Items tagged with NASDAQ:MSFT

In a couple of months, the next generation of console wars will officially kick off as both Sony and Microsoft enter the fray with their respective PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems (meanwhile, Nintendo lies in wait with its Wii U). Which one will prove more popular? That's tough to say at this early stage, though there are some early signs indicating the PS4 may come out of the gate a little stronger. According to a Reuters poll, more U.S. shoppers are picking the PS4 over the Xbox One. Reuters surveyed nearly 1,300 people online, and out of those, 26 percent said they are likely to buy the PS4 when it becomes available. Around 15 percent said the same about the Xbox One. Younger gamers seem... Read more...
If there’s anything positive to take away from this summer’s NSA spying scandal, it might be the increased transparency of major tech companies, as Microsoft has its latest Law Enforcement Requests report for the first 6 months of 2013. Of course, a downside is that these companies still aren’t allowed to report requests from the FISA shadow court, so we have no way of knowing what agencies like the NSA are culling from Microsoft’s vast user base. But for what it’s worth, here are the numbers, sans FISA data: Microsoft received 37,196 requests in the first half of this year, which potentially impacted a total of 66,539 user accounts; those figures include Skype.... Read more...
Rumblings earlier this week suggested Microsoft was going to make a full court press on Apple, offering a buy-back incentive program for old iPhone users to trade-up for a new Windows Phone 8 device. The move makes sense.  Lots of iPhone users were probably disappointed with Apple's recent iPhone 5S and 5C unveiling, wishing instead the Cupertino company had simply increased the display size of the device. Apple's performance play is enticing for power users but mainstream iPhoners jonesing over their friend's significantly larger Android and Windows Phone devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or Nokia Lumia 1020, may have been left a little flat. A 64-bit platform sounds just kinda cool for... Read more...
Whatever you may think about Steve Ballmer and his tenure in the big chair at Microsoft, you have to admit that the man’s good for a show. At his final companywide meeting before he retires in August, which took place in Seattle’s KeyArena, Ballmer reportedly brought them to their feet during his tearful farewell while the Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'” (which was played at Microsoft’s first meeting way back in 1983) and Dirty Dancing’s "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" blared. He also referenced a quote from that first meeting when he said: "We have unbelievable potential in front of us, we have an unbelievable destiny." He still believes that Microsoft... Read more...
Bill Gates was and is a genius, and his brilliance and leadership brought to life the juggernaut that is Microsoft, but of course, he and his company made some missteps along the way. (And continue to do so.) Some of them were large, some were tiny, but something that millions of users had to live with every day was the Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard command. Originally developed by early coders as a way to quickly soft boot a machine that was acting up, Microsoft took the command and baked it into Windows. It became a tool for bringing up the Task Manager as well as for logging in to Windows. In an onstage interview with David Rubenstein, Gates admitted that using the command for logging in was a mistake.... Read more...
Nokia is hosting a launch event in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd, and the company is expected to announce a lineup of six new devices, including an accessory that’s “pretty special”, according The Verge’s sources. Among the expected new devices is the purported Nokia Lumia 1520 (Bandit), a six-inch device that will boast a 1080p HD screen, quad-core Snapdragon processor, rear 20MP camera, Qi wireless charging, and a polycarbonate body. Credit: The Verge We should also see Nokia’s “Sirius” Windows RT tablet, a 10-inch device rumored to rock a quad-core Qualcomm 8974 chip with a 1080p HD display, rear 6.7MP Carl Zeiss camera, 2MP front-facing camera, micro... Read more...
Let's stop harping on it. We've already discussed Microsoft's failures and shortcomings with their first generation of Surface and Surface RT devices. The company's $900 million dollar mistake has been bounced around along with Steve Ballmer's tenure ad nauseam and so it's probably no surprise that more than a few pundits and analysts are sounding off so negatively regarding Microsoft's recent Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 unveiling earlier this week.  They're too big, too expensive, not retina, too "Windows RT," whatever.  What is it about Microsoft that seemingly draws such a critical eye these days, especially when it comes to mobile? Let's all take a deep breath and analyze the Microsoft... Read more...
Microsoft recently unveiled its Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro products, both of which feel like premium upgrades over the original (we were on hand at the event and got to play with these devices). They're leaner, faster, and generally better equipped than the original Surface tablets, but if there's one area consumers will inevitably knock, it's the price tag. The Surface 2 starts at $449, and with the plethora of Android tablets selling for hundreds less, that could become a hurdle. One solution is to release a smaller version of Surface. It's been rumored before and it's happening again. Rhoda Alexander, director of Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli, tells CNET that Microsoft is considering... Read more...
Microsoft's Corporate VP of Surface, Panos Panay had his work cut out for him at the company's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch event on Monday. Microsoft needed compelling product demos to showcase their new hardware against the current backdrop of stiff competition of alternative platforms and products from Google and Apple.  So, obviously, the first thing they did was call upon their old friend Intel way back at the design stage, empowering their Surface Pro 2 slate with a dual-core Haswell 4th generation Core i5-4200U processor. The Surface 2 Pro is essentially a hybrid tablet-notebook device, weighing in at 2 lbs. with a 10.6-inch full HD display and starting at $899 with 64GB of... Read more...
It should come as a surprise to no one that Microsoft hasn't been pleased with how smartphones equipped with its mobile OS have been selling, with many speculating that a solution could only come about if the company took things into its own hands. Well, with its announced acquisition of Nokia, it's clear that Microsoft believes the same thing - but just how far are things going to go? According to new reports, Microsoft could go the way of Google and develop its own phones and then get a third-party to manufacture them (in this case, taking advantage of Nokia's resources). If Microsoft were to take this route, it's believed that the device would fall into the Surface family - and wouldn't you... Read more...
In the hardware world, even the best-selling devices eventually reach EOL (end-of-life) status. And, as fate would have it, it seems that the software world follows suit. But every now and again, a product is killed that leaves us scratching our heads. While Windows Phone 8 is clearly the premier mobile product for Microsoft, it sure doesn't feel as if Windows Phone 7 is that old. Plus, Microsoft owes what little success it has seen in the mobile realm to the early adopters who took a chance with WP7. Nevertheless, the company is axing support of its flagship VoIP app, Skype, on Windows Phone 7. Here's the quote from Microsoft: "As we look ahead to the future, we are focusing all our efforts... Read more...
Microsoft is acquiring Nokia’s mobile business, effectively ending any possibility that Nokia Lumia phones might someday run Android, and the Redmond-based company is wasting no time in rebranding the line of handsets currently bearing the name “Nokia”. According to a photo dug up by IBtimes, a UK advertisement from Microsoft for the Nokia Lumia 520 shows that the “Nokia” name that’s usually centered at the top of the phone is gone. Otherwise, it’s identical to a Nokia Lumia 520 product photo that’s been around for a while. Credit: Twitter/Brian Robertson via IBtimes A Nokia spokesperson clarified the branding somewhat by saying, "Microsoft would... Read more...
One of the ongoing debates between the Xbox One and PS4 revolves around the expected performance difference between the two consoles -- or lack thereof. According to Edge, developers have privately stated that the PS4 is significantly faster. A console agnostic game can, according to their sources, run at 30 FPS in 1920x1080 on the PS4, but in the mid-20s on the Xbox One, even with a lower 1600x900 target resolution. "Xbox One is weaker and its a pain to use its ESRAM," concluded one developer. Microsoft's response to this controversy has been straightforward and expected. It told Kotaku, "Xbox One architecture is much more complex than what any single figure can convey. " So whose telling the... Read more...
With the introduction of iOS 7 later this week (at least into public hands), Siri is poised to exit "Beta." Finally, right? Of course, language learning takes time, and Siri has been ingesting queries for a long time now in order to improve her understanding of the human voice. Meanwhile, Google Now shipped for Jelly Bean devices, and arguably offered an even more intense and intimate robotic guide. Not only can Google Now respond to your questions and book appointments into your digital calendar, but it can also anticipate. And if we're being honest, Microsoft's own assistant needs to take anticipation to the next level if it wants to grab any eyes. It's no secret that Windows Phone is lagging... Read more...
When Vine emerged in order to give digital junkies the ability to share their lives six seconds at a time, we knew some strange videos would eventually surface. But, we can't say we ever expected anyone to have so much ample time that they'd sit around recording clips of an unreleased video game, and then spewing them all over the Internet. Oddly, that's exactly what has transpired, as a gentleman that somehow came across a leaked copy of Grand Theft Auto V has drawn a huge amount of attention by sharing clips of the actual gameplay prior to the title's street date. Of course, leaks in an increasingly digital world aren't rare. Nearly every movie, record and video game in the past two or three... Read more...
It's hard to believe that this is a headline in 2013, given IMAP has been around for decades and is extremely useful, but when the company in question is wrapped into its own email protocol, it becomes a little less surprising. Simply put: If you use Outlook.com as your email provider, you now have the option of using IMAP, a protocol that gives you (nearly) real-time access to your email in an external client - eg: Mozilla Thunderbird. As a general rule, Microsoft doesn't recommend IMAP per se, imploring that you use its own Exchange ActiveSync protocol whenever possible. But, as many clients don't support EAS, the only option has been to use SMTP which must download each and every email in... Read more...
After a leaked screenshot of a Nokia Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8.1 showed, among other things, an app called “zCortana”, many speculated that Microsoft was developing a personal digital assistant in the vein of Siri. Nothing has happened since then to change that perception, and in fact whispers, rumors, and photos indicate that it’s coming along quite nicely and may be more than just Siri wannabe. Tom Warren posted a screenshot showing Cortana’s involvement with weather alerts, calendar synchronization, and an ability to pin others to your Start screen. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET cited sources that say Cortana, though she will “interact” with users via voice... Read more...
Former Nokia chief Stephen Elop has emerged as the odds-on frontrunner to replace Steve Ballmer at Microsoft, and while that may very well come to fruition, there are other candidates worth considering. Two of them include Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences Corp's (CSC) CEO Mike Lawrie. Citing "several sources familiar with the matter," Reuters says Microsoft and its special committee tasked with finding the company's next chief has a list of about 40 potential replacements it's considering. The list includes a mix of internal and external candidates for the job. Investors would be happy with either Mulally or Lawrie, both of which have favorable track records when it comes to... Read more...
On Labor Day, Microsoft and Nokia issued a press release confirming that Nokia's devices division was being wholly acquired by Microsoft. It was a fairly short release, and just like that, it was done. But here's the thing: while it was easy to announce, it took a ton of work to get where we are today. The New York Times has a report outlining the timeline of events that led to this historic move -- a move that will remove Nokia's branding from future smartphones, and a move that proves Microsoft is serious about getting into the vertically integrated hardware arena. The story tells a wild tale, where Microsoft weighed options of buying BlackBerry or HTC in order to grab yet another hardware... Read more...
If you've made the decision to swim in Windows Phone waters, you may have been eyeballing Nokia's Lumia 1020 and been turned on by its 41-megapixel rear-facing camera. That's pretty beastly, but a glance at the $299 price tag may have turned you off just as quickly. Would you be interested again if it was $100 cheaper? Whether or not you would be, the new price is $199 with a two-year service agreement with AT&T. That's more in line with competing high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, both Android devices. The Lumia 1020 is a strong contender in the Windows Phone space (see our full review). It has a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of... Read more...
Under Steve Jobs, Apple could seemingly do no wrong, at least towards his latter years. There was the introduction of the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the iPad, each of which were must-have devices for a period of time (some would argue they still are, though Samsung would certainly dispute that). When Jobs passed away, Tim Cook inherited a company that had created a rabid consumer culture the world has never seen, but as time goes on, there's growing concern that Apple isn't doing enough to innovate. Of course, Apple is raking in billions of dollars in profits each and every quarter, but even so, the company isn't immune to a fickle fan base that could turn their back on a dime. Take it from... Read more...
Following up on the Chrome browser's 5th birthday celebration, Google announced a new kind of Chrome app, which the company says "brings together the speed, security, and flexibility of the modern web with the powerful functionality previously only available with software installed on your devices." Put another away, these apps run in a Chrome browser session but look and act like regular applications you'd install and run on your PC or tablet. In an interview with Time, Google's product lead on Chrome Apps, Erik Kay, said the company's hope is to "dispel the notion that Chrome OS is just a web browser." He admitted that there are "legitimate uses" that aren't possible on today's Chromebooks,... Read more...
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