Software, Hardware, Silverware

Entries tagged: Microsoft

Oh, Microsoft.

Microsoft: Our Tablet Competitors Are Playing Catch Up

Hugh Langley spoke with representatives from Microsoft about the iPad Air:

When we asked Microsoft what it thought about the iPad Air as a tablet, the response was a bit more measured, but definitely clear.

“I think a lot of tablet manufacturers are starting to catch on that people want to do more with their tablets,” Microsoft Surface UK lead Ally Wickham told TechRadar.

“More and more tablet manufacturers realize that people want to get things done and put more productivity software on them… we recognized that from the beginning,” she added.

As a refresher: iWork for iPad debuted with the original iPad, Microsoft has sold ~2 million Surfaces ever, and Apple sold 14.1 million iPads in the past three months. That’s some weird kind of “catch up”.

Rudderless Microsoft

Smart piece from John Moltz on Microsoft’s lack of a CEO:

It is very hard for an outside CEO to take over an organization like Microsoft. Even if you’re good, internal forces are constantly trying to sabotage you. So I’m torn between thinking Microsoft should find an internal candidate or one from outside. An outside candidate might shake them of this “everything is about Windows” mindset, but an internal candidate might work from a great position of support. By all accounts they seem set on an outsider.

iOS 7 Recreated in Microsoft Word

One enterprising and avid Microsoft Word user recreated a rendering of an iPhone 5 in Microsoft Word. It’s just useless and time-consuming enough to be awesome.

Delta Pilots Fought Replacing iPads with Surfaces

Daniel Eran Dilger for Apple Insider:

“We fought hard for iPad,” a pilot working for the airline told Apple Insider. He described the Delta deal as being about money, travel contracts, and Delta’s Information Technology staff historically being “in bed” with Microsoft.

Force airline pilots to use inferior equipment in the cockpit because of corporate politics: good plan.

Ballmer at Last Microsoft Employee Meeting

Bill Rigby, for Reuters, on Steve Ballmer’s speech at his last employee meeting:

He also took a swipe at rivals, declaring that Apple is about being “fashionable,” is about being “cheap,” Google is about “knowing more,” but Microsoft is about “doing more.”


One Device to Rule Them All

John Moltz for MacWorld:

Microsoft believes that people don’t really want separate devices, they want just one. And it likes to present iPad users as “frustrated” with that device’s inability to be the one true product for consumers. In talking about the Surface, Bill Gates said of iPad users:

“They can’t type. They can’t create documents,” said Gates.

Now, in his defense, it’s possible he’s never used an iPad before. Or seen one. And he may also be unaware there are kinds of documents other than Word documents. The point is, Microsoft is selling the idea that the iPad is half a solution and the Surface is the whole solution.

Of course, it’s not selling that idea very well, given the Surface’s sales figures, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Shareholders Are Going to Sue Microsoft Over Poor Surface Sales

Paul Thurrott:

A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against Microsoft on behalf of its shareholders, alleging that the firm lied about the financial performance of its Surface RT tablet. The surprise revelation that sales were much less than expected came months later than required by law, the suit says, and immediately “eviscerated” $34 billion of Microsoft’s market value, materially impacting shareholders.

I’m sure Microsoft and its shareholders can come to some sort of… compromise.

The 97-Year Old Man Who Paints With 18-Year Old Windows 95’s Paint

Christopher Jobson:

Meet Hal Lasko, mostly known as Grandpa, a 97-year-old man who uses Microsoft Paint from Windows ’95 to create artwork that has been described as “a collision of pointillism and 8-Bit art.” Lasko, who is legally blind, served in WWII drafting directional and weather maps for bombing raids and later worked as a typographer (back when everything is done by hand) for clients such as General Tire, Goodyear and The Cleveland Browns before retiring in the 1970s. Decades after his retirement his family introduced him to Microsoft Paint and he never looked back.

Nokia Announces Lumia 1020 with 41-Megapixel Camera

I defer this commentary to Kontra:

So Nokia wasn’t able to sell Lumia Windows Phones previously because they didn’t have 41-megapixel resolution cameras? Got it.

Microsoft to Cut Price of Surface

Tom Warren:

Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Surface plans have revealed to The Verge that the price cut could occur as early as next week, with each model being cut by $150. Microsoft’s move to cut prices on its Surface RT tablets follow slow sales, and efforts to sell the devices elsewhere at lower rates.

So it’s… going well?

Today In Charts

The bar graph that accompanied some numbers Microsoft released at their Build conference makes no sense at all.

Windows 8.1: What Microsoft Changed (Back)

Tom Warren for The Verge:

The controversial Start button returns to Windows 8.

It was totally-unlike Microsoft to remove the start button in Windows 8. It was bold. This is the same weak Microsoft we’ve always known.

Microsoft Employee Calls iOS 7 Ugly, Switches to Lumia

Andrew Kim switched away from his iPhone because of an unreleased software update:

Well, it’s iOS 7. I’m sure I’ll be soon receiving emails arguing that it’s still in ‘beta’ and that I’m a total idiot. Well, I know that it’s not complete. Frivolous things like icon design aren’t even the biggest problems I have. To me, iOS 7 is sailing in a completely wrong direction. What needed to happen was a significant rethinking of iPhone but all we received was a facelift. An ugly one at that.

Control Center, iTunes Radio, AirDrop, the new Photos app, improved multitasking, enhanced folders, more gestures? Those don’t count. Apparently.

Oh, and iOS 7 is beautiful.

Microsoft Unveils Bing for Schools

Nick Summers for The Next Web:

The tweaked Bing experience, suitable for students between kindergarten and the end of high school, removes all advertisements from the search engine due to Microsoft’s belief that schools “are for learning and not selling.”

This is a good move by Microsoft. In my experience education-specific tools have erred on blocking a lot of worthwhile content. I certainly understand the need to block pornographic and social traffic on school computers, the line has to be drawn with care. I’d like to see Microsoft finally get that balance right.

Don’t Fight

“The Microsoft ad for Windows Phone is highly accurate. In a room full of people, there are only two Lumia owners.” —Stefan Constantine

“This new Nokia Lumia 920 ad is amazing.” —Stephen Hackett

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” —Steve Ballmer

Windows 8.1 to Bring Back the Start Button

Tom Warren for The Verge:

The death of the traditional Start button in Windows 8 was one of a number of controversial changes introduced with Microsoft’s latest operating system. In our review of Windows 8 we called the new navigation changes “a steep learning curve,” and feedback on the Start button removal has been mixed. 1.5 million downloads of Pokki, a Start Menu replacement, and other similar tools suggest that Windows 8 users still want the Start button and Start Menu. Microsoft explained away its removal using data it gathered from the company’s Customer Experience Improvement Program, but we understand the return in Windows 8.1 is due to customer feedback.

No compromise.

Microsoft Is No Longer the Enemy

Brent Simmons is a smart guy:

If Microsoft isn’t the enemy—if it’s not a threat to our beautifully-designed way of life—then who is?

As was Steve Jobs:

We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose.

That was fifteen years ago.

IE11 Masquerading as Firefox

Max Slater-Robbins with an interesting observation of the Internet Explorer 11 beta:

Microsoft have replaced the “MSIE” string, which identifies the browser to the website as Internet Explorer, with just “IE,” meaning host websites won’t be able to use their current CSS hacks on IE11. To further insure IE11 users don’t receive an odd version of the site, Microsoft also included the command “Like Gecko” which instructs the website to send back the same version of the website as they would to Firefox. The results of this update are unknown, especially on websites which are poorly coded. The move is strange, but shows that Microsoft is desperate to clean up Internet Explorer and get away from the awful experience in IE6, 7 and 8.

It remains to be seen if Microsoft will ship IE11 with this, but I hope they do. It will be good for their users and really, good for the web. We’ve moved past hacking sites to display correctly in standards-averse browsers. Ideally, user-agent-strings would be totally useless to the web programmer. If a site is written to the HTML5/CSS3 specification, it should render correctly everywhere. With this site, I’ve held to that. Defomicron is standards-complient, and if your browser is, too, it will look just fine.

An Alternate Universe

Marco Arment went to the Microsoft Store to try the Surface:

…I figured, now that I had broken character a little, I’d risk a bit more. “Did you apply to work at the Apple Store upstairs first, or did you always want to work here?”

“No, I went right here. Always been a PC guy. I like being able to customize things, like upgrading my sound card—”

I couldn’t resist. “Oh, can you upgrade the sound card in the Surface?”

“No, but… I started working here before the Surface came out.” (This Microsoft Store opened 28 days ago.) “But you can add more RAM to this, right over here, this is an SDXC slot, which means Extra Capacity.”

There’s so many gems in this piece. It is telling, I think, that every non-nerd I know who’s ever mentioned the Microsoft Store has called it “the Windows Store”.

Who Writes This Stuff?

The Macalope:

Ed Liston, for Seeking Alpha:

With Microsoft’s recent tie ins with Nokia and even Samsung’s forays into Windows Mobile world, it seems that Bill Gates (or whoever is creating Microsoft gameplans these days) has something similar in mind.

OK, Seeking Alpha, now you’re just pulling our legs, right? Liston doesn’t know who runs Microsoft and can’t be bothered to look it up?

It’s Just a Small Table

Isaiah has a great graphic of what a Microsoft Surface screenshot looks like displayed full-resolution on a retina iPad. For context, Microsoft is calling the Surface’s “ClearType” display high resolution. Wait, let me rephrase that: “high resolution”.

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend

MG Siegler:

And yet, Microsoft rarely bashes Apple publicly anymore. In fact, they often take their side on arguments or come to their defense on issues. Again, these were once bitter rivals. And these times should be the battleground for their bloodiest battles yet. Instead, it’s all holding hands, s’mores, and Kumbaya.

Why? Because Microsoft has an enemy they hate much worse than Apple. And Apple has the same enemy. Google.

I saw the same transition between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates over the past few years. They were friends again when Microsoft infused $150 million into Apple, then they became bitter rivals once more, and then their friendship blossomed for a third time.

Microsoft should probably be going all-in to combat the rise of iOS, but instead they seem far more concerned with spending obscene amounts of money to bolster Bing as a Google competitor. And they seem to truly enjoy undermining Android by way of licensing agreements with key OEM partners.

Is MG upset that Microsoft isn’t declaring war on Apple? Microsoft can’t win against Apple. But they can sure beat Google.

Maybe this all just means that Google is doing something right.

Uh, nope.

All of this makes for a fascinating situation in the tech world. On one side there’s Google. On the other side there’s basically everyone else, with new members seemingly joining on a daily basis. And this side is filled with rivals that under any other circumstance would hate each other. But here they’re allied. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Google vs. Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. Good luck with that.

Microsoft Announces 5 More Weeks of Winter, 10 Years of OS Support

Dante D’Orazio:

What does the news mean for each of the current versions of Windows? Well, XP will be officially supported for all until April 8th, 2014, Vista until April 11, 2017, and 7 until January 14th, 2020. Unless Windows 8 gets delayed for quite a while, it looks like Microsoft will soon be working hard to keep four different operating systems up to date until it pulls the plug on XP in a couple of years.

Please fire Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft Office For / Not For the iPad

MG Siegler:

Depending on the hour, Microsoft is either:

  • Readying a version of Office for the iPad in the coming weeks.
  • Not readying a version of Office for the iPad in the coming weeks.
  • Denying the screenshots are real.
  • Not denying the software is real.
  • Showing off the software to journalists.
  • Denying the software shown to journalists is real. But not denying that software was shown to journalists.

Yep, sounds like Microsoft.

Windows 8 Gets a New Logo

The best way to consider this is, I think, to compare Windows’s and Apple’s logos of the past 30 years. I’ll let you make your own judgements.