Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Departing Skype Exec Gillett to Become Head of "Value Creation" at Silver Lake

October 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Earlier today, I broke the news that top Skype exec Mark Gillett was leaving the Microsoft-owned telephony unit. The internal memo I referenced did not say, where he was headed, but apparently it is back to a place he has worked before: Private equity giant Silver Lake. (Mystery managed , as the British Gillett might say!) He will become head of value creation there in December, replacing Charles Giancarlo, who will transition into a senior advisor role. Until today, Gillett was corporate VP at Skype and Lync at Microsoft, in charge of its product, engineering and operations globally and managed 2,500 developers. He had been at Skype since before Microsoft bought it in 2011. He had previously led Silver Lake value creation team in Europe, with the deal for Skype being his most prominent effort. “Mark’s accomplishments at Skype have transformed the company,” said Silver Lake managing partner Egon Durban in a statement. “He is poised to make a significant contribution to our portfolio companies going forward.” At Silver Lake, according to a press release, Gillett will “lead the firm’s value creation activities as Silver Lake professionals continue to partner with the senior management of portfolio companies to refine and evolve business and technology strategy, enhance operational performance and accelerate business transformation.” (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds important.) Giancarlo, who is a well-known tech exec, is expected to eventually move to a top operational job at a company. His name had been raised as a possible CEO of Yahoo, for example, among others. He will remain at Silver Lake through the end of the year, before taking up his advisory role.

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Five Key Features of Mavericks, Apple’s New Operating System for Macs

October 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Big cats are out. Big waves are in. I’m referring, of course, to Mavericks OS X, the new operating system for Mac computers. It’s Apple’s 10th OS X operating system and it’s the first one in many years without a large-feline moniker, named instead after famously formidable surfing waves off the coast of California. More notably, Mavericks — or OS X 10.9 — is free for Mac users to download. In fact, there’s a lot of free software being thrown out there by Apple. (The hardware will still cost you plenty.) Since the OS is a free upgrade, this column is not about whether the upgrade is “worth it.” Instead, I’ve focused on a handful of key features that consumers can expect with Mavericks. Some of them are really useful. Others feel obvious, because, in some cases, Apple is playing catch-up. [ See post to watch video ] To start, Apple says that Mavericks will only run on machines from 2009 and later, though it might work on some computers from as far back as 2007. You’ll also need at least two gigabytes of RAM, and two hours of your time to complete the Mavericks install process. In my experience, the installation on my 2012, 13-inch MacBook Pro took closer to two and a half hours. Battery Optimization Okay, you’ve installed Mavericks. Now what? Well, Apple claims you can expect better battery life while Web browsing or watching an iTunes movie. At a launch event last week, the company used words like “timer coalescing” and “compressed memory,” which is enough to make any non-techie’s head hurt. Basically, this means that the new software groups tasks together so the processor can remain in an idle, low-power state more often. I ran three battery tests using AllThingsD ’s usual method, which includes setting the display to 100 percent brightness, playing iTunes music on a loop, leaving Wi-Fi on, running a Mail client, and never allowing the computer to sleep. My 2012 MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion lasted five hours and 13 minutes. Then I installed Mavericks, and started again.

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Boston Blowout Doesn’t Put a Damper on World Series Ratings

October 24, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

An unhittable Jon Lester and a bevvy of bearded batsmen may have turned Game 1 of the 2013 World Series into a blowout, but that didn’t seem to shake up Fox’s prime-time ratings. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Boston’s 8-1 rout of St. Louis averaged 14.4 million viewers and an 8.6 household rating, marking an 18 percent delivery in overall viewers and a 13 percent uptick in the rating. Game 1 also drew a 4.2 rating among adults 18-49, up 17 percent from the year-ago 3.6. Season-to-date, Fox is averaging a 1.9 in the dollar demo. While the initial comparisons to last year’s Fall Classic are encouraging, it’s worth noting that San Francisco’s sweep of Detroit was the least-watched, lowest-rated World Series in history. The four-game set averaged just 12.7 million viewers and a 7.6 household rating.

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Microsoft Yanks Windows RT 8.1 Update

October 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Uh-oh — trouble already with Windows RT 8.1. On Saturday, Microsoft temporarily pulled the update from the Windows Store following reports that it was bricking some devices on which it was installed. This just two days after it was officially released. “Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1,” the company said in a statement posted to Microsoft Community . “As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store. We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and apologize for any inconvenience. We will provide updates as they become available.” Microsoft did not say how long Windows RT 8.1 will be unavailable. The company has not yet responded to a request for comment or provided further detail on the situation.

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Microsoft Yanks Windows RT 8.1 Update

October 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Uh-oh — trouble already with Windows RT 8.1. On Saturday, Microsoft temporarily pulled the update from the Windows Store following reports that it was bricking some devices on which it was installed. This just two days after it was officially released. “Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1,” the company said in a statement posted to Microsoft Community . “As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store. We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and apologize for any inconvenience. We will provide updates as they become available.” Microsoft did not say how long Windows RT 8.1 will be unavailable. The company has not yet responded to a request for comment or provided further detail on the situation.

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Oracle Beats IBM to Become No. 2 Software Company by Revenue

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Here’s another interesting change coming in the wake of IBM’s disappointing earnings report on Wednesday : The size of its software business has slipped enough that it has ceased to be the second-largest software company in the world by revenue. That honor now apparently goes to software giant Oracle. Who says so? Oracle, naturally. It issued a press release Thursday night, claiming the second-place spot for itself. Given IBM’s recently announced quarterly results, we would like to take this opportunity to point out that Oracle’s software business has been growing faster than IBM’s software business and now Oracle has moved up to become the number two software company in the world while IBM has slipped to number three

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Acer Unveils Iconia W4 with Windows 8.1, Faster Processor

October 17, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This morning, Microsoft began rolling out Windows 8.1 , the first major update to its Windows 8 operating system that was released last year. It’s available as an optional free download to current users. But of course, device manufacturers are also using it as opportunity to trot out new hardware. Joining Lenovo , Dell and others, Acer today introduced the Iconia W4, an eight-inch tablet running Windows 8.1. The tablet will start shipping in the U.S. this month and comes in two versions: A 32-gigabyte model for $330 and a 64GB model for $380. At first glance, the tablet doesn’t look all that different from the Iconia W3, which was released just a few months ago. But the company has made a few changes under the hood that hopefully address some of the issues of the Iconia W3 , which my colleague Walt Mossberg called a flawed device. So, what’s different? Well, for starters, the eight-inch, 1,280 by 800 touchscreen now offers wider viewing angles (170 degrees) and features technology that helps improve the screen’s readability in sunlight. The tablet is also equipped with a faster fourth-generation Intel Atom processor. And it’s slightly lighter at 0.91 pound versus 1.1 pounds. The addition of Windows 8.1 also brings a number of enhancements and tweaks aimed at addressing some of the early criticism of Windows 8. This includes the return of the Start button, smarter search and better multitasking.

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The Convergence Tipping Point

October 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Image copyright Dusit The media and technology world has reached a tipping point, one captured in some prosaic but infinitely powerful numbers. In the U.S., on a normal weeknight, video streaming on Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes . The average U.S. household now has 5.7 Internet-connected devices , and according to ratings agency Nielsen, 41 million Americans watch video on a mobile phone for an average of five hours and 23 minutes per month . New market entrants, from Netflix to Apple, distribute both original and third-party content to a global audience on virtually any connected device via the Internet, and are rewriting the rules of global television distribution and consumption. As a symbol of the speed and scale of over-the-top distribution, Netflix itself just won its first Emmy — the first ever Emmy for Internet-distributed content — for best director of its ground–breaking drama “House of Cards.” To put this in context, HBO began creating original content in the early 1990s and only won its first Emmy in 2001 . It took Netflix just one year to gain 14 Emmy nominations and win its first award . Netflix’s accomplishment highlights the reality that the convergence revolution has finally, and indisputably, arrived. Convergence — the disruptive power of technology to transform the creation, distribution and consumption of media content — is creating game-changing opportunities and threats for almost all established media companies. In television, the incumbent cable, satellite and telecom multi-service operators are being forced to review and often revamp their traditional business models to compete with the OTT distributors who have now achieved material traction. In fact, Netflix now has nearly 30 million domestic subscribers, more than Comcast, the largest cable network.

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The Convergence Tipping Point

October 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Image copyright Dusit The media and technology world has reached a tipping point, one captured in some prosaic but infinitely powerful numbers. In the U.S., on a normal weeknight, video streaming on Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes . The average U.S. household now has 5.7 Internet-connected devices , and according to ratings agency Nielsen, 41 million Americans watch video on a mobile phone for an average of five hours and 23 minutes per month . New market entrants, from Netflix to Apple, distribute both original and third-party content to a global audience on virtually any connected device via the Internet, and are rewriting the rules of global television distribution and consumption. As a symbol of the speed and scale of over-the-top distribution, Netflix itself just won its first Emmy — the first ever Emmy for Internet-distributed content — for best director of its ground–breaking drama “House of Cards.” To put this in context, HBO began creating original content in the early 1990s and only won its first Emmy in 2001

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Google Is Working on Ingress for iOS, but It Won’t Be Ready Until 2014

October 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Google’s mobile augmented-reality game Ingress , which has found a small but passionate audience on Android, is also coming to Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, but not until next year. Ingress product manager Brandon Badger confirmed the iOS plans in an interview yesterday with AllThingsD . The game launched into closed beta last November, and so far has racked up about one million activations, with tens of thousands of active players every month on Android phones. Badger couldn’t say for sure when in 2014 the iOS version of Ingress would be available. Thomas Hofmann/Google+ Ingress fan art The game pits players around the world against one another as two teams, The Enlightened and The Resistance; players uncover clues about some mysterious new technology (a live story with new clues from Google every week) and claim local landmarks in the real world for their chosen side. Ingress players score points for their teams by exploring meatspace and collaborating with total strangers, both online and off. A cursory Web search turns up an unauthorized iOS port of Ingress, but its creators warn: “Use at your own risk, a banning may result for using a 3rd party app.” An official version of Ingress for iOS makes sense in the context of Google’s broader app strategy. As Walt Mossberg wrote earlier this year, “Google, Microsoft and Amazon are primarily software and services companies [... and] the Apple market is too big to ignore, even for its direct competitors.” Hence all the snazzy and full-featured iOS versions of the Gmail, SmartGlass and Kindle apps. Badger added that Niantic Labs, the autonomous startup within Google that is responsible for both Ingress and Field Trip , wants to use what it has learned about location-based gaming from Ingress to build out a platform for outside developers of location-based games. Currently, Niantic’s devs are the only ones with access to a special version of Google’s local data, which allows them, for example, to feed Ingress players a custom map of local landmarks that looks more like something out of “The Matrix” than Google Maps. A new “season” of the Ingress story, called 13Magnus begins today, with live-play events for the game’s faithful planned for 38 cities around the world over the next nine weeks. In the U.S., the season kicks off today in San Jose and Los Angeles, and finishes in San Francisco on Dec. 14.

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