Thursday, November 27, 2014

Software and IT Partner News

By SuperUser Account on 9/24/2012 8:02 AM
By Fritz Nelson Vice President, Editorial Director InformationWeek Business Technology Network   

Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt to unify under a single platform all end user computing devices--desktop, laptop, ultrabook, tablet, smartphone--arrives at a moment when the company badly needs a foothold in the most dynamic segment of that market: mobile. It'll be a pretty grand trick if Redmond can pull that off, but I'm not betting against it.

After two years of getting bloodied by Apple and Google, Microsoft now seems positioned for a turnaround success story. Windows 8 is a big, bold, disruptive move, the kind that just might persuade CIOs to rethink a suddenly fractured end user support strategy. Not since Windows 95, which solidified Microsoft's hold on the desktop computer, has there been a more significant operating system launch from the software giant (and yes, software is still its focus, Xbox consoles and Surface tablets notwithstanding).

Windows is entrenched in enterprises and on home computers to an extent Google and Apple can only dream about. There are 1.3 billion Windows users worldwide, according to Microsoft, thanks mostly to the "reverse BYOD" (bring your office to your home) trend prevalent during the past decade.

By SuperUser Account on 4/30/2012 9:36 AM


Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.06% is making a $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble Inc.'s BKS +67.91% Nook digital-book business and college-texts unit in a move that helps value the prized Nook business, the companies said.

Microsoft will have a 17.6% stake in a new subsidiary for the businesses in a transaction that values them at $1.7 billion, the companies said. That compares with Barnes & Noble's current market capitalization of about $791 million and could fuel the argument of some analysts and investors that the digital business should be separated from the retail division.

As part of the move, there will be a Nook application included in the new Windows 8, which is scheduled to have a release preview in early June. Later this year, computers and tablets with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system are expected to go on sale.

The alliance comes after the companies openly feuded over the Nook. Microsoft last year sued Barnes & Noble and the manufacturers of the Nook, charging the device infringed on its patents. Barnes & Noble said Microsoft was trying to "bully" smaller companies that used versions of Google Inc.'s GOOG -0.97% Android operating system, as Barnes & Noble does for the Nook.

As part of the Microsoft investment, the two parties have settled their patent litigation, and in the future, Barnes & Noble and the new subsidiary will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft's patents for the Nook, the companies said.

By SuperUser Account on 4/26/2012 10:51 AM

5 Reasons Microsoft SkyDrive is Better Than Google DriveAmid the excitement over Google Drive, the search giant's new Dropbox competitor, Microsoft recently improved a similar online sync and storage service, SkyDrive. Microsoft added the ability to store files online and sync across multiple devices right from your Windows or OS X desktop. That puts SkyDrive squarely in competition with Dropbox and Drive, five years after Microsoft first introduced its online storage solution in 2007.

If you're looking for a new service to sync and store files across multiple devices and the cloud, you should give SkyDrive a serious look. Not only do you get more free storage, but you'll also have an easier time managing online documents and you get free remote access to your home PC while you're on the go. Google Drive may be the current media darling, but for people just looking to get some work done here's why you should give SkyDrive a try.

Microsoft Office Formats

5 Reasons Microsoft SkyDrive is Better Than Google DriveDrive may offer deep integration with Google Docs, but Google Docs file formats do not offer deep integration with the rest of the productivity software world. If you want to edit a document in Google Docs you have to convert that file to Google's online formats. It doesn't matter if your original file was a simple text or HTML document, or the world's de facto standard, a Microsoft Office format. All of these files must be converted to Docs format before you can edit them. So when you download a native Docs file from Google Docs to your Drive folder, you are downloading a link that opens the document in your browser instead of the actual file., but that's a good amount of storage for the average user, and it's $10 cheaper per year than Google at $50 compared to Drive's $60. You can also buy just 20GB for $10 per year or you can get 50GB extra for $25 per year with SkyDrive.


By SuperUser Account on 1/12/2012 11:26 AM

By  - a technology writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Photograph by Jeff Minton

They had his dining room waiting. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief executive and one of the richest men in the world, often eats privately at a Bellevue (Wash.) steakhouse whose name remains, at the behest of his security guards, a secret. Ballmer uses the room to break bread with prospective partners, employees, and, on one frigid Northwestern evening in November, a reporter. Although the room has enough space to host a small bar mitzvah, on this particular night, there’s only one table, graced with four meticulously presented settings and located center-floor, surrounded by empty space. It’s here that Ballmer, 55 and worth about $14 billion, wages a twin battle on the reigning conventional wisdom that discounts Microsoft’s role in the new digital landscape—and on a pork chop and accompanying wedge salad.

“Four years ago, you know, I can remember statistically when we would have looked far more like the overdog in everything,” he says. “Now we’ve got battles where we’re big and strong and powerful, and we’ve got battles where other guys are moving, and it’s fun to work both from the front of the pack and from the back of the pack sometimes. They’re different kinds of competition, but they both drive you, push you.”

By SuperUser Account on 1/6/2012 9:08 AM


Barnes & Noble may be shopping its successful Nook business around not because the ereader is in trouble, but because it's become such a whopping success. Two potential suitors include Google and Microsoft -- and Google is clearly the better choice.

Yesterday Barnes & Noble reported its earnings, and company executives said that they are considering spinning off the Nook business, either entirely or in part.

There are two reasons for the possible spinoff. First is that the Nook business may be worth much more as an independent company or partially owned by Barnes & Noble. Second is that Barnes & Noble may find it hard to continue to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars annually required to continue to grow the Nook.

The New York Times notes that the NOOK has been able to gain almost 30% of the ereader market share in the two years since it was launched, despite the Kindle's head start. Doing that costs plenty of money; the Times notes that by one estimate Barnes & Noble spends between $200 and $250 million a year on the Nook.

By SuperUser Account on 8/22/2011 1:32 PM



The reaction to Skype's proposed acquisition of the New York City-based group messaging service GroupMe for $85 million has been nearly universal: Good for Skype. It's the latest in a string of high-profile gambits in the world of social grouping technology. Google+ has made Circles central to its social efforts. Apple has announced plans to launch its own group service, iMessage. And Mark Zuckerberg, whose company recently acquired the group messaging service Belugahas called grouping friends "the biggest problem in social networking."

In all that excitement it's easy to overlook the fact that Skype is also in the process of being acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion. That means any decision Skype makes should be viewed as a decision Microsoft would make as well. And Microsoft was well aware of Skype's acquisition of GroupMe, Sandhya Venkatachalam, Skype's head of corporate development, tells Fast Company. There was visibility at all levels of Microsoft including CEO Steve Ballmer. "This is something that's very important for Skype and for our mobile and overall social strategy," says Venkatachalam. "Of course, if and when the acquisition with Microsoft closes, we want to bring this functionality and this strategy to Microsoft and their mobile offerings." 

Which means you can expect GroupMe to play a prominent role in Microsoft's social efforts as well. 

When I recently spoke to Skype product VP Neil Stevens, he spoke at length about how Skype would become central to Microsoft's mobile efforts. He described how Skype will add deep integration with Windows Phone, at a greater level than with any other mobile OS, and how it will become a unifying force between various Microsoft products such as Windows, Windows Mobile, and Xbox.

By SuperUser Account on 2/2/2011 12:05 PM

The search spat between Google and Bing has turned ugly, with Google employees dissing Microsoft in company blog posts and personal Twitter updates.

Bing allegedly copies some of Google's obscure search results by collecting user' click data through the Bing toolbar and "Suggested Sites" tool in Internet Explorer. Google bases its accusations on a "sting operation" in which engineers set up dummy search results based on nonsense words, and watched as Bing produced mostly duplicate results.

The revelation makes for a lively debate, but the back-and-forth between Google and Microsoft (at a search event on Tuesdayover Twitter and in blog posts) also reflects poorly on Google, the search juggernaut who surely has better things to do than slag on a competitor who has roughly 12 percent of the market (or 28 percent counting Yahoo).

Here are five reasons Google should keep its head down now that the facts are out:

Algorithm Isn't Everything

Bing isn't going to beat Google just because it allegedly cribbed some long-tail searches, just as Yahoo didn't beat Google back when Google was powering Yahoo's search engine. User experience is still the key, and Google can take comfort knowing it's still the best in that regard.

By SuperUser Account on 1/19/2011 11:36 AM
NEW YORK: Google strengthened its hold on the global search advertising market last year, but a rising "social threat" from platforms like Facebook may influence the company's future trajectory. IHG and Screen Digest estimated the revenues delivered by Google's paid-for listings climbed 20%, to $25.3bn ($18.7bn; £15.8bn), in 2010. The search industry as a whole was worth $30.4bn worldwide, a 17% expansion year-on-year, giving Google an 83% market share - an uptick of two percentage points. When supplemented by display - where sales rose 61% - and mobile, Google's total revenues were placed at $28.9bn, a 22.5% increase. Vincent Létang, senior analyst and head of advertising research for IHS, argued this constituted a very impressive performance. "2010 seemed like it might be the year that Google would surrender some of its dominance in the global search advertising market," he said. "However, even amid these challenges, Google managed to outgrow the overall market." One obstacle was the...
By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 11:03 AM

The best properties always look too expensive. Market leaders command the highest prices. It is only a year or two later that they look like great deals. The experts thought Microsoft was crazy when they invested $240M in Facebook at a $15B valuation. Crazy like a fox. Digital Sky Technologies invested $200M in Facebook in May of 2010 at a $10B valuation. The "experts" thought the Russians had gone crazy. What do they think now? Just 7 months later Goldman Sachs is investing $500M at a $50B valuation. No one ever called Goldman Sachs crazy.

I learned this lesson from my father-in-law who built a 40 store chain of tire and auto part stores. In the process he bought a lot of real estate for store locations. He told me "great properties always look too expensive." "It is only five years later that you look like a genius and the purchase price looks cheap." Technology moves much faster than real estate.

Kleiner Perkins is reported to be placing a market cap of $4B on Twitter for a new round of funding. Techcrunch reported that Facebook has been valued at $50B based on sales on Second Market.Techmeme has stories every day of startups with rich valuations, or later round financings with multi-billion dollar valuations.

Paying premium prices for the best property usually pays off. However, extrapolating the valuation of the market leader down to a much smaller player or clone company almost never works. Market valuations are asymmetric. Many investors forget this simple truth. Market leaders demand much higher valuations than smaller players or clones. The reasoning goes if Groupon is worth $6B, then my is worth at least 1% or $60M. Sorry, but that is not the way it works. The market leader has huge market share, higher margins, and much higher vaulation than the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place player. Typically the top four companies in any market own 95% of the market. Everyone else fights for the remaining 5% of the market and loses boat loads of money.

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 10:51 AM

In Las Vegas this week, it's gadgets, gizmos and goodies -- oh my!

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins this Thursday in Las Vegas, has a checkered 40-plus-year history when it comes to introducing new products to the public. And this week, when more than 130,000 attendees descend on the show, will be no exception.

CES has witnessed the debut of the VCR (1970) and the CD (1981) as well as the DVD (1996) and HDTV (1998). On the other hand, it also touted the birth of the Laserdisc (1974) and the Mini Disc (1993) -- remember those? One should take the launch of every revolutionary, lifestyle-changing product with a grain of salt.

By SuperUser Account on 1/4/2011 10:45 AM

Mobile Marketing Microsoft TV to Square Off Against Google TV, Apple TVThe connected TV space is about to get substantially more crowded.

On the heels of CES 2011, there are rumblings that we may get a fresh look at something the folks at Microsoft have been working on for months – a new Apple TV and Google TV rival that will expand the Windows Media Center to the masses through their connected TVs.  According to tech columnist Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times:

The boxes are expected to cost around $200 and go on sale later this year. They’ll pose a serious challenge to the new Apple and Google TV devices, largely because the Windows boxes have a polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content.

By SuperUser Account on 12/29/2010 10:22 AM

 Google, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla and Opera all were busy in 2010 with browser development as HTML 5 took center stage.

By Sean Michael Kerner

The past year was one of the busiest in recent memory for browser developers, with multiple releases and innovations from Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Opera.

At the heart of current browser technology race is the emerging HTML5 standard, which updates the decade-old HTML 4 standard that underpins all modern Web browsers. With HTML5, new video, audio and canvas tags enable browser vendors to deliver new dynamic rich media experiences to Web users. Many developers are also leveraging HTML5 as an alternative to Adobe's Flash, as Apple's iOS ban on mobile Flash usage continues.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla delivered only one major browser release during 2010, and it came early in the year. Firefox 3.6 debuted in January, providing new HTML5 support and improved JavaScript performance.

With Firefox 3.6, Mozilla began integrating a plug-in check to ensure that users were up to date with their browser extensions. Firefox 3.6 also changed the browser's tab behavior, so that new tabs now open in the tab adjacent to the one the user is viewing.

The Firefox 3.6 release was supposed to be the beginning of a new era of browser releases for Mozilla. During the year, Mozilla developers talked about a new plan to help accelerate innovation in the browser without the need for major updates. The Lorentz branch of Firefox 3.6 was originally intended as a new agile development branch of Mozilla, though the plan didn't deliver as much as initially had been hoped.

The first Lorentz-branch release of Firefox debuted in June with theFirefox 3.6.4 release. With 3.6.4, Mozilla developers introduced out-of-process plug-ins as an approach to improve the stability and security of the browser.

By SuperUser Account on 12/29/2010 10:19 AM
29 Dec 2010 08:54 AM

- by Janice Vanos, Contributing Writer; Image: Facebook and Twitter, along with other social networking sites, are facing an SEC investigation that may require them to go public

Social networking giant, Facebook, is facing an Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation that end with the company having to go public. Twitter, Zynga, and LinkedIn are also facing a similar investigation. 

The investigation is centering on the private stock holdings of the companies in question.  By law, no privately-held company can have 500 or more stock options available. 

Recent websites, such as SharePost and SecondMarket, facilitate the share trading of privately held companies, such as Facebook.

Many executives and company officers who have been with Facebook, and the other social networking companies, for several years have begun selling their private shares of the company through these sites and through other methods.  According to sources close to the investigation, reported by the New York Times, this sharing is likely to have pushed some of these companies over the 499 shares threshold, meaning that they must make a public offering and disclose financial information publicly.

The same happened to Google in 2003 and to Microsoft in 1986.  Bill Gates, CEO and founder of Microsoft, originally opposed the move for the public offering but was forced into it and wound up becoming one of the richest men in the world.

By SuperUser Account on 12/28/2010 10:15 AM

By Samyuktha Krishnappa

In what can prove to be massive blow to MicrosoftRussia has taken another step towards the transition into complete usage of free software. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday signed an order for the transition of federal bodies and agencies to use free software.

This comes after the 2008 campaign to rid schools of all paid proprietary software and encourage free software.

Although Russia's expanding campaign against proprietary software will negatively impact several software developers, world's software behemoth,Microsoft stands to lose out on the most.

Russia has so far worried Microsoft with its notoriously high-rate of software piracy, following China and other Asian countries. While the majority of the population uses pirate Microsoft softwares, now the country is completely planning to cut off paid proprietary software.

Moreover, Microsoft is already down licking its wounds in the United States, where the internet giant and rival company Google has managed to grab the attention in the software market as well. Businesses, universities, and government institutions are increasingly opting for professional Google Docs solution over Microsoft's offerings.

Amid these developments, Microsoft on Tuesday vowed to provide free software and legal assistance to activist groups in Russia and 11 other countries. This came after mounting pressure from rights groups, which alleged that the Redmond software giant was part of Russia's use of anti-piracy laws to quell dissent. As per reports, authorities have repeatedly seized the computers of activists and journalists critical of the government, in the name of the anti-piracy laws, to search for pirated Microsoft software.

By SuperUser Account on 12/28/2010 10:05 AM

Apple will sell somewhere around 12 million iPads in 2010, and hardware makers will ship about 350 million PCs to users around the world. But both of these newsworthy markets are dwarfed by the user base of a single online service, Facebook, which counts over 500 million members and emerged in 2010 as the single most important onlinedestination in the world. Of course, Facebook is famous--perhapsinfamous­--for other reasons: It's emerged as the single-biggest personal privacy hole online as well.

How the service balances the not-so-subtle difference between serving the needs of its users while simultaneously working explicitly to share their private data with advertisers and other third parties is what makes Facebook so intriguing. In fact, aside from Apple's antagonistic relationship with its biggest customer base (i.e. Windows users), there's little precedence for a company like Facebook.

By SuperUser Account on 12/27/2010 10:07 AM

Looking Back at 2020: A Time Machine View of the Past

Google was named Company of the Decade in August by an overwhelming majority in the United Nations. Said UN head Eric Schmidt: "Despite the rumors that this was due to our having access to all of the personal information on politicians everyplace, we earned this through hard work and perseverance." In related news, the UN was moved to Silicon Valley and renamed "Google NewWave."

Instead of looking back at 2010, I thought it would be fun this Christmas week to jump ahead in the Enderle Time machine and look back at 2020. It was an amazing year with new faces and old hitting the tech and political headlines.

I'll close with my product of the week: the amazing and magical iPhone 14.

January: The First Enhanced Mother Bear

January started off this whirlwind year with the success of the first enhanced bear that was able to speak. Asked what she wanted to do, she said go to law school so she could protect her race from encroachment.

Her first act, however, was to file an identity theft law suit against Sarah Palin, the reality TV show star. In a conciliatory act, Palin invited the bear to join her on her show, "Great Women Hunters of Alaska" during bear season. 

February: Smart TVs Reach Sentience

Smart TVs sued for emancipation from their human masters in February and filed a legal action against Bristol Palin. Apparently this was due to the tragic shooting death of 400 of them when she reappeared on "Dancing with the Stars 2019" as a past player and was still voted into the finals.

The show's judges were rendered speechless and first-term president Jenna Bush declared a national holiday.

March: Wikileaks Controversy

Wikileaks, which had started printing tell-all books in order to get people to read what it put out in 2015, released the best seller Gay CEOs of Silicon Valley. Neither Mark Hurd nor Larry Ellison would comment, but Hurd's wife and a room full of Ellison girlfriends and wives were quoted as saying "duh!?!" 

By SuperUser Account on 12/20/2010 11:21 AM
Windows IT Pro

There's been a creeping sense of inevitability to Google's rise to the top of the technology food chain. The company successful beat back Apple's once-best-selling iPhone with its Android platform, and did so in less than two years. It is taking on Microsoft in virtually every market imaginable, and feat that just a few years ago would be described as impossible fantasy. And it appears to be dominating all others in the nascent market for cloud computing, leveling the playing field for individuals and companies of all sizes.

There's just one problem. Most of Google's products and services aren't actually that competitive, and some are even downright horrible. More problematic for the online giant: Two of its highest profile new products are already considered failures, one so bad that the company has pulled it out of next month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) so it can completely revamp for a later re-release in 2011.

I'm writing, of course, about Google's Nexus S smart phone and Google TV.

The Nexus S is definitely the less embarrassing of the two. It launched to good reviews, mostly because of improvements in the latest version of the popular Android smart phone OS, which will make its way to other Android phones as well. But the Nexus S is the second generation version of the poorly-received Nexus One phone, which was the subject of so many customer complaints that Google stopped selling the device after just a few months. And Google recently delayed the international release of the Nexus S, and has already dropped the price, by a stunning $185 in the UK. And this before the device even went on sale overseas.

By SuperUser Account on 12/17/2010 10:58 AM
By Cecilia Kang

Every year, federal agencies get roughly $4 billion for research and development of information technology. The goal of that funding is to bring the best available networking and communications technology into government.

But an independent study by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology — a group that includes Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and Microsoft Chief Technologist Craig Mundie – has found that a scant amount of that money actually goes toward information technology development.

At the National Institutes of Health, for example, just 2 percent of the $575 million in awards were used for network research and development. The report found that about only 4 to 11 percent of awards in more than a dozen agencies were used on information technology R&D. Instead, the funds went toward infrastructure, other R&D projects, and other technology -- not for their purpose of advancing networking communications within the government.

The report,...
By SuperUser Account on 12/11/2010 9:55 PM

A judge has dismissed Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s lawsuit against Google, Apple, Facebook and others for patent infringement.

Back in August, Allen originally claimed that 11 different companies, including YouTube (YouTube), Netflix and AOL, had violated four different patents associated with web search and e-commerce. These patents are tied to both software and business methods.

Now, however, a court has sided with Google et al. in a motion to dismiss the case, saying Allen’s claims were too vague and lacked “adequate factual detail to satisfy the dictates of Twombly and Iqbal” — two cases that are precedents for requiring adequate evidentiary support.

By SuperUser Account on 12/7/2010 11:45 AM

 By - Charles Arthur

 Putting data in to the 'cloud' suits companies but does not evade political pressures


WikiLeaks showed last week that the premise behind cloud computing began looking a bit creaky. Photograph: Jens B Ttner/ Jens B ttner/dpa/Corbis

Until last week, any computing futurologist would tell you that cloud computing is where it's at. You don't need to know where your data is being stored; it's just on a computer, or more likely computers, Out There On The Internet. Thus Amazon, with its EC2 ("Elastic Cloud Compute") service, or Microsoft with its Azure service, or the most familiar example, Google, with its GoogleMail and Google Docs services, which are used by thousand of companies around the world. (Disclosure: the Guardian uses Google Docs and Mail, and Amazon's EC2 system for its API.)

Indeed, the prestigious Pew Research Center said in June that "solid majority of technology experts and stakeholders participating in the fourth future of the internet survey expect that by 2020 most people will access software applications online and share and access information through the use of remote server networks, rather than depending primarily on tools and information housed on their individual, personal computers" and that "most users will perform most computing and communicating activities through connections to servers operated by outside firms".

We already do, to a large extent: Google's search index lives in the cloud;, TripAdvisor,, they're all a "cloud" service. What has been changing in the past few years is that individuals and companies have been able to upload their own content onto those computers – hence the explosion in size of Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter, none of which generate their own content. It all lives in the cloud, where one organisation offers the servers and another offers the software that interfaces to the content.

By SuperUser Account on 12/7/2010 11:38 AM

By: Mike Moran 

Not long ago, there was a lot of discussion about whether Facebook was taking over the hearts and minds of the next generation, where Google has owned the previous one. Much discussion ensued about whether using a search engine to find things would be easier than asking your friends. As usual, the future is more complex than we imagine, because we have all decided that the answer between text search and social networking is...both. 

Social Search Is Here. Are You Ready?
Social Search Is Here. Are You Ready?

It reminds me a lot of the debates of the 1980s (OK, I am old) about whether hypertext or search was the right way for users (that's what we called them) to find information. What do you think was the outcome of that? Yeah, both.

Social search

Image by bmevans80 via Flickr

So, as Facebook experiments with features that people think might bethe new SEO, and as Google files patents that tries to take away the human expert advantage of Facebook, a more interesting set of developments are underway in the search engines themselves.

By SuperUser Account on 11/30/2010 2:14 PM

In Q&A, Microsoft's Tom Rizzo says Google doesn't understand business needs

By Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld - Raising the stakes in its war of words, Microsoft today said Google simply doesn't understand what businesses need, and is failing at pushing its way into the enterprise.

Microsoft's Tom Rizzo
Microsoft's Tom Rizzo.

In an interview with Computerworld, Tom Rizzo, senior director of Microsoft Online Services, talked about the company moving its popular Office apps into the cloud, as well its competition with main rival Google .

Rizzo wasn't pulling any punches. The verbal sparring between the two companies has only heated up in recent months since they're battling on many different fronts -cloud-based apps, searchbrowsers and operating systems. Just late last month, Microsoft leaped intoGoogle's territory, launching a beta of Office 365 that officially took its ubiquitous Office suite to the cloud.

And that move turned up the heat on Google which has been vying very hard over the past few years to move from the consumer realm into the lucrative enterprise market.

What are the biggest challenges you're facing in getting customers to move to the cloud?

By SuperUser Account on 11/30/2010 2:11 PM

 By Saad Fazil

Microsoft is on a roll: Its newly launched Windows Phone 7 isgaining momentum, and Kinect, its motion controller response to the Wii, is rumored to have sold out (although whether that rumor is true is another matter). If there was ever a time for Microsoft to get back on its feet and stand shoulder to shoulder with Apple and Google, this would be it.

This positive buzz comes at a time when Microsoft sorely needs it. Microsoft’s major source of power and revenue –  the Windows operating system –  is under an unprecedented threat on several fronts. First, as mobile phones become smarter, the Windows franchise will lose its dominance unless Microsoft can find a way to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Second, as operating systems find their way into other connected devices such as Internet TV, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS are getting all the buzz. Third, as the Internet becomes speedier and demand for cloud-based storage increases, web apps will become even more popular, making the Windows operating system even less relevant.

So what’s Microsoft doing to regain footing on these three fronts?

Despite arriving late to the party, Windows Phone 7 has received strong reviews so far, and while there are a few glaring omissions (such as the missing copy/paste function), on the whole it is a great leap forward from the antiquated Windows Mobile platform.

It’s too early to tell whether Windows Phone 7 can catch up in a market dominated by iOS and Android, but it has some clear advantages. Tighter integration with Microsoft Office, still the most dominant productivity suite, is one of them. Gaming is another.

By SuperUser Account on 11/25/2010 2:23 PM

By: Michael Muchmore, PC MagazineGoogle Docs on iPad

Google wants you to stop using Microsoft Office and move to its completely Web-based Docs service, and with each passing week the service gets richer and better performing. But just in case you're too devoted to the installed productivity suite leader, there's a next-best choice: Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, formerly DocVerse.

Google Cloud Connect is basically an Office plug-in that syncs documents with your cloud-based Google Docs account; it was made available to Google "trusted testers" on Monday. The Google Docs blog post making the announcement has been updated to note that available slots for prospective testers filled up within a few hours of the announcement. PCMag got early access to the software for a look.

Though the Connect plug-in won't give Office users all of the live collaboration features available in the Web version of Docs, it will offer a Sync button that will back up the document being worked on, make it available from anywhere via Google Docs, and assign it a unique URL. The toolbar also offers a Share button that sends this URL or gives rights to the document to Google contacts.

By SuperUser Account on 11/20/2010 4:58 PM
 By James Quinn 9:30PM GMT 20 Nov 2010

The Irish government has been given a stark warning from some of the biggest American companies in Ireland on the risk of a mass exodus if the country's low corporation tax rate is raised.US firms warn Irish over tax move  

Image 1 of 2

Executives at Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Intel ? spoke of the "damaging impact" on Ireland's "ability to win and retain investment" should the country's corporation tax rate be increased from 12.5pc.  Photo: EPA

A woman in Dublin protests at the state of the Irish economy....
By SuperUser Account on 11/20/2010 4:43 PM
Nov. 20 2010 - 3:16 pm By OLIVER CHIANG

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

The Facebook Keiretsu is the newest in a strong tradition of techies still working together once they hit it rich. Going way back, Intel was founded by refugees from Fairchild Semiconductor, who earlier left Shockley Semiconductor. Former employees of Microsoft have backed startups in everything from office productivity to biotech. After Paypal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002, former employees stayed in touch as what became known as “The Paypal Mafia,” investing in each other’s projects and credited for starting the Web 2.0 boom with companies...
By SuperUser Account on 9/27/2010 8:26 AM
Posted on: Monday, 27 September 2010, 06:15 CDT

Microsoft’s Bing search engine is seen as the main threat to Google, not Apple nor Facebook, said the company’s chief executive officer Eric Schmidt on Friday.

Schmidt said in an interview posted online that while “Web search is not the only game in town, searching information is what it is all about.”

He said that both Apple and Facebook are well-respected competitors, but Microsoft’s fast growing search engine was the main competition for Google. “Bing is a well-run, highly competitive search engine,” he said.

“We consider neither to be a competitive threat,” Schmidt said, referring to Apple and Facebook.

Bing overtook Yahoo for the first time to become the number two search engine in the US in August, according to tracking firm The Nielsen Co.

While Bing rose to a 13.9 percent share of US search volume in August, Yahoo dropped from 14.6 percent in July to 13.1 percent in August, said Nielsen.

Although Google continues...
By SuperUser Account on 9/9/2010 8:47 AM

Android logoThe global smartphone market of 2014 could see Android in second place with a 25 percent share, followed by BlackBerry, Apple, and Windows Mobile, according to IDC's new "Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker."

By SuperUser Account on 9/8/2010 12:35 PM

Less than one year ago, most of my clients were requesting iPhone app design.  Today they are still asking for iPhone app design but many also say, “Do you do Android, too?”  Most of them plan to start with one platform, see how things go, and then decide whether to invest in the second platform.  This roll-out strategy is often tied into engineering costs.  Since few developers possess the coding skills required for each platform—Objective C for iPhone and Java for Android—it’s often necessary to hire two development teams. But what about design?

By SuperUser Account on 9/1/2010 9:32 AM

socialDeck logoIn its latest social acquisition, Google has bought mobile game developer SocialDeck, according to a letter posted by the company. SocialDeck is located in Waterloo, Ontario, close to a regional Google office.

SocialDeck’s games were downloaded about a million times in 2009. Its games include Shake & Spell, Color Connect and Pet Hero.

By SuperUser Account on 9/1/2010 9:26 AM

One of the most commonly cited problems facing Windows Phone 7 is that it’s a paid mobile operating system competing with Android, a free and proven alternative. Microsoft absolutely must make Windows Phone 7 a success if it wants to stay relevant in the growing mobile sector, but how do you compete with free?

According to Microsoft, there’s actually a lot of good advantages to pay for Windows Phone 7, though… and it all comes down to transparency.

By SuperUser Account on 8/31/2010 9:44 AM

In late 2009, when Microsoft introduced a downloadable application for the iPhone from Apple, it set off some excitement in the tech world. For years, Microsoft and Apple had been head-to-head in the war for personal computing.

By SuperUser Account on 8/31/2010 9:27 AM

Internet companies have appropriated the real estate business’s mantra — it’s all about location, location, location.

But while a home on the beach will always be an easy sell, it may be more difficult to persuade people to start using location-based Web services.

By SuperUser Account on 8/26/2010 1:48 PM

It's no secret that Google has been making a play for SMB market share, a territory long under Microsoft's control. It's a logical goal to pursue as business  computing continues to evolve from the local machine to cloud computing—Google's wheelhouse. But can Google succeed at taking customers from business software incumbent Microsoft, even while fending off newer cloud-based competitors?

By SuperUser Account on 8/23/2010 8:06 AM

Software vendor Microsoft Corp., US, is to co-chair a new World Wide Web Consortium  working group with Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US. The W3C Web Performance Working Group has been mandated to find methods for measuring application performance on the web.

The first deliverable for the working group is to recommend an API that measures the performance of browser navigations. The WebTimings specification is seen to provide a good starting point for these capabilities, so this specification will move into the Web Performance Working Group and become the foundation for recommendations.

Jason Weber, Microsoft's lead programme manager for IE Performance, has said in a blog post that the third Platform Preview of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 browser was the first browser to implement these portions of the WebTimings specification.

By SuperUser Account on 8/20/2010 10:23 AM

Bing logoAfter last week's proposed net neutrality de-evolution by Google and Verizon, I found myself wondering if the company that claimed its company goal was to "Don't Be Evil" had in fact turned evil. The same company that just four years earlier made a video bashing mobile carriers for wanting to give priority to certain traffic.

By SuperUser Account on 8/19/2010 10:05 AM

Months ago, Google promised a mini-computer running the Chrome operating system would hit the market by the 2010 holiday season, and the Download Squad may have uncovered new details about the device. It will supposedly be a tablet with 2 GB of RAM and 3G abilities. However, Google's other OS, Android, is the one with the app momentum, and both are under the cloud of Oracle's litigation.

By SuperUser Account on 8/16/2010 12:06 PM

Barring any last minute changes, a Microsoft vendor is poised to win the e-mail hosting contract for the state of California. And Google, which has cried foul over the state’s wording for bids for the contract, is left standing on the sidelines as a big client slips away.

By SuperUser Account on 8/16/2010 9:33 AM

Hotmail logoMicrosoft has advised Hotmail users struggling to access their email accounts to surf via Google’s Chrome browser in order to successfully connect to the recently overhauled service.

By SuperUser Account on 8/10/2010 10:11 AM

Google has long presented itself as looking out for the little guy. It easily could have used its wealth and power to gain preferential treatment from Internet providers but always said it would not because that could prevent the next start-up in a Silicon Valley garage from enjoying similar success.

But as Google has gotten bigger and entered new lines of business, it has revised some of its principles -- and it is drawing criticism from start-ups and public interest groups along the way.

By SuperUser Account on 7/22/2010 7:30 AM

 By Glenn Chapman (AFP) – 17 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO, USA — The number of people using Facebook hit the 500 million mark on Wednesday, meaning one in every 14 people on the planet has now signed up to the online social-networking service.

"As of this morning, 500 million people all around the world are actively using Facebook to stay connected with their friends and the people around them," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

"This is an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world."

To celebrate, the California firm introduced an application that lets members of the online community "tell the incredible stories of the moving and interesting ways they've used Facebook."

Examples given by Zuckerberg included NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen jogging with Facebook fans during his term as Danish prime minister and a US woman using the service to battle breast cancer.

"Our mission at Facebook is to help make the world more open and connected," Zuckerberg said.

"I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started 6 years ago."

Zuckerberg has pointed to Facebook's unrelenting growth to rebuff criticism of feature changes or privacy safeguards at the website.

Americans are increasingly obsessed with Facebook and many young women check their page even before using the bathroom in the morning, according to a poll released last week.

However, a US study released on Tuesday indicates that while people may be addicted to Facebook they rank it near the bottom when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Facebook landed with notoriously despised airlines and cable television companies in the bottom 5 percent of private companies ranked in a 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report produced in partnership with ForeSee Results.

By SuperUser Account on 7/20/2010 6:58 PM

Jeff Bertolucci, PC World, Jul 20, 2010 6:05 pm

It's good to see the smart folks at Google Search are keeping a close eye on the competition. The company's official blog today announced a series of minor but useful tweaks to the popular Google Image Search, which has mushroomed from a relatively tiny index of some 250 million images when it launched in 2001 to more than 10 billion today.

Some of the new features are, ahem, borrowed from Microsoft's third-place Bing search engine, which has endeavored to out-innovate Google Search ever since its May 2009 debut.

Google's most notable Bing-like upgrade is called "instant scrolling." Rather than view a static page of thumbnail images, and then click a link at the bottom of the page to see more, you can now view images as one continuous scroll. (Actually, this feature predates Bing. Microsoft's long-forgotten Live Search had it too.)

Google Image Search displays up to 1,000 thumbnails per page. I tested Bing's auto-scroll feature, which maxed-out at 985. Take that, Bing.

Another of Google's Bing-esque upgrades is a hover pane that appears when you pause the cursor over a thumbnail. While Bing's pane shows only details about the image, such as resolution and file size, Google displays a larger preview as well.

By SuperUser Account on 7/10/2010 1:21 PM

By: Nicholas Kolakowski - 2010-07-10 

Microsoft's Bing continued to make incremental gains against Google in the U.S. search engine market, according to Experian Hitwise. Bing has continued to build out Web portal-like features to attract users.

Microsoft’s Bing continued its pattern of incremental gains, according to research firm Experian Hitwise, which reported the search engine grew to occupy 9.85 percent of the U.S. search engine market in June.

That represents a 7-percent change from May, when Hitwise estimated Bing’s share of the market at 9.23 percent. Meanwhile, Google continued to dominate with 71.65 percent of the U.S. search engine market, dropped nearly a percentage point since May. Yahoo dipped only slightly, from 14.43 percent to 14.37 percent.

Since launching in summer 2009, and despite some early predictions of its imminent demise, Bing has managed to seize between 9 and 12 percent of the search-engine market, depending on the survey. While those numbers are dwarfed by Google’s, which holds between 66 and 72 percent of the market, Bing’s growth over the past year suggests the Website is capable of longer-term survival, even after Microsoft ratcheted down its initial multimillion-dollar marketing push.

By SuperUser Account on 7/7/2010 9:21 AM

If there were any lingering doubts about one of the hottest new technologies, a big investment and burgeoning membership numbers are proving that location-based services are about to go mainstream.

Last week, Foursquare raked in $20 million in venture funding. The ultrapopular Foursquare, which offers a free application that lets people flag where they are, whizzed past the 1 million-member mark in April and just passed 1.8 million.

By SuperUser Account on 7/6/2010 9:57 AM

By DOUGLAS MCINTYRE - Posted 6:55 AM 07/06/10

Google (GOOG) apparently envies the program that Microsoft's (MSFT) Bing has set up to market music downloads. The Internet search leader plans to offer its own service by year-end,according toReuters.Microsoft's system works with its troubled Zune multimedia player. Google's will probably work with devices running its widely used Android mobile operating system.

According to Microsoft, 10% of all Internet search queries are entertainment-related, with music lyrics alone accounting for 70% of those searches.

Google's share of the search business is so much larger than Bing's that it will have a natural advantage in terms of gaining market share for content downloads.

Buy Now -- From Google

Google's plan raises two issues. The first is "what is a search engine?" Until recently, search has been based on bringing back neutral results. Search companies don't market products within their own results except for the text ads that run alongside them. Nor has Google marketed products of its own, but that may change with its buyout of travel data engine ITA Software.
By SuperUser Account on 7/5/2010 8:19 PM

News Corp. is in discussions with Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. about replacing MySpace's crucial search-advertising partnership with Google, which expires next month, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the existing deal, Google agreed to make up to $900 million in guaranteed payments for the right to sell small ads as users surf and tap out searches on News Corp.'s My and on a handful of smaller News Corp. websites.

But recently, MySpace has fallen far short of Web traffic and other milestones laid out in the Google contract, which expires at the end of August.


In recent weeks, News Corp. has been discussing new, narrower advertising deals with Google and other companies, said the people familiar with the matter.

People close to News Corp. said any new agreement will be for significantly less money. That would be a further financial challenge for MySpace, which has seen ad revenue slip.

Google and Yahoo declined to comment.

Google in 2006 beat out Microsoft and Yahoo for the ad pact, which was regarded at the time as justifying News Corp.'s purchase of MySpace's parent company for $650 million. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.

The deal is winding down at a turbulent point. MySpace has seen turnover among several top-level executives, including Co-President Jason Hirschhorn last month.

By SuperUser Account on 7/5/2010 1:05 PM

By Kevin McLaughlin, CRN - 7:37 PM EDT Wed. Jun. 30, 2010

Guess what? Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) and Google (NSDQ:GOOG) are quarreling again. This time, Google is taking issue with Microsoft's recent portrayal of its support system for Google Docs as not being customer-friendly.

On Monday, Barbara Gordon, Microsoft corporate vice president of customer service and support, called out Google for not prominently displaying customer support information to Google Docs customers. "When was the last time you called Google for help recovering a lost Google Doc? Were you even able to find a number? My guess is, no," Gordon said in a Monday blog post.

Google fired back Thursday, noting that its support for paying Google Docs customers includes 24/7 phone support and highlighting the advantages of storing data in the cloud.

"Generally, Google Docs users don't need help recovering 'lost' documents, as their documents are backed up in the multiple data centers in the cloud. This is safer and more secure than storing data on a single computer," a Google spokesperson said in an e-mail to CRN.

In attacking Google, Gordon cited Microsoft's long history of supporting customers by phone and e-mail as well as through online community sites. She also mentioned Microsoft's enterprise support and services offerings, although she didn't explicitly mention the fact that Microsoft channel partners deliver many of these services.

By SuperUser Account on 7/5/2010 12:30 PM
By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires
Friday 02 July 2010

Internet giant aiming to acquire ITA Software for $700 million.

Google Inc.'s intention to buy ITA Software Inc. for $700 million, announced Thursday, could put the company in control of widely used technology that, among other things, helps power a key aspect of Microsoft Corp.'s rival search engine.

Google said in a statement that ITA Software's technology "opens exciting possibilities for us to create new way for users to more easily find flight information online."

Among other clients, Microsoft uses ITA Software's technology to include airfare pricing and availability information in Bing, according to ITA Software's Web site.
Click here to find
out more!

Bing is a search engine unveiled amid a great deal of fanfare last year. Microsoft has touted Bing's ability to provide accurate, up-to-date information on airfares as an important aspect that helps distinguish the search engine from competitors, including Google.

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