Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Microsoft Cuts Price of Xbox One for Holidays

October 27, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Microsoft will reduce the price of its Xbox One videogame console by $50 on Nov. 2., in a move to sell more of the devices this holiday. The price cut will last through Jan. 3, 2015, the company said Monday. Microsoft is sweetening the deal even further through bundles that package games like Ubisoft’s new... Read more

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NFL Has a Lot of Leverage in Negotiating TV Deals

September 5, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When the NFL negotiated with TV networks on the rights to broadcast eight "Thursday Night Football" games this season, the contract stipulated that term was only for one year, that games would air simultaneously on the league's own NFL Network and that the winning bidder would cover all production costs on all sixteen "Thursday Night Football" broadcasts (including two Saturday games). “Media companies lined up to bid anyway,” The Wall Street Journal reported. CBS ultimately prevailed, agreeing to pay $300 million for the broadcast rights, with the first game in the new lineup premiering next week (tonight's season opener is being broadcast by NBC as part of an earlier agreement). The negotiation and what CBS paid illustrate the extreme leverage the NFL wields with networks. NBC, CBS and ESPN together have contracts that make up between $5 and $5 billion per year to broadcast NFL games through the 2021-22 season. "It's almost like the networks are afraid to say no to the NFL," one senior executive told The Wall Street Journal. Anyone in a traditional TV exec’s shoes would be. While networks face threats like the rise of streaming video services, the NFL offers a bankable product that consumers won't just wait to catch on Netflix. According to securities firm Jefferies Group, 97 percent of all sports are watched live. Add to that the NFL's short season and 17.4 million average regular season game viewers in the 18-49 demo and each game becomes a hot ticket. At the same time, the NFL is amping up its digital push by offering new or expanded online programs. This includes NFL Now, a new online video service offering NFL-made films, shows, documentaries and new footage from teams for $1.99 per month. The NFL also is strengthening a one-year agreement with Twitter to tweet highlights from in-progress games and increasing the number of games streamed to smart phones as part of a four-year, $1 billion agreement with Verizon. As The Wall Street Journal notes, both of these deals include rights denied of the NFL's television broadcast partners. What's more, some television executives fear that NFL Now will stream games directly to fans. Brian Rolapp, evp of media for the NFL, doesn't rule out such a possibility. "If the world shifts dramatically as people think, it'll be nice to have an asset like NFL Now just like it's nice to have NFL Network," he told the Journal, adding that "selling game-streaming rights to an online company is a matter of 'when, not if.'" DirecTV also finds itself backed against a wall in negotiations with the NFL.

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Can a Career TV Exec Bring Ambitious Xbox Shows to Life?

June 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Name Jordan Levin New gig Evp, Microsoft Old gig CEO, Generate Age 45 How did you land at Microsoft? The simplest way of making the connection is that [Microsoft entertainment and digital media president] Nancy [Tellem] was at Warner Bros. on the studio side and she and I got to know each other while working together within the same corporate group. I got fired from the WB in the summer of 2004, then I directed, and then I put together Generate. And at the very beginning of 2012, we sold Generate to Alloy , and then Alloy Digital, and I became president of Alloy Digital. I had some projects I’d been discussing with [Microsoft] as a producer, and [Nancy] said she needed help. What was interesting about working on Xbox ? The VOD nature of the platform was intriguing, because television is headed that way, and trying to figure out what that means from a television standpoint, from a programming standpoint, from a windowing standpoint, from a talent standpoint—that was all really interesting. The demographic is where I’ve always been drawn, the younger demographic.

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Can a Career TV Exec Bring Ambitious Xbox Shows to Life?

June 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Specs Name Jordan Levin New gig Evp, Microsoft Old gig CEO, Generate Age 45 How did you land at Microsoft? The simplest way of making the connection is that [Microsoft entertainment and digital media president] Nancy [Tellem] was at Warner Bros. on the studio side and she and I got to know each other while working together within the same corporate group. I got fired from the WB in the summer of 2004, then I directed, and then I put together Generate. And at the very beginning of 2012, we sold Generate to Alloy , and then Alloy Digital, and I became president of Alloy Digital. I had some projects I’d been discussing with [Microsoft] as a producer, and [Nancy] said she needed help. What was interesting about working on Xbox ?

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Donald Sterling Pulls Support for Clippers Sale, Revives Lawsuit

June 10, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Donald Sterling move ahead with a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney confirmed on Monday, and he has withdrawn his support of the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Attorney Maxwell Blecher said that the lawsuit was back on, a turnabout after Sterling had decided last week... Read more

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Xbox Successfully Digs Up ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ Video Game in New Mexico

April 27, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The game may have been made by Atari, but Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios successfully dug up what many consider the worst video game ever made, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” in a New Mexico landfill. The game’s cartridges were found in Alamogordo on Saturday, as part of an attempt to discover whether a long-standing urban myth that... Read more

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Xbox Boosts User-Generated Video Play with YouTube and GoPro

April 7, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Microsoft is making it easier for Xbox One users to share their gameplay videos on YouTube — a hugely popular genre on the Google-owned service — and is adding a channel to bring action videos captured with Go Pro’s personal HD cameras to the console. Starting tomorrow, Xbox One ‘s updated YouTube app will allow uploads directly from... Read more

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Another Longtime Windows Exec Heads for the Exit as 2013 Draws to a Close

December 31, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Grant George, a longtime head of software testing at Microsoft, is leaving the company, AllThingsD has learned. Like Jon DeVaan, who announced Monday he was retiring from Microsoft , George was left without a clear role following a September reorganization of the Windows unit . That reorg followed the departure of Windows head Steven Sinofsky. George joined Microsoft in 1994 as a tester in the then-newly formed Office unit following 14 years in testing at Tandem Computer. Sinofsky, who worked with George on both Office and Windows, praised the contributions George made at Microsoft. “Grant always represented the pinnacle of customer focus,” Sinofsky said. “His contributions to both Windows and Office were without parallel in the engineering discipline of testing, automation and quality.” A Microsoft representative confirmed George’s departure, which he announced earlier Tuesday in a memo to colleagues, saying, “We thank him for his contributions to the company and wish him all the best.”

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Veteran Microsoft Engineer Jon DeVaan Leaving After Almost 30 Years

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Jon DeVaan, a Microsoft engineer and executive who has spent the better part of three decades at the company, is set to leave the software giant on Tuesday. DeVaan is one of several longtime technical folks at Microsoft whose future has been unclear since a September reorganization of the Windows unit. That shuffling left DeVaan, testing lead Grant George and services head Antoine Leblond without clear roles at the company. Of course, there have been some other big exits this year, including Windows unit head Steven Sinofsky and the impending retirement of CEO Steve Ballmer once his replacement has been hired. DeVaan’s departure was reported earlier Monday by Seattle-area tech site GeekWire after DeVaan posted a goodbye letter on Facebook. “Jon DeVaan has chosen to leave Microsoft to spend more time with his family,” Microsoft said in a statement to GeekWire. “Since he joined Microsoft in 1984, Jon contributed to important products and services across the company. We thank him and wish him and his family all the best.” We’re checking into whether any other execs from the Windows unit or elsewhere at Microsoft have decided that Jan. 1 would be a good time to start spending more time with their families.

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2013 Was a Good Year For Chromebooks

December 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Chromebooks experienced a surge in popularity in 2013, rising from almost nothing to claim about a fifth of the commercial laptop market. This according to NPD Group , who said this week that sales of laptops running Google’s Chrome OS accounted for 21 percent of all commercial preconfigured notebook sales through November 2013. It would seem, then, that Chromebooks have begun to hit their stride. Indeed, Amazon this week said that two out of its three top-selling laptops during the holiday season were Chromebooks designed by Samsung and Acer. The year-over-year growth NPD has charted is significant. And, evidently, it’s coming at Microsoft’s expense, though machines running Windows did account for 34.1 percent of all commercial preconfigured notebook sales during the same period. Said NPD analyst Stephen, “Tepid Windows PC sales allowed brands with a focus on alternative form factors or operating systems, like Apple and Samsung, to capture significant share of a market traditionally dominated by Windows devices.”

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