Posts Tagged ‘windows’

The War for Control of Your Living Room

January 7, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

All right, so you’ve heard CES is about the wearable Internet this year —the gadgets you whip out at a party or over dinner or (God forbid) in the car. But back in the living room, there’s a war being waged for that much-maligned piece of furniture we all end up in front of sooner or later. Call it the Idiot Box, the Boob Tube or whatever you want—the majority of media consumption still happens in front of the television, and whether it’s gaming, movie watching, Netflix or just listening to the stereo, tech giants are fighting tooth and nail for a seat on your couch. Here’s what they’re bringing to the party. The Champion From Kabletown: Comcast What it is:

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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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Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe on Raising $75 Million, the "Oh My God" Demo and Working With Valve

December 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Last night, news leaked out that Oculus VR had raised $75 million from Andreessen Horowitz to help it release its first product, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. In an interview with AllThingsD , CEO Brendan Iribe said the company first talked with Andreessen Horowitz shortly before it closed a $16 million Series A with other investors in June. The two teams hit it off, but what sealed the deal was a demo meeting in November. That month, the Oculus founders and CTO John Carmack demoed the latest internal prototype of the Rift, which Iribe describes as a significant leap ahead of what the company has publicly shown off so far. “You feel like you’re looking through the lenses to a different world,” Iribe said, summarizing the reactions of the demo recipients as “Oh my God, this is it.” Iribe said Marc Andreessen had expressed enthusiasm earlier in the year, but needed to be convinced that a consumer version was feasible. The November demo — in which Andreessen was one of the people to try the headset — was evidently good enough, as the room then hashed out a $75 million investment intended to cover inventory, marketing and sales for the version-one Rift. However, launching any new hardware is tricky without stuff to use it for, and Iribe said Oculus VR is also using the new funds to invest in content. The goal is to ensure that the Rift will not only have games at launch, but also a calendar of games to expect post-launch, so that consumers will know what’s coming. So, what has changed that suddenly makes an expected 2014 consumer release a possibility? Iribe repeatedly praised Valve’s R&D head Michael Abrash

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Microsoft to Hold Its Build Developer Conference April 2-4 in San Francisco

December 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Microsoft confirmed that it plans to hold its next major Build developer conference April 2-4 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, the same spot that it held the event last year . “As always, Build is a time to bring developers together to talk about our latest products, platform advances, tools and offerings, all of which come together to create unmatched apps and scenarios,” VP Steve Guggenheimer said in a blog post .

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Microsoft Looks to Woo Shoppers With $199 Tablet, 12 Days of Deals

December 6, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Aiming to attract more shoppers to its stores — and to Windows — Microsoft is planning 12 days of deals, kicking off Monday with a $199 tablet for sale at its retail and online stores. The company will sell Dell’s Venue 8 Pro — an 8-inch Windows tablet — for $199, with the first 20 visitors to each store getting it for just $99. The quad-core, Intel-based tablet, which normally sells for $299, includes the full version of Windows 8.1 and comes bundled with Office Home and Student. Other deals will follow each day, with Tuesday’s offer being the Garmin Forerunner 110 Fitness watch plus a $25 gift card for $129.99. A teaser page went live on Friday at Microsoft’s online store.

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Microsoft-Nokia Deal Gets Go-Ahead From Justice Department

December 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Shutterstock / Lisa S. It’s a regulatory green-light for Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Nokia’s phone business. The U.S. Department of Justice unconditionally approved the $7.2 billion deal last Friday , rubber-stamping a massive transaction that will see Microsoft acquire Nokia’s devices and services business and license the company’s mapping services, a move that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says will accelerate the company’s share and profits in phones. A milestone moment for Microsoft, and one that clearly shows the company recognizing two crucial truths: 1. It must create a first-rate Microsoft phone experience in order for it to succeed in the smartphone business. 2. It cannot afford to allow Google and Apple to foreclose the smartphone ecosystem by utterly dominating software and hardware innovation in this sphere. The next hurdle to be overcome: Regulatory approval in the European Union. Here’s a quick refresher on the numbers behind the deal: Microsoft is spending about $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia’s core cellphone business. Of that, $5 billion is for Nokia’s devices business. The remaining $2.18 billion is to license Nokia’s intellectual property Nokia’s patent portfolio includes some 8,500 design patents. It also includes approximately 30,000 utility patents and patent applications. About 32,000 Nokia employees are expected to transfer to Microsoft as part of the deal. About 18,300 of those are “directly involved in manufacturing.” But 56,000 Nokia employees will remain at the company once the deal has closed. With 8.7 million units shipped, Windows Phone had a 3.7 percent share of global smartphone market in the second quarter of 2013, according to IDC. Windows Phone has greater than 10 percent share in nine markets, according to Microsoft. Windows Phone is outselling BlackBerry in 34 markets — again, according to Microsoft. Nokia accounted for 81.6 percent of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during the second quarter of 2013. Microsoft’s gross margin on sales of Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets before the deal: Less than $10

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Nokia Lumia 1520 Marks Giant Leap (In Screen Size) for Windows Phone

November 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

What’s big and red (or yellow, or white, or black), makes calls and plays movies, and doubles as a butter dish for Thanksgiving dinner? Why, it’s Nokia’s latest Windows Phone device, the Lumia 1520 , of course. And I’m just kidding about the butter dish part — sort of. The Lumia 1520, which is available now from AT&T for $200 on contract, is Nokia’s first foray into the world of “phablets” — those hybrid devices that try to be both smartphone and tablet. Till now, the largest screen to appear on a Windows Phone handset measured 4.5 inches. But the Lumia 1520 ups the ante with a six-inch full-HD display, which I found great for watching movies, reading text and even working on documents. But, as one would expect, it also makes for a large device. Not Samsung Galaxy Mega big, but big enough that it’s cumbersome to hold and carry

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Netflix Gives Most, but Not All, of Its TV Viewers a New Look

November 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Netflix is giving itself a makeover. The video service has overhauled the presentation most subscribers see when they watch Netflix on TV, using devices like Roku boxes, Sony’s PlayStation consoles, smart TVs and Blu-ray players. The new look is supposed to debut today, but you can get a sense of what it looks like by checking out the screenshot above, or the embedded video at the bottom of the post. Or you can trust my description: Netflix is adding more images, and information, to its screens. It’s all designed to make you more likely to click on a video and watch it. The goal, of course, is to get you to watch more Netflix, so you’ll be more likely to keep paying $8 a month for the service. Netflix executives are proud of the facelift, which they described as the “biggest change to the Netflix experience in our history.” What’s at least as interesting to an outsider, though, are the reasons you won’t see the new look on all the devices that connect Netflix to TVs. In some cases, there’s a technical limitation, though the Netflix folks said they’ve worked hard to design software that’s lightweight enough to work on relatively primitive devices. But the reason Netflix can’t overhaul its look for other devices — like Apple’s Apple TVs, and Microsoft’s new Xbox One — is because the device manufacturers have specific rules about the way app developers can present their stuff on their devices.

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