In addition to mentioning several unconfirmed details about upcoming Windows Phone 9 changes, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin has also revealed an even more interesting note about Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone plans: apparently the Redmond-based giant plans to pay an astounding $1 billion “bribe” to another tech behemoth to ensure that it continues making Windows Phone handsets. “Another ‘good’ news from Microsoft,” Murtazin wrote on Twitter. “Company negotiates with Samsung and offer $1 billion support if vendor will produce Windows Phone devices.” More →
Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, known for some of his accurate tips on the mobile industry in the past, said on Twitter that Windows Phone 9 will launch at some point in the second half of 2014 (third or fourth quarter) without the iconic Metro user interface that’s currently present on all Windows Phone handsets and Windows tablets. In several tweets that followed, he suggested that the tiled Metro UI will still remain as an option to users. More importantly, he said that Windows RT will cease to exist as a standalone OS fork, as it will be incorporated in WP9, which will become the “same system” for phones and tablets. A previous report said that Microsoft sees Windows RT merging with Windows Phone by 2015. More →
The Start menu really does look like it’ll be making a comeback in the next version of Windows. ZDNet confirms a report from Paul Thurrott earlier this week that Microsoft plans to bring back the Start menu to a future version of Windows 8. ZDNet doesn’t yet know whether the Start menu will come in a Windows 8.1-style update or whether it will be part of the larger “Threshold” update that’s on track to release in early 2015. All the same, ZDNet says that the Start menu is definitely on Microsoft’s radar especially because it doesn’t want Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to hold off on upgrading their PCs to Windows 8 because they’re worried about the new platform’s learning curve. More →
Windows RT still might be folded into Windows Phone or canned completely at some point in the near future, but Microsoft is reportedly considering another, less severe option. According to a report from Verge, Microsoft is debating whether or not to release free versions of its Windows Phone and Windows RT software. The company currently charges partners a licensing fee per installation, just as it does with its Windows desktop operating system. Meanwhile, Android is free to smartphone and tablet makers. Couple that with Google’s massive app ecosystem and OEMs don’t have much of a reason to bother with Windows Phone or Windows RT. Verge says if Microsoft does offer versions of its smartphone and tablet software that don’t carry licensing fees, the move will be accompanied by an increased effort to push Microsoft’s apps and services.
Whatever else you might think about Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft, there’s no doubt that he’s helped the company maintain its position as an absolute cash cow with a thriving enterprise software and services business. In an interview with Fortune, the outgoing Microsoft chief distills his philosophy as CEO into five simple words repeated three times: “How do you make money? How do you make money? How do you make money?” More →
As was reaffirmed in a report on Tuesday night, Nokia has been prepping a low-end Android phone that is close to being ready for commercial release. The handset, code-named Normandy, is an entry-level device resembling some of the recent Asha budget phones that were successful enough to halt Nokia’s feature phone unit volume and average sales price erosion in the autumn quarter. More →
There are no losers (except Nintendo) in the epic Microsoft-Sony console war so far. Microsoft’s Xbox Live programming director Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb announced on Wednesday that Microsoft has now sold 2 million Xbox One consoles in the two-and-a-half weeks since its November 22nd launch. In hitting the 2 million sales mark, Microsoft has kept pace with Sony, which announced last week that it has sold roughly 2.1 million PlayStation 4 consoles so far. Given that Sony had a one-week head start over Microsoft because it launched the PlayStation 4 on November 15th, it’s fair to say that neither company has emerged as a clear winner in the early stages of the next-generation console wars.
It’s taken a while but 2014 looks like the year when Windows tablets will finally break through. Barron’s points us to a new survey of American and European CIOs conducted by Bernstein Research showing that “81% of CIOs issue/plan to issue Windows tablets, up dramatically from 56% six months ago, and nearly in line with iPads.” This is particularly important for Microsoft because the rise in corporate interest for Windows tablets has coincided with a collapse in corporate interest for Android tablets: According to Bernstein, only 15% of CIOs surveyed said that they’ve issued or plan to issue Android tablets. An upswing in demand in Windows tablets would dovetail nicely with the growth Microsoft has seen in Windows Phone sales this year, which has helped the company firmly establish Windows Phone as the world’s No. 3 mobile platform provider.
We learned earlier this week that Microsoft will reportedly bring back its dearly departed Start menu to Windows 8.2, a change that will come as welcome news for many desktop users who feel isolated by some of the changes the company has made to its signature operating system. And now Paul Thurrott at Windows IT Pro has written in greater detail about how Microsoft’s vision for Windows 8.2 is all about making desktop fans happy again… and it goes way beyond bringing back the Start menu. More →
Bing may not be making any money for Microsoft but it seems to be doing wonders for Yahoo. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft’s payouts to Yahoo in exchange for using Bing as its search engine accounted for 31% of its revenue last quarter, a surprisingly high number given that Yahoo before would only say that the Bing payouts accounted for more than 10% of its revenue. The 31% of revenue figure is also surprising because of a report we read in The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that claimed Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was itching to back out of the Bing deal because “Yahoo’s revenue per search has been worse under the Microsoft deal than when it operated its own Web-search technology and advertising system.”
As Microsoft’s search for a new CEO drags on, you may be wondering why outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer decided to step down without having an obvious replacement lined up. One answer is that Microsoft during Ballmer’s reign has seen a major exodus of top executives that have either left the company or have been reportedly pushed out by Ballmer and his deputies. More →
We don’t always post additions to our “WTF of the week” series each week but when we do, they’re doozies. This week, we really have something special for you. Speaking with Fox Business on Varney & Co., Money Map Press analyst Keith Fitz-Gerald posed an idea that most people would consider absolutely ridiculous. According to Fitz-Gerald, Apple and Microsoft might merge. Soon. The analyst believes it is “absolutely possible” that the two companies will become one, however unlikely such a deal might appear. And thus begins our WTF of the week. More →
The years of waiting have finally come to a close: Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 are here. Many of you have undoubtedly already made your choice, but there are millions more who are setting aside some cash or carefully crafting a holiday wish list this year who have yet to decide which console is worth the investment.
We reviewed both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 without getting into any comparisons between the two, but all bets are off in this final console showdown. Only one black box can be crowned king of this console generation. More →