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 has grown quite fond of doing Reddit IamAs (‘ask me anything’) recently.   It is one of the many practices still continued from the Steven Sinofsky era.  And to the company’s credit their employees have been fairly honest and open in answering questions.  Following the Visual Studio 2013 launch well known Microsoftie Scott Hanselman along other members of the ASP.NET team held an IamA on reddit.  The questions asked often veer off the intended topic. User “bmoneybryan” asked: For Scott Hanselman (@shanselman): This is pretty off-topic, but I believe you once mentioned you worked from home, if a new CEO inserts a policy like Yahoo or HP where you have to work in the office at Microsoft, will you still be working at Microsoft? Some employees mentioned you’re an expert in African-American culture, is this true? Mr. Hanselman answered the questions quite honestly: Working from Home: Yes, if they tell me I have to move, ...

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Today Microsoft has started delivering the delivering Kinect for Windows v2 Developer Preview kits to the programs thousands of participants.  The Developer Preview includes a pre-release Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, access to the new generation Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK), as well as ongoing updates and access to private program forums. Participants will also receive a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor when they become available next summer (northern hemisphere). Microsoft is making the Kinect for Windows sensor and SDK available early to qualifying developers and designers so they can prepare to have their new-generation applications ready in time for general availability next summer.  The new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor will feature the core capabilities of the new Kinect for Xbox One sensor. Real Vision Kinect Real Vision technology dramatically expands its field of view for greater line of sight. An all-new active IR camera enables it ...

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The Scroogled merchandise appears to be a hit among the Microsoft community and the mugs are currently out of stock.  If you are considering purchasing a t-shirt or hoodie for a loved one, now may be the time to do so to ensure you get one in time for the holiday season.  For those that think this is beneath Microsoft, just think back to the “Hi I’m a PC/Mac” commercials.  Ad Age reported earlier last month, Microsoft’s “Scroogled” ad campaign has actually seen positive results. Please read of our previous coverage: http://microsoft-news.com/google-responds-to-microsofts-scroogled-merchandise-campaign/ http://microsoft-news.com/get-your-scroogled-gear-just-in-time-for-the-holiday-season-from-the-microsoft-store/ ...

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Microsoft has posted a new ad on their Windows youtube page.  The ad features a number of devices including an 8-inch Toshiba Encore tablet, the HP Split X2, a Surface 2, a Dell XPS 18, and the Nokia 2520.  A few features are highlighted with text with each of the devices.  Microsoft is clearly trying to emphasize the variety of devices for your particular lifestyle along with a consistent experience. The song featured in the ad is called “Universal” by Eighty (http://soundcloud.com/joshone/eighty-universal) What do you think of the ad?  Let us know in the comments below ...

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Please see our previous coverage of hardware problems on the PlayStation 4: More PS4 Users Experience Hardware Issues 360 1-star Reviews On Amazon Climbing/ and Cheaper PS4 Experiencing Hardware Issues Already It seems the Xbox One is not without it’s share of hardware problems either.  A number of users are reporting having faulty disk drives and hearing a “grinding/clicking noise.”  Some users have reported that their device will not turn. One user received a device that had been physically damaged.  Right now these appear to be somewhat isolated events, but only time will tell as to how widespread these events are.  There may be more information by Monday if more users report having problems with their consoles. We will keep an eye on this, just as we have been doing with the PS4 and report back when we have more information. Microsoft has released the following statement: “We know that with ...

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Deezer is a web based streaming music service, similar to Spotify & Pandora.  Based in Paris, France they launched in 2006 and have slowly expanded out throughout Europe and the Middle East.  They currently have 5 million paid users with 30 million licensed tracks and 30,000 radio channels. This compares quite well to Spotify’s  7 million paid users. In the past Deezer has made deal with telecoms and more recently partnerships with LG, Samsung, and Toshiba. Seeing success with its mobile phone applications, Deezer is looking to expand into the United States.  France’s Startup Blog reports: In order to launch [ in the US], Deezer will likely need to partner with a strong local player, which may explain the rumors around the Microsoft acquisition. A partnership with Xbox or Windows could provide Deezer with some much needed advantage over rival Spotify, whose deep integration with Facebook and early attack of the US market has given ...

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While the discussion in this post may be obvious and quite apparent to most of you, it may not be to all.  It is important to remember we have new readers everyday who are just escaping the Apple & Google reality distortion fields perpetuated daily by our blatantly biased fangirls “tech media.” The Instagram non-controversy was what I would call a ‘teachable moment.’  I woke up early Wednesday morning to see a smaller blog breaking the story that Instagram would be released later that day for windows phone.  Of course, as we have now come to expect, as usual, the larger tech sites did not credit the site when they reported on the story themselves.  I then went on to read the Xbox reviews that had finally come out.  It was an exercise in torture, reading poorly written, and even more poorly thought out reviews lacking a modicum of intellectual ...

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Now this is only a rumor, and to be perfectly honest, not one I really believe.  However, TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL, is reporting that Microsoft is considering buying Winamp & Shoutcast.  Winamp is media playing software for Windows and Android devices that AOL picked up through its $80 million acquisition of Nullsoft in 1999.  Nullsoft also developed Shoutcast which is a cross platform propriety streaming media software. AOL is currently in the process of shutting down both Winamp and Shoutcast.  With the increasing popularity of Spotify, Pandora, ITunes, etc is seems to make little sense that Microsoft would want either piece of software.  Spotify recently raised $250 million valuing the company around ~$4 billion, greater than AOL’s entire market cap.  However, it is important to remember Microsoft did buy over a billion dollars in patents from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and then proceeded to sell some of them ...

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Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against Acacia Research Corp today, charging that Acacia broke a contract to license various smartphone and mobile computing technologies to Microsoft. The lawsuit, filed under seal in New York federal court, follows a number of patent infringement lawsuits brought by Acacia subsidiaries against Microsoft in October in Texas, Delaware and Illinois. In 2010, Microsoft agreed to pay an Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based web browser firm Access Co. In October, various Acacia subsidiaries filed lawsuits against Microsoft, charging that the software company had infringed more than a dozen patents. Microsoft’s lawsuit is a response to those actions.  “Acacia’s lawsuits are the worst kind of abusive litigation behaviour, attempting to extract payment based on litigation tactics and not the value of its patents,” said David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, in an emailed statement. ...

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Just in time for the holiday season, Microsoft has come out with the perfect gifts for the budget conscious.  Continuing their Scroogled campaign against Google, the Microsoft Store has come out with Scroogled gear.  You can now get a scroogled hoodie, t-shirt, hat, or mug.  I think I’ll be picking up one of each. I personally would like to see some Microsoft executives fashioning off some of these Scroogled t-shirts.  Can we get a petition going to see Amy Hood in a white Scroogled t-shirt?  Ballmer drinking out of a Scroogled mug?  The possibilities are endless.   Item in the store include: Scroogled Keep Calm Mug Perfect for anyone who’s fully caffeinated and tired of being Scroogled. Put 15-ounces of your favorite beverage into this stoneware mug to let the world know that even though Google is trying to make money on almost every aspect of your digital life, you’re ...

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Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting is going on today.  Bill Gates made a very brief statement on the CEO search.  It seemed to me he originally planned to say a little more, but emotions got the best of him. Microsoft’s board is in search for the new CEO for Microsoft as current CEO Steve Ballmer is retiring next year. Microsoft previously announced that they are considering both internal and external candidates for this job. Reuters reported that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and current Ford CEO Alan Mulally are now part of the shortlisted external candidates list. Also the internal candidates under consideration includes former Skype CEO Tony Bates, who is now responsible for Microsoft’s business development, and Satya Nadella, the company’s cloud and enterprise chief. More tidbits may come out of the meeting, we’ll have full coverage throughout the day. via: The Verge ...

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It seems to me this will be a series of posts, please read Part I of our in-depth chronicling of the hardware issues plaguing the PS4: http://microsoft-news.com/cheaper-ps4-experiencing-hardware-issues-already/ Well I must congratulate Sony for copying Microsoft so successfully.  In an effort to emulate some of the successes of the Xbox 360, Sony has included their own version of the RROD (Red Ring of Death) in the PS4, let me introduce to you the Blue Light of Death (BLOD). The difference between the RROD and BLOD, is the BLOD is appearing immediately or only after a few hours of use, pointing to bad components/build quality, while the Xbox 360 had heating issues, which caused problems over time.  On top of that, Sony’s rating for the PS4 is plummeting on Amazon, two days back the PS4 had a 4.5 rating on Amazon.com, toady the rating has dropped to 3.5 stars.  Generally when you looks at the overall reviews you want to sees a decreasing cascade ...

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Microsoft has showed strong support for 3D printing with Windows 8.1 by building a class driver for 3D printers.  The  company has recently published an app that allows users to make slight modifications from a library of 3D objects including simple toys, household items, miniatures and seasonal objects.  The app can also load exisiting CAD project, but cannot create object from scratch. “The main focus here was having success quickly with 3D printing,” explained Microsoft’s Shanen Boettcher. Here is the description from the Windows Store: Meet 3D Builder – the best place to view, prepare, and print your 3D models on Windows 8.1-ready 3D printers! 3D Builder is a fun, easy to use, free app that helps you turn bits into atoms and explore the exciting world of 3D printing. It also includes a library of example 3D objects to get you started. Whether you are an experienced enthusiast or new to ...

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This is the part 2.5 in a series of 5 posts, in which we will take a very brief look at each of the potential candidates for Microsoft’s next CEO.  Please read Part I on Satya “Nutella” Nadella: http://microsoft-news.com/a-brief-glimpse-at-satya-nadella-possibly-microsofts-next-ceo/ Stephen Elop is one of the leading candidates in the running for Microsoft’s next CEO.    There was much controversy over a Bloomberg report that stated Elop would sell Bing and Xbox.  Also in the report was a hint that Elop wanted Office on Android.  I do not want to get into too much speculation as to why Dina Bass decided to publish the report, some say it was from people inside msft against Elop, others say it was from wall street, but either way it was clearly wrong.  This can be evidenced by some commentary by Elop about Bing can be seen in one of the videos below.  Elop was head of ...

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Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet will launch on AT&T next week on November 22.  Pricing on two-year contract will start at $399.99. If you want the device off contract, it will cost you $499. If you are ready to buy the device along with Lumia 1520 or Lumia 1020 or Lumia 925, you need to pay just $199 on contract. Some quick specs: 10.1 inch Display Keyboard Cover LTE 8,000 mAh battery 6.7 megapixel rear camera Nokia bundled apps including HERE maps, camera app, Storyteller image app Runs Windows RT Qualcomm Processor November 22 is a big day for Microsoft and Nokia.  The Nokia Lumia 1520 and the Xbox One will both accompany the launch of the 2520. I suspect some our readers may be filing for bankruptcy quite soon (j/k). Availability on Verizon is still unclear at this time. Source: Nokia ...

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Many mainstream news outlets are reporting on users having hardware problems with Sony’s PS4.  The problem got bad enough where Sony’s President of PlayStation, Shuhei Yoshida, took to twitter to release a statement: “Be assured we are investigating reported PS4 issues. The number is very small compared to shipped, we believe they are isolated incidents.” The current PR spin by Sony is that these problems are only being experienced by users who received the PS4 earlier then the general public.  However, this may be a hint of the lack of quality control going on in the Sony production line. A cheaper console has its consequences, and one of these may have been a more relaxed quality control to save money. Kotaku, in their PS4 review, noted their first console did not work at all, and had to subsequently go procure another console.  Many users on Reddit are also complaining of issues ...

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