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All posts by Steven Ambrose

Steven Ambrose
Steven Ambrose is a seasoned and experienced journalist, writer, reviewer, and commentator, and is intimately connected to all spheres of the South African media world - both in print and online, as well as TV and radio. As a chartered accountant, he brings with him many years of critical, objective and analytical thinking, and is often called on by the media for his analysis of key ICT-related technologies, trends, services, products and technology developments impacting business. Steven has been involved in technology from a young age making repairing and importing technology, which culminated in the creation of one of South Africa’s largest independent music distribution companies. Steven simultaneously founded and ran Ambiosonics a consumer electronics import and distribution company. Having sold the music and technology import and retail operation Steven embarked on a consulting career. Steven specializes in new technology and events in the online and telecommunications space, backed by solid, objective and accurate research-based analysis of trends. His key interests include trends in technology that will change our lives with impact on business and new media. Ambrose specializes in advising business on Technology lead strategies and systems. He frequently presents at numerous technology conferences, product launches and corporate events, most recently for Hitachi data Systems on Cloud and Big Data Analysis.
  • That free Wi-Fi we all love so much? Yeah, it’s never really free

    It’s become a thing. Free Wi-Fi for all is the new panacea for all broadband ills and will help the poor escape their plight, bring prosperity to those who seek it. Free Wi-Fi will cure all ills and save the day, along with all sorts of other promises. Simply put it’s the snake oil promises of 2014. There is nothing free about free Wi-Fi, yet “Free” initiative are proliferating across the country from minibus taxis to trendy streets in Durban. I have to admit it sounds good. There is no offer as good as a free one. The problem...

  • Satya Nadella: why Microsoft’s new CEO is an inspired business choice

    Public companies exist not to serve the public, a common mistake we all make, but the first and foremost the shareholders. Microsoft is no different in this respect. In the fast-moving and sexy world of technology, commentators and the public seem to forget this. The very public search for a new CEO at Microsoft highlighted the public's need to know, and speculate, on how this behemoth of a tech company, one that essentially reshaped technology for the everyman, was going to choose a successor to Steve Ballmer. The wait is over and a long time Microsofter in the form of...

  • Have sluggish smartphone sales left Samsung singing the blues?

    The results are in and reveal that Samsung had a fairly torrid fourth quarter of 2014. Smartphone competition has kicked in, and in its most hotly contested market, the USA, iPhone sales battered Samsung in the last quarter of the year. In the mobile communications division, sales were down seven percent quarter-on-quarter, with mobile sales down a bigger nine percent on a massive turnover of US$31.3-billion in sales. Traditionally the volume for Samsung has come from the low-end devices with the higher-end Galaxy range bringing in most of the profits. The mix in the USA is heavily weighted to higher end...

  • Google, Nest and the Internet of Things: welcome to your future

    Who does not know Google? It’s a brand that is etched into the consciousness of almost everybody who has touched a computer, smartphone, or tablet, in recent days. To bring the internet to as many people on the planet as they possibly can, Google has floated balloons across the sky allowing access to the internet in deep rural areas, along with many other initiatives. The Mountain View company has largely succeeded in blanketing the world with search, and it seems the sky is not the limit for its ambitions. A new term is also entering the consciousness of the connected,...

  • Can BlackBerry really find stability, lock up enterprise? [CES2014]

    On the fringes of the world’s largest technology showcase, CES in Las Vegas, BlackBerry’s new CEO laid out his plan for the ailing former giant of mobile communications. Addressing journalists from a number of emerging market countries, which are key for Blackberry, as they are the only ones showing any growth, John Chen appeared comfortable and confident. “I like the keyboard”, Chen stated before revealing that we will likely see some high-end devices from the Waterloo-based company soon. That one sentence clearly highlights the disconnect at BlackBerry. Keyboards are good, keyboards are fast, and keyboards are almost obsolete as an...

  • Less tech, more Louis Vuitton: welcome to the new Apple Inc

    The new Apple Inc. fully emerged at the October product announcement event, and a fascinating company it is too. Apple is looking more and more like the Louis Vuitton of the tech world. Like Louis Vuitton, Apple has become a premium lifestyle brand that most would love to own, but unlike Louis Vuitton many actually can. Nonetheless Apple is now a slick, almost bespoke operation with high quality products, services and retail environments, and operates all of them with polish and finesse. Tim Cook unleashed a massive range of updates on the hardware front, from cutting edge Macbooks to an...

  • BlackBerry, HTC squeezed tightest in consolidating mobile market

    Announcements by BlackBerry and HTC show the two companies are feeling the pressure and are likely to be increasingly marginalised into the future as consolidation in the mobile sector continues apace. BlackBerry and HTC have both released announcements highlighting how the mobile sector is being carved up by the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, while smaller players like BlackBerry and HTC are rapidly being squeezed out. The first announcement was put out by BlackBerry with ads in papers in seven separate countries as well as an online announcement, entitled, “You can continue to count on BlackBerry”. It’s a fairly...

  • It looks like BlackBerry has finally blown it

    I am an ardent fan of BlackBerry and its latest offerings, based on BlackBerry OS 10, were some of the easiest to use (and smartest) of the current batch of smartphones. Even before the recent job cuts and the pending acquisition, BlackBerry have had a tough ride the past few years. Its older OS, BB7, was way overdue for a replacement and OS 10 took three years too long to come to market. BlackBerry experienced a number of system failures that left its faithfully out of touch for far too long, and to compound that, BlackBerry carried on as...

  • Is it all over for Apple?

    Apple's low key announcement of the new iPhone 5S and multi-coloured iPhone 5C came and went without much fanfare. The technology press certainly weren’t impressed and market commentators were indifferent. Does this spell the beginning of the end for Apple? The answer is clearly no. Why? Because Apple are actually selling more iPhones globally than ever before. In fact, Apple gained market share in the United States (USA) in the quarter before the announcement of the iPhone 5S. And so while the Apple share price is down from its recent highs and the easily bored technorati are complaining, Apple’s loyal...

  • Microsoft’s Nokia purchase will change the technology landscape and its own future

    Microsoft has announced that it intends to buy Nokia’s devices and services business for €5.4-billion. In one fell swoop Microsoft has reshaped the technology landscape and its own business for the foreseeable future. Steve Ballmer recently announced the reorganisation of Microsoft to focus on devices and services. That focus had a deep flaw and analysts were quick to point out that Microsoft had no real depth or expertise in supply chain management and distribution. This made its problems in the hardware side of the business, with Zune, the abortive Kin mobile phones, and far more significantly the Surface tablet billion...

  • The man who missed the boat: how do we judge Steve Ballmer’s legacy?

    Like so many big tech companies, Microsoft started out as just a couple of guys in a garage. Back in the 1970s Bill Gates and Paul Allen conceived a small start-up called Microsoft. The rest, as they say, is history. The latest chapter of that history however is set to draw to a close in the near future. Steve Ballmer, the CEO of the world-changing -- and for many world-defining -- company called Microsoft has announced his retirement. The Microsoft share price jumped upwards on the news, unlike when Bill Gates announced his resignation. The market clearly knows that which...

  • 2013: an Xbox One Odyssey

    Software and services no longer, it’s all about devices and services for Microsoft and the new Xbox One from Microsoft showcases the future of computing. The red glowing eye and the dulcet tones of HAL in 2001 a Space Odyssey has finally come to life in the latest console from Microsoft. To call the Xbox One a gaming console is a massive understatement of its abilities as well as being a small reflection of its true power and purpose.

  • Facebook is not the internet: why Home isn’t the new face of Android

    Clever move by Facebook. Launching an app on Android that takes over the device and makes it a comfy home for Facebook. And to boot, they called it Facebook Home. Should Google be worried? Should anyone else be concerned for that matter? All these are pertinent questions and the advice ranges from “very”, to “not at all”, for Google and anyone else. Upfront, I am in the “not at all” camp. Facebook Home is Facebook’s latest attempt at gaining significant relevancy, and revenue, in the mobile world. It is an admittedly clever move to make the Facebook app and ecosystem...

  • Want proof that Google’s falling foul of its own success? Look at the Galaxy S4

    Let’s make a mobile OS that will rival Apple's iOS, and let’s give it away for free. Clever thinking by Google, at the time. As of early 2013, Google’s Android operating system has come to massively dominate smartphones worldwide, with Samsung taking the lion’s share of this dominance. The irony is almost palpable. Google has done a magnificent job. Android 4.2.2 is almost every bit as good as anything else on the market (read: iOS, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, and the others). Google Play is as big as the Apple App store, and as full of good quality apps. Google...

  • Apple Inc: a tale of two universes

    Business success may well be defined by key indicators such as rising profits for 10 years, growing turnover over the same time period, market share that continues to climb and general acclaim for the products and services your business produces. Apple, by the above definition, is clearly a business success story, and then some. The Cupertino-based giant's share price has gone from US$119 in 2008 to US$458 in early 2013. More critically, it has grown by 249% in five years compared to the average on the NASDAQ exchange of 34%. Apple has grown almost seven and a half times...