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 released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office and SharePoint 2010.  The SP2 release improves the compatibility of the Office and SharePoint 2010 products with Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, Office 2013, and SharePoint 2013. It also addresses security, stability, and performance and contains all the Cumulative Updates (CU) and Public Updates (PU) that have released since SP1, starting with the June 2011 CU and July 2011 PU and ending with the April 2013 CU and May 2013 PU. The issues fixed specifically in the service pack are listed in the SP2 changes list. After 90 days SP2 will be offered as an automatic update through Microsoft Update. Customers using the Office Click-to-Run technology will have SP2 streamed to them beginning in August. Download it here now: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39647 Download Links for Service Pack 2 Access 2010 Runtime SP2 KB2687444 32-bit 64-bit Duet Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint and SAP SP2 KB2687445 64-bit FAST ...

Read More →

Microsoft continues to support Windows 8.1 users and has released three new updates to resolve some minor issues.  I wish we would get a new build, but unfortunately we will all just have to wait until RTM in late August. To check for updates hit win key + w, type in  “update,” click on windows update, hit check for updates. Information on updates: Update for Windows 8.1 Preview that enables service metadata packages to work correctly An update is available for Windows 8.1 Preview. This updates resolves an issue that could cause the service metadata packages of some network operators not to function. For example, the tethering feature does not work as expected. Update that improves the stability of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 Preview An update is available for Windows 8.1 Preview that improves the stability of the SkyDrive service. You cannot view a webpage that contains a timer in Internet Explorer ...

Read More →

The New York Post is reporting that Ashton Kutcher is close to signing a $10 million endorsement deal with Lenovo.  Kutcher has been the face of Nikon for a number of years now and is expected to shoot a number of new commercials with Lenovo.  Nikon and Kutcher split after he asked for over double of his multi-million dollar salary. He is also the star of the upcoming film about Apple CEO Steve Job’s life.  Kutcher also runs a technology venture capital fund, A-Grade investments, with Guy Osery and Ron Burkle reportedly worth over a $100 million.  Kutcher may lose a lot of that money due to his ongoing divorce proceeding with Demi Moore.  Kutcher is currently the star of Two and a Half Men, raking in over $24 million over the last year. Personally, I’m not really a fan of Kutcher, I think of him of that guy from “That 70s Show” who gets ...

Read More →

After 16 years at Microsoft, James Larus will be departing the company to become the new Dean at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne (EPFL) School of Computer and Communications Science (IC) in Switzerland. Mary-Jo Foley at ZDNet reports: Larus was a Principal Researcher who contributed to the programming languages, compiler and computer architecture fields inside and outside the company. He joined Microsoft Research in 1998 to start and lead the Software Productivity Tools (SPT) group, according to his bio. He subsequently become a Research Area Manager for programming languages and tools, where he started Singularity, a Microsoft Research operating system project. Singularity is a microkernel operating system and set of related tools and libraries that is developed completely in managed code. Singularity was not based on Windows; it was written from scratch as a proof-of-concept. Microsoft made the Singularity source code available for download under a non-commercial, academic license ...

Read More →

Microsoft has posted a new commercial on their official youtube account directly comparing the SurfaceRT to the iPad again.  The new commercial is similar to the ad released a few weeks back, but reflects the new $350 price of the SurfaceRT.  Microsoft recently took a $900 million charge related to lowering the price of the SurfaceRT and inventory adjustments on associated accessories. The ad continues the theme of showing how versatile the SurfaceRT is compared to the iPad.  Look for this commercial on a tv screen near you.  Personally, I’m quite enjoying these ads and I think the message will get through to the average consumer. Source: Frank Shaw ...

Read More →

Microsoft released its Q4 earning today (MS starts its fiscal year in July, think Q2 2013) with revenue of 4.97 on $19.90 in revenue giving an EPS (earning per share) of $0.59.  Microsoft took a $900 million (nearly $1 billion) charge on SurfaceRT due to a price reduction on the tablet and inventory adjustment on associated accessories.  If you exclude that charge MS would have had a $0.07 EPS increase ($0.65 EPS overall). Regardless, Wall Street was extremely disappointed with the number and Microsoft’s stock tumbled nearly 7% (quite significant in terms of stock) in after hours trading.  The consensus among analysts was an EPS of $0.75 with almost $21 billion in revenue.  Unrealistic, yes, but expectations are expectations. No GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) numbers are: “While our fourth quarter results were impacted by the decline in the PC market, we continue to see strong demand for our enterprise and ...

Read More →

A number of retailers sold out of their initial allotment of pre-orders for Xbox One “Day One” console soon after it was announced.  Best Buy has started to take pre-orders again for the “Day One” console which includes a commemorative controller and an exclusive achievement.   The pre-order price is currently $499. Microsoft has confirmed the Xbox One will launch sometime in November 2013.  Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are all still taking pre-orders for the day one edition of the Xbox One. Source: Best Buy via Neowin ...

Read More →

A new report suggests that Microsoft could reveal its re-org plans as early as Thursday.  Ballmer is restructuring the company around the vision of devices and services, further divided into consumer and business/enterprise sections.  Here is what we believe Ballmer’s current plans are: Winners New cloud computing and business-focused products unit headed by current Servers & Tools head Satya Nadella; Online Services leader Qi Lu could add Microsoft Office and other apps to his portfolio that already includes the Bing search service; Julie Larson-Green, who now co-heads Windows efforts, is in line to be in charge of all devices from Surface to Xbox, as well as music and TV services; Windows Phone chief Terry Myerson is expected to take over Windows engineering and platforms. Meanwhile, Windows CFO and CMO Tami Reller is expected to have a larger marketing job; Skype president Tony Bates gets purview over all of business development, corporate strategy ...

Read More →

As we previously reported Microsoft is continuing to expand its distribution for the Surface Pro: http://microsoft-news.com/microsoft-allows-resellers-to-start-selling-surfaces/  This combined with Microsoft’s educational offering discount and the early beginnings of the back to school buying season have overwhelmed Microsoft’s supply of the 64 GB Surface Pro and it is currently out of stock.  The Surface Pro 64Gb remains in high demand due to its lower price point than the 128GB model. We have reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update accordingly.   ...

Read More →

Microsoft is offering students with a valid .edu email address a 10% discount on the purchase of a Surface, software, and/or accessories.  This could be a savings of over a $100 with the purchase of a 128GB Surface. Head over to the Microsoft Store and enter your email address to get a unique code for the savings. ...

Read More →

Many users have experienced problems in upgrading their Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 .  A solution has finally been posted over at the Microsoft Forums SOLVED: Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 – Installing Windows 8.1 Preview (Error: 0x80070002) Here is the description of the problem: Windows 8.1 Preview successfully downloads, but fails during the “Gathering Information” stage of the installation. There error produced by the Windows Store is: “Something happened and the Windows 8.1 Preview couldn’t be installed. Please try again. Error code: 0x80070002″ Cancelling the installation, re-downloading, and attempting to install produces the same error. The Event Viewer error reads: “Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070002: English ESD Bundle Parent.” Frustrated users tried the usual troubleshooting with no success: I have tried to download and install multiple times with the same error message. I have reset the Windows Store cache. I have downloaded and installed ...

Read More →

Microsoft and Qualcomm have a very close relationship and the snapdragon chipset has been used in Windows Phones for quite some time now.  As Spock would say, it is only logical that the Snapdragon chipsets would start to appear in some Windows RT tablets.  At the BUILD conference a few weeks back Qualcomm showed off a reference Windows RT tablet running on their Snapdragon 800 chipset.  This may be a sign of what is to come later this year. The 11.6″ tablet, running at around WXGA resolution includes: mini-HDMI port, NFC and SD card slot. 12MP camera Snapdragon 800 running at 2.2GHz Qualcomm is working closely with Microsoft to: optimize the new chipset for the Windows RT platform Bring support for higher-resolution displays – up to 2560x2048px Add an Adreno 330 GPU Ability to natively encode and decode 4K video Including integrated 3G/4G radios. With over 100k apps in the ...

Read More →

Microsoft has opened up its public beta for the 2013 Xbox Live Update for Xbox 360 Public Beta.  The update will improve overall performance and the ability to conduct transactions with local currency, as Microsoft Points will be retired later this year.  It has been that rumored smaller live tiles will also come to the interface and the final update will come in late August. Unlike our previous beta programs, sign up is now accessed directly through your Xbox 360 console. Space will be limited, so once the spots are filled the beta will be closed to the public. To join, look for the Xbox Beta Program tile on the home hub of the Xbox Dashboard. You will be required to agree to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), but I’ve rarely seen these followed. If you are an Xbox Member in Japan you will not be able to sign up at this time. Source: Major ...

Read More →

In an interview with Edge magazine Seamus Blackley, an original member of the Xbox team, reveals some of the names Microsoft had considered internally for the console. Edge reports: Microsoft’s ‘naming guys’ wanted to call the company’s first games console 11-X or Eleven-X, but were overruled by Seamus Blackley and his launch team. “First, there were our code names, which were WEP – ‘Windows Entertainment Project’ – designed to make Microsoft executives comfortable, Midway – ‘Midway between a PC and a console or ‘Battle of Midway’ – you decide – and DirectX Box, which was shortened to xbox in email very early on.” “When we got the first approval, Kevin [Bachus] was told we had to get a new name, because ‘xbox’ wasn’t legally sound, so against his judgment he did so, and got the phase two, or ‘car’ names. These were so bad we didn’t even save them, but ...

Read More →

On SkyDrive, Outlook.com, and Office 365 you can view PDF files using the Word Web App. PDFs attached to mail or stored in SkyDrive are quickly viewable in the browser regardless of device or whether you have PDF viewing software installed. Additionally, for SkyDrive you can convert PDFs to editable Word documents. This allows you to “release” the text in PDFs without requiring PDF editing software. Please note that the conversion does not change the PDF itself. Converting creates an entirely new file. Also, depending on the content of the original PDF, the formatting of a converted Word document may vary from the original. SkyDrive On SkyDrive, just clicking a PDF will view the file in Word Web App. If you prefer to download the file to display in your current PDF viewer, right click and select Download. Outlook.com With Outlook.com, select “View online” at the bottom of the PDF ...

Read More →

Microsoft continues its support of small and distant languages with the addition of te reo Maori, language of New Zealand’s native people.  Users of can now Mera (email) or look up Nga Tangata (contacts).  A Microsoft spokesman said the company had launched Windows 8, Office 2012, Outlook and Internet Explorer 10 in te reo Maori this week, with schools, universities and government departments all keen to get their hands on the software.  Te reo Maori is one of New Zealand’s three official languages. Even though a number of initiatives have been introduced to revitalize the language, including a television channel, it is only spoken by around 157,000 people globally.   “It’s a free download so there is no money in it…But we feel it is nice to be part of the revitalization efforts in New Zealand,” the Microsoft spokesman said. “[The program’s] been pretty popular in the Maori language classes ...

Read More →