Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Quantified Elf: Tracking the Santa Trackers

December 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Where is Santa Claus, right at this moment? Sources disagree. Both Microsoft and Google have live Santa-trackers this year ( Microsoft’s is the official one ; it won the NORAD partnership away from Google last year). But they have slightly different ideas about where he is: Kulob, Tajikistan or New Delhi, India? Astana, Kazakhstan or Pavlodar, Kazakhstan? Bangkok, Thailand or Kunming, China? In their efforts to foster holiday spirit, the two companies also have radically different tallies of how many presents Santa has delivered so far, with Google currently at about three million total presents, and Microsoft at about two-thirds that. (We can assume either gift inflation or gift embezzlement, depending on where your corporate allegiances lie.) If you don’t trust pseudoscientific estimates, perhaps you’ll prefer SantaUpdate.com , which is posting blog entries throughout the day, including interviews with elves. The site explains, accompanied by the tunes of a year-round Christmas radio station: “Real Santa tracking doesn’t come from a military command center, a government entity, a company or from outer space. It comes from where Santa comes from — the North Pole.” (Photo from “Comedy Bang Bang” courtesy of IFC.com )

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Former Microsoft CFO Peter Klein Takes His Talents to William Morris

December 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment said on Monday that it had hired former Microsoft CFO Peter Klein to be its new financial chief. William Morris is in the process of acquiring IMG Worldwide, and Klein will serve as CFO of both entities when the deal closes, reporting to co-CEOs Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel.

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A Microsoftie’s Healthcare.gov (Comic)

December 21, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

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Sony PlayStation 4 Makes Right Play for Gamers

December 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Every holiday season, there are always a few hot-ticket items that everyone clamors for, and this year, it’s pretty safe to say that the much-anticipated Xbox One from Microsoft and PlayStation 4 from Sony are at the top of a lot of people’s wish lists. For gamers, it has been a long wait for these next-generation game consoles (Microsoft released the Xbox 360 eight years ago, and the PlayStation 3 debuted seven years ago), and some early adopters have probably already made their decision on which system to buy. But what about the rest of us, especially those who might be purchasing a console for the first time? Which one should you get? To start, it’s worth noting that both companies have a pretty different view of what a console should be. For Microsoft, the aim of the Xbox One is to be the central hub for all digital living-room activities, including TV watching and streaming media. Meanwhile, Sony’s goal in designing the PlayStation 4 was to create the most powerful console for gamers. My colleague Katie Boehret reviewed the Xbox One a few weeks ago, and she found that it offers a number of media and entertainment features that would appeal even to the non-gamer

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Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews

December 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This is my last column for The Wall Street Journal, after 22 years of reviewing consumer technology products here. So I thought I’d talk about the dozen personal-technology products I reviewed that were most influential over the past two decades. Obviously, narrowing so many products in the most dynamic of modern industries down to 12 is a subjective exercise and others will disagree. Though most were hits, a couple weren’t blockbusters, financially, and one was an outright flop. Instead, I used as my criteria two main things. First, the products had to improve ease of use and add value for average consumers. That was the guiding principle I laid down in the first sentence of my first column, in 1991: “Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it’s not your fault.” Second, I chose these 12 because each changed the course of digital history by influencing the products and services that followed, or by changing the way people lived and worked. In some cases, the impact of these mass-market products is still unfolding. All of these products had predecessors, but they managed to take their categories to a new level. Some readers will complain that Apple is overrepresented. My answer: Apple introduced more influential, breakthrough products for average consumers than any other company over the years of this column.

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AllThingsD Week in Review: Nokia’s Android Phone, Bitcoin Funding and Facebook the Newspaper

December 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of some of the news that powered AllThingsD this week: Most people think of Facebook as a place to share photos, keep up with friends and family members, or see and share those funny, viral stories and LOLcat pictures. This is not how Facebook thinks of Facebook. Is Nokia really working on an Android-based phone, and would Microsoft really go ahead with such a device? The answer to the first one is definitely yes. And, surprisingly, the answer to the second question may be yes, as well . The saga of Yahoo’s problematic latest Mail product continues: The Yahoo in charge of Mail made some fellow employees a bit upset when he suggested that the company would have to “kick the users hard” in a certain body part to get them to leave. Functionality is returning for many after a recent outage, but up to two weeks of mail may be missing. CEO Marissa Mayer has apologized . Facebook and Twitter let advertisers turn their (free) posts into (paid) “native ads.” Now Google+ is joining the native ad party, too — but there’s a twist . The independent videogame Minecraft is a global sensation, but it almost went down a very different path. In an excerpt from a new book about the game, we learn how Minecraft’s original creator, Markus Persson, almost took a job at Valve .

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Qualcomm Taps Steve Mollenkopf, Rumored as Microsoft Successor, as Its Next CEO

December 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A day after he was mentioned in a news report as a possible dark-horse successor to outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Steve Mollenkopf, COO of wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, has been named as the company’s next CEO. Mollenkopf will replace Paul Jacobs, who will remain executive chairman of Qualcomm, and who is the son of the company’s founder, Irwin Jacobs. The appointment will become effective on March 4. Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Mollenkopf had emerged as a new name in the race to succeed Ballmer. The software giant has considered several outside candidates, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. Internal candidates include Tony Bates , Microsoft’s current head of business development, and its enterprise chief, Satya Nadella. Mollenkopf has been with Qualcomm since 1994, and has recently led its wireless-chipset business unit, known as QCT. On his watch, the company acquired the Wi-Fi-chip company Atheros in 2011 for $3.1 billion

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PlayStation 4 Tops Gaming Hardware Sales in November, but Game Sales Are Way Down

December 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The NPD Group has released hardware sales numbers for the first month of “next-gen” consoles (which, I guess, is now officially current gen ), and Sony won, but only kinda sorta. The PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One in the U.S. in November, with “the highest first month sales of a hardware platform on record,” according to the NPD report. However, the PS4 debuted on Nov. 15, while Microsoft’s new console debuted on Nov.

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With Microsoft CEO Race in Home Stretch and Mulally Fading, Here’s My Dark-Horse Pick: VMware’s Gelsinger

December 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the possibility of an outsider dark-horse candidate emerging in the race to become CEO of Microsoft. Now it might be more of a possibility than ever before, tracking on sources inside the company that have consistently said that there is a male tech executive in the running who has not been named publicly as yet. Said one person about this candidate: He is “in tech, someone folks are excited about, but not a done deal.” By definition, the term “dark horse” is meant to describe a come-out-of-nowhere winner, or, as Wikipedia notes , “a race horse that is not known to gamblers and thus is difficult to place betting odds on.” And make no mistake, this CEO search has turned into a race, with the variety of candidates pulling ahead and then falling behind, with all of them jockeying for position, as the crowd of investors and insiders have also tried to put their own fix in. At the time of my post in mid-November, Ford CEO Alan Mulally was the clear front runner of the process to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Also in that mix: Enterprise chief Satya Nadella; COO Kevin Turner; strategy exec Tony Bates (whom I have dubbed the Silicon Valley choice); and Nokia exec Stephen Elop. Elop was considered the top contender (by me, at least), after Microsoft bought the mobile phone division of Nokia. But — for a variety of reasons — he soon fell behind two other internal candidates, Bates and Nadella. And further back still, Turner. Among the outsiders, Mulally — who has done a lot of deft lobbying for the job, after helping Ballmer in his efforts to restructure Microsoft — has always been in the forefront of the choice

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"Hour of Code" Calls on Students to Program Computers, With Support From Obama (And the Republicans, Too!)

December 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

By now you may have heard about the United States’ woeful lack of public coding classes , despite the economy’s ever-growing need for technical workers. For five years now, Computer Science Education Week has existed as a call to mobilize people to learn to program. This year, it’s getting a little more oomph, with promotion by various tech companies of the new nonprofit Code.org ’s “Hour of Code” initiative, five million students committed to participate globally at 33,000 schools in 166 countries, and endorsements by celebrities and public figures including both U.S. President Barack Obama and his political foil House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Here’s the video from Obama, in which he urges, “Don’t just buy a new video game, make one. Don’t just download the latest app, help design it. Don’t just play on your phone, program. No one’s born a computer scientist, but with a little hard work — and some math and science — just about anyone can become one.” And here’s Cantor, who says “coding is the necessary tool of this century”: (By the way, the name “Hour of Code” is not meant to specify any specific hour, but rather the motivation for people to spend an hour learning to code at some point over the next week.) And it’s not just political rivals coming together, but also competing companies, noted Code.org co-founder Ali Partovi. All the Apple Stores in the U.S. plan to hold an open Hour of Code class on Dec.

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