Shipments for iOS rises for the quarter, market share drops
Shipments of Windows Phone devices have overtaken those of BlackBerry phones for the first time, according to a report. Numbers from IDC places the Microsoft mobile operating system in third place, still a considerable away behind iOS and Android shipments, which are said to make up 92.3-percent of all shipments when combined.
Samsung rumored supplying 7.9-inch displays for smaller Surface
Samsung has reportedly been tapped by Microsoft to supply 7.9-inch panels for a smaller version of its Surface, according to Digitimes. The purported smaller tablet could be released as soon as the end of June, however, no Taiwanese suppliers have yet been included on the supplier list. Microsoft has not revealed its plans for future versions of its Surface tablet, but it recently changed the specifications of Windows 8 to accommodate displays that could be used on smaller tablets.
Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong set for May Surface Pro launch
The Microsoft Surface Pro will start shipping in a number of other countries later this month, as part of the company's plans to expand its retail availability further than the US, Canada, and China. The United Kingdom will see the device appearing on store shelves on May 23, while a number of markets in Europe looking to get the slate computer on May 30.
Electronic Arts to discontinue Online Pass policy for new titles
If a report at VentureBeat is accurate, Electronic Arts has decided to rid itself of the reviled online pass. According to the report, the EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed the cancellation of the program, saying “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass, none of our new EA titles will include that feature." Viewed as a countermeasure to used game sales, the pass included in the purchase of new games allowed game play on the company's servers across Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Used purchasers, or customers borrowing a game, must purchase a pass if they wish to play online, with access costing approximately $10.
Microsoft allegedly completely disregarded terms of service, API rules
A week-old update of Microsoft's YouTube for Windows Phone is the target of a cease-and-desist order from Google, demanding that the app be immediately withdrawn from the Windows Phone Store and each downloaded copy be remotely disabled by May 22. The complaint centers on the total lack of advertisements and disregard of the YouTube terms of service by Microsoft in developing the app.
New payment system to work on Xbox Live, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store
Microsoft may be scrapping its Points virtual currency in favor of local currency pricing, according to a report. The rumor, which has surfaced a few times in the past, is now bolstered with new claims that the new system would work across platforms, with Microsoft preparing to reveal it at the E3 game show later this year.
Windows 8.1 public preview set for June 26th release
Microsoft has revealed more details for its upcoming Windows Blue update for Windows 8. Given the official title of Windows 8.1, the software pack will be made available as a free update to users of Windows 8 via the Windows Store, with a public preview of Windows 8.1 for Windows 8 and Windows RT also due next month.
Points to violent assaults over iPhones
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent letters to several smartphone makers asking them to explain what they're doing to deter thefts, Bloomberg reports. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung are said to have been contacted on May 10th. "I seek to understand why companies that can develop sophisticated handheld electronics, such as the products manufactured by Apple, cannot also create technology to render stolen devices inoperable and thereby eliminate the expanding black market on which they are sold," reads Schneiderman's letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Friends and rivals discussed family, history, future
An unaired portion of a 60 Minutes interview with Bill Gates saw the founder of Microsoft in an unusually reflective state when questioned by interviewer Charlie Rose on the topic of the late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, his friend and rival. Jobs met with Gates for an extended period very near the end of his life, an unusual concession to a colleague he had had a tumultuous relationship with over the decades. Gates said the two men had "grown up together," each building the computer industry in their own image.
Counter-offer allows shareholders to keep shares, pays significant dividend
Investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management have proposed a new offer to Dell shareholders, who are considering a proposal by founder Michael Dell's group of investors, including Microsoft, to purchase existing shares at $13.65 each in order to take the company private. In a letter to Dell's board of directors, Icahn and Southeastern are counter-proposing a deal to give all Dell shareholders the option to retain shares in the company, plus take an additional $12 a share in cash or stock.
Apple apparently reticent to add Metro support
"You shouldn't expect an iTunes [Metro] app on Windows 8 any time soon," Microsoft CFO Tami Reller tells CNN Money. "iTunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It's not for lack of trying." The quote may suggest that Microsoft has been talking with Apple about adding Metro support for iTunes, but without any progress.
Prototypes said to have Kinect-style motion controls
Microsoft is looking to create a set-top box for media playback, according to one report. Continuing previous rumors, the software giant is working on a device that will allow users to sign onto Xbox Live and use its apps to view streaming video, effectively cloning the non-gaming aspects of the Xbox 360 game console into a relatively-cheap product.
Microsoft said to be responsive to OEM feedback on Windows 8
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang has said that Microsoft is starting to listen more closely to its OEM partners following the troubled launch of Windows 8, reports the Wall Street Journal. Wang indicated that he thought that that Microsoft has had its head in the clouds until recently, “But now the go down to earth and they start to learn how people living on earth think.” Acer President Jim Wong also added that Microsoft is becoming more “considerate” to its partners and has been baking in their suggestions into Windows Blue, the first major update to Windows 8 due later this year.
Microsoft offer lower than current company value
Reports have surfaced that Microsoft is allegedly offering $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media, Barnes & Noble's venture into e-book publishing. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which would give control of the operation to Microsoft.
Switch to subscription-based software suites could take ten years
Microsoft has laid out the various changes the company will make to Office Web Apps in the future, with a focus on social features, partly confirming a previously leak. It has also revealed that, unlike Adobe's recent announcement of switching focus to providing subscription-based products, Microsoft will continue to release packaged versions of Office for the next few years.
Analyst increases Yahoo gross revenue estimate by $60M
Microsoft has extended its revenue guarantee with Yahoo, according to an SEC filing. The revenue-per-search guarantee, part of the ten-year deal the two companies struck in 2009, will be extended by one additional year, allowing Yahoo to earn more revenue than it otherwise would have if the guarantee fully elapsed.
Windows 8 passes 100 million licenses, Windows Blue due by holidays
Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller has revealed that Windows 8 licenses sold has now passed the 100 million mark, six months after its launch. This is said to include installations on new PCs and tablets, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. Reller didn’t reveal the breakdown of Windows 8 licenses, which includes Windows RT sales, but did say that there are now 2,400 devices certified to run its controversial new operating system.
Facebook makes first appearance on list
Business magazine Fortune has released the 2013 edition of its list of the 500 biggest corporations in the US. One of the most significant shifts in the list is the ascendancy of Apple, which has jumped from 17th place to sixth, breaking into the top 10 for the first time. Fortune comments that while the company has "maintained more than disrupted" its product line, and even had to apologize for iOS 6 Maps and its Chinese warranty services, it "remains an innovation icon."
Microsoft prepping high-res 7.5-inch Surface says NPD DisplaySearch
An analyst with NPD DisplaySearch has told CNET that Microsoft has settled on a 7.5-inch display for one of its second-generation Surface tablets, which would go on sale in Q1 2014. The display could have a resolution of 1,400x1050 pixels that would give it a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch. This would make it one of the highest resolution small display tablets available and would comfortably beat out the current iPad mini, which sports a 7.9-inch display with a pixel density of 132ppi.
Microsoft Surface shipments for Q1 under 1 million, smaller devices coming
Microsoft Surface shipments for Q1 total just 900,000, according to the latest IDC report published yesterday. The underwhelming sales figures are said to be predominantly sales of its Surface Pro tablet, while the Surface RT had difficulty gaining any significant market traction. In total, since its launch late last year the company is thought to have shipped a total of just 1.5 million Surface devices, which pales in comparison to the 19.5 million iPadsApple sold in Q1 alone.
Skype in Outlook.com accompanied by Windows client update
Microsoft has added the ability to make Skype calls within the Outlook.com e-mail service. The site, which left beta in February, will allow Outlook users in the United Kingdom to access their Skype contacts, make calls, and communicate using instant messages, all from within the browser instead of launching external applications.
Microsoft update for Windows 8 Weather app includes ski resort data
Microsoft has updated its Weather app for Windows 8. The changes include new interactive and dynamically-moving weather maps for cities and regions, satellite images, temperature and precipitation levels, cloud cover, and radar pictures. The Bing blog also notes that weather details for ski resorts in 31 countries around the world are also provided in the update.
Ruling more in line with Microsoft claims, well short of $4 billion request
US District Court Judge James Robart of the Western District of Washington has issued a critical ruling in the Motorola Mobile versus Microsoft patent lawsuit. The judge has decreed that Motorola Mobility is entitled to nearly $1.8 million per year from Microsoft for use of its standards-essential H.264 video playback and 802.11 Wi-Fi patents, a far cry from the $4 billion annually Motorola and its parent company Google demanded at the beginning of the lawsuit.
Move similar to Apple's recently announced plan to access debt market
Microsoft has commenced selling debt in the US and European markets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the initial offering is a minimum of $500 million. The move is the software developer's fifth offering since 2009, and the company should be able to get the lowest yields of the year for a five-year corporate debt offering.
Next Microsoft game console expected to be revealed
Invitations sent to media for a product reveal at Microsoft's Xbox campus suggest that the company is close to unveiling its new game console. The invitation, headed with the Xbox logo, alluding to "A new generation revealed" and using the hashtag #XboxReveal, strongly hints that the event will show off the much-rumored successor to the Xbox 360.
Surface Pro to hit 24 more countries, RT to reach four more
Microsoft is increasing the number of countries where customers can buy the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. The Surface Pro will be available in 24 more countries, while the Surface RT will be launching in Malaysia on April 25th, in Mexico by the end of may, and in Korea and Thailand in June. The expansion will see the Surface RT be available in 29 countries, and the Surface Pro in 27 in total.
Google Glass companion app includes 'Eye Gestures' functions
Google may allow for users of Glass to use their eyes to control the headset. A user by the name of fodawim on Reddit found eye options hidden in the code of the companion app for Android, specifically functions for winking. Of the five, two related to wink calibration, two turned the function on and off, and one last seems to allow a wink to trigger a photo from its 5-megapixel camera. Other eye-related controls have yet to be found, though the company has patented a number of different control systems that could potentially be used with Glass.
Devices coming soon, no pricing or specifications revealed
Outbound Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein revealed in today's financial conference call that Microsoft is working with partner companies to build a "new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows" at "competitive price points." The devices are expected in the "coming months" according to Klein. The executive declined to name partner companies, specific prices, or detail specifications.
Company replacing CFO, successor to be named later
Microsoft today announced quarterly revenue of $20.49 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. Operating income came in at $7.61 billion, net income rose to $6.06 billion, with diluted earnings per share hitting $0.72 per share, beating Wall Street estimates in every regard. Additionally, Microsoft is replacing its Chief Financial Officer at the end of the current fiscal year -- no replacement has been named.
Microsoft enables two-step verification to Microsoft Accounts
Microsoft has enabled two-factor authentication for Microsoft Accounts. Leaked earlier this month, users will see the option to add the extra security measure through the account management menu over the next few days, and can download an authenticator app from the Windows Phone store or use third-party apps on other platforms, according to a company blog post. Apps and devices that will not work with the new security measure directly can have application-specific passwords created in order to function.
Hon Hai parent company of manufacturer Foxconn
Microsoft and Foxconn parent company Hon Hai have signed a worldwide patent licensing agreement that places the manufacturer underneath Microsoft's patent portfolio umbrella for devices running the Android and Chrome OS. The agreement covers patent usage in smartphones, tablets, and televisions. While specifics of the agreement are not available, Microsoft will reportedly receive royalties from Hon Hai under the agreement.
Would likely be different experience from Android phones
Facebook Home or some of its concepts could make their way to iOS and Windows Phone, Bloomberg reports. In an interview with the publication, Facebook product director Adam Mosseri says that negotiations are underway with Apple and Microsoft. "We’ve shown them what we’ve built and we’re just in an ongoing conversation," he states.
Microsoft pondering return to 'boot to desktop' in Windows 8.1
Code uncovered in Windows 8.1 hints that Microsoft may allow users to boot directly into the desktop mode. Currently, when users boot into Windows 8, users are taken to Microsoft’s controversial, but touch friendly, Modern UI Startscreen. Users who traditionally work in the desktop mode must view this screen first and then select the desktop mode, which has raised many complaints from long-time Windows users.
Search engine gets tie-in with popular sharing service
Users of Microsoft's Bing will now have access features integrating the search engine with popular image-sharing service Pinterest. Microsoft tipped the new feature in a post to the Bing Search Blog last week, noting that the ability to share to Pinterest flowed out of previous meetings the company had had with lifestyle and design bloggers at Bing headquarters last fall.
Software giant's move into hardware may continue
Microsoft is the latest tech giant said to be working on designs for a smartwatch. Sources tell The Wall Street Journal that the Redmond-based company has been working with suppliers in Asia to acquire components for a wearable computing device, though the likelihood of such a device's release is uncertain. Should a Microsoft smartwatch emerge, it might find competition from similarly rumored devices from Apple and Google, as well as a confirmed device from Samsung.
Microsoft has identified problem, posted an OS repair procedure
Microsoft declared that it has revised the "patch Tuesday" package from April 9, removing a fix that was causing some PCs to fail to blue screen, and not boot thereafter. The problem is being blamed on incompatibility with some third-party security software, and Microsoft is recommending that affected users uninstall the patch. All editions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are affected.
Microsoft, HP shares suffer due to weak PC sales, troubled mobile strategy
Following reports published by Gartner and IDC showing the worst declines in PC sales on record, both Microsoft and HP shares have taken a beating, reports the Wall Street Journal. At the end of trading on Thursday, Microsoft shares shed 4.44 percent down to 28.94, while HP shares fared worse down 6.5 percent to $20.88 after it was revealed its PC shipments fell 24 percent. With the decline in PC sales directly attributed to the rise of the iPad and other tablet devices, the relatively weak performance of Microsoft and HP in the mobile devices segments has negatively affected investor sentiment in both companies.
Microsoft set to address popularity of sub 8-inch devices with own tablet
Microsoft is developing a 7-inch Windows 8 tablet, reports the Wall Street Journal. Citing “people familiar with the company’s plans,” the Journal contends that it will be launched as part of a second-generation range of Surface tablets later this year. Microsoft’s current Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets center on a 10.6-inch display, however data from IDC shows that half of all tablets sold last quarter were under 8-inches.
Also lays out timetable for Mac, Windows, Windows RT Office releases
Promised iOS and Android versions of Office won't launch until the fall of 2014, according to a leaked roadmap obtained by CNet. The document describes a project called "Gemini," said to be Microsoft's plan to incorporate the Metro user interface into Office. The first "wave" in Gemini is expected to be an October 2013 update of the core apps -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- that will run on mobile versions of Windows 8 and Windows RT. The software will allegedly supplement the desktop Windows suite, instead of replacing it.
Wi-Fi issues fixed on Surface RT, driver fixes made on Pro
A pair of patches are rolling out for Microsoft's Surface tablet line -- one for the RT version, and one for the Surface Pro. The April Surface RT update is a Wi-Fi centric patch, attempting to fix reports of spotty connectivity. The Surface Pro update seems to be mainly focused on improved drivers, in addition to some screen touch navigation fixes.
Microsoft accounts can be linked to Authenticator Windows Phone app
Microsoft is preparing to add a two-factor system for account authentication, according to a report. The new system, aimed at improving account security overall by adding a number-based token to the Microsoft Account log-in system, has reached a point where the company is close to turning it on for all users, though it is not clear when this will be.
Sale will allow Microsoft to concentrate on Xbox TV efforts
Microsoft has sold its IPTV business to Ericsson for an undisclosed amount. The sale of Mediaroom, previously reported to have been discussed in private, will in theory allow Microsoft to pour more of its resources into providing consumer-side TV services through the soon-to-be announced next Xbox games console.
Always-on console rumor claimed true by Microsoft analyst
Microsoft will reveal its follow-up to the Xbox 360 on May 21st, according to multiple reports. The console, codenamed Durango, is apparently scheduled to launch in "early November" and in theory has a high $500 price-point, though this could be lowered to $300 when combined with a subscription similar to that of the $99 subsidized Xbox 360 Kinect bundle.
Update downloads to remain live until 19th
Microsoft will end support for Office 2008 for Mac on April 9, according to an official blog post. After that deadline, the company will no longer release any new updates for the software. People will, however, be able to download existing updates until April 19. It's unknown if Microsoft will post one final patch before the 9th.
No signs of resolution in app content
A v3.0 update of Microsoft's SkyDrive app for iOS has arrived on the App Store. The release appears to mark the end of a dispute between Apple and Microsoft; Apple was reportedly rejecting earlier updates over Microsoft's introduction of the ability to buy extra storage space. The issue is that Apple was demanding a 30 percent cut of subscriptions initiated on the iOS app in perpetuity, even though a person can continue to use SkyDrive even if they stop using the app.
Microsoft slashes prices on several Windows 8 hybrids
Microsoft has taken the knife to the price of several Windows 8 hybrid devices available through its Microsoft Store. While it is hard to pinpoint the reason for the price cuts, it is could reflect the reluctance of mainstream consumers to buy into Microsoft’s new dual UI, PC paradigm. Devices that have received a substantial price reductions include the Toshiba Satellite Convertible Ultrabook (down to $799 from $1,149), the HP Envy x2 (down to $599 from $849) and the Samsung ATIV Smart PC (down to $999 from $1199).
Windows Blue to be renamed Windows 8.1 for release
Microsoft may name its upcoming operating system refresh Windows 8.1, if a leaked image is proven correct. A screenshot posted on WinForum.eu and confirmed by sources of ZDNet shows the leaked Windows Blue build adding a suffix to the Windows 8 name instead of using Windows 9. The RT edition will be known as Windows RT 8.1. Though unlikely, it is still possible for Microsoft to give the OS update a different name, as a firm release date has yet to be set.
Kindel joins book retailer amid Amazon phone rumors
The former General Manager of Windows Phone at Microsoft has joined Amazon. Charlie Kindel, after leaving Microsoft in 2011 in order to concentrate on his own projects, has updated his LinkedIn profile to read "now at Amazon working on something wonderful," with his new project likely to be mobile-related in some way.
MS clears the way for the introduction of smaller Windows 8 tablets
Microsoft has altered the specification requirements for Windows 8 tablets clearing a path for OEMs to launch smaller 7- and 8-inch form factor devices, reports ZDNet. Until now, Windows 8-certified devices were required to have a minimum resolution of 1366x768, while the new minimum has been reduced to 1024x768. HTC is among those rumored to be prepping devices on the new form factor, with reports that its 7-inch Windows RT device would also be able to make phone calls.
Service behind AT&T U-Verse could be sold within weeks
Microsoft is allegedly talking to Ericsson to sell its IPTV business. The sale, which would include the same MediaRoom unit that powers the U-Verse IPTV service from AT&T among others, could be announced by the companies in the next few weeks, and could be a way for Microsoft to streamline its Entertainment and Devices division.