News Scan: Microsoft to lay off 14% of workforce; Connected car services to generate $17B in 2018; more

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>> Microsoft to lay off 14% of workforce over next year

After weeks of rumors, Microsoft made it official. The firm Microsoft announced Thursday that it is laying off up to 18,000 workers, or around 14 percent of its workforce, over the next year. Most of those cuts will come from the Nokia handset business, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year. Microsoft will immediately begin the process of cutting the first 13,000 positions, CEO Satya Nadella said in an email to employees released by the company. Read more.

[More on Microsoft: Microsoft stresses mobile, cloud initiatives at WPC following reports of massive layoffs | HP, Microsoft, Intel team on mobility]

>> Location-based push notifications will be the mobile marketing rage this holiday

Location-based push notifications will be a popular mobile marketing strategy this holiday season, according to a report by Mobile Marketer. "Coordinating with other mobile marketing tactics such as SMS or push notifications and geo-location, [mobile] will help boost the impact of the tactic on pricing and enable retailers to be more precise on the local store/region level," says Derrick Lin, senior mobile strategist at Resource. Read more.

[More on mobile marketing: Mobile video ads outperform TV ads, says study | Procter & Gamble tops for mobile campaigns]

>> Connected car services to generate $17B in 2018, predicts Infonetics

Connected car services are expected to generate $17 billion in 2018, predicts Infonetics Research. Major investments in connected car programs are coming from auto makers GM, BMW and Tesla, who are teaming with machine-to-machine communications vendors such as AT&T and China Mobile. "The connected car vertical is able to make use of every generation of cellular technology available. This means that just about any communications service provider, whether they have 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE or a combination of technologies, can find a niche in the connected car space," says Godfrey Chua, directing analyst for M2M and the Internet of Things at Infonetics. Read more.

[More on connected cars: What's driving the future of the connected car? | Gesture recognition could change driving, machine control]

>> MFFM software vendors supporting more mobile devices, operating systems

Different types of mobile devices and different operating systems are being supported by the majority of mobile field force management (MFFM) software vendors for utilities, judges market research firm IDC. Vendors examined by IDC include CGI, Clevest, ClickSoftware, IFS, isMobile; Oracle, SAP, TOA Technologies, Ventyx and ViryaNet. "Mobile technologies enable innovation in the area of field worker operations, positively impacting efficiency, safety, worker empowerment, and ultimately supporting the company's business goals of operational excellence as well as the reduction of opex and environmental impact," says Roberta Bigliani, associate vice president and head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for IDC Energy Insights. Read more.

[More on mobile field workers: Rugged mobile devices facing tough times | Mobile workforce management market predicted to grow]

>> IT needs to assemble portfolio of digital workplace tools and services, advises Gartner

Gartner recommends that IT leaders assemble a portfolio of digital workplace tools and services to better manage and enhance the impact of investment in mobile technology. Currently, companies are taking an ad hoc approach to mobile initiatives, with BYOD, BYOA, mobile application development and DevOps being implemented in a piecemeal fashion. "By collecting related digital workplace tools and services into a common portfolio, IT leaders can more easily promote skills transfer and application reuse across the three constituencies: employees, partners and customers," says Matthew Cain, research vice president at Gartner. Read more.

[More on enterprise mobility: IBM, Apple team on enterprise mobility | Microsoft stresses mobile, cloud initiatives at WPC following reports of massive layoffs]