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

With an update rolling out to the Xbox 360, Microsoft will finally transition from MS points to local currently.  Microsoft has posted a FAQ explaining the transition in further detail: FAQ Your current Microsoft Points can be converted to an equivalent dollar value (valid until June 1, 2015). Transactions at this time are not being taxed, but in a future update Microsoft will start charging for local sales tax. However, the company will charge local sales tax on transactions in the future. Xbox Live users can continue to buy and redeem Microsoft Points cards for the foreseeable future, and later this year, Microsoft will start offering Xbox Gift Cards to replace the old cards. A Microsoft representative told Polygon, “Today we started rolling out the official release of the 2013 Xbox Live Update. To ensure a stable release, this will be a gradual deployment across members and regions. Don’t panic ...

Read More →

Win8China has posted some screenshots of Windows 8.1 RTM (build 9600). Everything pretty much looks as expected. It’s only a matter of time until the full build leaks now that it is in the hands of the OEMs.  Windows 8.1 will be officially released October 18 and as a free upgrade from the Windows Store on October 17th.  The OS hit RTM just a few days ago. Source: Win8China ...

Read More →

Australian media magnate and CEO of News Corp Rupert Murdoch shared his thoughts about Ballmer retiring on Twitter: I think Murdoch is partially right in that hedge funds were partially responsible, but not in the way most people think. Ballmer was not forced out, and anyone pushing that narrative is just wrong. We’ll expand more on this point in another post. Follow Mr. Murdoch on twitter ...

Read More →

Microsoft begun discussing about technology and design thought behind Xbox One console and controller in the recent few weeks. This week they posted a video in which Xbox’s Graeme Boyd talks with Senior Product Designer Quintin Morris on how that technology makes the new Xbox One controller our best controller yet. This is a must watch video to know the inner parts of Xbox One controller. As you can see in the video above, Microsoft really focused on improving the existing Xbox 360 controller to a whole new level that will serve the new Xbox One console.   ...

Read More →

You may remember almost two years ago then president of PayPal, Scott Thompson, agreed to become CEO of Yahoo.  It turns out he had some factual inaccuracies on his resume, including not actually having obtained a degree in computer science.  This controversy led to him resigning and Ross Levinsohn was named interim CEO.  Levinson truly believed he would be named permanent CEO, and as it turns out he would have been if not for Marissa Mayer. However, in the time Levinson was CEO of Yahoo, he put together a radical plan for the company and started to implement it at full speed.  BI reports: Levinsohn walked into the room; all of his top executives followed. There was Jim Heckman, Levinsohn’s top dealmaker, who’d spent months negotiating a huge deal with Microsoft Levinsohn told the board that, under his direction, Heckman had begun negotiating a deal with Microsoft to exchange Yahoo’s ...

Read More →

We previously reported that Microsoft will permanently drop the price of all Touch Covers from $119.99 to $79.99.  The SurfaceRT bundles (SurfaceRT + Black Touch Cover) will also be getting a permanent price reduction. The current price of either 32GB or 64GB and a bundled black Touch Cover for $449 and $549, respectively.  Starting on August 30th, whether you buy online or in the Microsoft Store, the bundle will cost $399 and $499, still saving you about $30. I think Microsoft should be able to sell more units at this price point. Source: WPCentral ...

Read More →

Microsoft on Friday completed the development of Windows 8.1 RTM.  The official build number will be Windows 8.1—9600.16384.130821-1623.  This build has been sent off to the OEMs and Microsoft will work closely with them over the next month to provide any Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) updates as needed. Thurrott reports: These QFEs will be delivered to PC and hardware makers so that they can add them to their PCs and devices before launch. End users will receive these QFEs automatically via Windows Update within three days of GA. This process of “finalizing” a product and then updating it before it is released to the public isn’t new; Microsoft did the same thing with Windows 8/RT last year. But it does explain the two month delta between RTM and GA, which many had questioned. RTM simply doesn’t mean what it used to mean, and in this age of constant iteration, no ...

Read More →

Mary-Jo Foley got 15 minutes with Ballmer (as well as a number of other reporters), he talked about his biggest regret: Oh, you know, I’ve actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that’s probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn’t prove out to be as valuable. Source: Mary-Jo Foley ...

Read More →

Microsoft stock is surging on the announcement that CEO Steve Ballmer will be retiring.  Some of this is of course due to sentiment analysis and also due to the dive the stock took after last quarter’s earning results. I wouldn’t read too much into this, the stock can quickly go down as it has gone up.  If some investors had their way, Microsoft would sell off Bing and Xbox.  AllThingsD reports According to Microsoft’s latest proxy, Ballmer owns 333,252,990 shares of the company. At yesterday’s closing price of $32.39, they were worth approximately $10.794 billion. But this morning, after Ballmer disclosed his retirement plans, Microsoft’s share price rose some seven percent, pushing the value of Ballmer’s stake to $11.563 billion, and making him $769 million in the process. Source: AllThingsD ...

Read More →

A very personal email from Steve Ballmer to all Microsoft employees explaining he will retire within the year: I am writing to let you know that I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction. You can read the press release on Microsoft News Center. This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft. Our new Senior Leadership team is amazing. The strategy we have generated is first class. Our new organization, which is centered on functions and ...

Read More →

Sad news for us longtime Microsoft observers, Steve Ballmer has announced he will retire within the year. During the re-org it was hinted that he wanted a natural successor to emerge many times. Read the official statement, we’ll have a full analysis later today: REDMOND, Wash. — Aug.23, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most. “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing ...

Read More →

Sources close to cnBeta have confirmed that the Windows 8.1 RTM version number  6.3.9600. Typically the final build number, from Vista on up, has been evenly divisible by 16 and is artificially bumped up to ensure this happens. You may recall that the Windows 8.0 RTM build number was 9200.  Windows 95′s build number was 950, Windows 98′s build number was 1998, Windows 98 SE was 2222, and Windows XP was 2600 (reference to hacker magazine), Windows Vista 6000 and Windows 7 was 7600. Screenshots of build 9484, recently released to OEMs, have recently leaked and build 9477 leaked to the web a few days back.  Microsoft-news can confirm Microsoft is now working on the RTM branch of Windows 8.1, no new features are being added, only critical bugs are being fixed, especially those that are high priority for OEMs.  As previously reported Windows 8.1 will be released around October 18th. Source: Cnbeta.com ...

Read More →

Steven Sinofsky has found himself a new part-time job: I’m especially excited to learn by spending more time with entrepreneurs and those creating new technologies and products. Andreessen Horowitz is a VC firm that believes deeply in helping entrepreneurs and helping change the product and business landscape, which is why I am thrilled to join the firm as a board partner. Board partners are unique at a16z. In this position I will represent the firm on the boards of portfolio companies when the opportunities present themselves, but will not be a full-time member of the firm. My own experience in product development has been focused on learning and changing from within an organization as part of teams—scaling teams, building the first professional GUI dev tools for Windows, marshaling the company around the “InterNet”, bringing together disparate apps to create Office, creating the first collaboration servers, and shifting to the tablet ...

Read More →

Sony’s Entertainment boss Andrew House slammed Microsoft publically at Gamescom 2013 for not having a consistent strategy at Gamescom and doing a “180″ on a number of issues. “While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.” In an interview with Eurogamer Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer accused “certain people” of trying to turn these policy changes into “a bad thing”, insisting the company’s ability to react to feedback was “a strength”. “The thing I love about the space we’re in is you’re always going to get feedback, whether it’s on your Twitter feed, whether it’s in NeoGAF, whether it’s in Eurogamer,” Spencer said. “People are going to tell you in comment threads how they feel about decisions. “The two-way conversation we have with our customers is a strength. Certain people have tried to turn ...

Read More →