Some of the so-called heavy hitters in the IT world have been gracing the headlines throughout the past week. From cloud collaborations, to new availability of mobile services, to disappointing outcomes in the device world, the tech news is coming fast and furious. In a way, each could ultimately have an effect on the way technology is used in construction.

Microsoft,, Redmond, Wash., Oracle,, Redwood Shores, Calif., and BlackBerry,, Waterloo, Ont., were among those making headlines in some respect throughout the past week. Conventional wisdom suggests the effects of each piece of news should eventually trickle down to the vertical-market level, construction included. Let’s take a brief look at the various pieces of news and the potential impact on technology development and/or adoption in construction.

One of the more notable announcements came from two competitors, Microsoft and Oracle. Under terms of a new agreement, Oracle will be able to run supported Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure. In addition, Oracle will provide license mobility for customers who want to run Oracle software on Windows Azure, and Microsoft will offer fully licensed and supported Java in Windows Azure.

In essence, this means customers are able to deploy Oracle software on Microsoft private clouds and Windows Azure, as well as Oracle private and public clouds and other supported cloud environments.

Commenting on the collaboration’s specific impact to construction, Microsoft tells Constructech, with Microsoft Dynamics’ ongoing investment in interoperable business applications and cloud offerings, this will make it easier for engineering and construction customers to leverage legacy systems and take advantage of new devices and services.

The company also announced general availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services, which should make it easier to create a mobile backend for every device. According to Microsoft, Mobile Services simplifies user authentication, push notification, server side data, and business logic, which allow mobile applications to come to market faster and more efficiently. Mobile Services provides native SDKs (software development kits) for Windows Store, Windows Phone, Android, iOS and HTML5, as well as REST APIs.

According to Microsoft, construction-specific applications are already available for time capture and approvals. The company has let it be known it wants to become a services and device company, and the Microsoft Azure Cloud continues to be a core piece of that strategy. Of course, this leads to the discussion around Windows 8, which will have tight integration around the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

In other news on the mobile device front, BlackBerry looked to make a big dent into the tablet world for businesses when it announced its PlayBook in 2011. But those plans have been slow to get off the ground, and could be at a standstill now given the company’s announcement last week that it only shipped approximately 100,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the three months ending on June 1.

In related news, BlackBerry announced during its earnings call last week that it is no longer planning to convert the PlayBook to BlackBerry 10, the company’s mobile operating system.

In construction we continue to see the influx of iOS and Android-based devices (even Windows 8, to a degree) eating into BlackBerry’s presence in the market. According to results of the 2013 Constructech IT Playbook, only 24% of respondents are using BlackBerry devices in construction. This number is down considerably from results of the 2011 Constructech IT Playbook which cited 77% using BlackBerry devices.

While each of these announcements has big impacts on the larger IT world, the construction market should be monitoring the news closely. Savvy construction companies are always one-step ahead of how to effectively leverage IT. As the heavy hitters in the IT world form agreements and make moves, it is good to think big picture on how it ultimately affects your IT environment.