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

Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft is planning on cutting the price of WinRT for small-sized (8 inch) tablets.  Microsoft originally restricted which OEMs would be allowed to produce WinRT tablets, but now Microsoft is looking to expand the number of OEMs producing WinRT tablets.  With more flexibility and cheaper WinRT software the OEMs will have a greater ability to compete against Android tablets and the iPad mini. It remains to be seen if the OEMs want to create a compelling WinRT tablet and will put the marketing muscle behind it to sell.  The SurfaceRT remains the most successful WinRT tablet, and an 8 inch version is expected to be unveiled later this month.  With Intel’s introduction of Haswell and a refreshed Atom processor, the problem of battery life is diminishing.  However, WinRT tablets will be cheaper and may be a compelling buy for consumers who do not need legacy software.   ...

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Asus is launching a rather unique PC peripheral, which it calls the VivoMouse.  The VivoMouse combines a desktop touchpad with an wireless mouse.  Asus claims this is the world’s first combination of mouse and touchpad. Asus says this mouse will be ideal for using a PC with a TV or projector due to its thumb control and circular touchpad.  The mouse comes with full Windows 7 and 8 support.  Including swipe gestures, opening charms bar, two finger scroll, and pinch-to-zoom. Availability is set for Q3 2013, pricing has not been announced yet. Source: The Verge   ...

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Microsoft issued a statement on the departure of Tony Scott, their former CIO: “Tony Scott decided to depart Microsoft to focus on personal projects. While at Microsoft, Tony was a strong IT leader passionate about taking Microsoft’s technology to the next level and using our experiences and learnings to help customers and partners. We thank Tony for his contributions and wish him well.” Previously, Scott was CTO at General Motors and vice president of operations at Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Tony Scott was Disney’s CIO right before joining Microsoft and helped forge a better relation between Microsoft and Disney.  Some of you may remember that Tony Scott replaced Stuart Scott (no relation) who was fired for violating company policies. Jim Dubois, vice president of IT product and services management at Microsoft, will service as interim CIO until a replacement is named. I think longtime Microsoft observer Mary Branscombe said it best: People leave ...

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For those keeping track, a leaked screenshot from build 9418 shows a new way to transfer settings and other data from a Windows 8.1 PC to another Windows 8.1 PC.  It appears that a wizard will helps you transfer settings from Skydrive.  This will include app settings, specific info from apps, other devices connect to your PC, and other PC settings that do not sync between PCs. Hopefully this makes it easier for those who need to transfer their settings to a new PC.  See the full screenshot below. Source: WinBeta via Weibo ...

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The browser wars are back on and Microsoft has been making significant gains. Net Applications released their monthly report yesterday. Internet Explorer’s total marketshare is nearly 56% now and between April and May the browser gained 0.18 percentage points.  In the same time period Firefox has gained 0.33 percentage points to 20.63 percent.  Chrome has lost 0.61 percentage points and now only commands 15.74 of browser marketshare.  I am going to skip over Opera and Safari. With Microsoft pushing IE10 through Windows Update on Windows 7, IE10 marketshare has been surging.  IE10 has gained 3.24% while IE9 lost 2.78%.  I’m sure you’ll see a couple blogs with the headline “IE9 loses marketshare.” IE8 remains the world’s most popular browser on Windows XP with 22.99%, dipping .09 percentage points.  Windows XP users cannot upgrade past IE8, and really should upgrade their OS with XP nearing end of life.  IE10 is now ...

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Today is “Day Zero” at Microsoft’s TechEd New Orleans 2013 Conference. We previously reported, Microsoft is allowing TechEd attendees with a full conference pass to buy a SurfaceRT for $99 (Touch Cover included) and a Surface Pro for $399. Our friend Mary-Jo Foley is reporting the line to buy the Surface is already over 1.5  hours long and shared some photos as proof Picture at TechEd 2013 near the front of the Surface purchasing line Microsoft says they are well stocked in will not run out of Surfaces. I would not look at this deal as Microsoft shedding old inventory in preparation for a Surface refresh in the near future, but more of a “buy this and get ready for Windows 8.1″ Source: Mary-Jo Foley ...

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Bill Buxton is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft. I’ve always liked him since he kind of a looks like mad scientist Doc Brown from back to the future.  But beyond that he is a highly interesting and intellectual individual.  He bring with him a unique perspective that can only be brought with age and experience.  Microsoft used to trot him out a lot when they first hired him in 2005, but as of late they have kept him under wraps and working on more secret projects. He very recently gave a talk on ubiquitous computing for MSR.  Ubiquitous computing was popularized by Mark Weiser at Xerox PARC.  Buxton worked with Weiser at Xerox PARC previous to his job at Microsoft. Buxton shares his perspectives on the premise that in this emerging world of ubiquitous computing, it is vital that devices, applications, and services are designed, from the start, by taking ...

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In an interview with The Verge, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tang talked about the so called “post-PC era.”  “It’s been a long time since anyone’s been passionate about a PC. HP’s doing a horrible job with it. Dell’s doing a horrible job with it. They just don’t want to do anything with the PC anymore. Look, HP tried to get rid of their PC division and Dell said ‘we’re not a PC company anymore, we’re now an enterprise company.'”; He also talked about why Razer has been successful “It makes absolutely no business sense. It’s a thin margin business. But for us, we’re building products that we want ourselves. And the fact that when we launch a product, for a company as small as ours, and we get so much attention as we did for the Blade two years ago — and we’re still getting attention — it’s not a matter ...

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For years Intel had a simple magic formula, leverage high volume consumer sales to help sell lower volume enterprise parts with huge profit margins.    Intel rode this wave to complete dominance in the microprocessor industry and made significant money in both the consumer and enterprise markets.  The success of Microsoft’s Windows operating system only helped Intel further, hence the nickname Wintel. Intel’s magic formula is now under assault from the likes of NVIDIA, Qualcomm, AMD, and other ARM chipset makers who seeing success in the mobile computing space.  It is widely accepted that within five years most mainstream computing will move to smartphones and tablets.  Intel does not have a dominant position in smartphones or tablets, its long term viability is threatened, and their magic formula is broke. So where does Haswell come into play? Haswell is a new microprocessor architecture designed to compete to be a long-term solution to Intel’s ARM ...

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Microsoft is hitting back at Apple more aggressively and has launched a new website directly comparing the iPad to Windows 8 Tablets including the SurfaceRT, ASUS VivoTab Smart, Dell XPS 10, and HP ENVY x2. A number of direct comparisons are made including: Thinness Battery Life Weight Display Size microSD and USB ports Printing Free cloud storage Microsoft Office Multiple Accounts Using Multiple Apps Price It’s a great to see Microsoft starting to being more proactive with comparing its superior Windows 8 tablets to the iPads.  However, the OEMs clearly need to step up their game. Source: Microsoft   ...

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If you’re planning on get a Surface RT now may be the time to do so.  For a limited time (up to June 30th) you can receive a free Touch Cover (Limited Edition [For US & Canada only] or Regular) or Type Cover with a purchase of Surface RT.  This deal applies to US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Surface Touch Covers are available in cyan, red, magenta, white and black.   Surface Type Cover in Black   Surface Touch Cover Limited Edition (Skulls) Surface Touch Cover Limited Edition (Flowers) ...

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Dina Bass from Bloomberg is reporting that HTC is planning on releasing a 7 inch tablet.  HTC was originally planning on creating a 12 inch tablet, but its internal research has shown there would not be significant demand for a tablet of that size and it would be expensive to build such a tablet.  HTC has been facing a significant decline in sales lately and most of the companies efforts are focused on the company’s Android smartphone, the HTC One. The company is hoping to gain additional revenue by releasing a tablet running WinRT and another very similar tablet running Android. HTC has partnered with Qualcomm and will be using their Snapdragon processor for its tablets.  The tablet is expected to be released in late September to early October, in time for holiday 2013. Source: Bloomberg ...

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Microsoft released an update today to the Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging Apps in Windows 8.  Unfortunately the release notes are still the same from the last update.  If you did not get the update notification, while in the Windows Store open the charms bar –> hit Settings –> App Updates –> Check for Updates Notice significant performance improvements or anything new? Let us know in the comments below ...

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Former President of the Windows Division Steven Sinofsky was interviewed at The All Things Digital Conference run by Apple lover Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.  Microsoft did not have an official presence at the conference this year, but in the past Sinofsky used the conference to preview new versions of Windows.  There interview runs a little over 41 minutes, and my recommendation is not to watch.  I’m a fan of Sinofsky’s, but ultimately this was a boring interview with little new information surfacing.  Half the interview is spent try to goad Sinofsky into trash talking Microsoft, which he does not do at all.  The other half focuses on talking about problems with technology companies in general at a higher level. Sinofsky joined Microsoft straight out of college and spent over 20 years there, we may never know why he left, but he is certainly still emotionally attached to the company.  My favorite ...

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  Frank Shaw is a former Marine & Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft and probably has one of the toughest jobs at Microsoft. He is essentially the official spokesperson for Microsoft and defends the company on a daily basis while simultaneously trying to improve its image. When Julie-Larson Green and Tami Reller recently fumbled in interviews, it was Frank’s job to hit back at the blogosphere. Given the circumstances I thought he did a remarkable job of fighting against those tried to compare Windows 8 to ‘New Coke.’ This year Microsoft decided not have an official presence at the ‘All Things Digital’ conference run by Apple lover Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. However, they did send Frank Shaw to keep tabs on the conference (and maybe Steven Sinofsky too). He put up a blog post about his experience there: On one hand, looking around the conference, there were ...

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