Motivation of deposit retention unclear, royalty offer $6.8 million
Following April's court ruling that Microsoft need only pay several millions of dollars, rather than the billions that Motorola Mobility was seeking, Microsoft offered Motorola's counsel a $6.8 million dollar payment for all outstanding licensing debts owed for H.264 standards-essential patents used in Windows 8 and the Xbox 360. Motorola has refused this offer, and is retaining a bond paid by Microsoft -- despite judicial orders not requiring a payment even close to the $100 million bond payment.
Daily mandatory Internet check-in, console game registration removed
Following a lambasting by the gaming press and the general public, Microsoft has elected to drop the 24-hour Internet check-in previously revealed at E3 last week. In a statement, Microsoft announced that the new change will allow users to "trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc-based games just like you do today -- there will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."
Nvidia to remain supplier for some versions of Surface
Microsoft is working on a version of its Surface RT slate computer that uses a Qualcomm processor, according to a report. The change in chip comes at the same time as Microsoft drops the price of the tablet for educational users, in what appears to be a clear-out of current Surface RT stock ahead of a device refresh.
Acer puts onus on Microsoft to drive more sales, apps
Electronics manufacturer Acer won't be releasing smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform in calendar year 2013, according to executives from the company. Speaking with Pocket-lint, Acer vice president for the EMEA region said that the company doesn't yet see Microsoft's fledgling system as a safe bet. The company wants Microsoft to do a better job of laying out the benefits of its platform before Acer will commit to producing a handset for it.
Serves as companion for Office 365 subscribers
Microsoft has released Office Mobile, a companion iPhone app for Office 365 subscribers. The app lets users access and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents hosted on SkyDrive or SharePoint, or else attached to email messages. Documents can also be created wholesale and/or commented on, but only in the case of Word and Excel.
Group wants phone makers to implement permanently disabling kill switch
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon today announced the formation of a nationwide "Secure Our Smartphones" initiative aimed at encouraging the cell phone industry to adopt technologies that would deter theft by drying up the secondary market on which stolen devices are sold. The pair of officials announced the formation on the same day representatives from Apple, Google/Motorola, Microsoft and Samsung participated in a Smart Phone Summit convened in New York City
Windows Store to show tablets, Windows Phone, Xbox consoles
Microsoft will be opening up Windows Stores inside electronics retailer Best Buy. The new announcement sees Microsoft placing a store-within-a-store version of its retail chain inside 500 Best Buy locations in the United States and more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop stores in Canada, with the roll-out set to be finished by September.
iFixit's tear down reveals one of Apple's most repairable products
Tech site iFixit has uploaded a new teardown for the latest AirPort Extreme, Apple's first 802.11ac wireless base station. Opening the device revealed an interior space to allow for a hard drive to be installed, however hopes of at-home storage upgrades were dashed by no available plug-in options on the logic board. The AirPort Extreme offers a Delta Electronics 12V, 5A power supply, much akin to Mac Mini technology. Thanks to a simply disassembly iFixit staff have categorized the wireless base station, along with Apple TV and Mac Mini, as the most repairable Apple product in recent history.
Interview sees Don Mattrick calling Xbox 360 'offline device'
A Microsoft executive has suggested to gamers concerned about the Xbox One's online requirement to instead use the Xbox 360. Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business made the comment in an interview ahead of the company's E3 keynote, and has seemingly done little to help the Xbox One's public relations efforts.
Xbox Live Gold subscribers to get free games until end of 2013
Microsoft revealed launch details for its upcoming game console, as well as an update for its current version, at its E3 keynote event earlier today. Aside from outlining upcoming games, the Xbox One is now slated to appear on store shelves in November this year, the Xbox 360 has been redesigned, and current Xbox Live subscribers will also receive some extra benefits.
Windows 8.1 Start Button given live demo
Although we have already seen what the Windows 8.1 Start Button will look like, a video has surfaced showing exactly how it will work. As the video embedded below shows, clicking on the Start Button will launch the Windows 8 Start Screen, but this time launching it within the desktop environment instead of forcing users into the tablet-friendly interface alone. Although a far removed from how the Start Button in Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows worked, it preserves the approach Microsoft has adopted with the Windows 8 UI. However, now, users to stay in the more familiar and comfortable desktop environment without being forced to switch between the two separate interfaces continually.
Charges of widespread monitoring follow discovery of Verizon NSA data collection
Just a day after respected UK newspaper The Guardian reported that a leaked secret US court order showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was harvesting millions of phone records and "telephony metadata" from Verizon customers, a new report from The Guardian and the Washington Post has charged that the NSA is further using a secret program called PRISM to harvest usage data from the internal servers of most of America's major tech companies -- including Apple, Google, Microsoft and many others.
Xbox One must connect to Internet daily for offline games to function
Microsoft has clarified its stance on a number of controversial features of the upcoming Xbox One. The company confirmed that the game console will need a connection to the Internet every 24 hours in order to play games, as well as advising on used game sales, game rentals, and the privacy concerns for the improved Kinect sensor.
SF, NYC attorneys general hope to stem tide of violent robberies
The attorneys general of San Francisco and New York City are convening a Smartphone Summit next week. The topic of discussion will be how to convince Apple, Google, and other mobile hardware and software developers to help stem the tide of cellphone thefts in both cities, often ending in violence. Notable by their absence on the invitee list are all the significant US cellular providers.
Sub ten-inch Windows 8 tablets to gain Office Home and Student 2013
Microsoft has confirmed it will be releasing a version of Outlook for Windows RT tablets later this year, during its Computex Keynote address. At the same time, Microsoft advised that the new wave of tablets with screens measuring under 10 inches will be shipping with Office Home and Student 2013 preinstalled.
Gains at expense of Microsoft, Blackberry
Market analysts comScore MobiLens has issued its quarterly report on mobile phone usage derived from data surveys. The latest report continues to demonstrate that both Apple and Samsung are increasing usage marketshare mostly from smaller Android makers, including HTC, Motorola and LG, all of which lost ground over the past four months. As a result, Google's Android platform lost share in the US once again in the latest averages, alongside BlackBerry and Microsoft.
Could merge TWC TV app into Apple TV
Time Warner Cable is in talks with Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft for streaming video deals similar to the one it has with set-top maker Roku, CEO Glenn Britt hinted at today's Bank of America/Merill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference. "You should assume we're talking to everyone who makes devices like this, whether it's Samsung smart TVs, Apple, Microsoft," said Britt. Time Warner brought a TWC TV app to Roku boxes in March, letting people watch live TV without a separate dedicated cable box.
Revised Start menu, greater focus on personalization
Microsoft has revealed more details about its free Windows 8.1 update that it will release later this year. The company has confirmed yesterday's rumors about the return of the Start Button, as well as revealing more about the incremental changes that will form part of the free software pack, previously known by the codename Windows Blue.
Start button to use angular design of Windows 8 logo
Details have emerged for how the Start button will work in the Windows 8.1 update, after complaints from users about its disappearance. The free Windows Blue add-on will include a Start button on the taskbar, just as it did in previous iterations of the operating system, but it will not apparently load a pop-up list of programs and folders like it did before.
Bigger 256GB capacity replaces 64GB version, could appear elsewhere
Microsoft has rolled out its Surface Pro to Japan, as part of its plans to offer the slate computer in more countries, and has included an option for larger storage. A 256GB model will go on sale in the country on June 7th, and marks the first time Microsoft has increased the capacity for the Pro version of its tablets from the original 64GB and 128GB variants.
Latency-insensitive computation work passed to the cloud from console
Microsoft will be using its new 300,000-server cloud system to help the Xbox One with game calculations. The cloud architecture will be performing "latency-insensitive computation" on behalf of the console, with it being used as an incentive for users to keep their game consoles connected to the Internet while they play games.
ITC not reviewing judge's initial remand decision
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has completed its patent infringement investigation against Microsoft. The ITC has declined to review a final initial remand determination issued by the presiding judge, ending the case in Microsoft's favor. Today's move was primarily administrative, with the actual ruling having happened earlier this year.
New sensor to have improved camera, skeletal system
Microsoft will be releasing an updated version of its Kinect for Windows sensor next year. Following on from the launch of the Xbox One and its inclusion of a new Kinect interface, the add-on for computers will have a number of matching improvements and a new software development kit, thanks to its shared technology set with the console version.
Evernote now includes support for creating reminders
Evernote has added one of the most requested features to its iOS, Mac and Web apps, reminders. Available for all Evernote customers, the new option is represented with an alarm clock icon in the top-right corner of the web and Mac interfaces, and at the bottom of a note in the iOS apps. Reminders saved within the app will provide users with in-app alarms, as well as optional e-mail alerts when a reminder is due. Additionally, notes with reminders are automatically sorted into a new section at the top of the Note list, and can be reorganized by simply dragging them up or down.
Uses Siri-like voice for narration
Microsoft is airing a new TV ad for Windows 8 tablets targeting their main competition, the Apple iPad. The spot points out that the iPad is missing equivalents to Windows 8 features like Live Tiles and true multitasking, and that at $449, a 64GB ASUS VivoTab Smart tablet is far cheaper than a comparable 64GB iPad, which is $699. Narrating everything is a Siri-like voice trying to defend Apple.
Company's growth rate slips
Apple remains in first place on an annual BrandZ ranking of the world's most valuable brands, notes MarketingWeek. Apple's brand is estimated to be worth $185.071 billion, putting it well ahead of next-closest rivals Google ($113.669 billion) and IBM ($112.536 billion). Other companies in the top 10 include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Microsoft, Marlboro, Visa, and China Mobile.
Instant switching between apps, Kinect system, cloud services
Microsoft has revealed its latest iteration of its Xbox game console at a media event. The Xbox One, codenamed Durango during its development, is billed as an all-in-one system for the living room, with a greater focus on allowing users to watch live television and other media, along with heavier Kinect integration, Skype calling, and gaming improvements.
A New Generation Revealed
Microsoft is set to begin its Xbox event in Redmond, Washington. "A New Generation Revealed" is the theme for the gathering, suggesting the company will finally show its next-generation gaming console. Check out our live page at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, for images and updates from the event.
Country seeks bids on 10.6 million tablets for students
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been touring Silicon Valley companies this week, on the heels of a similar tour by Turkish President Abdullah Gül last month. Both men received VIP tours of facilities at Microsoft and Google, and met privately with officials from Apple. All three companies are hoping to land a contract to supply the country with at least 10.6 million tablets for the country's students.
Shipments for iOS rises for the quarter, market share drops
Shipments of Windows Phone devices have overtaken those of BlackBerry phones for the first time, according to a report. Numbers from IDC places the Microsoft mobile operating system in third place, still a considerable away behind iOS and Android shipments, which are said to make up 92.3-percent of all shipments when combined.
Samsung rumored supplying 7.9-inch displays for smaller Surface
Samsung has reportedly been tapped by Microsoft to supply 7.9-inch panels for a smaller version of its Surface, according to Digitimes. The purported smaller tablet could be released as soon as the end of June, however, no Taiwanese suppliers have yet been included on the supplier list. Microsoft has not revealed its plans for future versions of its Surface tablet, but it recently changed the specifications of Windows 8 to accommodate displays that could be used on smaller tablets.
Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong set for May Surface Pro launch
The Microsoft Surface Pro will start shipping in a number of other countries later this month, as part of the company's plans to expand its retail availability further than the US, Canada, and China. The United Kingdom will see the device appearing on store shelves on May 23, while a number of markets in Europe looking to get the slate computer on May 30.
Electronic Arts to discontinue Online Pass policy for new titles
If a report at VentureBeat is accurate, Electronic Arts has decided to rid itself of the reviled online pass. According to the report, the EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed the cancellation of the program, saying “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass, none of our new EA titles will include that feature." Viewed as a countermeasure to used game sales, the pass included in the purchase of new games allowed game play on the company's servers across Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Used purchasers, or customers borrowing a game, must purchase a pass if they wish to play online, with access costing approximately $10.
Microsoft allegedly completely disregarded terms of service, API rules
A week-old update of Microsoft's YouTube for Windows Phone is the target of a cease-and-desist order from Google, demanding that the app be immediately withdrawn from the Windows Phone Store and each downloaded copy be remotely disabled by May 22. The complaint centers on the total lack of advertisements and disregard of the YouTube terms of service by Microsoft in developing the app.
New payment system to work on Xbox Live, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store
Microsoft may be scrapping its Points virtual currency in favor of local currency pricing, according to a report. The rumor, which has surfaced a few times in the past, is now bolstered with new claims that the new system would work across platforms, with Microsoft preparing to reveal it at the E3 game show later this year.
Windows 8.1 public preview set for June 26th release
Microsoft has revealed more details for its upcoming Windows Blue update for Windows 8. Given the official title of Windows 8.1, the software pack will be made available as a free update to users of Windows 8 via the Windows Store, with a public preview of Windows 8.1 for Windows 8 and Windows RT also due next month.
Points to violent assaults over iPhones
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent letters to several smartphone makers asking them to explain what they're doing to deter thefts, Bloomberg reports. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung are said to have been contacted on May 10th. "I seek to understand why companies that can develop sophisticated handheld electronics, such as the products manufactured by Apple, cannot also create technology to render stolen devices inoperable and thereby eliminate the expanding black market on which they are sold," reads Schneiderman's letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Friends and rivals discussed family, history, future
An unaired portion of a 60 Minutes interview with Bill Gates saw the founder of Microsoft in an unusually reflective state when questioned by interviewer Charlie Rose on the topic of the late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, his friend and rival. Jobs met with Gates for an extended period very near the end of his life, an unusual concession to a colleague he had had a tumultuous relationship with over the decades. Gates said the two men had "grown up together," each building the computer industry in their own image.
Counter-offer allows shareholders to keep shares, pays significant dividend
Investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management have proposed a new offer to Dell shareholders, who are considering a proposal by founder Michael Dell's group of investors, including Microsoft, to purchase existing shares at $13.65 each in order to take the company private. In a letter to Dell's board of directors, Icahn and Southeastern are counter-proposing a deal to give all Dell shareholders the option to retain shares in the company, plus take an additional $12 a share in cash or stock.
Apple apparently reticent to add Metro support
"You shouldn't expect an iTunes [Metro] app on Windows 8 any time soon," Microsoft CFO Tami Reller tells CNN Money. "iTunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It's not for lack of trying." The quote may suggest that Microsoft has been talking with Apple about adding Metro support for iTunes, but without any progress.
Prototypes said to have Kinect-style motion controls
Microsoft is looking to create a set-top box for media playback, according to one report. Continuing previous rumors, the software giant is working on a device that will allow users to sign onto Xbox Live and use its apps to view streaming video, effectively cloning the non-gaming aspects of the Xbox 360 game console into a relatively-cheap product.
Microsoft said to be responsive to OEM feedback on Windows 8
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang has said that Microsoft is starting to listen more closely to its OEM partners following the troubled launch of Windows 8, reports the Wall Street Journal. Wang indicated that he thought that that Microsoft has had its head in the clouds until recently, “But now the go down to earth and they start to learn how people living on earth think.” Acer President Jim Wong also added that Microsoft is becoming more “considerate” to its partners and has been baking in their suggestions into Windows Blue, the first major update to Windows 8 due later this year.
Microsoft offer lower than current company value
Reports have surfaced that Microsoft is allegedly offering $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media, Barnes & Noble's venture into e-book publishing. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which would give control of the operation to Microsoft.
Switch to subscription-based software suites could take ten years
Microsoft has laid out the various changes the company will make to Office Web Apps in the future, with a focus on social features, partly confirming a previously leak. It has also revealed that, unlike Adobe's recent announcement of switching focus to providing subscription-based products, Microsoft will continue to release packaged versions of Office for the next few years.
Analyst increases Yahoo gross revenue estimate by $60M
Microsoft has extended its revenue guarantee with Yahoo, according to an SEC filing. The revenue-per-search guarantee, part of the ten-year deal the two companies struck in 2009, will be extended by one additional year, allowing Yahoo to earn more revenue than it otherwise would have if the guarantee fully elapsed.
Windows 8 passes 100 million licenses, Windows Blue due by holidays
Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller has revealed that Windows 8 licenses sold has now passed the 100 million mark, six months after its launch. This is said to include installations on new PCs and tablets, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. Reller didn’t reveal the breakdown of Windows 8 licenses, which includes Windows RT sales, but did say that there are now 2,400 devices certified to run its controversial new operating system.
Facebook makes first appearance on list
Business magazine Fortune has released the 2013 edition of its list of the 500 biggest corporations in the US. One of the most significant shifts in the list is the ascendancy of Apple, which has jumped from 17th place to sixth, breaking into the top 10 for the first time. Fortune comments that while the company has "maintained more than disrupted" its product line, and even had to apologize for iOS 6 Maps and its Chinese warranty services, it "remains an innovation icon."
Microsoft prepping high-res 7.5-inch Surface says NPD DisplaySearch
An analyst with NPD DisplaySearch has told CNET that Microsoft has settled on a 7.5-inch display for one of its second-generation Surface tablets, which would go on sale in Q1 2014. The display could have a resolution of 1,400x1050 pixels that would give it a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch. This would make it one of the highest resolution small display tablets available and would comfortably beat out the current iPad mini, which sports a 7.9-inch display with a pixel density of 132ppi.
Microsoft Surface shipments for Q1 under 1 million, smaller devices coming
Microsoft Surface shipments for Q1 total just 900,000, according to the latest IDC report published yesterday. The underwhelming sales figures are said to be predominantly sales of its Surface Pro tablet, while the Surface RT had difficulty gaining any significant market traction. In total, since its launch late last year the company is thought to have shipped a total of just 1.5 million Surface devices, which pales in comparison to the 19.5 million iPadsApple sold in Q1 alone.
Skype in Outlook.com accompanied by Windows client update
Microsoft has added the ability to make Skype calls within the Outlook.com e-mail service. The site, which left beta in February, will allow Outlook users in the United Kingdom to access their Skype contacts, make calls, and communicate using instant messages, all from within the browser instead of launching external applications.