Microsoft

Quick Impressions of the Surface Tablet

I am going to state right up front that my time with the Surface tablet was very limited. I was at my local mall and saw a Microsoft store, so I swung by to see the demo model. However, I didn’t intend to put it through its paces, nor did I have the time or opportunity in a crowded mall on a Saturday afternoon. But this did give me one unique opportunity; I treated the Surface not like a tech blogger would, but like a regular consumer who knew nothing about it and spontaneously decided to check it out. My…


Apple’s Profit Compared to Everyone Else’s Profits

Everyone familiar with the tech world knows that Apple is insanely profitable … but have you ever wondered just HOW profitable? The folks at Statista took on the challenge and made a chart of Apple profits compared to other companies. But if you have looked at similar graphs in the past, you know that Apple is SO MUCH more profitable that there is a lack of perspective! So instead the graph stacks up groups of other companies and compares their cumulative profits to Apple. It is pretty amazing to look at the graph: Apple is more profitable than the combination…


Windows Phone 8 Launch Event

I’m at the Windows Phone 8 launch event this morning in San Francisco, waiting in the lobby of the Bill Graham Civic Center with roughly 150 other members of the media. There are probably fewer in attendance than originally intended, due to Hurricane Sandy’s grip on the Eastern states, but the mood here is upbeat and we are looking forward to seeing how Microsoft will (hopefully) wow us this morning. I’ll have more soon, we still have 15 minutes before the doors open … And we’re in and seated. Joe Belfiore is on the stage, welcoming us and saying that…


How Do You Like Microsoft’s First Commercial for ‘Surface’?

Last night while watching a rerun of The Mentalist, a commercial for the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet came on. Clearly the focus is on the design, and in particular the magnetic click-on keyboard/cover, as well as the integrated ‘kickstand’. In fact, that is pretty much ALL you see in the video other than a few touch-gestures to make it clear this is a tablet device, and someone tapping to start a video and to end the commercial. Oh, and a user interface paradigm NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT (i.e. Windows 8, only tech folks have a clue about it yet). For…


Microsoft Surface: The Trojan Tablet For Digital Textbooks?

Just about two months ago, Barnes and Noble and Microsoft announced that B&N would spin off their NOOK and college bookstore businesses into “Newco”, to be jointly owned by both companies. Obviously this has been good news for B&N’s finances, but aside from the press release both sides have been very quiet. There were rumors that B&N would be part of Microsoft’s Surface tablet event, but that was proved wrong. However, I think Surface tablets are a big part of why Newco was formed. When the joint venture was announced, I pointed out this benefit on the Microsoft end: As…


Microsoft Previews Windows Phone 8 (But it’s not for Everyone)

Many of you know that I recently made the move over to Windows Phone as my daily driver. On the whole I’ve been pretty happy with it, but my big hopes have been pinned around the potential the platform has. Today MS made some announcements about the upcoming Windows Phone 8 (OS and devices)– some good.. some bad. As a recent Windows Phone convert, these announcements definitely had an impact on me, and I thought we might take a look at exactly what was announced… and what it might mean for the future of Windows Phone. Apps: Windows Phone currently has…


Did Google Pick Up Quickoffice for Integration with Google Docs/Drive?

When I first migrated from Windows Mobile to Android, my Android phone had a lite version of Quickoffice pre-installed and as a result I became a frequent user of the software suite. Right now I have Quickoffice for Android, WebOS and iOS, to maintain a semblance of consistency across my multiple platforms, so I therefore took pause when I contemplated the news that Google acquired Quickoffice the other day. On the one hand, I had a brief bit of sorrow on seeing another independent company absorbed by a much larger entity, but at the same time considered the potential tangible…



Windows XP’s “Bliss” Background: A Blissful Happenstance

Most people who have been using PCs in the past decade or so have doubtless seen this image, the default background image on Microsoft Windows XP. “Bliss” it is called. I’ve always had a soft spot for this image, plus images like it for my desktops. To my mind there is something soothing about undulating fields of green grass under a bright blue sky. In the back of my mind I simply assumed that it was a tweaked photo taken somewhere in Washington, owing to the topography and proximity to Microsoft’s Redmond HQ. More recently, however, while setting up an…


Microsoft Windows 8 RT: Really, Microsoft? Have You Learned Nothing?

I’m an iPad user (I write many of my posts on an iPad these days), and I have a big interest in tablets and tablet technology.  Lately, I’ve been reading a bit about Windows 8 and the new “RT” version for is specifically for tablets.  By the way, for those that don’t know “RT” stands for runtime.  There’s a bit of a buzz around the fact that MS is going to enter an arena dominated by Apple (iOS) and Android-based apps like the Kindle Fire. There seems to be a belief that MS can (and might) make a huge mark…


No More Windows Phone App Shopping from Zune PC Suite

Well, it had to come sooner or later. As many users discovered the other day when Zune launched on their PCs, a message appeared asking users to restart the app to update the Zune client with new changes, Microsoft has officially nixed buying software apps for Windows Phone from the desktop PC Zune client. In his Windows Phone blog posting, Mazhar Mohammed stated Until today you could shop for Windows Phone apps and games in three places: on your phone, on the web, and via the Zune software on your PC. But we know—probably not a huge surprise here—that most…


Skype Now Available for Windows Phone 7.5 Devices

Windows Phone users rejoice!  Microsoft has at long last released Skype v1.0 into the Windows Marketplace for supported devices. So now owners of Windows Phone 7.5 devices sporting at least 512MB RAM can now make and receive Skype calls as well as chat with contacts/friends on their handsets over 3G and 4G and of course Wi-Fi. A few important caveats, however: As previously mentioned, currently only 7.5 devices with 512MB of RAM are supported** Skype calls cannot be received if the Skype app isn’t running in the foreground (i.e., Skype must be the “active” task) Skype currently does not support…


Nokia Lumia 900 Now Available for Pre-Order from AT&T

For those chomping at the bit for the Nokia Lumia 900, AT&T is now offering the phone up for pre-order on their website. Retailing off-contract for $449.99 or $99.00 with contract, this has been a heavily anticipated phone in Windows Phone circles. For me, this device will mark my departure from the Android realm for the first time in nearly two years, so I am very excited to give the Lumia 900 a whirl. Sporting a 4G LTE, a 4.3″AMOLED screen, Carl Zeiss optics with an 8 MP primary camera with dual LED flash, autofocus, a 1 MP front camera…


A Linux Geek on Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Now I know what your thinking: why would I care about Windows 8?  Well, even though I am a Linux guy and use it almost everywhere, I still have to use Windows on a daily basis for my job as well as supporting my wife and family as no matter what I say, I cannot get them to even try Linux.  So, to get an early look at Windows 8, I downloaded the Consumer Preview and installed it both in a virtual machine using Virtual Box and on a Netbook that has a touch screen.  I installed a few apps…


How Real People Will Deal With Windows 8

Have you tried out the Windows 8 ‘Consumer Preview’? I skipped it as I have enough other stuff going on, but have heard generally good things from the tech press and other tech-centric friends. And perhaps that is the issue – everyone I know who has played with the so-called ‘consumer release’ isn’t really a consumer. The results of having people who are too skilled evaluate a product are that your end result is designed for those people. That is the thesis of a video that accompanies an article about the importance (or lack thereof) of Windows 8: After playing…


Cupertino, Start Your Photocopiers! Oh, You Already Did?

For many who have watched Apple and Microsoft for decades, the mantra of an Apple product launch leading immediately to new ‘innovations’ from Microsoft that are remarkably similar has become beyond a cliché. There are certainly inspirational elements to the point that Microsoft has even occasionally admitted to copying from Apple (legally, of course, unlike Trash/Recycle, QuickTime/Windows Media, Widgets/Gadgets, Aqua/Aero, etc), but as many also note – Apple is not immune from the occasional ‘peeking at Microsoft’s paper’. But all of that stuff is serious … and this is just fun. The Microsoft Zune – it was a ‘MP3 player’…


Microsoft Pokes Fun at Google Apps with New ‘Googlighting’ Spot

Last year Microsoft created the ‘GMail Man’ spoof commercial (I’ve included it at the bottom), that cast things that are completely true — that Google has programs that ‘read’ your email and target you with advertisements based on keywords found in your messages — in a completely creepy way by personalizing the scanner. The intent was obvious – show personal and especially business users that their sensitive personal data and intellectual property was anything but safe in GMail.


Microsoft Releases Free Limited Version of OneNote for iPad!

Way back in January Microsoft released OneNote for the iPhone, taking aim at EverNote and others. Now they have upped the ante, releasing an iPad version of the versatile note-taking app. As before, it is free – but limited to 500 notes, requiring an in-app purchase to unlock. Microsoft OneNote for iPad is a note-taking app for capturing all of your ideas and to-dos on the go, brought to you by Microsoft Office. Create searchable notes with text, pictures and bullets. Make and manage to-do lists with checkboxes. Then keep your notes in sync using free Microsoft SkyDrive® online storage…


One More Tablet Gone; Can Microsoft Avoid the Same Fate?

image courtesy of BerryReporter  Clinton recently wrote an opinion piece entitled, “As RIM Writes Off The Playbook, The Pressure is on Microsoft to Make a Complete Windows 8 Tablet“, in which he says: This morning the Wall Street Journal reported that RIM is taking a $485 million charge for their lackluster tablet, the Playbook.  The charge comes by way of a markdown in the value of the massive inventor that RIM still has of the devices.  It is a brutal and costly reminder that if you kinda-sorta-maybe-woulda-shoulda your tablet strategy, the price can be steep.  Very steep. and The challenge facing Microsoft is that they are…


Microsoft’s Claims of TellMe Being ‘Basically the Same as Siri’ Put to the Test

Sometimes there is no better way to demonstrate that what a company is saying is pure rubbish than by putting it to a simple test. Apple’s Siri was released to simultaneous cheers and yawns – cheers from those who use it and yawns from Microsoft and Google (and their fanboys) saying that they already have the same technology. This week Microsoft made a big deal about how they already had a ‘Siri-like’ technology and all Apple had going for it was ‘good marketing’. This is very similar to what Google has said, and is the sort of thing that plays…


Microsoft Releases Hotmail App for Android!

One of my annoyances with mobile email has always been Hotmail. Not the service itself, but the seeming inability of any of the default email clients to properly handle Hotmail – I would get repeated streams of mails, deletion never seemed to work right, and so on. To the point where I don’t get my Hotmail on my Android phone and just check it on my iPad with full knowledge I’ll have to manage it elsewhere. We have already heard and seen how Microsoft and Apple have implemented a native sub-client for the iOS 5 Inbox that will work like…