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

In 2012 Microsoft help the #1 spot for corporate brand perception in Japan.  This year Microsoft has fallen to third and Apple has gained the #1 spot for the first time.  Google has also moved from 8th to 5th.  According to Nikkei Research: Apple saw a “greater willingness of businesspeople to recommend its products.  And the U.S. company continues to rank high in “originality and brand premium.” The iPhone is selling well in Japan and the trend is expected to continue with the iPhone 5S.  More businesses and consumers are willing to recommend Apple products right now in Japan.  The No. 2 spot went to a Japanese company, Yamato Transport, a home delivery service.  Microsoft has a lot of work to do, but with the purchase of Nokia and increased innovation in the hardware space I believe Microsoft can regain the top spot when annual survey is done again next ...

Read More →

Game publishers continue to be innovate on the Xbox One and are investing in utilizing Kinect’s capabilities, which will bundled with the Xbox One.  (This is your cue to cry PS4 fanboys)  DICE’s Patrick Bach gave a preview of Battlefield 4 to Xbox Wire.  He revealed that the game is considering to using the Xbox One’s Kinect sensor for head tracking look controls (such as leaning around a corner) and also for voice commands.  The publisher will also be using SmartGlass (again no real PS4 equivalent) to allow players to view the overhead map during multiplayer matches and take advantage of the second screen. Here is part of the Q&A: What are you most excited about for developing on new generation hardware?  Developing for a new hardware generation is always exciting and inspiring for us at game makers and players. At DICE, we have prepared ourselves well for this transition ...

Read More →

A few days back we reported on Microsoft launching an iPad trade-in program allowing consumers to get a minimum of $200 to spend at a Microsoft Store.  A new Microsoft Corporate Buyback promotion in partnership with Clover Wireless will allow users to trade in a number of competitors devices including: iPads, iPhones, Samsung, and Blackberry devices.  Consumers can receive a gift card worth up to $350.  Microsoft has posted a FAQ on how the program works: Q. Who can trade in? A: Anyone that’s ready to trade up to an amazing new Microsoft device and trade-in an eligible used device. Q. Why trust this trade-in program? A: Clover Wireless, has more than 20 years of experience in valuing used electronic equipment. Clover Wireless will provide the maximum trade-in value for your used electronic device, and if not a good usable device Clover Wireless will ensure it is recycled responsibly through ...

Read More →

Microsoft has released IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 today.  This may mean the final versions of the browser may launch after the release of Windows 8.1. This release preview included performance improvements making it 30% faster than other browsers, updates to support the latest Web standards, and developer tools improvements The IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 includes several tools enhancements to increase developer productivity and in response to the overwhelming enthusiasm and feedback we have received from developers.  Here are just a few of the many improvements: Console:  IE11 makes it easier to debug WebGL content by mapping WebGL errors to the corresponding JavaScript location.  Developer productivity is improved because primitives have been added to Intellisense.  With IE11, developers can debug multi-threaded Web sites with full console access while targeting Web workers. Debugger:  An improved file picker allows faster access to files in a ...

Read More →

For those of you with MSDN subscriptions, here are the pertinent links to download Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Pro Volume License, and European “N” editions: Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQLk Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQMH Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQN3 Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQPY Windows 8.1 Pro N VL (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQRQ Windows 8.1 Pro N VL (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQSJ Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x64) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQTM Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x64) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQTk Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQWT Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQZh Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x64) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQfl Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x64) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQhY Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x64) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQjK Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x64) ...

Read More →

Enterprise customers now have access to Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM.  There will probably be no deployments as of now, but at least they can start testing the OS for their environment. This is especially important as Windows XP hits end-of-life in seven months. Beginning today, TechNet and MSDN subscribers will now have access to Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM. This also includes access for Volume License (VL) customers with an active Software Assurance (SA) agreement, as you receive a TechNet subscription as part of SA. Preparing Your Organization to Migrate to Windows 8.1 Enterprise As we mentioned when we originally announced RTM back in late August, we talked about how we are moving forward with a rapid release cycle for Windows. If you have not started, begin your Windows 8.1 planning today. We encourage you to evaluate Windows 8.1 RTM bits to get a jump start on your deployment planning, using it ...

Read More →

Kinect SDK 1.8 for Windows now available.  It includes a number of improvements: New background removal API. This “turn-key” green screening capability makes it easy to perform background replacement dynamically in your application. This new API should prove to be practical and fun. 3D color capture capabilities with Kinect Fusion. Kinect Fusion enables your app to create 3D mesh models with a Kinect sensor. In the 1.8 Kinect for Windows SDK these capabilities have been augmented with realistic color texture mapping so that you can produce 3D models with realistic color. Since the new 3D printing capabilities in Windows 8.1 are engineered to support surface color, this new color capturing capability is particularly exciting. Improved tracking for Kinect Fusion. Updated algorithms enable more reliable camera tracking as the Kinect sensor moves while scanning a scene. The result: a better Kinect Fusion experience and better 3D models. Multi-sensor Kinect Fusion sample. ...

Read More →

Breaking: Microsoft announces quarterly dividend increase of 22% and up to $40 billion share repurchase program. Story is still developing, we’ll update accordingly. Stock is up about 1% currently. This sounds similar to a program Microsoft had in 2008. Update: Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share, reflecting a 5 cent or 22 percent increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 12, 2013, to shareholders of record on Nov. 21, 2013. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 19, 2013. The board of directors also approved a new share repurchase program authorizing up to $40 billion in share repurchases. The new share repurchase program, which has no expiration date, replaces the previous $40 billion share repurchase program that was set to expire Sept. 30, 2013. “These actions reflect a continued commitment to returning cash to our ...

Read More →

Artists have released songs as ITunes exclusives for many years now and it looks like Microsoft is starting to play the game too.  For the next 14 days “A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES,” by Linkin Park will stream exclusively for 14 days on Xbox Music.  Microsoft explained the collaboration in further detail on the Xbox Wire. The catalyst for this relationship was gaming.  Years ago, our band had legendary Xbox tournaments on our tour bus playing “Halo”—competitions which often included fans and other bands.  As our career has progressed, we have always been attached to gaming, and eventually got opportunities to participate in the space.  We’ve enjoyed partnerships with “Medal Of Honor” and EA over the years, and even released games on our own (this month, we’ve released a new free-to-play Facebook game entitled RECHARGE.) Gaming and Xbox, however, were just the introduction; it wasn’t the thing that got me interested ...

Read More →

In an unsurprising move Mozilla has decided to delay the release of Metro Firefox to January 2014.  The company cited “slower than expected progress” as the primary reason. “The goal of the Metro Preview Release is to gather feedback and defects from the larger Aurora community,” Mozilla said in notes published on its website from a planning meeting last Wednesday. “Whether or not the Metro Preview Release will graduate from Aurora to Beta and Release channels is still to be determined. At a minimum, it should significantly increase the number of testers and feedback.”  “The decrease in average team velocity over the two previous iterations positions Metro for a Firefox 27 release on January 21, 2014,” the meeting notes stated. The release of Metro Firefox has already been delayed a number of times and has now been in development for over a year.  I suspect I’ll be writing a post ...

Read More →

Statcounter’s latest number show Windows XP only has 20.58% marketshare worldwide, while Windows 7 has 52.73% and Windows 8 3.3%.  As Windows XP approaches end-of-life in 7 months, I suspect we’ll see these numbers change somewhat.  While in North America Windows XP only holds ~15% marketshare, there are a number of eight countries where XP is the top used operating system: China – 54.79% Cook Islands – 72.14% Cuba – 52.93% Eritrea – 58.25% North Korea – 61.47% Morocco – 44.66% Norfolk Island – 70.18% Vietnam – 44.33% Here are countries where Windows XP hold over 30% marketshare: •Albania – 44.64% • Algeria – 38.11% • Argentina – 30.9% • Belarus – 37.39% • Benin – 43.37% • Bolivia – 32.71% • Bosnia and Herzegovina – 42.97% • Bulgaria – 36.76% • Cameroon – 42.65% • Cote d’Ivoire – 34.79% • Dominican Republic – 46.29% • Eygpt – 41.68% • ...

Read More →

This is a story by the NYDailyNews, I’m simply going to posts some excerpts without any commentary: How do global terrorists keep in touch on the Internet? They use Gmail, just like a lot of other people on the planet. Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency, said the free email service offered by Google is the most popular communication method among radical insurgents across the world. “Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” Hayden said Sunday during a speech at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House. “I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is.” Hayden’s comments were in defense of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, under which U.S. intelligence agents spied on private emails and Internet chatter around the world. The ...

Read More →

With the Surface 2 launch event only a week away, Microsoft is looking to clear old inventory of the SurfaceRT.  A number of great deals have appeared on ebay, and you can get a SurfaceRT 32GB w/ a Touch Cover for only $250 and the same bundle w/ 64GB for $280.  This is not as great as the $200 deal we saw a few weeks back, but still great savings.  Typically a 32GB SurfaceRT bundle w/ Touch Covers costs $399, so this $150 savings, and even greater $220 savings for the 64GB bundle. Ebay – SurfaceRT 32GB w/ Black Touch Cover – $250 Ebay – SurfaceRT 64GB w/ Black Touch Cover – $280 Please read our previous coverage of Surface leaks including: Surface RT 2 Details Revealed: Tegra 4, Full HD 1080p, White & Black Options, & More Surface 2 Specs Leak: Haswell, New Kickstand, More RAM, Launches Next Month ...

Read More →

Information about the Surface and accessories continues to trickle in as we approach the Surface launch event on September 23rd in New York.  This time we learned an interesting fact regarding the type covers.  When Microsoft originally launched the Surface last year, the touch covers were available in five different colors: magenta, white, cyan, red, and black.  There were also limited edition touch covers made available later on which included special designs on the back and some were even specific to certain markets, but in the same five colors.  The type cover was only available in black, however, Microsoft has seen a lot of user demand for type covers in different colors and had stated they would consider making colored type covers at a later time. Well it appears Microsoft will make the Type Cover available in multiple colors.  Sources have not confirmed what colors will be available exactly.  At ...

Read More →

After battling Carl Icahn, Michael Dell has successfully been able to buy back his company (with the help of private equity firm Silver Lake) and take it private.  Michael has bet his own fortune on Dell going private and succeeding again. Michael Dell hopes to refocus the company without the pressures of shareholders and make innovate PCs and get more into the mobile business.  Microsoft has invested $2 billion in Dell to help finance this deal. Let’s take a look at Dell’s history: 1984 Michael Dell, 19 years old, starts a computer business, at first called PC’s Limited, as a pre-med freshman at the University of Texas at Austin 1985 The company designs its first computer, the Turbo PC, featuring an Intel 8088 processor running at 8MHz with a 10MB hard drive and a 5.25-inch floppy drive. 1988 The company, now known as Dell, holds an initial public offering, raising $30 million ...

Read More →

Little information is known regarding the Surface Mini.  We reported earlier that the 8-inch Surface Mini will not be unveiled at Microsoft’s Surface event later this month.  Previously rumors had emerged that the Surface RT 2 (Surface 2) would run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, this turned out to false, and the Surface 2 will continue to run on the Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset.  However, it appears the Surface Mini will utilize a QUALCOMM processor, which makes sense given the company’s close relation with Windows Phone.  New information has emerged confirming that the Surface Mini will run Windows RT 8.1.  Winsupersite reports: It will ship this year, but a bit later than the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. It utilizes a Qualcomm processor, so it’s an ARM device and will be running Windows RT 8.1, not Windows 8.1. And it will indeed have an 8-inch screen. Source: WinSuperSite ...

Read More →