In an act that seemingly defies the spirit of the season, Microsoft has launched a line of “Scroogled” products just in time for the holidays. Some of the brilliant and catchy stocking stuffers include a mug that says “Keep Calm While We Steal Your Data,” and a t-shirt that says “Don’t Get Scroogled.” There are other clever designs, such as a spider with a Chrome icon on its abdomen and a word cloud with a bunch of phrases that are supposedly synonyms for Scroogled, which is still not a word. More →
Microsoft has been hyping the media capabilities of the Xbox One for months, and Skype is one of the many entertainment apps featured on the console. Ars Technica paid a visit to Skype’s offices in Stockholm and got a full rundown of everything Skype can do on the Xbox One and some of the functionality that the team plans to add to the app down the road. More →
Instagram took years to finally launch a Windows Phone app… and then launched a version without video support. Apps like Super Mario Kart keep popping up on the “New Apps” chart. Angry Birds Space is still the No. 9 paid Windows app, a year after it dropped out of iPhone top 10. Ancient corpses of Bejewelled and Fruit Ninja still haunt the graveyard that is the Windows top 10 download chart. More →
With a one-week head start and 1 million sales in a single day, Sony has a chance to win the holiday season with the PlayStation 4. The Economist has shared some video game console sales predictions from market-research firm IHS, which gives Sony a slight advantage over Microsoft during the launch months of November and December. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are expected to move more than 2 million units before 2014, barely edging out the Wii U launch numbers. The Wii U sales went on to take a precipitous dive at the beginning of the year, something both Sony and Microsoft are hoping to avoid. This is shaping up to be one the first evenly matched console launches, at least in terms of initial sales. It will be several months, if not over a year, before anyone is likely to take a definitive lead. The Economist’s console retail sales chart follows below. More →
Hard copies of infographics showing all the Xbox One’s Kinect Voice commands and Kinect Gestures that can be used to control Microsoft’s new gaming console won’t ship with it on Friday when it launches. But digital versions are already available to download to have around the house when you play. Business Insider has learned from Microsoft that by the time the Xbox One command information cards were finished, the consoles were already shipped. That’s why only media members received printed copies that you won’t get in the box. More →
When it comes to the Xbox One, Microsoft has spared no expense. VentureBeat reports that Microsoft has plunged $100 million into research and development for the Xbox One’s new controller alone, an enormous sum of money spent to design a controller that looks a lot like the previous generation’s Xbox 360 controller. So what did Microsoft spend all that cash on? More →
One of the defining features of both next-gen consoles is their ability to stream live gameplay. Although Sony has had issues with several elements of the PlayStation 4 launch, Twitch and Ustream have been running smoothly right out of the box. This isn’t going to be the case for the Xbox One, however. Microsoft’s latest post on the Xbox Wire states that “[Twitch streaming] won’t be available right away” but the team will be looking to “deliver it during the first part of 2014.” Instead, Xbox Live Gold members will be limited to viewing broadcasts until Xbox One streaming is ready for primetime. More →
It looks like Microsoft is a little bit closer to choosing its next CEO. According to Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, the leading candidate to replace Steve Ballmer is Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and the board of directors hopes to reach a decision by the end of the year. Although Mulally is the leading candidate, he is expected to take more of a “caretaker” role and will work to train his eventual successor. Potential trainees include enterprise chief Satya Nadella, COO Kevin Turner, strategy VP Tony Bates, and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. According to AllThingsD’s sources, they all have potential but are “not quite ready for prime time.” More →
Analysts aren’t impressed with Microsoft and its Surface tablets, and they expect the company to only sell less than 10 million units by the end of next June. Kash Rangan from Merrill Lynch downgraded Microsoft stock to Underperfom from Neutral, Barron’s reports, while Heather Bellini from Goldman Sachs maintained a Sell rating with a $28 price target for Microsoft stock. More →
Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer knows that a lot of investors have their knives out for Bing and Xbox, but he’s not having any of it. GeekWire reports that in his last-ever shareholder meeting as CEO, Ballmer vigorously defended Microsoft’s search engine and game console divisions by claiming that both are an integral part of the company’s future. In particular Ballmer singled out the Xbox One as “a reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is unified under a common vision” while also pointing out that Bing is helping Microsoft improve and enhance its other services such as its Windows Azure cloud computing platform. More →
It’s official: Nokia’s shareholders have signed off on the $7.2 billion acquisition of the company’s handset division by Microsoft. The Financial Times reports that 99.7% of the investors at a general meeting in Helsinki voted in favor of the deal. The investors who approved the deal hold nearly four-fifths of Nokia’s total shares. The meeting is expected to continue for quite some time, however, “as various small Finnish shareholders vent their anger over the deal” and Stephen Elop’s hefty payday. Ever since the deal was announced, Nokia has been on something of a rebound, surpassing Motorola to become the fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the U.S. and moving a record number of Lumia smartphones. Once the venting has ended and the meeting adjourns, Nokia will be one step closer to becoming a subsidiary of Microsoft.
Give outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer credit: He seems to be very in touch with who he really is. In a lengthy interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ballmer said that he decided to step down from Microsoft because he wasn’t moving fast enough to get the company’s mobile products up to speed with Apple and Google. What’s more, Ballmer’s talks with Ford CEO Alan Mulally made him seriously rethink the way that he’d been running Microsoft during his tenure, which caused him to put more of an effort on teamwork and less on competitive pressure between divisions. More →
Although Google has said that it’s deployed end-to-end encryption between its data centers to keep out the prying eyes of the National Security Agency, it doesn’t seem as though Microsoft has done any such thing just yet. Wired reports that Microsoft executive Dorothee Belz said this week that Microsoft’s “server-to-server transportation is generally not encrypted,” which is why the company is “currently reviewing our security system.” This is a concern because documents leaked by Edward Snowden recently showed how the NSA was able to hack into Google and Yahoo’s data centers to breaking into their main communications links between their private clouds and the public Internet. If Microsoft hasn’t yet implemented the server-to-server encryption that Google has implemented, this means its private data servers are wide open to NSA hacking.