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Best Buy CEO says tablet sales are ‘crashing’
August 4, 2014 | 12:38 pm

Re/code has an interview with Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in which he talks about a few things like fighting showrooming with pricematching, why people might want to buy gadgets in Best Buy rather than Amazon, and perhaps most interestingly, the sales rates for tablets. We’ve mentioned before how the tablet seems to be replacing the laptop in terms of most ordinary consumers’ needs, but according to Joly sales have been starting to fall off. He believes this might suggest the market has just about reached saturation—all the people who wanted a tablet have gotten one, and they don’t...

Microsoft profit numbers say don’t write off Redmond yet
April 4, 2014 | 6:22 pm

Top_10_Software_Vendors_2013_nAll those Microsoft knockers - me included - who've held back from embracing Windows 8 and shunned Windows Phone OS phones may want to eat their words, or at least, nibble around their edges. Because according to the chart below from Statista, based on Gartner figures, Microsoft was far and away the world's leading software vendor by revenue in 2013, with total income of $65.7 billion, besting second and third placed rivals Oracle and IBM by over $30 billion. For comparison, Apple generated revenue of $171 billion in its 2013 financial year. Google's 2013 revenue was $59.82 billion. With these kind...

Does the death of the PC herald a closed-device future?
November 17, 2013 | 10:30 pm

GEDC1556Oh noes! They’re killing the PC! Mass computing devices face the dark future of tablets with restricted operating systems that limit what you can do and what apps you can install! We must all run about in panic! Except…no, I don’t think that’s right. The article I linked above on ZDNet notes: Here's what I see happening: Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all want us to buy appliances, not PCs. An appliance is a closed box. It can only run the operating system they stick you with. It will only run the applications they approve for it. Apple and Microsoft are particularly strict...

Microsoft hides mobile, gaming losses with $2 billion in annual Android patent income
November 7, 2013 | 12:11 pm

Who’s one of the biggest beneficiaries of Android? According to Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund, it could be Microsoft. In a new note on Microsoft, Sherlund estimates that Microsoft is generating $2 billion per year from Android patent royalties—almost pure profit. It is using that profit to conceal the losses from its Windows Phone and Xbox groups by grouping them together into one division and then reporting that division’s profit and loss as a single unit. That group always seemed to be profitable, but Sherlund says it's largely because of the Android money. Sherlund...

Ballmer balks at the Google monopoly bogey
September 23, 2013 | 2:45 pm

Steve Ballmer, the soon-to-be-ex Microsoft CEO, has been garnering quite a bit of press from his declaration before an audience of analysts that Google is a monopoly and that Microsoft is the only David left standing up to this Goliath. '"They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with," he remarked, and added that Microsoft had already reported the issue to U.S. competition authorities. In the area of search, he's probably correct, at least in the U.S. But why was Microsoft in search in the first place?...

‘Temporary’ Surface Pro Price Cut of $100 Now Permanent
September 1, 2013 | 1:48 pm

Surface ProI called it earlier this month when I wrote about the temporary price cut on the Surface Pro tablets. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if the cut became permanent, and now it has. Check out the All Things D article on the price cut. Their choice of image is priceless. They are also reporting that the cut, which previously had been available only to customers in the U.S., Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Canada, is now available in all markets where the Pro is sold. They are also offering a $40 discount on Touch Covers and a $50 discount on Surface RT bundles. In...

Vision of the future, Microsoft style
August 10, 2013 | 3:00 pm

windows-home-serverI'm in the market for a new laptop, come Christmas, and a recent reconnaissance to Canada's only Microsoft retail store, which happens to be 10 minutes from my home, was illuminating. I wanted something small, light and portable. And option abounded for it—but the battery life for the small and cute things averaged about 3 hours. That is subpar for my needs. The Surface is as portable as my iPad and, I reluctantly admit, more robust. But I could go all day on a single iPad charge... As for storage, I was worrying about where I would out my...

Permanent Price Drop on Microsoft Surface Tablets
July 17, 2013 | 10:51 am

Microsoft Surface TabletsIn news that should come as no surprise to anyone who reads tech news, the Microsoft Surface tablets aren’t selling well, and so Microsoft is dropping the price to clear out inventory. All Things D is reporting that the prices have been dropped by as much as 30 percent. This means that the 16GB Surface RT has gone to $349 from $499. That’s a pretty big price change. What’s more interesting is that these are indefinite price drops, so you don’t have to be in a hurry to scoop one up. Of course, that assumes you’re in the market for a Surface tablet, which...

Microsoft Not Buying Nook After All?
May 14, 2013 | 10:30 am

And this is why I try very hard not to report on rumors. Last week I wrote about a rumor that Microsoft was considering buying the Nook Media division. Well, the rumor was good for Barnes & Noble stock, which spiked up to $22 a share the day the rumor was announced, and then continued up to almost $24 a share later in the week. (Today it's down to $21.) However, as with many rumors, this one has now been dispelled (maybe, assuming dispelling the "rumor" isn't just part of the big plan.) Insider Monkey says they had an email on Friday...

Divided we stand, Unity-ed we fall? Why Microsoft should pay attention to the history of Linux
October 28, 2012 | 8:16 am

Here it is at last, folks—a brand new operating system for the iGeneration! Straight from the market’s leading software manufacturer, specifically designed for tablets and smartphones, it’s free from all that tiresome text and crammed with brightly-colored blobs! Move them around, tap them, press them, fondle them! It’s a whole new way of interacting with your phone, your PC, your fridge, your spouse! Yes, it’s here, it’s now, it’s the revolutionary innovation of 2011—it’s Unity! Wait ... what? You thought I was talking about Windows 8? Sorry, folks, but for those of us who embrace the Linux way of life, all...

Microsoft ClearType Inventor, Bill Hill, Dead
October 19, 2012 | 3:26 pm

Bill Hill, Microsoft ClearType inventor   One of the true innovators of the reading of text on screen, Bill Hill, died yesterday. Hill will be remembered primarily as one of the inventors of Microsoft‘s ClearType screen typography system, but his impact on our screen experience spanned a quarter century. Robert Scoble, who interviewed Hill many times, says that Hill worked behind-the-scenes, but was “one of the greats.” Hill started out as a newspaper writer for 20 years in Scotland. In 1986 he joined Aldus on their seminal PageMaker layout program. He was approached by Microsoft in 1994 to run its typography group. He left Microsoft in 2009 and worked on screen-reading...

Microsoft’s active-reading app: What is it?
August 28, 2012 | 1:20 pm

ZDNet's Microsoft reporter, Mary Jo Foley, has something of a rumor-piece posted that's definitely worth a read ... at least for those of you interested in staying abreast of the latest self-publishing services and active-reading apps. Here's the takeaway, beginning with a little background info: After settling a patent dispute back in April, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble formed "a new venture to focus on e-reading and the education market." On April 30, according to a Microsoft press release, the two companies announced both "a strategic partnership" and a new e-book subsidiary, Newco, which "will bring together the digital and College businesses of...