Posts tagged Microsoft

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Apple’s iPhone Business Alone Is Now Bigger Than All Of Microsoft

Apple’s iPhone business alone is now bigger than Microsoft.

Not Windows. Not Office. Microsoft.

Think about that.

The iPhone did not exist five years ago. And now it’s bigger than a company that, 15 years ago, was dragged into court and threatened with forcible break-up because it had amassed an unassailable and unthinkably profitable monopoly.

The iPhone also appears to be considerably more profitable than Microsoft.

In the December quarter, Apple’s iPhone business generated $24.4 billion of revenue. Microsoft’s whole company, meanwhile, from Windows to Office to servers to XBox, generated $20.9 billion.

If we assume that Apple generates the same operating profit margin on its iPhone business that it generates on its overall business–38%–the iPhone business generated about $9.3 billion of profit in the December quarter.

All of Microsoft, meanwhile, generated only $8.2 billion.

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It was not long ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was fending off those observing that Apple’s market capitalization was closing in on Microsoft’s by saying that, regardless of market cap, Microsoft’s business was much bigger and more profitable.

Not anymore.

Now, Apple’s business (in Q4) is more than twice the size of Microsoft’s–$46 billion to $21 billion–and more than twice as profitable: $17 billion to $8 billion.

And, needless to say, Apple’s market cap now dwarfs Microsoft’s. (Although, interestingly, Apple’s market cap is not yet 2X Microsoft’s, despite the difference in revenue, profitability, and growth rates. The market still appears to be concerned that Apple’s “closed system” is vulnerable to the same sort of disruption by Android and other more open systems that Apple’s Mac business was back in the 1990s).

What’s just as remarkable here is that Apple invented the iPhone business out of thin air in 2007. This is not an old product category. It’s a completely new one. Which means that Microsoft or anyone else could have invented it.

(The same can be said for the more recently introduced iPad, which is now cleaning Microsoft’s clock in that category, too.)

For the first decade of Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft, some folks cut him a break for the company’s stagnant stock price by observing that the market had changed. But the market changed for Apple, too, and Apple innovated two huge new product lines, one of which is now bigger and more profitable than Microsoft’s entire business. So Steve can’t be cut a break for that anymore.

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Microsoft just plain missed these markets (iPhone and iPad). And Apple created them. And it turns out that, at least for now, they are much more valuable and lucrative markets than the ones Microsoft dominated.

 

The other mistake Microsoft made, one that ultimately could be far more devastating, is that it became obsessed with the wrong competitor.

For the past decade, Microsoft has obsessively targeted Google as Enemy No. 1, blowing more than $10 billion trying to compete with Google’s amazing search engine.

Microsoft has made some progress, but not much–and it is still losing $2 billion a year on the effort. And, meanwhile, a once-forgotten company has blown past it in business lines that much closer and more threatening to Microsoft’s core businesses–Apple.

Microsoft still has a strong hold on the enterprise market, and it may now be able to rededicate itself to that market and try to withstand the Apple and Google onslaught.

But regardless of what happens, Microsoft can only now look up in awe and realize that a product that was introduced 5 years ago and that Steve Ballmer famously dissed is now larger and more profitable than Microsoft’s whole company.


Nokia Lumia 710 Released

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Let us introduce you to the Nokia Lumia 710, the fun, funky younger sibling of the Lumia 800. With the Lumia 710, a different day means a different look with easily swapped Xpress covers giving your handset an injection of colour, you can even match them up with your start screen. Speaking of the screen, it’s gorgeous; Nokia’s ClearBlack display lets you see clearly, even in bright sunlight – so you’ll never miss a beat as you tweet, share, like, check in and keep your friends in the loop whilst on the move. With Windows Phone your social networks are so easy to manage you’ll wonder how you had time to do it before. Natasha Lomas of CNET says “it’s well built, runs on easy-to-use Windows Phone, and comes with free music, sat-nav and mapping apps.”

The Nokia Lumia 710 is available to buy now. Plus, the good news is that the fun doesn’t stop with an eye catching new phone either – you can enjoy thousands of different apps from social to gaming, productivity to entertainment in the Windows Phone Marketplace.


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Why Microsoft’s Kinect Is the Next Big Thing In Gaming

My issues with motion gaming have prompted me to turn my back on the Wii. In fact, I haven’t even seen my Wii in well over a year, since it’s been sitting in my closet with the rest of the obsolete and boring consoles I’ve bought over the years.

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Sony’s PlayStation Move is similarly useless to me. The wands add no value to my gaming experience and as far as I’m concerned, should be relegated to the junk heap in the PlayStation 4.

And now, we move to the Kinect. I’ve said here before that while the Kinect comes with a really cool technology, I’m not a fan of the peripheral. I do, however, acknowledge — like the Wii — that there are some people out there that see some value in a product like the Kinect.

But what saddens me is that Microsoft’s motion-gaming peripheral is, well, the next big thing in gaming.

Microsoft is doubling down on the Kinect. A software development kit that allows PC software developers to take advantage of the device’s technology is in the wild, and there is a very good chance that it might also become the go-to device for laptops.

In the beginning, that might mean PC gaming will be enhanced, but I can also see the device becoming a useful accessory for those developing other programs across a wide array of industries, including medical, manufacturing, and retail.

But it’s that gaming element that keeps holding me up.

According to the latest rumors, it’s possible Microsoft will launch the Xbox 720 with a Kinect camera built into the console. What’s more, there is some speculation that Sony might try to find a way to come close to matching the Kinect’s controller-less functionality.

Add that to the fact that the Kinect is selling exceedingly well and it quickly becomes clear that it could very well be Microsoft’s ticket to gaming dominance in the coming years.

I hate to say it, but the Microsoft Kinect is the next big thing in gaming. It’s already changed how console makers think, and it’s well on its way to transforming Windows PCs. But it’s the fact that it might play an even greater role in the next generation that’s enough to make me cringe


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Kinect for Windows out now

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As promised, Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows has launched on 1st of February 2012, bundling together a Kinect unit and a commercial license for the hardware. Microsoft is heavily pitching the bundle squarely toward industries outside video games, suggesting that Kinect should move “beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.”

As part of this new push, Microsoft is encouraging businesses to take part in the Kinect Accelerator program, which offers the chance for startups to receive funding for innovative Kinect projects.

The Kinect for Windows package retails for $249. The hardware features “advanced speech and audio capabilities” as well as “improved skeletal tracking that enables control over which user is being tracked by the sensor.” The unit also features “near mode” which recognizes objects “as close as 40 centimeters in front of the sensor.”

Will these improvements be implemented in the console hardware? Is it even possible? We’re looking into it.


20 ways to max out your Xbox 360

December’s launch ofthe Metro dashboard has finally propelled 360 into the world of the set-top box.

A good thing? You decide. What’s certain is that the huge volume of media, software and general clutter on Xbox Live has demanded much of this new interface, which in turn demands a fair bit of you. Consider this a survival guide, then, for the console’s latest reincarnation.

SAVE ONLINE

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What you need The new Metro dashboard, a Gold account, and a broadband internet connection.

 

Why do it? Take your saves anywhere and make any Xbox your own.

Cloud saving is one of the best new features of Xbox Live and another good reason to go Gold – among other really useful things, it takes the pain out of playing on other people’s machines. Go to System->Storage->Cloud Saved Games to set it up. You’ll get 512mb of online space that you can use just like a normal memory card orhard drive. Useful.

ALERT FRIENDS

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need The new Metro dashboard, multiple multiplayer games, some friends

 

Why do it? Play the online games you want to play

Hate hanging around waiting for people to get ready? Just nudge to the Beacons tab and choose a game or activity to alert your friends or social network. Xbox will then alert you when they’re sorted. Jump into the Xbox Guide and select Beacons & Activity.

SILENT DASH

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need The new Metro dashboard, an inclination towards peace and quiet

 

Why do it? Make your dashboard STFU

If the sound effects sound a bit too much like someone mouth-breathing in your ear – all that swooshing in and out of categories – you can turn them off by going to Console Settings->Audio->Sound Effects.

CONTROL YOUR XBOX ANYWHERE

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need The new Metro dash, a phone running Windows Phone 7

 

Why do it? Control your Xbox from anywhere in your home

The Windows Phone 7 Xbox Companion App isn’t quite as full-on as PS3′s Remote Play. The app is free to install from the Windows Phone Marketplace. Link it to your 360 via the Console Settings->Xbox Companion menu.

PLAY ANY VIDEO

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need A semi-decent PC, freebie PC application TVersity, and some videos in irregular formats to play.

 

Why do it? Watch popular video formats the 360 wouldn’t ordinarily support.

Xbox 360 and PS3 are in the same boat when it comes to supporting media formats: neither manufacturer is comfortable supporting them all. For 360, though, you can use PC app Tversity (www.tversity.com) to ‘transcode’ any video file before streaming it to 360 for playback. It’s a bit fiddly at first, and requires a wired connection and hefty horsepower for HD, but it works.

USE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need An external hard drive or USB memory stick

 

Why do it? Take your saves anywhere without the cloud

A USB hard drive or pen-drive is readable by 360, but only if it’s formatted to the FAT32 or HFS+ file systems rather than the more common NTFS. Only Mac format HFS+ allows files of over 4gb.

RESKIN YOUR DASHBOARD

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need The new Metro dashboard, an artistic spirit, some spare cash for new themes

 

Why do it? Take control over your Xbox’s appearance

360′s dashboards have always been a bit counter intuitive when it comes to Theme settings and the like. In Metro it’s buried beneath your avatar in the Social section, with your Achievements.

SEARCH EVERYTHING

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need The new Metro dash, an internet connection, Kinect

 

Why do it? Explore stacks of Xbox content with ease

The world of Xbox is so rich/polluted with promo items and DLC that a search engine is now essential. Enter Bing, which looks up games, videos, apps and other content through pad, keyboard or Kinect. You can filter the results into categories when they appear. It’s the leftmost menu option in the Metro user interface (UI).

BLOCK ADS

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need Admin access to your router or modem, minor tech savvy

 

Why do it? Remove Microsoft’s ads from the front page

Being advertised to on a paid subscription service chafes a little. If it’s bothering you so much that you’d rather just have placeholder pictures scattered throughout the dashboard, the option’s there if your router supports it. Go to your router’s ‘block list’ and add rad.msn.com.

NOTIFICATIONS

 

Click to view larger imageWhat you need Enough friends to make the constant status updates annoying.

 

Why do it? Watch movies and play games in peace

Getting hacked off by irrelevant messages? Let’s turn off those pesky notifications. Bring up the Xbox Guide and go to Settings->Preferences->Notifications, then untick the Show During Movies option. Or, if you want to disable them everywhere, just untick the parent Show Notifications option.


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How to block Attachment Uploads using Microsoft TMG

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Microsoft TMG (Threat Management Gateway) 2010 is basically the latest version of it’s elder brother Microsoft ISA.

The product is much better than it’s earlier release especially after releasing service pack 2, which gave it much more utilities and power.

Today we will be guiding you through utilizing the product to be able to block Uploading files to different sites, and especially to Webmail sites.

We will keep posting about other tweaks for this product in the following weeks.

 

Blocking Uploads on TMG

Since it’s not a straight forward process we will be guiding you through the steps:

1- Go to Forefront TMG Management

2- From the left menu choose Web Access Policy as shown below:

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3- Once clicked on Web Access Policy, on the right hand side make sure that HTTPS Inspection is Enabled as shown below:

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4- Now, first we will start the blocking of uploads for all sites. Go to the Allow Web Access for All Users as shown below:

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5- Right click on the Web Access Rule and choose HTTP Filtering as shown below:

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6- In General make sure that Allow any payload length is checked:

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7- Go to Signatures and click on Add.

8- When the Dialog box is opened fill the following fields,

Name:        You can add anything, let’s say we will call it Block Uploads

Search in:    Request headers

HTTP Header: Content-Type:

Signature:   multipart/form-data

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9- Click on OK once finished.

10- Now this should be blocking uploads for all websites, unless you are facing problems with Hotmail, then you need to do the following:

10.a.: Go to Signatures again and click Add.

10.b.: When the Dialog box is opened fill the following fields,

Name:        You can add anything, let’s say we will call it Block Hotmail Attachment

Search in:    Request URL

Signature:   /mail/attachmentuploader.aspx

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10.c: Click on OK once finished.

10.d: Go to Signatures again and click Add

10.e.: When the Dialog box is opened fill the following fields,

Name:        You can add anything, let’s say we will call it Block Hotmail SilverLight

Search in:    Request URL

Signature:   /mail/silverlightattachmentuploader.aspx

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Now you are ready to start annoying the employees in your company ;)

This will be just the start with TMG, and later on we will be posting about more features soon.


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Microsoft Reveals the Most played 360 Games of 2011

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The most played Xbox 360 game of 2011 will surprise absolutely no one. Neither will the second or the third, for that matter.

The list, released on Major Nelson’s blog today, covers the top twenty games played by Xbox Live users (Silver and Gold) during 2011. These numbers are based on unique users, rather than total accumulated playtime, otherwise I suspectthat game with the dragons and the arrows might have ranked a little higher.

Call of Duty dominates the top of the chart with its three most-recent installments. Halo: Reach, Battlefield 3 and Skyrim ranked fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. The two latest FIFA games outdid Madden by a hair, so Europeans can get their smug on, should they so wish.

The list in full:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  4. Halo: Reach
  5. Battlefield 3
  6. Skyrim
  7. Gears of War 3
  8. FIFA 12
  9. FIFA Soccer 11
  10. Madden NFL 12
  11. GTA IV
  12. NBA 2K11
  13. Battlefield: Bad Co. 2
  14. Call of Duty 4
  15. Battlefield 3 Beta
  16. Halo 3
  17. Gears of War 2
  18. Forza Motorsport 4
  19. Red Dead Redemption
  20. Call of Duty: World at War

According to the other lists on the blog, Pinball FX2Full House Poker and the, seemingly immortal, Castle Crashers were the best selling Arcade games, while a pair of shameless Minecraft knock-offs took first and second place in the indie rankings.


First Impression Review of Microsoft Lync for iPhone and iPad: The Best Comes Last?

It looks like Microsoft has not held back with its official Lync App for Lync Mobile for iPhone and iPad: This app apears to be the best yet with some features even the Windows Phone version does not have.

Some of the features I’ve noticed are unique to Lync for iOS:

  • Visual Voicemail and ability to 1 click call back callers
  • Most Developed Keypad: with dial tone feedback, visual notices
  • Tab showing Meetings and Online Meetings that can be Joined
  • Ability to select All and multi-select chats to be Deleted in the Chats windows
  • iOS Native Contacts are integrated into the Lync experience
  • Ability to Send Location in a IM/Chat

Some other small things I’ve noticed

  • iPad version does not have keypad for dialing. iPhone version has nice keypad dialing experience
  • The IM notification sound on iOS sounds just like the desktop Lync making the experience seem more similar

 

My Info Tab

This screen allows you to change your note, status, options and Simultaneous Ring settings.

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Easily set your status/presence.

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Contacts

Lync and iPhone/iPad native Contacts are integrated into the experience. You can search for contacts directly from this same screen as well.

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Chats

This is the window to see ongoing chats and move between them.

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Below is the IM chat window. Pressing the upper right options” button allow you to take actions on this IM like: Invite more people to this chat, Voice call this contact, send Location and more.

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IM Options

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Location: When you are in an IM chat Window you can easily send your location.

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More More

Meetings

If you have meetings scheduled they will appear in this window. With 1 click you can see the details or join them.

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Meeting details and join.

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Phone

The Lync for iPhone dialing keypad feels a lot like a mobile phone dial pad. (In contrast to the Lync for Windows Phone where the dialer is a text field you type in.) You can press and hold 1 to access the Exchange UM voicemail system. You can also copy number into the keypad dialer.

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Visual Voicemail on the Lync for iOS clients gives the ability to instantly select the voicemail that is of interest to you. You can listen to a voice and delete or callback the caller. You can start listening or move part way into the voicemail using the progress slider.

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Visual voicemail notification

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Summary

The Lync Mobile for iPhone and iPad appears to be the most full featured and refined Lync Mobile client from Microsoft yet.

Some items that are missing are calling history list (missed, dialed, completed) and conversation history is not automatically saved to Exchange list on Lync Desktop. (you can Send as an email) As with all the Lync Mobile clients, VoIP, video and meeting visuals are not included.

Microsoft has put a lot of thought into fit and finish. With features like Visual Voicemail and the more complete keypad dialing (on iPhone) and small things like very snappy feel/transitions and using the Lync desktop ring tone, the iOS client feels more like the desktop Lync experience than the earlier released Windows Phone and Android Lync Mobile clients.

checkout this video about Lync:

http://www.youtube.com/user/officevideos?blend=7&ob=5

Download from AppStore:
iPhone: Click Here
iPad: Click Here


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The Shortcuts to your Facebook

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If you see Facebook as a benevolent time-waster, why not waste your time more efficiently when you’re there? Hit Alt+1 for the home page, Alt+? to search, or Alt+M for a new message.

The How-To Geek runs down all the shortcuts he’s discovered. Aside from Alt+M and Alt+?, most of Facebook’s keyboard shortcuts line up with numbers. 1-5 will take you (roughly) from left-to-right on Facebook’s navigation links across the top of your Facebook page. 6-0 will navigate to less obvious settings pages.

NOTE: If you’re on a Mac, you (currently) need to add Ctrl+Option+ to each of the shortcuts (Firefox on Mac is Function+Ctrl—thanks Robert Reents!). Other than that, they should work the same.

  • Alt+?: Search
  • Alt+m: Compose a new message
  • Alt+1Home page
  • Alt+2: Your profile page
  • Alt+3: Friend requests
  • Alt+4: Your messages
  • Alt+5: Notifications
  • Alt+6Account page
  • Alt+7Privacy
  • Alt+8Facebook’s Facebook page
  • Alt+9Facebook Terms/Agreement
  • Alt+0Facebook help center
  • The Geek notes, however, that the shortcuts work best in Chrome, and maybe Opera and Safari. In Firefox, you’ll need to add a Shift key to the combination, so as not to trigger Firefox’s own Alt-centered operations. On Internet Explorer, you’ll have to press Enter after hitting each combination.

    you can read the full article here


  • Microsoft Reveal Windows 8

    Microsoft have unveiled the latest version of their OS, and as it’s the sequel to Windows 7, they’ve cleverly named it Windows 8. Good, solid start.

    It’ll have a dual interface, aimed at users of both desktop and tablet computers and has been unveiled so that developers can start working on third-party apps for it. The OS itself won’t be publicly available for about another year.

    The tablet version of Windows 8 is called Metro and resembles the design used for Windows Phone 7. The main display has chunky tiles, one of which will fill the screen when you choose. You’ll also be able to run two apps at once, with one filling most of the screen and the other purring away alongside it.

    Apps for tablets running on Metro will be obtained from the Windows Store, with Microsoft approving all apps that are available. One feature that Metro apps will have that Apple don’t have is the opportunity to try before you buy – a built-in ‘trial mode’ so that you can road test an app before forking out for it. If you ask us, that’s just as likely to cost the Windows Store sales as it is to bring them in.

    But what if you’re not using Windows 8 on a tablet or touch device? Well, you’ll still get the Metro appearance, with the old-style ‘Desktop’ look available as an alternative view, almost like an app itself.

    It looks as though Windows as we know it will never be the same again, and that Microsoft are looking to a future of touch-control, with touchscreen monitors eventually leading to the death of the good old mouse. How long before we control our computers by the power of our MINDS? Surely then it’ll only be a short time before the robots take over and kill us all!

    Read the whole story on Holy Moly! http://www.holymoly.com/gadgets/news/microsoft-reveal-new-windows-8-and-its-very-much-about-touching59374#ixzz1Xx7PUma1
    The best celebrity gossip site in the world.


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