From Hotmail to Outlook:

The on-going saga for the hearts and e-mail addresses of the population took a step up on Tuesday as Microsoft announced that it will be replacing its Hotmail email service with outlook.com. The new service will contain many of the same features as the latest version of Hotmail but with a cleaner inbox containing fewer and smaller ads. This is in an attempt to compete with Google’s Gmail, which has gained significant market share (second only to Hotmail) since its 2004 launch.  As well as being avid users of both services we find this development very interesting because it shows that even the biggest brands need to undergo change in order to compete. Users are reporting that Hotmail’s brand is tired and decidedly “unhip” while the Gmail brand is seen as trendy. Microsoft has, at least from a branding perspective, thrown out the old model and started fresh.  A personal poll around the office has positive things to say about the new look. What do you think? Would you make the change to get @outlook.com? Would you use it on a resume? Let us know!

$Cashtag

The latest and greatest from the world of social media comes from Twitter and their recent announcement of a new hashtag, called Cashtag. While this sounds like something Pauly D might be pumping it may prove very useful for anyone who is looking to stay informed on the goings-on of their favourite business. As reported by Bloomberg it works like this. Say you are looking to stay on-top of the latest news about Facebook. You would look up their stock ticker symbol (in this case FB) and include a dollar sign before it like this: $FB. This would send you to an internal page with tweets from anyone who has referenced the cashtag just as a normal hashtag would. You are probably wondering, ‘why not just #facebook’? For something as easy as facebook , that is true. However, with something a little more ambiguous one can see the value. For example: GM can reference both General Mills and more commonly General Motors. So the real value here is that twitter is making it official in a way that is unique to every company.

India: A long-term project

We have put a large focus on China in this blog as an emerging economy with an increasingly westernized consumer population. To switch things up we are going to turn the focus on India, albeit, for the wrong reasons. On Monday and Tuesday of this week India saw massive power outages across the country, affecting some 680 million people. To put this number in perspective, imagine the entire continent of North America going dark not once but twice in one week (by population, not area). While small outages are common, these blackouts serve as a reminder that India’s basic infrastructure is lacking considering the size of the population. Moving forward, massive investments in roads, ports, and power networks need to be made in order to make the country more attractive for foreign companies looking to tap into India’s 1.2 billion person population. Now, before we condemn India entirely we need to consider the positives for foreign businesses. India has a huge consumer market and by association a large working population. Long-term projections put the middle class at 40% of the population in the next 15 years. While investments can be made in infrastructure over time, you can’t buy these kinds of numbers. To sum it up, India’s potential depends on your outlook and time frame with any investment favouring a long-term outlook. So whether you consider India a fruit too far up the tree or a country with untapped potential it is important to remember that developing economies are just that, developing.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to follow us at @ActiveIntlCA