It’s the end of an era. Microsoft announced last month that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show keynote will be the company’s last for the foreseeable future. The show definitely won’t be the same without Microsoft’s chief executive officer Steve Ballmer kicking things off with his unique brand of charisma, but all good things must come to an end. According to reports, Microsoft won’t have anything big to announce at this year’s keynote. Instead, Ballmer will recap the strong year Microsoft had in 2011 and discuss the company’s core consumer-facing products moving into 2012 including Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox and more. Mr. Ballmer always puts on a show, however, and we’re sure he’ll toss in a few surprises to keep things interesting. The keynote kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Eastern / 6:30 p.m. Pacific, so hit the break to follow all the action — and Ballmeresque yelling — as it unfolds. More →
Microsoft has moved Andy Lees, the head of its Windows Phone division, to a new position within the firm. AllThingsD broke the news but did not name Lees’s successor. Instead, several of Lees’s responsibilities, including marketing and business development, will be handled by Microsoft corporate vice president Terry Myerson. Lees will remain a president within Microsoft and will still report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer. “I have asked Andy Lees to move to a new role working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8,” Ballmer said in a purported internal memo that was obtained by AllThingsD. “We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential. In the three years Andy has been leading the phone group, we’ve come a long way,” he added. “We reset our strategy, built a strong team that delivered [Windows Phone 7] and [Windows Phone 7.5 Mango] and created critical new partnerships and ecosystem around Windows Phone. That is a ton of progress in a brief period of time, and I’m excited for Terry and team to keep driving forward and for Andy to dig into a new challenge.” More →
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has never been one to mince words, and the executive shared a few choice thoughts on Google’s Android platform while speaking at the Web 2.0 conference on Tuesday. “You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows Phone, but I think you do to use an Android phone,” Ballmer told Federated Media founder John Battelle during an interview on stage. He continued, “It is very hard to be excited, for me, about the Android phones.” Despite the platform’s innovative user experience and its slick UI, sales of Windows Phone handsets have not been impressive thus far. Microsoft has been hesitant to share hard numbers and partners have followed suit, but recent estimates suggest Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market may have hit a new low in the second quarter of 2011. Nokia is expected by many to be the catalyst that helps establish Windows Phone as a major player, however, and Ballmer confirmed that Nokia is set to unveil “a bunch” of new Windows Phones at Nokia World next week.
As Microsoft works overtime this week to get developers and consumers behind its next-generation Windows operating system, focus shifted back to the company’s emerging mobile platform briefly on Wednesday, AllThingsD reports. Speaking at an analyst meeting, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed sales of devices bearing the Windows Phone operating system, acknowledging that the company isn’t where it hoped to be nearly one year after launching the platform. “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year,” Ballmer said, noting that the company is making progress and that exciting new features are in the pipeline. “I’m not saying I love where we are but I am very optimistic on where we can be. We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level.” Ballmer continued, stressing that Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia will help carry the platform forward. “With Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones,” Ballmer told analysts. “They are not doing something on Android or [any other operating system].” More →
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer surprised developers during Micorosft’s BUILD conference in California on Wednesday when he took the stage to talk up Microsoft’s new operating system, currently named Windows 8. Ballmer noted that there have already been 500,000 downloads of the operating system since it went live last night. “We still have a long way to go with Windows 8,” Ballmer said. “We’re retooling all of what we do.” Ballmer believes that the changes will compel developers to begin to favor Microsoft’s operating system, which he expects will ship on 350 million PCs this year alone. “There is no phone, there is nothing on the tablet, there is no operating system on the planet that will ship 350 million units of anything other than Windows,” Ballmer boasted, noting that Windows 8 supports both Intel and ARM chipsets. Before wrapping up, Ballmer, in typical fashion, called on “developers, developers, developers” to rally around Windows 8. More →
Microsoft is prepping to release a Windows 8 preview build during its Worldwide Partner Conference on July 11th, according WinRumors. Reportedly, the Redmond-based firm will “detail Windows 8 substantially,” during the conference, and it could present a second preview “building Windows 8″ video, which we hope will show off several of the OS’s new features. Microsoft first took the wraps off of its Windows 8 demo during the D9 conference in June, when Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky discussed the Metro UI and other features that will apply to both PCs and tablets. So far we know that Windows 8 will include Internet Explorer 10, and will be able to run both desktop applications as well as HTML 5 and Java apps that are designed for tablet-sized devices. Microsoft’s current demo devices run on Intel processors, but there are reports the company is running tests on ARM chips as well. The Consumer Electronics Association also announced on Thursday that Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will give the opening keynote during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January 2012 — and we suspect we’ll hear a lot more about the new OS at that time. More →
During a press event in Japan recently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Windows 8 would would launch sometime next year. His firm says otherwise. “It appears there was a misstatement,” a Microsoft spokesperson recently said in a statement. “We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.” Despite Microsoft’s statement, we could still hear more about Windows 8 much sooner — even if it doesn’t actually launch in the coming fiscal year. “As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8,” Ballmer said in his speech. “Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.’ According to ZDNet, we could see an early build of the operating system as soon as the D9 conference, which begins on June 31st. More →
We’re here live from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 event in New York City where the company is set to detail the next major OS upgrade to the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted we could see over 500 new features, let’s hope we get some big enhancements in addition to the practically confirmed multitasking, Twitter integration, remote email search stuff. Live coverage is after the break! More →
Speaking at the Japanese Microsoft Developers Forum, Microsoft’s CEO confirmed that the next Windows Phone update, codenamed Mango, will add “over 500 new features” to the mobile operating system. The Redmond based company has an event scheduled for Tuesday, May 24th in New York City, during which it will unveil the new update (again) and discuss its features in greater detail. Earlier this month we heard rumors that the update will deliver Bing Audio, Bing Vision, turn-by-turn navigation in Bing Maps, a new native podcast player, speech recognition, and more. We’ll be reporting live on the update tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Hit the jump for a quick video clip of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discussing Mango.
Yesterday was so jam-packed full of action, it’s hard to believe this year’s Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona officially started today. The show runs through Thursday, in fact, and promises to bring us awesome mobile news from start to finish. While day 1 of the show winds down — it’s now 4:00PM local time — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is just getting ready to deliver his anticipated MWC keynote. Windows Phone 7 is expected to be a focus, given the venue, and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear Ballmer talk about Nokia a fair bit as well. Hit the break for our live coverage of the event, and don’t forget to refresh the page for all the latest updates. More →
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official. In a press release today, Microsoft and Nokia announced “plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.” This partnership will see Nokia, the world’s largest phone manufacturer, adopt Windows Phone as its “principle smartphone strategy” and the two companies will collaborate on marketing, search, maps, and development.
“Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO. “Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”
This certainly does bolster the global position of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. The two companies are hosting a live press conference at 5AM ET. The live video feed and aforementioned press release are waiting for you after the break. More →
Microsoft has issued a statement describing Steve Ballmer’s plans to sell up to 75 million shares in order “to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning”. A sale this large is bound to ring alarm bells with shareholders, however Ballmer has cleared the air of any brewing conspiracy theories. “Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success,” said the Redmond CEO. SEC filings indicate that Steve Ballmer has already sold 49 million shares, making him a cool $1.3 billion. With capital gains tax said to increase to 20 from 15% in January, Steve Ballmer has just saved himself some serious money.
Earlier today, while speaking to a group of students and journalists at the London School of Economics, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that there will indeed be iPad-competing slate products running Windows by Christmas. The catch? Steve didn’t clarify whether these products would be shipping, or just announced, nor who would manufacture them. With HP most likely changing course to offer a webOS-based tablet as opposed to a Windows 7 slate, we’ve got to wonder who will end up being first in this category… More →