Posts tagged Microsoft

Windows Phone not selling? Who cares – Android makes more money for Microsoft

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Microsoft may not have a runaway success in Windows Phone 7, but don’t think the company is too worried at the moment. Aside from a major “Mango” update that might make Windows Phone 7 more appealing, Microsoft can rely on the steady stream of money that it makes from Android products.

Asymco estimates that Microsoft makes five times as much money from Android sales than it earns from sales of Windows Phone 7. That’s because Microsoft pressured HTC into paying a $5 per device licensing fee based on alleged patent violations in Android. Since HTC has sold an estimated 30 million phones since the deal was reached, the $5 fee translates to $150 million. That’s a great deal more than the estimated $30 million Microsoft has so far made licensing Windows Phone (2 million phones at $15 per device).

While this is just an estimate and cannot be taken as fact, it’s a reminder of why Microsoft is going after practically any company that produces Android products. Microsoft alleges that there are patent infringements at the core of Android, so everyone releasing an Android phone, tablet, reader, or other device must pay a licensing fee ranging from $7 to $12 per device sold. Microsoft has been in negotiation with multiple device makers and has already filed suit against Barnes & Noble and Motorola.

Microsoft would surely prefer to have Windows Phone 7 be more successful, but the company will have to settle for revenues produced by Android’s popularity for now. Hey, Microsoft could use some more cash after paying $8.5 billion to acquire Skype earlier this month.

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Microsoft’s Ballmer says next-gen Windows systems due in 2012

During remarks at a developers conference in Japan on May 23, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer referred to the next version of Windows as “Windows 8.” He also said the next generation of Windows systems will be out next year.

To those not following Microsoft’s Windows saga closely, this may seem like a “so what” moment. But Microsoft execs have been studiously avoiding any references to the timing or naming of the next version of Windows to try to keep the specifics of the product as quiet as possible. Microsoft’s top brass has been avoiding calling the next version of Windows “Windows 8″ publicly, preferring instead to call it “Windows Next.” (Internally, a number of  Microsoft job postings and leaked slides have referenced “Windows 8,” however.”

Here’s what Ballmer said today in Tokyo about Windows 8, according to Microsoft’s own transcript:

“We’re obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows. Windows 7 PCs will sell over 350 million units this year. We’ve done a lot in Windows 7 to improve customer satisfaction. We have a brand new user interface. We’ve added touch, and ink, and speech. And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there’s a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.”

Parsing Ballmer’s words further, it’s interesting he called out Windows 8 slates and tablets as two separate form factors. Last year, Microsoft was pushing Windows Embedded Compact as its slate operating system, designed for devices that were more about consumption than creation….

It’s also interesting that Ballmer did not say specifically that “the next generation of Windows systems” due out next year were Windows 8 systems. (There’s been some speculation that Microsoft might deliver ARM-based tablets separately from Windows 8 laptops, PCs and notebooks — with some company watchers predicting that Win8 tablets would ship before the other SKUs, and others predicting they’d ship afterwards. I’ve heard from my contacts that Microsoft is planning to deliver all Windows 8 SKUs simultaneously, however.)

The head of Windows, President Steven Sinofsky, is slated to speak next week at the AllThingsD conference, where many are expecting him to show off an internal build of Windows 8 (whether or not he actually refers to it using the Windows 8 codename).

Microsoft is expected to provide testers with a first tech preview or beta of Windows 8 in mid-September during the company’s developer conference in Anaheim, Calif. The rumored release-to-manufacturing date of Windows 8 is mid-2012, with holiday 2012 retail availability targeted.

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Live from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ event!

We’re here live from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7  event in New York City where the company is set to detail the next major OS upgrade to the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted we could see over 500 new features, let’s hope we get some big enhancements in addition to the practically confirmed multitasking, Twitter integration, remote email search stuff. Live coverage is after the break!

10:06AM:Microsoft is on stage discussing Windows Phone Mango. Customers want three main things from their smartphone: to connect and share with family, friends, and colleagues. The second area is rich applications. Thirdly, users want to harness the power of the internet. Derek Snyder, senior product manager for WIndows Phone division is on stage to give us a demo of a pre-release version of Mango. Microsoft has improved the homescreen experience inside of Mango. Notifications are pushed into smarter live tiles. With Mango, Microsoft has added Twitter and LinkedIn support to the live tiles as well.

10:06AM:Mango will also add visual voicemail support.

10:07AM:"A new groups feature hopes you mirror your groups on your phone." Live tiles light up with new communication to help you cut through the clutter to see what;s going on. This will allow you to cut through "Farmville Facebook noise."

10:08AM:"We integrate the two largest social networking services – Windows Live Messenger and Facebook Chat – right out of the box."

10:09AM:The keyboard has been updated to predict words as you type. For example, typing "Happy" is most often followed by "Birthday."

10:10AM:"We want to bring together all of the services people are using with a new feature called "Threads." Thrads brings a conversation, from Facebook for example, to your phone. If a friend signs offline from Facebook, you can switch to texting. This reminds us of Palm’s "Synergy."

10:11AM:With Mango, users will be able to view "conversation view" which allows users to expand and contract messages. Microsoft says it thinks it has the best conversation view technology.

10:11AM:Microsoft argues that, with new rich information tools, it will offer a more robust email platform than on any other phone platform.

10:12AM:Microsoft has expanded Facebook events into the calendar on Windows Phone Mango. This will allow you to view all of the details, sign into and write on the event wall, and more.

10:13AM:Another new feature: (Microsoft is moving fast here) – Users can have text messages read back to them, and they can respond using voice commands, while driving and listening to music, for example.

10:14AM:"People are at the center, not Applications," in Windows Phone Mango.

10:15AM:People-centric pictures will allow users to recognize and tag people in photos automatically.

10:16AM:Now we’re getting in to discussing applications in Mango. Microsoft will enable new types of applications and games. However, it’s taking this "one step further" to avoid phones that show a grid of icons, and a sea of applications. "That doesn’t integrate into a ‘total phone experience."

10:17AM:"With Windows Phone Mango, applications are alive as part of the total phone experience."

10:17AM:Derek is back out to show us how applications are being taken to the next level.

10:19AM:We’re going to see demos of ‘Pictures,’ ‘Office,’ and ‘Xbox.’ With Pictures, there’s new automatic face detection for sharing to social networks. In the Office Hub, Mango will allow users to share docs with Sky Drive and other online destinations. When you tap on a tile, it will bring down the latest version of any document from the server. There’s the ability to view, edit, and save changes to documents. You can also highlight cells in Excel and do auto-sums, etc.

10:19AM:Microsoft has completely redesigned the Xbox Live Hub for Mango. We’re seeing a demo of Rise of Glory, a game that’s available now.

10:21AM:"People want to be able to get back into an app quickly. One of the things you want to be able to do is have a fast app resume." Microsoft has added instant app resume without consuming too much power. Similarly, users can switch between multiple applications by holding the back button. Multitasking!

10:22AM:The 3D avatar inside Xbox Live can now have collectibles and add-ons, shirts, etc, is reflected just as it is on the Xbox 360 console or on a PC. There’s also a new social experience to compare games with friends, see recent games, compare stats, etc.

10:22AM:All the games participate in this larger social experience in the XBox live hub.

10:23AM:"we also wanted to have a platform that developers can build incredible experiences on top of." We’re now seeing a new British Airways application that provides a live tile (live notifications and notifications are new in Mango). If you launch the application it will show upcoming flights, settings, a memebership card, miles, and more. There’s even an option to choose your seat.

10:25AM:In the British Airways app, there’s a 3D user interface for choosing seats, checking, in, and getting a boarding pass. You can also get information on the flight such as movies, see food menus, and see the captain’s name, the plane, and all other information you’d expect. The boarding pass can be presented on a tile directly on the homescreen so that you don’t have to print it separately.

10:27AM:"Finally, third party applications have been freed from their silos with live tiles and application shortcuts. We’ve enhanced the Office Hub, we have a new Xbox Live Hub." "Think of your applications as musical instruments, with Mango they are an orchestra that finally has a conductor."

10:28AM:IE9 is now being discussed. "IE9 on Mango is not just similar to the PC browser, it’s exactly the same. It’s great for consumers who want to have the same experience for websites, and it’s also great for web developers. We want to tailor the internet to the palm of your hand. With Windows Phone Mango we deeply integrate Bing to find, decide, and take action." This can be used with voice, typing, and vision.

10:29AM:Derek is back out to show us the highlights of IE’s new changes. We see a BlackBerry Torch, an iPhone 4, and a new DROID Charge from Samsung, as well as a Mango phone. Microsoft is about to run an HTML speed test.

10:30AM:The BlackBerry 5 got a head start in the speed test. It’s running at 4fps. iPhone hasn’t started. Android is at 10fps. Mango is running along at 20/25 frames per second and it finished before the iPhone started. That ‘"proves" the hardware acceleration inside the phone.

10:32AM:Bing has been upgraded for Windows Phone Mango. We’re seeing a search for "Water for Elephants," and it uses the location and time of day to provide movie times. In Mango this will use a new "Quick Cards" feature that shows more information about the movie, such as genre, showtimes, and more. Using a new feature called "App Connect" you can hand off searches directly to other applications. Using App Shortcuts, Derek just handed off the search to the IMDB application.

10:33AM:Searching for a restaurant now pulls reviews and ratings from Bing, Yelp, etc. Finally, with mango, it will bring together context called "Local Scout." This allows you to "live like a local" and explore a given neighborhood. You can find what to see, do, eat, drink, and more. It will provide nearby shopping, and you can keep track of favorites, too.

10:33AM:Bing now has indoor maps for malls and other public locations.

10:34AM:Indoor maps allows you to search a director of a place, such as a mall, to find stores. It even has maps for multiple levels.

10:35AM:Places, such as Madison Square Garden, have cards as well. It will provide information such as upcoming events. "We’re weaving together the webs information, bringing it to you on these cards."

10:36AM:Bing Vision is another new feature in Mango. It allows you to visual search with the phone’s camera. It works with QR codes, bar codes, and more. It’s just like Google Goggles.

10:36AM:Bing Vision will connect to applications that sell books, too. So if you search for one, you can go straight into the Kindle application and find the book inside the Kindle Store and purchase it and have it delivered to your phone.

10:37AM:"I’ve gone from taking a picture with Bing Vision, handing it off to an application like Kindle, and then using reading the book."

10:35AM:Places, such as Madison Square Garden, have cards as well. It will provide information such as upcoming events. "We’re weaving together the webs information, bringing it to you on these cards."

10:36AM:Bing Vision is another new feature in Mango. It allows you to visual search with the phone’s camera. It works with QR codes, bar codes, and more. It’s just like Google Goggles.

10:36AM:Bing Vision will connect to applications that sell books, too. So if you search for one, you can go straight into the Kindle application and find the book inside the Kindle Store and purchase it and have it delivered to your phone.

10:37AM:"I’ve gone from taking a picture with Bing Vision, handing it off to an application like Kindle, and then using reading the book."

10:42AM:Skype will be designing an application for Skype for the first time.Operators do more than just light up the phone with connectivity. We’re enabling operators to add significant value with software and services they’ll supply with Mango. We’ll have a lot of new operator partners, we’re support more languages in more countries, and we’ll have lower price phones to increase the addressable market. The Mango addressable market is 4 times larger than the original Windows Phone." Samsung, HTC, and LG will all announce new phones for Windows Mango, including 4G phones. Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE will also provide Mango phones.

10:42AM:Skype will be designing an application for Skype for the first time.Operators do more than just light up the phone with connectivity. We’re enabling operators to add significant value with software and services they’ll supply with Mango. We’ll have a lot of new operator partners, we’re support more languages in more countries, and we’ll have lower price phones to increase the addressable market. The Mango addressable market is 4 times larger than the original Windows Phone." Samsung, HTC, and LG will all announce new phones for Windows Mango, including 4G phones. Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE will also provide Mango phones.

10:44AM:"Mango is not just easier and faster, but it knows we’re your going. The developer tools are available today. The update and new phones will be available from the fall. The fall will be the best yet for us and our partners. You’ve seen an awful lot int he past 7 months but you haven’t seen anything yet."

10:44AM:Looks like that’s it for us folks, Microsoft has just stepped off of the stage.

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Live from Barnes & Noble’s NOOK event!

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While Microsoft is busy showing off the latest and greatest its Windows Phone platform has to offer, Barnes & Noble is across town getting ready to take the wraps off its brand new NOOK eReader. Tablets like the Apple iPad 2 and BlackBerry PlayBook are taking center stage right now, but these jacks of all trades have a long way to go before they can even come close to matching the reading experience afforded by dedicated eReaders. Avid readers and casual readers alike can appreciate the remarkable battery life and unique features that only a dedicated eBook reader can afford, and good luck trying to soak up the sun while reading a book on your iPad — right now, only an E Ink display can remain perfectly visible and glare-free while combating the sun’s rays. So what new features does Barnes and Noble have in store for its latest NOOK eReader? Hit the break for our live coverage of the unveiling, which will begin just before 10:00 a.m. EST, and don’t forget to refresh the page often for all the latest updates!

 

9:43AM:All right — everything looks like it’ll kick off on schedule at 10:00 a.m. We’re inside and sitting while the rest of press/bloggers start funneling in.

9:51AM:In case you’re still not convinced that a new NOOK will be unveiled today, I think the t-shirts might be a pretty good sign that the rumors were right.

9:57AM:The room is getting pretty full now, as is the Wi-Fi, so we should be getting things started any minute now.

9:59AM:Switched over to our Verizon 4G LTE MiFi. The rest of these suckers can have fun on Wi-Fi.

10:00AM:Ok, they just announced that we’re about to get this party started.

10:02AM:Two minute warning has been issued.

10:04AM:Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch just took the stage.

10:05AM:B&N now owns over 25% in the eBook market — and it’s still the leader in the physical book market with 17%

10:06AM:B&N is the leader in the Android tablet market here in the U.S., Lynch claims.

10:08AM:Lynch is talking about B&N’s successes with NOOK apps. The company has millions of users and its app platform has seen great success thus far.

10:09AM:Lynch is also stressing B&N’s stellar customer service, which is definitely a huge advantage over the competition.

10:10AM:B&N is the clear leader on the product side as well, Lynch claims. The NOOK was the first eReader to support lending, for example, and B&N is the only company that lets users read full books for free while in a book store.

10:11AM:NOOK Newsstand features 160 top publications, and the company has surpassed 1.5 million single copies sold — more than Apple or any other digital newsstand.

10:12AM:NOOK Color has been a home run, but there are still customers looking for a pure reading experience. I think we all know where this is going…

10:14AM:The all-new NOOK!

10:14AM:They’re playing a video now — man, this little guy is sleek.

10:15AM:The all-new NOOK is the easiest eReader on the market to use. If features a 6-inch touchscreen display and it weighs just 7.5 ounces.

10:15AM:Battery life? How about up to 2 months on a single charge. Damn!

10:16AM:The display is an E Ink pearl display that eliminates the weird eReader page turns and replaces it with a proprietary transition.

10:17AM:The new NOOK will cost just 9 when it launches later this summer.

10:17AM:It sports just one button — 37 fewer than the Kindle, Lynch joked.

10:17AM:He’s stressing the simplicity of the interface, and it definitely looks easy to use.

10:19AM:This thing makes the Kindle looks like a beast — and it has the same-sized screen.

10:21AM:B&N’s President of Digital Products is on stage now to go over the NOOK’s features.

10:21AM:The new NOOK has 80% less flashing during page turns than the Kindle. That might sound insignificant, but any eReader user will tell you how annoying the seizure-inducing page turn flashing can be.

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10:22AM:The NOOK can hold 1,000 books with 2GB of internal storage, but is also supports SD cards for another 32GB of storage.

10:24AM:The touchscreen really enhances the experience. It makes looking up words in the integrated dictionary or making notes a breeze.

10:26AM:Of course the NOOK aslo features built-in Wi-Fi and B&N’s great digital book store for buying new books right on the device. Wi-Fi is free in Barnes and Noble locations and any AT&T hotspot.

10:26AM:The new NOOK features "NOOK Friends," a book recommendation-based social network. Users can also share recommendations via Facebook or Twitter right from the device.

10:27AM:mynook.com will launch next month, as well, giving users another way to browse and buy books.

10:27AM:The new NOOK is "the simplest eReader ever created."

10:28AM:William Lynch is coming back on stage now to wrap things up.

10:29AM:"It’s the best dedicated eReader on the market," Lynch said. The new NOOK is available for pre-order immediately for 9, and it will begin shipping on or around June 10th.

10:29AM:That’s it folks! Time for some hand-on with the new NOOK.

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Microsoft Is Said to Plan Mobile Payments in New Phone Software

March 30 (Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp. is working on a version of its Windows Phone software that will let users buy merchandise with a flick of the handset at a checkout counter, two people familiar with the plans said.

Microsoft plans to include mobile-payment technology in new versions of its operating system for smartphones as part of an effort to narrow Google Inc.’s lead in handset software, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous because the features aren’t public. The first devices boasting these features may be released this year, the people said.

The company joins a growing list of software providers aiming to benefit from rising demand for ways to purchase products and services on the go. Mobile payments may be used in $245 billion in transactions in 2014, up from $32 billion in 2010, according to Gartner Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer is under pressure to regain mobile-software market share lost to Apple Inc., maker of the iPhone, and Google’s Android.

The phones running Microsoft’s new software will be based on so-called Near Field Communication, which lets devices communicate wirelessly with objects immediately nearby. NFC technology enables payments and also lets consumers use a handset for other tasks, such as redeeming coupons and loyalty points at local merchants.

Widening Support

Mobile-software providers are weaving NFC support into their operating systems. Google has made NFC part of Android for mobile devices and in December introduced the first Android phone with NFC capabilities. Apple is said to be working on adding the feature to its mobile operating system, people familiar with the company’s plans said in January.

Having NFC features may be crucial to Microsoft’s efforts to boost shrinking market share. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is expected to hold about 5.5 percent of the mobile operating system market this year, compared with 39.5 percent for Android, 15.7 percent for Apple’s IOS, and 14.9 percent for Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry, according to IDC, a consulting firm in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Microsoft is likely to get support in its mobile payments effort from Nokia Oyj, the handset maker that recently said it will use Windows Phone software on its devices. Nokia said it will make NFC a standard feature of its 2011 smartphones based on the Symbian operating system.

The number of phones with NFC will double in 2012, from 35 million shipped in 2011, consultant ABI Research estimated. In 2014, 340 million global wireless users will use mobile payments, according to research firm Gartner.

Microsoft holds 14 patents referencing NFC, most recent of them awarded on March 22, according to the U.S. Patent Office.

 

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Microsoft Apologizes for Mucky Update Process

Whatever is to be said and done about the update process in general, a lot can be said about an organization that accepts its faults and is willing to change for its customers. Microsoft has been doing just that.

owning up

 

Director of the Windows Phone Program – Joe Belfiore had recently explained in a video the entire update process garnering a lot of negative comments for not being in tune with ground reality. He has, since, responded to the comments in a very clear and reassuring manner which should have the WP7 critics thinking again about trashing the platform.

He apologizes for generalizing that ‘most’ people have got their updates (while they haven’t) and also explains that what he deems ‘complete’ is just an internal status within Microsoft for when an update is passed on to the next stage. He also apologizes for coming across as insensitive to user concerns when he said that the Match NoDo update was ‘going well’. He has also promised more detail with the ‘Where’s my phone update’ table and promises to work with the operators to ensure users know when they will get their updates when the status is ‘Testing’. He mentions that when the status is ‘Scheduling’, it would probably take a week to get the update out. The entire text is posted below.

Many of you are making critical comments here which are certainly fair.  First, I was wrong when I said  “most people have received the February update.” There are many of you who have yet to receive it, and I don’t blame you for speaking up and pointing out my mistake. Second,  I referred to our updates as “complete” because I was thinking of the internal process where we pass completed software to another group who delivers them – but of course no update is complete until you all have it.  Plus, at the time I did the interview we had started the NoDo (“march update”) delivery process and I knew “it was going well” from our perspective:  people were officially getting it, the success rate of its deployment on real-world phones was looking good, and we were happy that the process had STARTED well.  Still—these are NOT the same as all of you getting it and I’m sorry that I came across as insensitive to that fact.

I am a very, very big advocate for all our end-users and developers, and it bothers me a lot if I sounded out of touch.  I wasn’t as prepared for this interview as I should have been—I walked into the studio with an informal state of mind, thinking about MIX and what we WILL be talking about, and I didn’t have the right up-to-date information to give a good explanation on updates which I know to be a very high-interest topic right now.

I have read all of the comments here (and many of them on the other blogs) and so has pretty much everyone in our management team.  We know it’s been frustrating to wait for features/fixes and (probably worse) to hear little from us on specific dates. We are sorry the process has been rocky. The “where’s my phone update” table is our first step to try to remedy this in the face of technical problems that have made our first wave of updates take longer than we expected.  We know the table would benefit greatly from more detail, and we are hoping to add more to it by working with the Operators who own the “testing” phase to get more clarity.  If your phone is shown in “scheduling”, it’ll be worth checking the table next week.

In the spirit of “MIX as a conversation” – I will make sure that when I show up in Vegas that I’m well prepared to give an update in person and to try to answer your questions as best I can.  You folks are obviously a very important audience for us and it’s right for you to expect us to communicate and execute better. I know at this point it’s our actions that matter… The main thing we are trying to do is to get the updates out to everyone in a way that is reliable and works,  and then make our process better and more transparent in the future.”

Overall the tone of the reply and the statements made stand out for their simplicity and earnestness in trying to make things better. People who are criticizing this platform and the way the updates have been handled can take note of the fact that organizations that take user feedback seriously and work on it are already on the path to success.

Here is the video of the original interview

Microsoft’s ‘NoDo’ Windows Phone update still days, even weeks away

NoDo-update-schedule

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that its first major Windows Phone update — dubbed NoDo — is being pushed to users’ handsets. Sixteen Windows Phone devices from over a dozen countries have, or will have, the update — which finally brings copy & paste functionality — in the coming days. Users in the United States, however, still have a bit of waiting to do. According to a new status page setup by the company, T-Mobile’s pair of Windows Phones — the Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7 — are currently in the “scheduling” phase. This procedure typically takes “10 days or less,” according to Microsoft, at which point the update will begin rolling out to handsets. AT&T’s trio of Windows Phones — the Samsung Focus, the LG Quantum, and HTC Surround — are currently in the “testing” stage. Microsoft explains that phones with this distinction are “undergoing mobile operator network and quality tests,” but does not provide an estimated time of completion for this step. Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, at one point championed the fact that updates to the Windows Phone operating system would be delivered by his company, not wireless carriers. While Microsoft may be the one delivering the bits, it looks like U.S. mobile operators are still finding ways to slow things down.

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