Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox video game and home entertainment consoled will be unveiled in less than a month on May 21st, and we should expect a steady flow of rumors and leaks leading up to the official debut. The latest report comes from Forbes, which claims that the next Xbox may launch as the “Xbox Infinity,” though recent rumors suggested the name might simply be “Xbox.” More interestingly, Forbes claims multiple sources at Microsoft have said that the next Xbox’s controllers will feature a clickable touch-sensitive area that will support gestures and other functions. Other recent reports suggest that the upcoming Xbox 360 successor will not require an always-on Internet connection as had previously been rumored, but game publishers will have the option of requiring an Internet connection for individual games if they desire.
The next-generation Xbox is expected to include high-end hardware and a variety of software improvements when Microsoft announces the system next month. According to a new report from Polygon, the console will incorporate the controversial requirement that users will need an Internet connection to play some games, although the decision on whether a game will require a constant Internet will be decided by the game’s publisher. Polygon warns that Microsoft’s current guidelines can still change, however. More →
U.S. District Judge James Robart on Thursday determined that Google’s Motorola Mobility unit was not entitled to the $4 billion per year it sought from Microsoft for its standard-essential patents. Motorola was seeking royalties from Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system, which utilizes the company’s technology concerning video decoding wireless connectivity. Instead of the $4 billion per year Google had valued Motorola’s patents, the judge decided that the appropriate annual payment was closer to $1.8 million. More →
Microsoft has reportedly developed an Android application with the sole purpose of stealing users away from Google. According to a report from CITE World, the company will be releasing the “Switch to Windows Phone” application on Android to help users change platforms. The application is able to “find identical or replacement applications” for Windows Phone 8 to replace a user’s old Android apps, thus making the transition far more bearable. More →
Even if PC sales continue tanking, Windows 8 could get a significant boost in adoption later this year just from eager gamers picking up the next-generation Xbox. Paul Thurrott of WindowsITPro reports that the next-generation Xbox will release in early November and will run on the “core” version of Windows 8 that “suggests a common apps platform or at least one that is similar to that used by Windows 8.” Thurrott speculates that Microsoft could use the common app development platform as a way to “open up this platform to enthusiast developers” and encourage more development of native Xbox apps. More →
Microsoft has big plans for this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Following its unveiling of the next-generation Xbox video game console on May 21st, the company plans to “continue the conversation” at the annual gaming convention. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Polygon that the company will “showcase the new console’s software line-up” and a “full line-up of blockbuster gaming experiences” for the next-generation Xbox. More →
ZTE has come to an agreement with Microsoft to license the company’s technology that is being borrowed in the Android and Chrome operating systems. Microsoft has signed licensing deals with more than 20 other manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and LG. In fact, the company claims that 80% of Android smartphones sold in the U.S. and a majority of those sold throughout the world are now covered under its various agreements. Of course, there are still some companies — most notably, Google’s Motorola Mobility — that have not yet come to terms with Microsoft. More →
When hedge fund ValueAct announced it had taken a $2 billion stake in Microsoft earlier this week, questions arose about what changes the activist investor would try to make to improve the company’s value for shareholders. ZDNet reports that ValueAct’s first declared goal for Microsoft is to get it to release its Office suite of enterprise software for rival mobile platforms iOS and Android. This is particularly important because a report from earlier this month indicated that Microsoft wouldn’t have Office for iOS and Android ready until 2014 at the earliest. If ValueAct is using its newfound clout within the company to get Microsoft to focus its efforts more on developing Office for other platforms, then we could see Office release on iOS and Android sooner than we’d expected.
In line with earlier rumors, Microsoft on Wednesday invited members of the press to an event next month for its next-generation Xbox gaming system. The new console is rumored to be equipped with an 1.6GHz 8-core AMD processor, 8GB of RAM, an 800MHz graphics processor, a Blu-ray Disc drive and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The next-generation Xbox is expected to be released in time for the holiday season. Microsoft will announce the system at a press event on May 21st in Redmond, Washington at 10:00 a.m. PDT.
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets will be heading to additional markets in the coming weeks. The Surface RT will arrive in Malaysia on April 25th, Mexico by the end of May, and in South Korea and Thailand in June. The Surface Pro will launch “before the end of May” in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It will also launch in South Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore and Thailand “before the end of June.” The expanded availability will bring Microsoft’s Windows RT tablet to a total of 29 markets in time for the summer months, and its Windows 8 slate to 27 markets. The company has also vowed to increase production of the 128GB Surface Pro model to ensure the high-capacity slate remains in stock.
Samsung is a seasoned veteran in the consumer electronics industry, but the company’s growth over the past couple of years came out of nowhere. The South Korean company joined a sizable group of Android partners when the platform began rolling out and just as Taiwan-based HTC was emerging as the clear leader, Samsung stepped up its efforts and pummeled rivals as it grew to become the world’s top smartphone vendor. Now that Samsung sits in the throne, however, the company is seemingly beginning to take measures to lessen its reliance on partners. For one thing, Samsung is using its own components in greater numbers and moving away from various suppliers — when it can. More importantly to software giants Google and Microsoft, Samsung appears to be getting more serious about building its own platforms. More →
The Internet isn’t the outlet of freedom and prosperity it used to be. The truth of the matter is that big name companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft control and censor what we see online. As noted by Tristan Louis at Forbes, an individual can’t reach a majority of Internet users without the approval of a large company. If Google or Apple deem an application isn’t suitable, they can keep it out of their mobile app stores — and the same can happen with a webpage if it’s unlisted on Google or even Bing. More →
As Apple prepares to file its March-quarter earnings report on Tuesday afternoon after the bell, the company finds itself in a position it hasn’t been in for quite some time. Apple shares have lost more than 40% of their value since hitting a record high in late September and a growing mob of Apple bears is beginning to question whether or not the company should seek a replacement for CEO Tim Cook. Bulls immediately dismiss the idea as lunacy — it does seem pretty crazy, considering Apple’s revenue and profit are still growing despite soured investor sentiment — but The New York Times took a step back on Tuesday to draw some interesting parallels between Tim Cook and another CEO who is no stranger to angry mobs brandishing pitch forks: Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. More →