Initiative may seek to increase Bing penetration, grow Windows adoption
According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft is allegedly working on a subsidized version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing." With Microsoft solutions included -- such as the eponymous Bing search engine as default -- Microsoft appears to be readying a free or inexpensive version of Windows, perhaps to combat Apple's offering of OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" for free.
Microsoft offers 100GB OneDrive storage via Bing Rewards scheme
After the success of its 100GB of cloud storage giveaway to 100,000 users as part of the SkyDrive rebrand to OneDrive, Microsoft is offering another way to gain the large block of online storage. The Bing Blog claims users of the Bing Rewards scheme, a program that offers discounts and other incentives for using Bing, will exchange 100 credits for a code, which provides access to the same 100GB allocation for one year, though the promotion will only be offered until June 30th of this year.
Huawei announces TalkBand B1, unlikely to be released in US
Huawei has announced its upcoming wearable tech device, the TalkBand B1. Described as both a fitness band and Bluetooth headset combined, the band has a removable earpiece that accepts calls, and when used in the band tracks physical activities including sleep. Its 90mAh battery can last up to six days powering the flexible OLED display. The TalkBand B1 is not anticipating release in the US, though will be available in Chinese markets next month, and Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Western Europe in the second quarter of 2014.
Bing search engine soon to be profitable, says Microsoft
Microsoft's Bing search engine is will soon begin making money for the software giant, according to the company's chief financial officer for applications and services. ZDNet reported on Saturday that Applications and Services CFO Dave O'Hara had said Bing was ready to turn the corner, as Microsoft now has the resources to keep its search engine running without having to continue to make outsized investments in it. Future infrastructure investments for Bing, O'Hara said, will be incremental.
Microsoft updates Bing app for iPad
Microsoft has released an update to its Bing app for iPad that contains a number of tweaks and improvements to the search app. The update, bringing Bing for iPad to version 2.0, introduces a cleaner, simpler user interface to match Apple's "flatter" iOS 7 aesthetic. It also includes the ability to save Bing's colorful daily images for use as a wallpaper on one's device.
Elop would shift Office tactics as MS CEO
Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, if named as the next Microsoft CEO, would reportedly consider spinning off the company's Xbox and Bing divisions. A report from Bloomberg cites sources familiar with Elop's thinking in claiming that he would strike out in a direction quite different from that of outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Under Elop, the report holds, Microsoft would refocus on its popular Office suite, but with the aim of pushing Office onto as many platforms as possible.
Microsoft adds 5M square miles of images to Bing Maps
Microsoft has updated Bing Maps to include another 13 million square kilometers (5 million square miles) of satellite imagery. The update, consisting of aircraft and satellite aerial imagery according to The Next Web, is spread over the majority of the world, including areas of Iceland, France, Brazil, England, Chile, Fiji, and China, with the added photographs totaling almost 316 terabytes of data.
Amazon signs deal with CBS, Star Trek reaches Lovefilm in UK, Germany
Amazon has signed a multi-year deal with CBS Studios to stream shows from CBS and Showtime on Lovefilm in the UK and Germany. Subscribers of the streaming service will have access to episodes of Californication, Dexter, Nurse Jackie, and both the 1960s original Star Trek and Star Trek Voyager from today, with other shows heading to it in the future.
Experiment will provide curated links, videos, images to specific searches
Microsoft has added curated content to its Bing search engine, in the form of Bing Boards. The experimental item is a visual collection of images, videos, and links that are organized by users about a specific topic, rather than being created algorithmically, and are designed to be complementary to normal search results.
Search engine gets tie-in with popular sharing service
Users of Microsoft's Bing will now have access features integrating the search engine with popular image-sharing service Pinterest. Microsoft tipped the new feature in a post to the Bing Search Blog last week, noting that the ability to share to Pinterest flowed out of previous meetings the company had had with lifestyle and design bloggers at Bing headquarters last fall.
Bing apps for Office 2013 extend functionality through the web
Microsoft has launched five Bing apps for the just-released Office 2013. Each of the new apps integrates tightly with Office in order to add a range of useful functions to each of Microsoft’s core Office apps. The new Bing apps for Office includes Image Search, Finance, Maps, Dictionary, and News with each leveraging Bing’s search capabilities.
Partnership with Microsoft expands
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has blasted Google over privacy concerns, claiming the search giant would not agree to certain terms demanded by the social network for its new search tools. Facebook also has dodged questions surrounding the backbone of its new Search Graph feature, however Zuckerberg explained that Microsoft will remain a close partner for web search via Bing integration.
Social questions now answered in Bing sidebar
Microsoft will be adding information from social questioning site Quora into the results for its Bing search engine. The new addition was announced today in a post from the Bing Team. The addition of Quora marks another step in Microsoft's continuing effort to grow market share for its search engine, which so remains in the shadow of market leader Google.
Mark Penn now heading up strategic and special projects
Microsoft has brought on Mark Penn, former manager of Senator Hillary Clinton's ill-fated 2008 Democratic primary campaign, to head up strategic and special projects at the company. The pollster, who was the worldwide CEO of public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and CEO of polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, will now focus on consumer initiatives. Bloomberg carried news today of the appointment, which is likely aimed at ensuring that the Redmond-based software giant is able to maintain an attachment to the common consumer mindset as it prepares to launch a number of important software and hardware products.
Microsoft adds Nokia map enhancements to Bing maps
Following last year's Microsoft partnership with Nokia, Bing Maps is the latest product to see a benefit. Starting today, users in 24 countries will be able to view active traffic data in Bing Maps as a result of Nokia services integration. United States traffic coverage will include side street traffic as well as freeway information. Behind the scenes, Nokia's geocoding services are now being used to offer improved turn-by-turn directions.
Makeover yields minimalist results page
Microsoft has rolled out a redesign of the search results page for its Bing search engine. Users will now find a less-cluttered results page, bordering on minimalist and dominated by open space.
Microsoft said to have offered Bing to Facebook
A new report from the New York Times delving deeper into the Facebook buy of patents from Microsoft reveals that Microsoft at one point considered selling its Bing search engine to the social network. There is speculation in the industry that Facebook wants to start its own Internet search engine fed by the data it gathered from its millions of users in order to make money from online advertising. This would be a threat to Google more so than Microsoft, as the former is more dependent on such revenue.
Microsoft bounces back in fiscal Q3 2012
Microsoft saw its Windows unit partly return to form on Thursday as it once again reported gains. Following Windows division losses in the fall, the group has seen its revenue go up four percent to just over $4.6 billion. The segment succeeded mostly on the back of business desktops and infrastructure, Microsoft said, suggesting that home users and pro notebooks were still struggling.
Bing may become expensive for outsiders to use
Microsoft warned Thursday that it would start asking a monthly fee for using its Bing Search app programming interface (API). Apps and devices that use the official code will have to pay a minimum $40 per month for 20,000 searches. Those who need Bing will use the Azure Marketplace Microsoft uses for its cloud services to manage what they're paying.
Kindle Touch offers Bing powered translations
Amazon has a hefty update available for the Kindle Touch. The upgrade to 5.1, released today, enables switching from portrait to landscape orientation and Bing powered language translation of highlighted text.
Yahoo shakes up staff in mass departures
Yahoo confirmed rumors of large-scale layoffs by dropping 2,000 workers. Focusing mostly on the product division, the exits would include some immediate layoffs as well as gradual transitions away. The positions were being dropped to return to a "core purpose" of "users and advertisers," CEO Scott Thompson said.
European Commission pushes back Google date
The European Commissioner's competition head Joaquin Alumnia on Wednesday postponed a decision on possible antitrust charges versus Google. He pushed back from a promise of late March or early April until after April 8, or after Easter. Investigators had asked for "some more days, even weeks" to accommodate the holidays while still conducting a proper investigation.
Microsoft fuels OpenStreetMap data
Some extra sleuthing has confirmed that OpenStreetMap is getting more support from major companies than Apple. Microsoft not only hired OpenStreetMap's founder Steve Coast as its main designer for Bing Mobile but has been in a two-way supply of content deal. Bing provides some map data for the project but also draws on OpenStreetMap to fill out its map content.
FTC wants to know how iOS search favors Google
The FTC's widening antitrust investigation of Google is now collecting information from Apple, insiders tipped on mid-Tuesday. A pair of Bloomberg sources understood the US agency to be subpoenaing Apple for the deals making Google the default search engine on iOS devices. It's presumed, though not certain, that concerns may exist Google is unfairly using its search dominance to cut out Microsoft's Bing and others from getting the pre-selected position.
SDK makes it embed metro mapping code for apps
Microsoft gets antitrust attorney as own staffer
Microsoft on Wednesday hoped to turn Google's FTC troubles against it by hiring one of the FTC's senior lawyers, Randall Long, on Wednesday. The former deputy assistant lead for the Competition Bureau will manage Microsoft's regulatory relations. He will take the new position in late March and should be based out of Washington, DC.
Foursquare customizes OpenStreetMap
New color palette separates map from overlays
Designers with Bing Maps and Nokia Maps have coordinated with the Windows Phone team to bring a unified look to maps across both services, now available on the desktop and mobile version of Bing and Nokia maps. The goal was to update the color palette to better distinguish roads from rivers while keeping overlaid information, such as traffic, distinct. The redesign extends to collaboration across services on fonts, labelling and readability.
Apple hits symbolic stock value
An exceptional run on Apple stock over the past few days has made Apple's stock value worth more than either of its two most direct rivals combined. A comparison has shown that, as of mid-day Thursday, Apple's market cap of about $456 billion was greater than both those of Google ($198.9 billion) and Microsoft ($256.7 billion). As noted by AppleInsider, Apple was taking advantage of both Google missing targets and bruising its share as well as Microsoft's historic inability to excite shareholders.
Microsoft full-page ad tackles Google policy swap
Microsoft has started running a slew of full-page newspaper ads in an attempt to scare users over Google's simpler privacy policies. It claims that Google's attempts to simplify and clarify its policies are disingenuous and that the real goal is to "connect the dots" between Google's services and track users. It goes on to insist that the policy makes it difficult to back out.
Nokia brand will show up on competitors' devices
The Nokia brand will begin showing up on non-Nokia devices running Microsoft's Bing Maps app. CEO Stephen Elop revealed in a recent
conversation with Pocket-lint that Microsoft had agreed to the cross-promotion as part of its Windows Phone deal. The news means that the Nokia brand will begin appearing on competing products such as BlackBerrys and Android phones.
EU may start formal Google dispute in two months
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in a discussion late Tuesday raised the possibility that a formal antitrust dispute with Google could start in late March. He informed Reuters that comments from investigators would come in near the end of the quarter, which ends that month, and that he didn't "expect anything sooner" for a full complaint. Leaks had tipped an early 2012 filing, if it went ahead at all, but hadn't been corroborated directly until now.
Yahoo loses Yang as new CEO takes over
(Update: more to come?) Yahoo on Tuesday said that its co-founder Jerry Yang was leaving the company. He had immediately resigned both from the Board of Directors and "all other positions" at the search giant, including a board spot at Alibaba. He sought to "pursue other interests" beyond the company but cast it as an amicable leap, putting his confidence in new CEO Scott Thompson.
World IPv6 Day to launch standard is June 6
The IPv6 Internet addressing standard will get a more formal launch by its backers on June 6, which is being devoted World IPv6 Day. Seven global ISPs will back the new standard then, including AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner. Also onboard are heavily trafficked websites, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft's Bing, as well as hardware makers Cisco and D-Link.
Yahoo settles on permanent CEO from eBay division
Yahoo confirmed rumors Wednesday and picked PayPal president Scott Thompson as its new CEO. The nomination of the eBay division head followed months of uncertainty at the company following the firing of Carol Bartz in September. Thompson takes the position January 9.
Google to pay $300m per year in Mozilla deal
When Google and Mozilla renewed their search royalty deal earlier this week, they didn't reveal that Google will pay $300 million per year, AllThingsD learned. For this amount of money, Google will be the default search engine in Mozilla's Firefox browser. The numbers are a sharp increase from the previous arrangement because of the new competition from Yahoo and Microsoft.
Google funds Mozilla with three-year ad deal
Google kept Firefox active after Mozilla said that it was renewing a deal to make Google the default search in Firefox. A "significant and mutually beneficial" deal will keep Google as the default for a minimum of three years. Neither side would reveal what the terms of the deal were.
Experiment integrates social networking & search
Microsoft has gone public with details on its So.cl network service. The "research experiment" is an attempt to help people learn informally from their friends and colleagues by integrating more closely Internet search and social networking. Microsoft has been beta testing the project with about 150 students, but is planning on inviting up to 1,000 more students and academics to participate.
Microsoft outlines launch plans for X360 live TV
In sync with the fall Xbox 360 Dashboard update, Microsoft has provided a listing of TV providers that will be ready to go this week. Along with existing access to ESPN, Hulu, and Netflix, the December 6 update will also bring EPIX authenticated video in the US, Lovefilm in the UK, MediaSet's Premium Play in Italy, Sky Go in Austria and Germany, Telefonica España's Movistar Imagenio, and MSNBC's Today in the US.
Gadgets retake Yahoo spotlight
"iPhone" was the top search term on Yahoo during 2011, the company has announced. Most of the top 10 list consists of celebrities, the second- and third-place spots in fact belonging to Casey Anthony and Kim Kardashian. Yahoo remarks that a piece of electronics hasn't dominated the list since 2002, when Sony's PlayStation 2 occupied the top spot. The last technology-related term to peak was filesharing service KaZaA in 2003.
Xbox 360 gets definitive fall 2011 UI update time
Microsoft on Tuesday narrowed down a firm date for its fall 2011 Xbox 360 Dashboard. The Windows Phone-derived revamp should go live on December 6, about three weeks after beta testing began. The update is expected to go live worldwide, although not every feature will follow suit due to the need for local deals.
Bing for Mobile version 3.0 now out with HTML5
Microsoft this week updated its Bing app for Android (free, ) and iOS (free, App Store). The Bing for Mobile version 3.0 app now supports HTML5 for a consistent experience whether using the app or Bing from the browser. It will also make the experience very similar, if not identical, across multiple platforms.
Mozilla intros Bing add-on for Firefox browser
Mozilla has taken its relationship with Microsoft and its Bing search engine up to another level. It is now offering to add Bing to its Firefox browser, with the add-on setting the Microsoft search engine as the default and Bing as the homepage. The add-on for the latest version of Firefox also includes the Awesome Bar, Mozilla's hybrid search and address bar. Older versions of Firefox need to be upgraded, and doing so includes the switchover to Bing as the default search engine.
Microsoft summer results shy on Windows and phone
Microsoft posted record results for the summer that were nonetheless muted. Its profit was up six percent from year to year but was enough to get it a new high of $17.37 billion in pure revenue, up seven percent, and a six percent hike in profit to $5.74 billion. Most of this came from the Business and Server groups, which grew eight and ten points each to make $5.62 billion and $4.25 billion each.
Xbox 360 fall 2011 Dashboard gets early testing
On cue, Microsoft has started up its Xbox Live Public Preview for the fall 2011 Xbox 360 Dashboard. Gamers who sign in with a Windows Live ID and register for Microsoft Connect should be entered into the running to be included in the public phase of testing in the last few weeks before the official launch. Access isn't guaranteed, although Microsoft hasn't said what if anything affects a user's chances.
Microsoft looking again at buying Yahoo
(Update: possibly no) Fresh leaks have hinted that Microsoft is entertaining the idea of buying Yahoo again. Tipsters told Reuters that Microsoft was taking advantage of the disruption at Yahoo to take over the early search pioneer. It might get a partner to help out, such as an equity partner.
Yahoo advisers share financial information
While it's no secret that Yahoo is looking for buyers, the latest unofficial update has its long-time advisers, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Allen & Co, readying to give out financial information to potential buyers. An unnamed source for Reuters said various types of companies have been making various creative offers for Yahoo and its various businesses. Just this past weekend, Alibaba's CEO said he was interested in buying all of Yahoo.
Nokia Windows Phone could use special maps
A pre-release T-Mobile Germany promo banner for Nokia's Windows Phone hardware uncovered Friday could point to Nokia having a special turn-by-turn GPS app. Called Nokia Drive, it would be an adaptation of Nokia Maps with 3D buildings and voice-command navigation, WinRumors saw. Windows Phone 7.5 has better GPS mapping than before, but 3D and direct voice navigation aren't part of Microsoft's official feature set.
Google attorney uncertain on Apple search terms
Google's representing attorney Susan Creighton in a follow-up Senate hearing was unclear on the financial incentives Google might have given Apple to become the default search engine on the iPhone. Following earlier testimony by Eric Schmidt, she acknowledged that Google had made a deal with Apple but that she 'didn't know' if it involved paying Apple to choose one over the other. She admitted that it "wouldn't surprise" her if cash had traded hands.
Microsoft claims Google multiplied ad costs by 50
Microsoft complaints against Google have led the FTC to launch an investigation into Google's practices, says an unnamed person as he's not authorized to comment publicly. Google allegedly illegally raised Microsoft's advertising rates by a factor of 50, AdAge reported. Other allegations against Google regarding advertising will also be looked into and are part of a larger antitrust Google probe.