Faced with mounting criticism, Microsoft today quickly reversed course on some of the more draconian aspects of its coming Xbox One entertainment console. The firm will no longer require an always-on Internet connection and using and sharing games will work just as it does today on the Xbox 360.
Microsoft Corp. was recently in advanced discussions with Nokia Corp. about a purchase of the Finnish company’s device business, according to people familiar with the matter, in a marriage that could have reshaped the mobile-phone industry.
The talks have faltered, they said. One person said talks took place as recently as this month but aren’t likely to be revived.
The two sides made significant progress on a plan that would stitch the U.S. software giant with a mobile-phone pioneer. Both companies have struggled of late, as each has tried to adapt to a world in which consumers prefer smartphones built by Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
I doubt this merger would have any significant impact on Apple or Samsung. It may help Nokia and Microsoft shake things up, but there’s already a lot at stake in the mobile market, so if they aren’t working closely already there’s little chance they ever will.
The new machine sees Microsoft add a Blu-ray drive and Skype functionality to its console, built in feedback into its gamepad triggers, and upgrades its Kinect camera sensor to 1080p high definition resolution.
Remember how Google sent Microsoft that cease and desist letter because Microsoft made a YouTube app, but cut out the ads? Well, Larry Page went on stage at Google I/O preaching about how being “negative is not how we make progress,” and “not every new technology is zero-sum.”
“We said, ‘oh the OEMs, that’s their design, they deal with it.’ We got huge diversity out of that at all possible price points, but it became hard to guarantee a uniform quality of experience that the end user had,” he explained. Pointing to the initial touchscreens in Microsoft’s first-generation phones, there were clearly devices with better hardware than others. “If you were in front of a bad one then people said that was a piece of crap; it didn’t work a damn.”
So let me get this straight. The way Apple does it, controlling hardware and software is the best way to do things. Got it.
And OEMs are to blame for everything that went wrong at Microsoft.
Perfect. Carry on Microsoft, you’re doing just fine.
Microsoft Corp is expected to invest around $2 billion in the deal, while private equity firm Silver Lake is expected to put in about $1 billion, the source said. Michael Dell is expected to roll over his roughly 16 percent stake and put in some of his own money so he has control of the company, the source added.
Speaking to V3, the firm’s product management director at Google Apps, Clay Bavor, said that due to what it sees as a lack of interest from its clients on the systems, it is holding back on any work at present.
“We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8,” he said.
These internal Microsoft videos, provided to Wired by a person who worked on the project, show focus groups testing the ill-fated Kin. According to our source, these are pre-production models that changed very little from the shipping product, although “performance improved some prior to shipping.” Watch them, and you can readily see why the project tanked: Kin phones just weren’t usable. Or, as our source described them, they were a “pile of shit.”
Why should we believe that the latest round of Microsoft products are any better?
In the end, the death spiral for Microsoft is in full effect, and management is expending a lot of effort to speed it up. Anyone who dares point out that the entire system is collapsing, or worse yet suggests an alternative, gets Sinofsky’d. Or was it Guggenheimer’d? In any case, Microsoft is unwilling to change, and that is very clear. Even if they wanted to, they are culturally far beyond the point of being able to. What was a slow bleed of marketshare is now gushing, and management is clueless, intransigent, and myopic. Game over, the thrashing will continue for a bit, but it won’t change the outcome.
You may think that this is kind of harsh or maybe even an improbable outcome, but as you read through the story, you see that he is exactly right.
CNET got their hands on Steven Sinofsky’s memo to employees announcing his departure. They also received a copy of Steve Ballmer’s memo to employees.
Ballmer doesn’t exactly gush with emotion for the man that lead the Windows team and has been with the company since 1989. Word on the street is that Sinofsky wanted Ballmer’s job as CEO, but it doesn’t look like that was going to happen.
Sources have said the move came amid growing tension between Sinofsky and other top executives. Sinofsky, though seen as highly talented, was viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team player that the company was looking for.
Interesting times when Apple and Microsoft will let top executives like Sinofsky and Forstall walk or be forced out.
“There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface,” wrote Ballmer.
The new approach mimics Apple Inc, whose massively successful iPhone and iPad demonstrated tight integration of high-quality software and hardware and made Windows devices feel clunky in comparison.
Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer got a lower bonus than last year’s, partly for flat sales of Windows and his failure to ensure that the company provided a choice of browser to some European customers.
I wonder what they’ll do to him when Windows 8 flops and the Surface sucks balls.
Google rose 1 percent to $761.78 at the close in New York, gaining a market capitalization of about $249.9 billion. Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, fell less than 1 percent to $29.49, for a valuation of $247.2 billion.
An import ban on Motorola Android devices ordered by the US International Trade Commission is scheduled to take effect tomorrow. Motorola Mobility says it has a plan to make sure its Android phones and tablets remain available to US consumers—but the company isn’t revealing just what that plan is.
Here’s what he told an engineer who left for Google in 2004, after hurling a chair:
“Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy!” Ballmer yelled, according to the court document. “I’m going to fucking bury that guy! I have done it before and I will do it again. I’m going to fucking kill Google.”
A court in Mannheim ruled on Wednesday that Microsoft infringed Motorola Mobility’s patents and ordered Microsoft to remove its popular Xbox 360 gaming consoles and Windows 7 operating system software from the German market.