About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at the Gartner conference in Orlando, hinted about the future of Office.  As a ‘Devices & Services’ company it only makes sense that Office would be on multiple platforms.  However, a touch optimized version of Office would likely hit Windows devices first (i.e. Surface etc) and later on to other platforms, iPad & Android tablets.  Use of Office on an iPad will most likely require an Office 365 subscription.  “Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all sort of authoring tools. They are optimized for use with keyboards and mice. The last time I checked, the iPad didn’t have a paradigm for keyboard and mice,” Ballmer said. “So iPad will be picked up when we do what I would call not just a touch-enabled but a touch-first user interface for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.” The touch-first interface of those programs “is in progress, for both Windows 8 ...

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Rather than over-anaylze Microsoft’s final shareholder letter, I have decided to simply re-post the full text.  Simply read it for what it is.  Remember the audience of this letter is primarily investors, and there are legal implications for everything written in here and must be in compliance with the SEC. The letter includes a new mission statement, since Microsoft did accomplish its first mission “…a PC on every desk…” I have added some emphasis on statements that stood out to me.  Shareholder letter: TO OUR SHAREHOLDERS, CUSTOMERS, PARTNERS AND EMPLOYEES: This is a unique letter for me — the last shareholder letter I will write as the CEO of the company I love. We have always believed that technology will unleash human potential and that is why I have come to work every day with a heart full of passion for more than 30 years. Fiscal Year 2013 was a ...

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Fox News’ big primetime shake-up premiers today and during the last month they have spent building new studios.  One of their studios will be a high tech news room which will sift through a large volume of information coming from the internet, social media etc.  The studio is powered by Windows 7 & Windows 8.  Fox’s Shepard Smith gives a preview into the studio:   Source:  Fox Nation This is a tech site, not a political one, please keep the comments civil ...

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Activision Publishing, Treyarch, and Xbox have teamed together to support the Call of Duty Endowment. Starting tomorrow, October 8 through Monday, October 14, U.S. fans can purchase any one of the 17 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Personalization Packs that are currently available on the Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft for a 25% discount. Additionally, Activision, Treyarch and Xbox will donate all profits from the packs sold to the Call of Duty Endowment – Activision Blizzard’s 501(c)(3) non-profit that helps returning service members by funding efficient and effective organizations that place vets into high quality careers. “This is a great opportunity for the Call of Duty® community to get involved, and we’re delighted to work with Treyarch and our friends at Xbox to donate all profits from this activity toward helping vets find good jobs,” said Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment. “For ...

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The Skype team has released an update for iPhone and Skype for iPad, version 4.13.  The release is primarily focused on bringing a refreshed look for iOS 7, I suspect they borrowed heavily from the UI of the windows phone app. In addition made improvements were made to accessibility, audio and video calling. 4.13 Change log: Refreshed look and feel for iOS 7 Accessibility improvements, including: Improved accessibility of dialpad with touchtype support VoiceOver announces the senders name when messaging VoiceOver improvements for group chats General fixes Source: Skype Blog ...

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While  we generally do not put too much faith in analyst reports, sometimes they are amusing.  A new report by a Finnish financial analyst believes that former Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila could join Microsoft’s board. “Ollila is, for all his strengths and weaknesses, a pioneer,” Jukka Oksaharju, of Nordic savings bank Nordnet, said. “Joining Microsoft’s board wouldn’t be a surprise in itself, but it would be the crowning achievement of Nokia’s sale and Ollila’s career,” Oksaharju said. “Who would have more experience in global telecommunication business? The entire industry was created during his reign.” Currently Ollila sits on the board of many companies including Ford.  Given Ollila’s financial background he certainly would fit in with many other members of the board.  One theory is that if Alan Mulally becomes Microsoft’s next CEO he could bring over Ollila to Microsoft’s board room.  We know that Ollila certainly gets along with Ballmer and was intstrumental ...

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You may recall a few months back we reported on a new bounty program from the Internet Explorer team that offered cash rewards for finding security exploits.  The program has been successful and Microsoft has paid out over $28,000 to individuals who found and reported these exploits to the team.  Interestingly enough some submissions were from Google engineers, but the money was donated to charity in those cases.  Google does have a similar program for Chrome, and these type of programs do help create a more secure browser for all users. James Forshaw, @tiraniddo, Context Security 4 Internet Explorer 11 Preview Bug Bounty – $4,400 1 Bonus for finding cool IE design vulnerabilities – $5,000 Jose Antonio Vazquez Gonzalez, Yenteasy – Security Research 5 Internet Explorer 11 Preview Bug Bounty vulnerabilities – $5,500 Ivan Fratric, Google, Inc security team Internet Explorer 11 Preview Bug Bounty $1,100 - Donated to Save the ...

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Acer has announced some new all-in-ones coming for the new holiday season.  We do not have all the details at this point in time.  Acer owns Gateway, but they are still keeping the brand alive. Acer Aspire ZC-605 Series This Acer features a 19.5” screen ideal for games, USB 3.0 ideal for connecting to peripheral devices, and a 1 terabyte hard drive.  The chassis tilts from 10-30 degrees. The Acer Aspire ZC-605 Series will be priced starting at $599.99. Gateway One ZX4270 Priced very affordably starting at $399. This Gateway boasts a 19.5” screen in a compact body.  The Gateway will be available this month starting at $399. Source: Windows Blog ...

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The IE team along with independent developer Dan Church and Pixel Labs have created a web version of the classic Windows 95 game Hover.  The IE team hopes this demostrates the full capabilities of IE11 and creates more possibilities for web developers. Like the original version, Hover works with a keyboard – but it’s even more exciting with the touch controls we’ve added, especially on a tablet running Windows 8.1. IE11 was designed from the ground up for touch – giving it extremely accurate touch responsiveness and optimization and providing you with a fluid and immersive experience. Its stick to your finger responsiveness makes touch fast and easy to use, making the game even more fun to play! The game has been updated slightly with some new features Dan personally built all the game play while taking special care to keep the feel of the original game in the updated ...

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I think Playstation is going to seriously regret not bundling their version of Kinect with the PS4.  Maybe they knew it would not be as good as Kinect 2.0 anyways. Cyrus Bamji, Microsoft partner hardware architect for Microsoft’s Silicon Valley-based Architecture and Silicon Management group, and members of his team were trying to incorporate a time-of-flight camera into Xbox One.  A time-of-flight camera emits light signals and then measures how long it takes them to return. That needs to be accurate to 1/10,000,000,000 of a second; the speed of light. With such measurements, the camera is able to differentiate light reflecting from objects in a room and the surrounding environment. That provides an accurate depth estimation that enables the shape of those objects to be computed. That speed-of-light capability would be a major advancement for the Kinect sensor portion of Xbox One, being released to 13 launch markets next month. ...

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Microsoft has been a longtime advocate of unregulated spectrum and white spaces.  It appears the company will now get its chance to show what it can do with them.  UK regulator Ofcom has named Microsoft to test WiFi-like services to underserved Glasgow, while Click4internet will assess rural broadband in remote or tricky locations.  Google has signed on as a potential database provider.  Ofcom hope  to have everything running by next year. How White Spaces work: These new services will utilise the gaps, or ‘white spaces’, that sit in the frequency band used to broadcast digital terrestrial TV. Some of these gaps may be used by other applications, such as wireless microphones, but only at certain times. White space devices would access the spaces at times when they are vacant, by communicating their locations to a database designed to minimise the risk of interference with any existing users. This is a ...

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In an interview with USA Today Ford CEO Alan Mulally reufsed to directly answer the question if he is actively seeking the role of becoming Microsoft’s next CEO. “I love serving Ford and have nothing new to add to (my) plans to continue serving Ford,” Alan Mulally The mainstream tech press continues to push the narrative  that Alan Mulally will become Microsoft’s next CEO.  However, I continue to hear this is simply not the case. Source: USA Today ...

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Ian Ayres is a Yale professor and co-founder of Stickk.com. You may recall he found himself in a bit of a controversy in 2007 after it was found that he had plagiarized some passages in book he had published.  He has published a paper challenging the claims of the “Bing It On” challenge, where Bing claims that most people prefer Bing 2:1.  The Bing team published a rather vicious post, rebuking Ayres’ claims: Ian Ayres posted an article on Freakonomics yesterday challenging the claims that have been used on the Bing It On website. A couple of notes are important before I talk about Ayres’ claims. There are two separate claims that have been used with the Bing It On challenge. The first is “People chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2:1 in blind comparison tests”. We blogged about the method here and it was used back in 2012. ...

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As Windows XP approaches end of life on April 8th, 2014 it is starting to lose market share in the enterprise.  According the Net Applications, Windows XP lost 2% market share from last month while Windows 7 gained 0.8% to 46.53% and Windows 8 gained 0.61% to 8.02% market share.   Windows 8.1 hold 0.85% market share, quite impressive when you consider the entire Linux market share is 1.66%. Source: Net Applications ...

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Starting this spring the Office Store will begin supporting Chinese, Russian, Dutch, Brazilian (Portuguese) and Italian language apps alongside the opening of 8 additional store fronts (Russia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Brazil).  Additionally, Microsoft will be adding subscription pricing for apps in the Office Store allowing developers to charge a monthly recurring fee for their solutions.  These enhancements increase the opportunity for developers to promote and distribute apps globally or within the 31 individual selectable markets where the Office Store is available.  Developers will have an even greater choice between free, trial, paid and subscription versions of their apps, broadening their reach to entirely new users, customers and segments.  As Peter Duff, President and CEO of Adlib explains, “Partnering with Microsoft to offer Adlib PDF Publisher in the Office Store has opened us up to a completely new market segment that has traditionally been out of reach. ...

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Starting Friday, Oct. 4, through Sunday, Oct. 6, Xbox Live Gold will be unlocked for the following regions: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam. For the regions not listed above, October 11-14 the offer will be available in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, and on the weekend of Nov. 7-10 it will be available in Japan. Source: The Fire Hose         ...

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