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

Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s name continues to pop up as a possible replacement for retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  I like Mulally and there is certainly no arguing that Ford would have gone bankrupt without him.  However, I do not think he is the right person to replace Ballmer, but could be an asset to Microsoft in another capacity.  Making planes at Boeing and cars at Ford is quite different from running a premiere technology company. We recently covered a report, in which investors have been pressuring Microsoft to name Mulally as CEO.  Why would investors want Mulally as CEO? He isn’t from Google, Apple, Amazon, Twitter or some other hot silicon valley startup.  He isn’t fawned upon by the Technorati (excluding the times he does large ad buys on their “respective” websites).  Mulally isn’t young or hip.  He isn’t a rich socialite or fashionista akin to Marissa Mayer.  He isn’t a bully like Steve Jobs.  He ...

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According to sources, the Surface RT 2 will simply be called the Surface 2; and Surface Pro, simply Surface Pro 2.  The Surface is expected to look identical to the current SurfaceRT.  Interestingly enough there may be an option for a white Surface.  Here is what we know of the specs so far: CPU: TEGRA 4 processor Screen: 10.6-inch, ClearType Full HD (1920 x 1080, or 1080p) Battery: Up to 8 hours RAM: 4GB Kickstand: New integrated two-position style kickstand Weight & Thickness: Identical to current SurfaceRT (1.5 lb and .37 inches respectively) Color: Black and new White color possible, VaporMg casing Office: Office Home & Student included (with Outlook RT) Storage: Micro-SD card expansion up to 64 GB Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 WiFi: 802.11 Camera: Front and rear-facing cameras Other Ports: Full sized USB 3.0 port, HD video-out port OS: Windows RT 8.1 Price at this point is unknown but it ...

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Photocopier machines continue to work overtime at Sony while Microsoft unrelentlessly unveils new features on the Xbox One every week. Phil Spencer talked about one his favorite features on the Xbox One, having the ability to create a favorite channel list that migrates with you wherever you go. Spencer told us more about how the Kinect’s IR blaster will work to help streamline integration.  “Kinect sends out the commands for your TV and your media stack,” he explains.  “Right now, we’re asking users to select their provider and box.  Our goal is to get to the point where it figures it out by asking you a few questions.  That’s something we’re on for the next two years, but we’re going to get close at launch for a lot of people.” The Xbox One profile will also enable users to create a favorite channel list.  Should you log into your profile ...

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A new report claims Microsoft is building a docking station for the Surface Pro 2. The dock will allow for easy attachment of a keyboard and mouse.  There will be three USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port on the dock as well as the ability to attach to an external display via a mini DisplayPort. It will also feature a 1 Gbps Ethernet port, dedicated microphone and headphone/speaker ports. This will allow the Surface to be a complete desktop replacement for many users. It will be compatible only with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Sources have not provided timing or price at this time, however speculation is that it may launch with the Surface Pro 2. Thurrott confirms many of the details: Pro only: It will be compatible with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, but not Surface RT or Surface 2. Design: The Docking Station is ...

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Game Informer snagged an exclusive interview with Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer.  He talked about managing the hardware side of the device and maintaining a good consumer experience. “We feel great about our hardware yield,” Spencer says.  “We feel great about the number of units we’re going to have at launch.  Our pre-orders are going really well; better than they did for the 360.”  Pre-orders continue to sell out each time Microsoft releases another batch to retailers. “You want people to be able to walk in the store and buy one on day one, so you’re trying to manage the inventory that isn’t pre-sold,” Spencer says.  “It’s not a yield problem; it’s us trying to manage the hardware side.  I want parents who do not think about pre-ordering electronics to be able to walk in and have a chance to find a box.  There might be a line, but ...

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Game Informer snagged an exclusive interview with Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer.  He talked about their the massive interest they are seeing from Independent Game Developers for their ID@Xbox program.  Spencer has mentioned something that the indie game developer’s would not have access to on the PS4, Windows Azure & Microsoft’s 300,000 servers.  “Our relationship with the indie development community has always been strong,” Spencer says.  “It doesn’t mean everybody loves us.  But if you look at the flow of content during the 360 generation and some of the indie hits that debuted on console on 360, people were clearly investing in putting their games on our platform.” “We want to have a platform that all of the great game developers can target.  We have to be able to support that,” Spencer says.  And those creators seem to be responding.  The ID@Xbox program has already proven popular.  “In the ...

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Xbox Live General Manager Ron Pessner, who leads the engineering team developing the new SmartGlass, talked about the technology in detail on the company’s official Xbox Blog.  Xbox Wire also promised a future post explaining how SmartGlass will work with games and entertainment on Xbox One. XW: What can gamers expect from SmartGlass for Xbox One?  RP: SmartGlass is maturing with the evolution of Xbox 360 to Xbox One. Xbox One was designed from the ground up with SmartGlass in mind, and an immediately noticeable difference with Xbox One SmartGlass compared to Xbox 360 SmartGlass is the connection speed and performance. On average it only takes about four seconds for SmartGlass to recognize your Xbox One and create an instant connection. Of course, this is based on the speed of your wireless connection, but generally SmartGlass is about three-and-a-half times faster on Xbox One than its Xbox 360 predecessor. And ...

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A new requirement made by Microsoft will require all game developer publishing on the Xbox One to submit a ‘Game Help.”  This goal of Game Help will be to fundamentally change the concept of user manuals.  Microsoft will convert the help manual into a contextual in-game help or on-screen via SmartGlass.  Microsoft’s Xbox general manager told Engadget: “You can access this in a couple of different ways,” Microsoft general manager Ron Pessner told Engadget.  “In front of your console, you can say, ‘Xbox: Help!’ and then it will appear on the console.  Or in SmartGlass, you can click on the Help icon and then it will just tune into exactly what you’re doing and present the right help content for you.” This applies across the rest of the console as well, including Internet Explorer and even the system’s settings.  You can say, ‘Hey, I am in Internet Explorer, where are my ...

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Microsoft Yusuf Mehdi spoke at the Citi Global Conference last Tuesday, telling the audience: “The strategy will continue which is that we’re looking to be break even or low margin at worst on [Xbox One],” he explained, “and then make money selling additional games, the Xbox Live service and other capabilities on top. “And as we can cost-reduce our box as we’ve done with 360, we’ll do that to continue to price reduce and get even more competitive with our offering.” “You’ve seen us over the years constantly be focused on profitability and improving year over year,” Mehdi explained when asked about the profitability of the Xbox business and how it would weather the launch of the One. “There are different points in the cycle when you invest in new hardware. “If you look at 360 that platform lasted for seven to eight years and it’s going to go for ...

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s name comes up often as a possible replacement for retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  On the surface it seems like a good idea.  Mulally has an engineering background and revamped Boeing and Ford.  Mulally and Ballmer are friends, especially given both their connections to Detroit.  In 2009 Ballmer wrote the introduction for Mulally when he was named in Time magazine’s top 100 people.  While I do not want to get into a lengthy discussion of why I do not think Mulally is right for Microsoft as CEO, consider the fact that he is 68 years and was set to retire from Ford at the end of 2014.  I do think Mulally would be able to provide great insights for Microsoft and might be a great board member. The Ford board has warmed up to Mark Fields, their current COO, as a natural successor to Mulally and are now comfortable ...

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With the NFL (National Football League [American]) season officially kicking off tonight (Ravens @ Broncos 8:30 EST on NBC), Microsoft has released a commercial on its YouTube channel reminding fans that the Xbox One isn’t just for gaming but an entertainment device as well.  The ad highlights Microsoft’s partnership with the NFL, highlighting fantasy football features as well as the exclusive interactive broadcasts.  Notably Skype was also shown off, emphasizing Microsoft’s devices and services strategy in the living room as well. Any predictions on who will win the game tonight? Give your prediction with a score in the comments below. ...

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Microsoft will introduce a new cover for their Surface tablets that will include a built-in battery.  The price of the cover is unknown and availability is currently unclear and may be after the launch of the Surface 2.  The add-on will be known as the “Power Cover,” and will be compatible with the first generation Surface Pro.  The power cover in combination with the Surface 2 sporting a Haswell chip could provide all day battery life. Thurrott provided some definitive details: Compatibility. It will work with Surface Pro, Surface 2, and Surface Pro 2, but not the original Surface RT. Typing experience. The Power Cover uses the same type of keyboard as the original Type Cover. That is, it is a real keyboard and not a flat Type Cover-type keyboard. Surface charging. Like any external power supply, the Power Cover will charge the Surface while in use. Battery charging. It charges ...

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Today Major Nelson announced that Xbox One will be available on Friday November 22, 2013 in all 13 initial launch markets – Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and USA. Many more markets will follow in 2014. Xbox One will cost $499 in US and will come with a Xbox One wireless controller, chat headset and a Kinect camera. Also Microsoft announced a 10 percent CPU clock speed increase from 1.6GHZ to 1.75GHZ. Yusuf Mehdi of Microsoft told in the video that “It means that the processing power to make those games that we’ve been showing off at Gamescom that already look great will look even better,”. FYI, Sony has planned for PS4′s launch on November 13th. It is going to be a great fight between the gaming titans this holiday season. Source: Major Nelson ...

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Neowin has published a report on the supposed Surface 2 specs. As expected, Surface Pro 2 will be powered by Intel Haswell based CPU which will double its current battery life from 3-4 hours to 6-7 hours. While the look and feel of the device will remain the same, it seems Microsoft has refined the kickstand to some extent. Leaked Specs: Haswell-based Core i5 Will help increase battery life significantly RAM doubled from 4GB to 8GB. Not sure how much I believe this since it seems somewhat unnecessary and increases power consumption Device will look similar to the current Pro Microsoft has “refined” the kickstand Possibly one that is more robust stand that is stronger or one that offers alternative viewing angles (speculation) Price will remain the same Launches near the release of Windows 8.1 Microsoft is also planning a large marketing campaign during the launch period to promote the new ...

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Over this labor day weekend I was working on an editorial analyzing some of the implications of getting Stephen Elop onboard as Microsoft’s next CEO.  Spending time with family kept me quite busy and I never quite finished it as early as I had intended.  And then this morning I get to work, I see a message from Pradeep, BOOM, Microsoft has acquired Nokia.  Well I hate for my editorial to go to complete waste, so I’m going to share what my thoughts were before the announcement and publish part of it anyways.  I made some incorrect assumptions in the editorial I was writing, but I got some things correct too.  Here it is for those interested in its rough, unfinished form: Stephen Elop.  Stephen Elop.  Stephen Elop.  Now say it with me, Stephen Elop.  I have not gone a two seconds, since Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer’s retirement announcement, without hearing the Nokia ...

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Looks like Microsoft has continued to tinker with the Xbox One to maintain a competitive edge against the PS4.  Geekwire reports: Xbox chief marketing officer Yusef Mehdi just spoke at the Citi Global Technology Conference and said Microsoft is now in full production for the Xbox One and producing in mass with plans still on for a November 2013 launch. About one month after improving the GPU clock speed, Mehdi added that Microsoft just made another technical boost by upgrading the CPU performance to 1.75 GHZ from 1.6 GHZ. “This will be the biggest launch we’ve ever done by a wide margin in terms of units shipped at launch,” Mehdi said. Source:  Todd Bishop ...

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