decades but most failed due to high cost and innate…

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It’s hardly a surprise that the past decade has been fraught for Windows PCs and their makers whose problems began with Apple’s proactive push into mobile computing. That started with the 2007 iPhone launch and, a year later, the introduction of the MacBook Air. By the time Steve Jobs rolled-out the iPad in 2010, the company’s fanbois and climbers-on were loudly proclaiming that the “death of the PC” was imminent. But like a lot of other short-sighted visionaries, death of the PC cultists and their backers failed to take a long-view of real world PC customers. That the supposed tablet…

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