David Rothschild, an economist from Microsoft Research New York City predicted the winners of the Oscars in 2013 using various data available on the web. He was accurate with his prediction in 19 of the 24 Academy Awards categories. For Oscars 2014, he posted his predictions for 24 categories weeks back. The Oscars 2014 event just got over and what about his accuracy of prediction this year? He correctly predicted 21 out of 24 categories which is a great improvement over last year. The three categories which he got wrong were Best Animated Short Film, Best Documentary Feature and Best Live Action Short Film. I guess the lack of enough data is one of the reason behind the above three errors. David commented the following on the results, There are two ways to judge accuracy. First, and most obvious, you want a small error. Correctly predicting 21 out of 24 ...

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NetApplications released their latest data on worldwide web browser market share. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser lost 0.02 percentage points (from 58.21 percent to 58.19 percent) market share worldwide. IN January, Internet Explorer 11 passed Internet Explorer 10 to become the second most used IE version. In Feb, IE11 continued to show its strong growth with an additional 1.29%, up from 11.51% to 12.80%. Internet Explorer 8, which is the default browser in Windows 7 now holds about 21.73% of market share. Starting with IE9, Internet Explorer team at Microsoft is delivering solid releases with significant improvements in speed, reliability and more which has resulted in improved customer usage. I expect IE to gain more market share in the coming weeks. Google Chrome had over 16% and Firefox over 17% web browser market share in February. via: TNW ...

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Recode today reported that two of the Microsoft’s EVPs are leaving the company. The two people leaving are Tony Bates and Tami Reller. Tony Bates is currently the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Business Development and Evangelism group, responsible for the company’s relationships with key OEMs, strategic innovation partners, independent software vendors and developers. Before joining Microsoft through Skype acquisition, he held various positions including one at Cisco.  Tami Reller is currently executive vice president of Microsoft’s Marketing group, responsible for marketing to consumers and businesses globally. Eric Rudder, who is the EVP of advanced strategy at Microsoft will temporarily take up Tony’s duties as he will be leaving the company immediately. While Tami Reller’s job will be taken over by Microsoft marketing executive Chris Capossela. There is also an interesting change in marketing division. Chris Capossela will be now responsible for all of Microsoft’s marketing and advertising leaving Mark ...

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Bringing smart technology inside the cars for infotainment is not a new innovation in 2014. Microsoft did it years back with its Windows Embedded in cars from Ford and others. Microsoft provided the platform for auto maker to build on and they were quite successful. In the era of smartphones, consumers are expecting more from their infotainment systems in their cars. Instead of trying to create a new platform for automobiles and expect developers to write applications for it, Apple and Google are going the other way around. They are trying to use the smartphone as the primary system with car’s infotainment system that will act like a thin client. For example, Apple’s iOS in the car will use car’s display to show a new UI of iOS optimized for driving experience will let drivers get access to Apple Maps, music, videos, Siri, voice calls, text dictation and more. Apple has signed up automakers like Honda/Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan/Infiniti, ...

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  NetApplications released their latest worldwide market share report today. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 barely made any significant gain in February 2014. The market share increased by just 0.10% to reach 10.68% worldwide.  More specifically, Windows 8 fell 0.25 percentage points (from 6.63 percent to 6.38 percent), while Windows 8.1 gained 0.35 percentage points (from 3.95 percent to 4.30 percent). Also, Windows 7 continued to lose market share at very slow rate. Overall, Windows market share is up to 90.73 percent from 90.72 percent, OS X was flat in its market share with 7.68% and Linux captured 1.48% market share. Another interesting thing to note in the stats is about Windows XP. A decade old OS is still holding about 29.53% market share worldwide. Actually, Windows XP gained from 29.23 percent to 29.53 percent. It is strange to see people feel reluctant to update their PC even after the extended ...

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Microsoft Research often comes up with interesting and sometimes mind-blowing projects. A recently published Microsoft Research project called SurroundWeb is an interesting one. SurroundWeb is a 3D web browser that will allow web pages the ability to display content across multiple surfaces in a room. For example, if you are watching a car race on your TV, the current driver standings can be shown on the side next to your TV, or an Wikipedia entry of a place which you are looking on the screen and more. Microsoft is trying to project this plan with no.of use cases. Read the abstract below. We introduce SurroundWeb, the first least-privilege platform for immersive room experiences. SurroundWeb is a “3D Browser” that gives web pages the ability to display across multiple surfaces in a room, adapt their appearance to objects present in that room, and interact using natural user input. SurroundWeb enables least privilege ...

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Just few days back, we reported that Microsoft is going to talk about its next gen DirectX platform at GDC next month. You can read about it here. A recent Microsoft career listing is revealing some more information on Microsoft’s vision for game development. There are some good news for game developers, Microsoft is claiming that they are renewing the focus on gaming and game development technologies. Also, Microsoft is working on a  modern framework that is open source, light-weight, extensible and scalable across various platforms including Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS and Android. Read the full description, In the coming wave of Windows product release, we are renewing the focus on gaming and game development technologies. We are looking for strong Software Development Engineers who are passionate about game technologies to join our team. “New Devices and Gaming” is looking for passionate and experienced developers to join us. Your ...

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Microsoft today posted another ad in the Honestly series. This ad focuses on touchscreen portable All-in-ones from Windows OEMs. There are lots of great portable All-in-One’s like Sony, VAIO Tap 21, Dell XPS 18, Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon and HP Envy Rove 20. In the above ad, Microsoft also highlighted the fact that none of the Apple Macs come with touchscreens. Whether it’s watching the best wedding band, finding the perfect dress on Pinterest or getting stuff done with Microsoft OneNote and Excel, Windows all-in-ones  give you the best of work and play. The New Windows: One experience for everything in your life. Watch the ad above, it makes a good point. ...

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NSA, USA’s Surveillance Agency is now helping UK’s Surveillance Agency GCHQ in intercepting and storing the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, revealed secret documents obtained by The Guardian. The project called Optic Nerve,  started as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012. “Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for ‘mugshots’ or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face,” it reads. “The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright.” The report also revealed that lots of sexually explicit content was also collected and GCHQ struggled to keep it away from the eyes of its staff. Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: “Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts ...

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Bing has been supporting mathematical queries for a long time. For example, you can search for 100*9 and get 900 directly on the top of the page. Google also has similar feature but with interactive calculator which lets you to do mathematical queries with a calculator like UI. Now, Bing has added the same feature where you can do your own queries within your search results page with the calculator like UI. See the image above. For example, try this out yourself here. via: WPC ...

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Microsoft Office suite didn’t add any completely new app in the past few years. Speaking to GeekWire,  John Case, a Microsoft Office corporate vice president for marketing hinted about the next generation app experiences that is coming soon from the Office team. He highlighted the fact that the OneNote app which was added as a completely new app to Office suite in 2003 is now being used by millions of people. “We’ll do more things like that, that will be about different form factors and different applications,” he said. “The Office suite has been very consistent. We haven’t had new apps in a long time. We’ll have some new app investments coming. New ways of creating content, new ways of storing and organizing content.” “As much we love Word, Excel and PowerPoint, there’s another generation of app experiences we want to enable. Some of it will feel like big stuff, ...

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Last week we reported about Bloomberg claiming that Ford is planning to switch from Windows to Blackberry’s QNX OS for their next-generation Sync system. The report said that Ford is expecting that the QNX based SYNC system will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system. However, the real story seems to be different. Speaking to CNET at MWC, Ford managing director Pin van der Jagt revealed that Ford is always questioning and evaluating suppliers and in the same process they are re-evaluating the Microsoft deal as part of normal business. “Sync 1 and 2 was done with Microsoft but we are not married with them. For us, it’s a supplier, so every time we keep evaluating is it the right partner,” he said. This does not mean Microsoft is out and QNX is in. He commented the following ...

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As per previous reports, Microsoft is set to release Windows 8.1 Update 1 to users sometime in April. Paul Thurrott has today confirmed that Windows 8.1 Spring update will hit MSDN on April 2 and Windows Update on April 8th. The timing seems to be interesting as Microsoft is planning to release them on the last day of Build developer conference. We previously reported that Windows 8.1 Update 1 allows you to pin your Windows Store apps to the taskbar. Apart from that, the pinned Windows Store apps in taskbar also supports thumbnail previews. Also pinning supported modern apps to task bar allows you to enjoy Jump lists and media controls features as well. For example, you can now access recently accessed documents in modern Adobe Reader app or recently saved URLs from Reading lists app with a right click on taskbar. See the screenshot above. Another cool feature is the ...

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Currently, there is no way you can buy Windows Enterprise Edition SKU without Software Assurance agreements. It is changing now as Microsoft has confirmed that they are selling Windows Enterprise as a standalone upgrade option. Mary Jo Foley reported about this change and received the official confirmation from Microsoft about their new policy. Read it below. “We have heard from customers of all sizes who could benefit from being able to use Windows Enterprise and we have responded to that feedback with the availability of Windows Enterprise as a standalone upgrade option. Additionally some customers per internal policy are unable to enter annuity agreements. This change expands the availability of the Enterprise edition to now include these customers. Windows Enterprise will be available as a standalone upgrade SKU in the Open and Select/Select Plus programs beginning March 1, 2014. “Besides the new set of options to obtain Windows Enterprise, for most ...

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Back in 2011, Facebook released a new app called Messenger for Windows which lets you use Facebook without being on www.facebook.com. While you surf the web or use other applications on your computer, you can chat and message with your friends on Facebook, see the latest updates from your friends in ticker, get quick notifications about what’s going on. Today, Facebook announced that they are discontinuing the product on March 3rd. Facebook didn’t provide any particular reason for this action, but we guess Facebook is now trying to focus on mobile platforms. Recently, Facebook announced that they will be releasing Messenger app for Windows Phone devices soon. ...

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Last year we reported that Microsoft is joining fido alliance to enable stronger and simpler authentication system for consumers. Dustin Ingalls, group program manager for Windows security and identity team spoke with Computerweekly on the problem of ineffective authentication that relies on usernames and passwords. Microsoft has joined other industry leaders to define standards for the next gen authentication system. “From a business objective standpoint, all the players are well aligned and agree that passwords have been problematic for a number of years and are well past their time,” The only way to solve this problem is to get all the major players at the same table and the Fido alliance has the potential of making that happen,” He highlighted the fact that usability is critical from the start according to the Fido Alliance principles, and Microsoft is looking to work with the alliance to achieve this objective along with all the ...

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