Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

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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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 , 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 )

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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 (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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