New In Small Business Tech This Week: Microsoft Buys LinkedIn And Apple’s Going After PayPal

forbes_logo_main

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.

The software giant is paying a 50% premium over LinkedIn’s last closing price. Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, says: “Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works.”

Why this is important for your business:

I always thought LinkedIn would launch their own Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application. But instead, look for all this data from this hugely popular networking site to soon be available to Microsoft Office and Microsoft Dynamics CRM users. This will give Microsoft a huge edge over Salesforce.com and other competitors in the collaboration and CRM space and make their products extremely attractive to businesses like yours and mine. (Full disclosure: my company is a Microsoft partner and sells Microsoft Dynamics CRM).

2 – Apple Pay is coming to the Internet.

In a move against online payment giant PayPal, Apple announced that it is bringing its mobile payment system, Apple Pay, to websites, saying that users will soon be able to pay for mobile and desktop website purchases through Apple’s Safari browser.

Why this is important for your business:

No longer will your mobile customers have to go through the cumbersome process of filling out information again and again. Now your prospective buyers will find it easier to purchase your products online and while on their mobile devices. Apple Pay will be a viable alternative to PayPal for those users with iPhones. Verification will be done through fingerprints. If you’re an online retailer, make your plans to adopt this technology when it becomes more widely available.

3 – The Container Store is going big on wearables.

The popular retailer has been eyeball deep in a pilot program with a product called Theatro, which is a credit card-sized, WiFi-enabled, voice-controlled device that includes a broad suite of retailer applications.

Why this is important for your business:

Pay attention, merchants. According to the above report, “The wearable gives all employees immediate access to store resources such as inventory availability and status of pickup orders via a simple conversational voice user interface, providing us less wait time for customers and better staff productivity all around,” says an official from the company. “Employees can use the wearables apps to have one-to-one conversations, share expertise and product information, support one another, and guide new teammates all while remaining heads-up and hands-free.”

4 – Google releases an intelligent search app for businesses.

“Springboard” is described as a sort of digital assistant that “helps employees search through piles of documents in Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, Contacts and other apps. Much like Google Now, it also ‘assists you throughout your workday by proactively providing useful and actionable information and recommendations,’ according to the company.”
Why this is important for your business:

Why wouldn’t you have the fastest, most intelligent searching tools available to your people inside your company? Better searching through all data will only benefit you through improved productivity. And, it’s Google. I’m going to check it out…how about you?

5 – YouTube now makes it easier for small businesses to film ads from their phones.

new suite of “Director” tools launched by the company will make it easier for those of us without production capabilities to shoot and edit video ads that can run on YouTube.

Why this is important for your business:

Long have my clients looked to conquer the world of online video advertising only to be stopped by complexities and cost. We don’t have the money to hire experienced production people or advertising firms to do this like the big guys. YouTube’s new tools may help us solve this problem by allowing us to affordably create professional-looking video ads that will also create new business.

Finally, there’s a new add-in for Microsoft Outlook that will allow us to send our contacts beverages and treats via gift cards from Starbucks (as well as schedule meetings at a local Starbucks location). Why? Because it’s 2016.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: