Few days back, we reported that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave an emotional speech at his last annual company meeting held in Seattle this week. Steve Ballmer was moved to tears at one point of his speech. The Verge then reported about the happening as below, At one point during the meeting, Ballmer chose to play the song he used back at his first company meeting in 1983: Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”. He then proceeded to jump and dance around the stage screaming at the top of his voice “the sound of Microsoft!” After the song ended, an emotional Ballmer paused to “enjoy this for a minute,” with tears visibly streaming down his face. “You work for the greatest company in the world, soak it in.” Today, they posted a video of the same. You can watch it above. Steve Ballmer, take a bow. I don’t think any ...

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Yesterday, we saw a sudden burst of information about Microsoft’s next generation personal assistant codenamed ‘Cortana’. First, there was a report that Microsoft is planning to release it as part of Windows Phone 8.1 and it will take on Apple’s Siri. Later, there were some screenshots of the early prototype of Cortana running on a Windows Phone 8 device. The screenshots revealed that Cortana is more than a speech assistant, it takes lots of contextual data like location, wifi network, weather, calender appointments, etc to assist you. Cortana will be able to learn and adapt over time as it is relying on machine-learning technology and the “Satori” knowledge repository which now powers Bing. Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet reports that Cortana is not just a Windows Phone app, instead it is a shell that will span across Windows PCs, Tablets, Phones and Xbox. She reported the below to explain it. ...

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Rick Rashid, Microsoft’s Chief Research Officer gave a demonstration in Tianjin, China at Microsoft Research Asia’s 21st Century Computing event. He discussed about the Speech recognition in computing and the recent breakthrough Microsoft has in it. Until recently though, even the best speech systems still had word error rates of 20-25% on arbitrary speech. Just over two years ago, researchers at Microsoft Research and the University of Toronto made another breakthrough. By using a technique called Deep Neural Networks, which is patterned after human brain behaviour, researchers were able to train more discriminative and better speech recognizers than previous methods. During my October 25 presentation in China, I had the opportunity to showcase the latest results of this work. We have been able to reduce the word error rate for speech by over 30% compared to previous methods. This means that rather than having one word in 4 or 5 ...

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