Luxoft data revealed

October 17, 2013

Luxoft IPOI stumbled upon Luxoft earnings call transcript recently. If you are into outsourced software development like I am, then you’ll find this transcript to be pure gold. Public companies are required to disclose much more information than private ones. Even though the revealed information is not supposed to harm the company and give any edge to its competitors, it is still really interesting stuff. At the very least, you can compare industry leader’s metrics to your own, and sometimes learn useful practices. The entire F1Q 2014 Results Earnings Call Transcript is huge, so I’m going to list most interesting points here:

total of 6161 personnel, 5213 of them IT, utilization is about 80%, $83.8 million revenue for quarter. This single line contains like 5 key metrics of an outsourced software development company.

– 40% of the revenue come from US, 30% from UK, 15% from Germany, and 9% from Russia;

– top 5 clients bring 72% of the revenue;

– Deutsche Bank is the largest client responsible for about 30% of total revenue, UBS second at 19%;

– trade receivables are roughly equal to the quarterly revenue;

– wage inflation in the company is about 6-7% last year and is similar this year;

– they say about less than 10% on-site vs off-site presence for their clients and claim this to be a competitive advantage, not sure that it’s completely true nor if it is actually an advantage;

And finally, one more golden quote: “Our GAAP effective tax rate for the first quarter was 5.6%. We have been able to lower our effective tax rate due to successful completion of tax restructuring, involving migration of contracts to Swiss operational headquarters.


Amazon adds “Help me!” button to its Fire tablets

October 6, 2013

The button is actually called “Mayday” – this is a new Amazon-MayDay-Buttonbig new feature Amazon added its Fire line of tablets. While general public rarely hears this word (normally only in movies), it is a well-known emergency procedure word, used to signal a life-threatening emergency primarily by mariners and aviators.

The button is supposed to take you to live video support. A video chat window opens on the screen. You see the person, but she can’t see you. That person can see the screen of your device and therefore help you to figure out the problem you are supposedly having.

Now this is some real innovation going on in the tablets market. I don’t know how it is going to work out for Amazon’s customers, but this feature has even greater potential for the enterprise use. And if we take it a bit further…

Say you have a problem with the car. You press a button on the car dash panel and get a “Mayday”-like service from your car dealer! The person from the dealership would be able to read data from the car’s computer real-time, thus being able to pretty much accurately determine the reason for a malfunction and whether there is a quick fix for it. This is pretty much the same as they have it on Formula-1 cars, but this time it’s for everyone. Wouldn’t it be great?!



Windows 8 adoption rate is poor

March 10, 2013

Windows 8 vs Vista adoption numbersZDNet created a nice graph comparing Windows 8 adoption rate with that of Windows Vista. If the figures are true, they spell big trouble. Windows Vista was far from being popular comparing to other Windows OSes, but  Windows 8 is setting a new record of unpopularity. ZDNet offers a list of five reasons about what’s wrong with Windows 8. However, it all boils down to a single issue: the Intel based PCs is the core Windows 8 market and Windows 8 doesn’t offer enough innovation for that market. Instead, it breaks good things with the new interface.

More interesting numbers to come out in the nearest months for sure.

Microsoft Office to be released on Linux?

February 10, 2013

microsoft office on linuxIn a surprising news, apparently Microsoft is looking at releasing a Linux version of Office in 2014. With all due respect to Linux and its fans, the platform is hardly a lucrative market for Microsoft today. There are however some significant changes to come. Many governments throughout the world are pushing the open-source software to be used in public and quasi-public sectors. There is an official plan to move to the open source software in Russian Federation by 2015. There are initiatives like this in other countries as well. I am not going to argue whether it’s a good decision or bad, but it will definitely have a tremendous impact on the software sales by Microsoft in the years to come. After we take this movement into account, the decision to migrate Office to Linux might not be weird after all. There is one little problem though. Simply migrating Office to Linux won’t be enough. The Microsoft Office has to be open-sourced in order to be eligible. Open-sourced Microsoft Office? I said it was a surprising news…

Yandex beats Bing to become 4th largest search engine

February 9, 2013

yandexWow, nobody saw that coming!

Yandex surpassed Bing on the number of monthly search queries in November and December 2012. You might think (as I first did) that it happened in some local market, say ex-USSR territory or something. However, the figures are for the worldwide number of queries.

Now that’s just embarrassing. You would think with all the money Microsoft throws to buy users, they’d get higher in the online search game, not lower. Congratulations to the Yandex team though!

Microsoft shuts down Live Mesh

January 27, 2013

live mesh cancelledMicrosoft  is set to kill Live Mesh in two weeks. I’ve been using Live Mesh for years. It’s been a great tool, even though it didn’t make an appearance on the mobile platform. It seems that things are not that bad for Live Mesh users, because Microsoft offers to migrate them to Skydrive. The problem is that Skydrive has been seriously dumbed down compared to Live Mesh, to the point of being unusable. Several advanced features are absent from Skydrive, including direct PC-to-PC sync and ability to sync any folder on the computer. Microsoft is well aware of this problem and of the fact that the users are revolting. Count me as one of those users. I removed Live Mesh, but didn’t install Skydrive. I installed SugarSync, and it is an awesome product.

I use it to sync my Onenote files between PCs and an Android phone, and use MobileNoter to work with the notes. It all works like a charm.

Farewell HTML5

December 16, 2012

facebook ditches HTML5So much for the “new hope of mobile app development” – Facebook released an updated app for Android, which replaces the webview/HTML5 architecture with a totally native implementation. The remake significantly improves the speed and overall slickness of the app, finally making it usable on Android. While we learned that HTML5 is bad for mobile a long time ago, it’s nice to see Facebook thinking the same. Also, in case you are wondering: yes, MobileNoter for Android is totally native too.