As BlackBerry and Microsoft scramble to catch up with iOS and Android’s hold on app developers’ attention, it’s become clear that Microsoft has a distinct advantage that BlackBerry simply cannot match: Lots and lots of cash. Both Bloomberg Businessweek and Business Insider report that Microsoft is paying developers up to $100,000 to bring their applications over to Windows Phone 8. While this might seem like a lot of money just to convince developers to create apps for Windows Phone, Business Insider’s Julie Bort notes that it’s a relative drop in the bucket for Microsoft, which is also paying Nokia “$1 billion a year to make Windows phones.”
The Xbox One has been a public relations nightmare so far for Microsoft. The console’s debut was marred by unclear policies and misinformation, and gamers haven’t been shy in letting Microsoft know how they feel. But it’s not just the used game policy, game-sharing limitations and connectivity requirements that have people up in arms — some gamers are absolutely outraged at one of the Xbox One’s most innovative new features. More →
Microsoft executive Andy Lees has stepped down from his new corporate development role at Microsoft. Lees plans to go on sabbatical and return to his home in the U.K., AllThingsD reports, and he will reveal his new position at Microsoft sometime later this summer. It is unclear when Lees plans to return to work, however. Lees had previously led the Windows Phone team before climbing to his new role as vice president of corporate strategy and development just seven months ago. This was apparently not a good fit for Lees. Managing director Marc Brown will now assume Lees’s corporate development responsibilities, according to the report.
Just over a year ago, BGR exclusively reported that Microsoft was working on Office for both iOS and Android. The software was initially supposed to launch in November last year according to our sources, and a subsequent report confirmed the timing. Microsoft got a bit busy ahead of the holidays though, and the release was pushed back. Well the wait is finally over: Microsoft is ready to start bringing its class-leading Office software to new platforms, and it’s starting with Apple’s iPhone. More →
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform hasn’t exactly been a ringing success so far, partly because third-party vendors typically see it as an afterthought compared to Android. Digitimes‘ supply chain sources now say that smartphone makers’ enthusiasm for Windows Phone 8 has waned in recent months due to both low adoption among consumers and high licensing fees that give them little reason to invest significant resources in the platform when they can use Android for free. What’s more, vendors are reportedly wary of Windows Phone because it doesn’t allow for the same level of customization that Android does, which makes it harder for companies to differentiate their own Windows Phone devices from those offered by Nokia.
When you walk into your local Best Buy store you will usually find a miniature Apple Store and a Samsung experience section, and soon you can expect to see a Windows store as well. Microsoft on Thursday announced that it has partnered with the retailer to create a store-within-a-store at 500 Best Buy locations in the United States and 100 locations in Canada. The stores will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet, and will give consumers a chance to try a variety of Microsoft and Windows products, including tablets, PCs, phones, software and gaming systems. Each store will also contain a standalone section dedicated entirely to Microsoft’s Surface tablet. More →
If the winner of the next-generation console war were to be decided today, Sony would undoubtedly walk away victorious. The Xbox One debut has been an unmitigated PR disaster for Microsoft, which didn’t bother to ensure that it had simple, clear explanations in place for its various confusing policies surrounding used games, game-sharing and connectivity requirements. As a result, blogs have been reporting misinformation and gamers have been getting angrier and angrier. To make matters worse, several Xbox One policies aren’t very gamer-friendly, so many people remained upset even once the air had been cleared. But despite the PR nightmare Microsoft and its public relations firm are dealing with right now, it’s still way too early to declare a winner in the coming battle for gamers’ hearts and wallets. More →
In case you haven’t noticed, Microsoft’s Xbox One policies on connectivity and used games have caused a little bit of controversy among gamers. And now Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson has told The Wall Street Journal that Microsoft’s decisions may have upset gamers enough for him to consider cutting his sales forecasts for the Xbox One and raising them for Sony’s rival PlayStation 4. More →
Tech bloggers and reporters love to complain about dealing with public relations companies, but there’s a reason these firms exist — and a reason they get paid so handsomely. By working with PR firms on messaging and positioning when it comes to hot button issues, scenarios like the one that unfolded during Xbox boss Don Mattrick’s interview with GameTrailers might be avoided. Instead, Microsoft’s Mattrick told the world that there is a clear answer to critics who don’t like the Xbox One’s requirement for an internet connection: Just buy an old Xbox 360 and forgo the future of gaming. More →
Excitement is growing among gamers around the world as they prepare for the launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. In Asia, however, only half of the video game fans in the region have cause for celebration. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has pushed the launch of its Xbox One back to late 2014 in Asia, a year after the console debuts in the U.S. and other regions. Alan Bowman, Microsoft’s Regional VP for Sales and Marketing in Asia, told the newspaper that its next-generation console will be released in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India late next year, and the executive didn’t even make any mention of when the Xbox One might debut in Japan.
PC sales are in free fall and could decline nearly 10% in 2013 by some estimates. Consumers are increasingly turning to tablets, which are expected to grow by 59% this year to reach shipments of 182.5 million units. Research firm Canalys has found that demand for desktop PCs fell by 10.3% in the first quarter of 2013 and demand for notebooks declined 13.1%. The tablet market more than doubled, however, with shipments growing 106.1% to reach 41.9 million units. The firm predicts that the PC market, when accounting for desktops, notebooks and tablets, will see shipments of 493.1 million units in 2013, up 7% year-over-year. Tablets are estimated to account for 37% of the market, an increase from 25% in 2012. The firm notes that tablet shipments are on pace to surpass notebooks in the final quarter of the year. Canalys’ press release follows below. More →
Microsoft on Monday announced new details about its upcoming Xbox One gaming system at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The console is equipped an eight-core AMD Jaguar processor, 8GB of 2133MHz DDR3 RAM, a Blu-ray drive and a 500GB hard drive. The Xbox One will be bundled with the new Kinect motion sensor and be available in November for $499 in 21 countries worldwide. A specific release date was not announced.
Monday is a busy, busy day. Apple is drawing much of the attention thanks to its WWDC 2013 keynote, which is set to stream live beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT, 10:00 a.m. PDT, but Microsoft and Sony will also be continuing the stories of their respective next-generation video game consoles. Microsoft is set to kick off this crazy day at 12:30 p.m. EDT, 9:30 a.m. PDT with its Xbox One press conference from E3 in Los Angeles, California. Gaming fans will be looking for new details on several remaining question marks, including the Xbox One used games policy and maybe even information on pricing. There will also be plenty of gameplay demos shown off at the show, and Xbox fans won’t want to miss a moment. Luckily, Microsoft is streaming the entire event via Xbox Live and on Xbox.com, and a link to the live feed follows below in the source section.