Is Apple’s dispute with Microsoft over Skydrive for IOS forcing Microsoft to focus more on HTML5?

SkyDrive

Last month, we heard that the cause of the delay to updates to a number of Microsoft applications (like SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro) on the IOS App Store was a dispute between Apple and Microsoft over Apple’s insistence that all app developers who monetize their Apps that have been downloaded from the Apple App Store pay Apple a 30% royalty fee.

For those developers who post free apps to the App Store, they have nothing to worry about.  However, Apple is now starting to hone in on those developers that use the App Store as a free channel to market by publishing ‘free’ apps that later require the user to pay a fee or licence to the developer.  Apple says that these in-app fees and purchases should be subject to the same 30% royalty payment as Apps that are paid for directly in the App Store marketplace.

This is a big problem for Microsoft and other App developers because Apple’s terms and conditions, which Apple states are uniform for all developers, require the developer to pay Apple a 30% margin on all in-app purchases, upgrades, enhancements, etc. – in perpituity; even if the end user switches to another mobile platform in the future.

Microsoft has found this condition quite hard to digest as you might imagine and now finds itself in a state of limbo as far as its portfolio of IOS apps are concerned.  For instance, the IOS SkyDrive app has a new version ready to be deployed with important feature and security updates, but it has not been published to the IOS App Store yet.

Enter HTML5 Apps
Coincidentally, Microsoft recently announced major new enhancements to its HTML5 version of SkyDrive, supporting swiping gestures and drag and drop features that many would only think possible with native device applications.

So, has Microsoft begun the process of by-passing native application App Stores to focus on rich cross-platform HTML5 mobile web applications?  In reality, the answer in the short term is probably not, but they are certainly pursuing a multi-channel mobile strategy that will make the HTML5 option more attractive in the future, particularly if it means having to avoid costly fees to App Store operators.

In the enterprise space however, we see HTML5 applications having a much more powerful impact.  HTML5 mobile applications are the only true way for a CIO to implement an all-inclusive BYOD or cross-platform mobile strategy economically and they do not require costly investments in Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructures.

Check out www.azurati.com to see how HTML5-based mobile applications are being used in the enterprise to transform the productivity of mobile business users.

 

Azurati webinar: Deploying secure HTML5 mobile applications to any mobile device

Friday, January 11, 2013

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Are you considering deploying mobile versions of your enterprise applications, like Microsoft SharePoint or other line of business applications, to your users?

Gartner estimates that by the end of 2014, 70% of companies will have deployed an enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Azurati is a leader in providing secure, cross-platform enterprise mobile applications.  Join this webinar to learn more about how we can help you to deliver on your enterprise mobility strategy.

During the webinar we will talk about:

1. Mobile user authentication and security
2. Mobile-enabling core enterprise systems, like Microsoft SharePoint
3. Developing new HTML5 cross-platform mobile apps faster with Azurati ASAP

Who should attend?
This webinar will appeal to IT professionals, business executives and systems integrators who are looking at deploying secure cross-platform mobile applications to enterprise users.

Title: Deploying secure HTML5 enterprise applications on any mobile device
Date: Wednesday, January 23 2013
Time:     08:00  Los Angeles

11:00  New York

16:00 London

17:00 Paris

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BYOD-ready mobile SharePoint with Azurati SharePoint2Go

Video demonstration of Azurati SharePoint2Go, a secure HTML5 cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution.

Contact Azurati via http://www.azurati.com for more information about how you can deploy mobile SharePoint as part of your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Nielson Norman announce 10 best Intranets; mobile still lagging behind

Nielson Norman Group, a leading Intranet design and consulting firm, have just published their annual top 10 Intranets study; an annual review of the top 10 corporate intranet sites from companies around the world.

Nielsen Norman’s top 10 best designed intranets for 2013 are:

1. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. Biotechnology USA
2. American International Group, Inc. Insurance USA
3. AT&T Telecommunications USA
4. Hager Group Manufacturing Germany
5. Luzerner Kantonalbank AG Financial Services Switzerland
6. ONO Telecommunications Spain
7. Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) Governmental Agency Saudi Arabia
8. Swiss Mobiliar Insurance and Pensions Insurance Switzerland
9. WorkSafeBC Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia Canada
10. XL Group Plc Insurance Ireland

Interesting points to note from the report are that, according to Nielsen Norman, over 70% of corporate intranets are built on a Microsoft SharePoint platform, and mainly due to the fact that corporate intranets take a very long time to develop and perfect (an average of 26.5 months or 2.3 years), mobile enablement of corporate intranets is seriously lagging behind other new features, like Social Collaboration.

This means that many corporate intranets are failing to address the needs of a growing number of users who want to be able to access corporate information and knowledge on mobile devices.  Gartner estimates that by the end of 2014, 70% of enterprises will have implemented a BYOD strategy and the corporate intranet is one of the most obvious enterprise resources that should be made available on mobile devices.

The report lists common mobile barriers as being:

  • Security concerns
  • Difficulty of choosing a platform
  • Lack of resources to create and maintain mobile builds
  • Uncertainty about whether to implement a full feature set with a good mobile user experience or an app for particular tasks

Creating mobile SharePoint intranets
As with all things software, there will always be the debate as to whether one should build and develop a bespoke solution, or whether a commercial off-the-shelf solution would make better commercial sense. The same will undoubtedly be the same when you come around to considering mobile-enabling your SharePoint-based intranet.

Azurati SharePoint2Go_compared_with Standard_SharePoint

Our (biased) counsel, would be to refrain from custom development of mobile interfaces with SharePoint.  It is a fairly well known issue that Microsoft has not done a good job with the standard mobile templates that ship with SharePoint.  Even with SharePoint 2013, developers are dissuaded from branding and customising the standard mobile templates that ship with SharePoint.  In addition, new mobile templates need to be developed for each form-factor that is released, which can lead to prohibitive on-going costs of maintenance and support.  That is why solutions like Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution is able to deliver mobile enabled SharePoint that will work seamlessly on any mobile device in five minutes.

Not only does SharePoint2Go deliver an instant cross-platform mobile solution for SharePoint intranets, it also includes over 15 options to authenticate your mobile users securely; with everything from forms-based authentication to 2-factor built in to SharePoint2Go’s administrator wizards.

SharePoint2Go your way
If your SharePoint intranet is heavily customised with value-adding functions that make your desktop version of your intranet a productive experience (like company news, people finders, document repositories, management dashboards, etc.), SharePoint2Go can be extended by developers to create mobile versions of custom SharePoint web parts – we call them V-Parts.  V-Parts can be designed to be used within the mobile SharePoint interface, or as stand-alone full-screen mobile applications that can operate in offline mode as well as online.

As an HTML5 mobile application that is accessible via the mobile device’s browser, SharePoint2Go will work with feature-parity on any mobile device, no matter what the market throws at you; making it the ideal solution to complement your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Find out more
If you are looking to mobile-enable your SharePoint intranet and you are looking for a solution that:

  • is built with enterprise security in mind
  • will work on any mobile device or form factor, with feature-parity, and will therefore complement your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy
  • will not require costly internal development teams to develop and maintain your mobile environment, or costly Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, get in touch with Azurati.

To find out more about Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution for mobile-enabling Microsoft SharePoint and to request a free 14 day trial, contact info@azurati.com or visit www.azurati.com.

New year; new enhancements for Azurati’s enterprise mobility solutions

The development team at Azurati would even have impressed Santa’s Elves this Holiday season with the raft of new exciting innovations and enhancements that they have managed to roll-out to support our secure, cross-platform mobile enterprise proposition.

Today, we are excited to announce a number of new innovations that have not previously been available to any enterprise mobile users, which we hope will boost the adoption of HTML5-based mobile applications in the enterprise:

Azurati Mobile Portal
The Azurati Mobile Portal provides a new way for enterprise users to access HTML5-based mobile applications securely from any mobile device.  With the Azurati Mobile Portal, enterprise users are able to authenticate themselves once and then use the Mobile Portal interface as an HTML5 mobile application launchpad, enabling mobile apps to be launched with secure single sign-on.

Azurati Mobile Portal for HTML5 mobile applications

The Azurati Mobile Portal is great for both IT and the mobile user community because it provides a secure environment to access HTML5 mobile applications that can be centrally controlled (without needing expensive Mobile Device Management solutions).

HTML5 mobile applications are published to the Azurati Mobile Portal via the Azurati ASAP mobile application platform.

Azurati Apps
Azurati Apps are HTML5 applications that can be developed as cross-platform mobile applications from the ground-up, or as cross-platform mobile versions of existing enterprise software applications.

What’s more, for the first time, Microsoft SharePoint users who frequently access custom developed Web Parts in SharePoint, can create specific full-screen mobile applications from Web Parts that can be accessed via the Azurati Mobile Portal.  Examples of these may be Staff Contact lists, Product data lists, Company news and discussions, etc.

Azurati Apps

Azurati Apps can be developed to support Dynamic Offline access so that mobile users can continue to work and be productive even when Internet connectivity is lost.

Enhancements to Azurati V-Parts in SharePoint2Go
Azurati has made a number of enhancements to our V-Part architecture that now makes it easier than ever to convert custom developed SharePoint Web Parts and access them via Azurati’s cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution, SharePoint2Go.

If you find that the true value in SharePoint is not in its out-of-the-box feature set, but in the custom developed Web Parts and SharePoint apps (like Staff contact lists, project task lists, company news, BI reports, sales pipeline data, etc.), then for the first time, you will be able to continue to use these functions

Live editing of documents from SharePoint2Go
A common request from Azurati customers was the ability to edit documents from SharePoint2Go.  Up until now, this has been technically complex because of the fact that SharePoint2Go is a mobile web application.  However, we are pleased to announce a new capability that will allow live editing of documents from SharePoint2Go using Microsoft Office Web Apps on iPads.

The following screenshots show how this works (click images to view enlarged view):

1. Select document from library

Azurati doc live edit 1

2. Select Edit Document

Azurati doc live edit 2

3. Edit document in Microsoft Web Apps (this requires a valid user licence for Office Web Apps)

Azurati doc live edit 4 4. Save document

azurati doc live edit 5 5. Document edits are saved back to SharePoint2Go

azurati doc live edit 6

SharePoint2Go On-Premise deployments
We are pleased to announce also, that we are now able to offer On-Premise deployments of SharePoint2Go in addition to our standard Microsoft Azure Cloud option.  Enterprise customers who feel that they are unable to make use of Cloud-based services may install the Azurati SharePoint2Go server on internal servers behind the corporate firewall.

More information about Azurati
If you are considering HTML5-based mobile applications as part of your enterprise mobility strategy or if you would like to understand more about any of these announcements and Azurati’s HTML5 enterprise mobility solutions, please contact us via www.azurati.com.

So, was Facebook wrong about HTML5?

When Mark Zuckerberg publicly dumped HTML5 earlier in 2012, saying that ‘it was not ready’, many in the mobile applications development community sighed in disappointment and frustration; including the folks at Sencha, a mobile development platform provider for HTML5 developers.

So, Sencha decided to prove Facebook wrong by building their own replica HTML5 mobile web version of Facebook, called Fastbook that goes to show that it was not HTML5 per se that had previously caused Facebook’s mobile app speed and response times, but probably more to do with how Facebook had originally used HTML5 in their generation 1 mobile application.

fastbook-hero

“When a team has problems with HTML5, it usually stems from the fact that they take a “website” development approach to building an app, and often don’t use the right tools and architectures for application development. This is what we suspected about the Facebook HTML5 app”, says Jamie Avins of Sencha.

Fastbook is accessed via the mobile device’s browser and is truly impressive.  IOS users can save an application icon/badge to their iPhone/iPad homescreen, so it appears just like other native mobile applications.  It is fast and includes all of the key features of the original Facebook mobile application, but now instantly accessible on all mobile devices and platforms.

Try it for yourself by going to http://fb.html5isready.com/ on your mobile device.

FastBook is a great Showcase of the capabilities of HTML5, showing that you can develop fast, feature-rich mobile applications that will work on a single code-base across different mobile platforms.

HTML5 mobile applications in the enterprise
In the enterprise space, Azurati has been promoting the adoption of HTML5 mobile web applications for some time.  HTML5 applications should be considered by CIOs as a viable alternative to native mobile applications, for certain types of enterprise mobile applications.  For a start, mobile web applications do not require expensive Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructures.

However HTML5 web applications that require user authentication in the enterprise space suffer from a common issue and that is that the user either needs to bookmark the mobile app (like a website), or the user needs to remember the URL of the mobile app – if using a non-IOS device.  Azurati has come up with a unique solution to this that we call the Azurati Mobile Portal.

Azurati Mobile Portal for HTML5 mobile applications

Azurati users are able to access enterprise HTML5 mobile web applications securely and conveniently from a single mobile portal interface.  Users authenticate themselves once and can then open verified mobile applications from the Mobile Portal with Single Sign-On, providing a more secure solution for IT and a better user experience for the end user.

For further information on how to use development tools like Sencha Touch to publish HTML5 applications to the Azurati Mobile Portal, visit www.Azurati.com.