Software

Chris Nuttall

Salesforce.com shares were back in positive territory on Wednesday – closing up 0.5 per cent at $37.95 – after an 8 per cent fall the previous day caused by its decision to spend $2.5bn on its biggest acquistion to date – ExactTarget.

Salesforce, whose CRM ticker name is an acronym for its business – customer relationship management, came to the market nine years ago as the leading exponent of a new way of working. Companies would subscribe to its online service through the internet cloud rather than run traditional software on their local machines. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.

Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more

Splashpath founder Dan Morgan (left) with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps

London startup Active in Time has taken the path less traveled to financing by licensing its Splashpath swim tracking app to Speedo. Read more

How profoundly will the new computing platform loosely known as “the cloud” disrupt the business software empires of companies like SAP and Oracle?

SAP went on the offensive this week, with the news that it would start running software for its customers in its own data centres. Hasso Plattner, SAP’s chairman and the man with the best claim to the title of Europe’s software visionary, called it the biggest thing from the German company since its flagship business applications software put it on the map 20 years ago.

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As India’s IT sector looks to new markets for growth, the country’s fourth largest IT company, Wipro, has announced that it will pay $30m for a minority stake in the privately held Opera Solutions, a US organisation that works in predictive and prescriptive data analytics.

That translates into helping companies use data to manage costs, risks and other areas of the business. It’s a high-value element of the IT sector that many Indian companies are trying to expand into as growth in other services has tailed off.

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Chris Nuttall

Adobe’s switch from boxed products to a software-as-a-service offering seems almost complete, with its Creative Cloud announcement at its annual Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles today.

Henceforth, development has been halted on the traditional Creative Suite product and users are being urged to switch to Cloud if they want any updates. Adobe sees its future here in a monthly subscription model, similar to Microsoft’s strategy with its Office 365 online productivity suite. Read more

Strike one up for the humble firewall, veteran of network security software.

McAfee, the 25-year-old security software maker founded by John McAfee and bought by Intel in 2011, has made a conditional offer for Finland’s Stonesoft, which makes military-grade firewalls for securing networks. Read more

By Andrew Betts of FT Labs

Google has announced a major change to its Chrome browser this week. While it represents a divergence in a key part of Chrome previously shared with Apple’s Safari browser, the move should enable Google ultimately to up its pace of innovation.

So for those who might think that a ‘rendering engine’ is a piece of farm machinery, we offer the following overview of this development, which represents a substantial fork in the road in the development of the web. Read more

Nick D'Aloisio, who sold his mobile news reader app Summly to Yahoo!

It is the story that became irresistible to investors, journalists and, ultimately, Yahoo: the wunderkind with the killer app who became an “overnight” millionaire. In London, where 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio lives, works and goes to school, his rise has also been seen as a sign that the city can rival Silicon Valley as a centre for tech and innovation.

Of course, the tale of the teenager and Summly, his iPhone newsreader for which Yahoo paid almost $30m this week, is more complicated than that. It illustrates that a catchy idea and a strong, global network are just as important as the underlying technology – if not more so. And it shows that while London is right to be excited about Silicon Roundabout, it remains the precocious adolescent to the Valley’s sophisticated adult.

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If Microsoft isn’t prepared to take a bet on the PC, then who is?

This explains why the world’s biggest software company is now considering dipping into its $67bn of cash reserves to back a buyout of Dell, a casualty of the fierce wars raging in the hardware industry.

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