Day before yesterday, during Steve Ballmer’s keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft announced Windows 8’s release timeline. Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system will be available in retail stores towards the end of October, in time for the US holiday season. In addition to Windows 8, Microsoft will also bring Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT tablet—Surface and Windows Phone 8 phones by OEM partners. This holiday season will be Microsoft’s biggest season for the home consumer, and Microsoft realizes this.
To get these products to the end-user, Microsoft will leverage their Microsoft Stores. So far, the few stores that Microsoft has seem to have less footfall compared to Apple Stores on a daily basis but that can be attributed to the lack of attention-drawing devices—there’s only so much Xbox & Kinect can do. Microsoft’s Surface will be exclusively available through Microsoft Sotres (brick & mortar and online) and Kevin Turner announced that for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 & Surface launch, Microsoft will have several small pop-up stores to showcase their products and reach more customers. (There will be a Microsoft Store in Toronto, Canada and somewhere in Puerto Rico.)
The strategy is genius and should help Microsoft reach more customers to promote and sell their products.
Image credit: MIS Laboratory
At what will turn out to be the most entertaining keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, company COO Kevin Turner shared an interesting slide that explains Windows 8. Microsoft’s two-pronged approach to desktop & tablet with Windows 8 has been the focal point of several debates. The two questions that keep coming up are:
- Is Microsoft compromising the tablet experience by having the legacy desktop?
- Or, is Microsoft ruining the desktop experience by bringing in the touch-friendly tablet interface?
Which of the two compromises is Microsoft making with Windows 8? According to Kevin Turner, neither. Windows 8 is a no-compromise solution for content consumption and creation, it is meant for home and enterprise use. Kevin Turner’s slide that shows the breadth achieved with Windows 8 and how Windows 8 is a no-compromise solution is quite an interesting one:
As part of the Cumulative Security Update for July 2012, Microsoft has released a crtical security update for Internet Explorer 9. The security update addresses the vulnerabilities by modifying the way that Internet Explorer handles objects in memory.
The security update resolves two vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Internet Explorer 9 users on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 are affected with the issue. This security update is rated Critical for Internet Explorer 9 on Windows clients and Moderate for Internet Explorer 9 on Windows servers. The vulnerabilities addressed by this update do not affect Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, when installed using the Server Core installation option. However, the update is available for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server 2012 Consumer Preview.
The Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2719177) will be available to all the customers who have automatic updating enabled. Customers who have not enabled automatic updating need to check for updates and install this update manually.
Microsoft is currently receiving royalties from almost all major Android tablet manufacturers including Samsung, Buffalo and HTC. You may remember that Barnes and Noble talked their way out of this deal when they turned their Nook spinoff into a Microsoft/Barnes and Noble joint venture. However, two lower end tablet makers who go by the name ‘Coby’ and ‘Aluratek’ have also been able to get by this for a little bit. Unfortunately for them, this all changed today when these companies were both added to Microsoft’s patent licensing list and must pay Microsoft a percentage of each tablet they sell. Microsoft is currently collecting these royalties from all Chrome OS and Android devices as they violate a publicly-unspecified patent. This makes the Android platform increasingly risky for startups looking to develop tablets of their own.
If you’re unaware, Coby is a low-end electronics company who is known for their very low-priced tablets. They also make economical HDTVs, CD Players and headphones. Aluratek also makes low-end Android devices such as tablets, netbooks and eReaders.
Image Source: HighTechDad
Today, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Perspective Pixel, a leader in research, development and production of large-scale, multi-touch display solutions. The announcement came at the end of the Vision Keynote at the 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Network Conference.
At the keynote, Steve Ballmer introduced Jeff Han, a multi-touch researcher and co-founder of Perspective Pixel Inc., who demonstrated Windows 8 running on an incredible 82” touch screen. The awe-inspiring demo also featured the note-taking app, OneNote, and an ad-hoc collaboration called Storyboard. While the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Perceptive Pixel’s large-scale, multi-touch hardware and software technology will help Microsoft to enable and showcase interesting collaboration and productivity scenarios with Windows and Office.
The display unit during the demo is world’s largest projected capacitive, optically bonded multi-touch display and supports both touch and pen based input. Microsoft has also been working on table-sized multitouch tables, formerly called Surface, but now known as PixelSense.
Perspective Pixel was founded in 2006, and its technology gained widespread recognition in 2008 as CNN and other broadcasters covered the U.S. Presedential elections aided by large displays in their studios. The company also won the National Design Award in the inaugural category of Interaction Design at the Smithsonian awards in 2009. Perceptive Pixel’s patented technology is used in broadcast, government, defense, energy, higher education, engineering, and product design.
Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference is underway at Toronto, Canada and the enthusiasts have their eyes on the announcements. Steve Ballmer is on stage with and has so far discussed Office 365, Yammer and Windows 8. As Microsoft’s Tami Reller—VP for Windows—is showcasing several Windows 8 PCs and gave us a Windows 8 release date timeline. According to Microsoft:
- Windows 8 will RTM in the first week of August (Windows 7 RTMed in the third week of July)
- Windows 8 will be available for upgrades and off-the-shelf buying towards the end of October
One of the announcements many were expecting was about Office 15 or Office 2013; Steve Ballmer mentioned Office 2013 and said he uses it along with Windows 8 but brushed any product announcements to later this summer.
Microsoft’s Worldwide Developer Conference usually is about their hardware and software partners across the world and Microsoft seems to be pulling off a great show. One of the key topics to start the show was cloud computing and Office 365.
On Surface tablets, Steve Ballmer said he hopes to sell a few millions from the 375 Million PCs expected to sold in the coming year. My expectations for the event were Windows 8 PCs and maybe some Windows Phone 8 devices, hopefully we see some.
Charlie Rose spoke to Bill Gates in an hour long interview. The interview discussed several issues such as the Gates Foundation’s work agains Malaria, Polio and healthcare, topics like Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft. In the interview Bill Gates talked about how they were way ahead their time in tablets and why Apple did a better job. He also blessed the Surface tablet, and according to him this fusion of tablet & PC will help people look at these computing devices differently.
Business Insider has written about the tablet revelations, however, what I found more interesting was Bill Gates’ role at Microsoft. Many pundits have on multiple occasions suggested that Bill Gates should come back and replace Steve Ballmer, in the same breath we’ve all wondered what role does Gates play in Microsoft. As it turns out, he still is active in the company. According to Gates himself he is working some a select fre projects. These projects are staffed and from what Gates mentioned deal with ideas like:
- digital whiteboards
- organizing data such as going down memory lane
- he suggests on new projects
Big Data is a buzzword in the industry much like Web 2.0 was a while back, it is interesting to see Bill Gates is still lending his intellect on solving some consumer technology challenges in addition to his dedication towards solving health problems across the world.
As Microsoft is rebranding Windows Live it looks like the common golden swish across the products will go away. Without a doubt, SkyDrive is now a first-class citizen in Microsoft’s product line-up. Consistent updates to the service, integration across Windows Phone & Windows, cross-platform availability are some signs of how Microsoft sees SkyDrive integral to their future.
During Microsoft’s Surface announcement, Michael Gillet pointed out the new SkyDrive logo and now Microsoft has applied to trademark it. For those who’ve been following Windows Live would know that around Wave 3, the icons introduced a golden swish for all Live products and this followed into subsequent designs. Here is the current SkyDrive icon:
Here’s the new logo as shown on Surface:
The trademarked icon:
The difference is small but for those following Microsoft, goodbye Windows Live, your golden touch will be missed. (The clouds have been moved around too.)
MSN Health, the health and wellness channel on MSN, has transitioned to MSN Healthy Living. The new site features a vibrant visual design with focused content that helps readers live life more healthfully.
The fresh experience features content from independent health experts and bloggers as well as trusted and award-winning content providers like Prevention, Health.com, HealthDay, EatingWell, Self, and more. It is curated to be the online destination for people to connect with timely and relevant trends in wellness topics, as well as expert advice on diseases, health conditions and caregiving.
The site features content across diverse categories – News, Wellness, Diet & Fitness, Nutrition, Pregnancy & Parenting, Diseases & Conditions – and includes related videos. While MSN Healthy Living doesn’t provide medical or other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment, it is a definitive and credible source of information on health and fitness with exclusive medically reviewed health content. The site’s Medical Advisory Board provides expert professional perspectives on emerging trends in disease treatment and condition management, as well as guidance for preventative health care options.
For those who’ve known the computing brand VoodooPC know that they were probably the best designed PCs out there. The company led by Rahul Sood made some exquisite computing devices that ran Windows. It was bought by HP and we haven’t heard a lot about the brand since. Rahul Sood decided to work for Microsoft and moved to Seattle.
At first he worked with the Interactive Entertainment Division—the guys behind Xbox. This move made a lot of sense. And then his Twitter profile said he was working with Bing. I was baffled. I did ask him once as to why is someone who is known for his exquisite taste in hardware design working on a search engine. I got no reply. Today, however, he finally let out something. Rahul’s profile says he is working on a project called Bing Fund. Very little is known about what Bing Fund is except, well, it’s a fund for startups. What sort of companies are in Bing Fund’s portfolio isn’t known and neither is why is it called Bing Fund!
Bing Fund has a splash page and according to Rahul Sood, later this month we shall know what Bing Fund is all about.
Theo Valich writing for Bright Side of News says the companies under bing Fund are focussing on developing applications that offer a better software & hardware experience, given Microsoft’s Surface & Windows Phone 8, this will fill in a lot of gaps between Microsoft’s mobile platform and Apple’s. Microsoft has been trying to get the Silicon Valley to consider Microsoft’s Windows Phone as a platform for their apps but hasn’t been able to make any headway, Bing Fund might just be a way.
But why is it called the Bing Fund?!